An inveterate romantic, Linda Joyce writes about love. A lot. Of her 10 books and various other published works, romance is the prevailing tempestuous theme.
“I believe true love conquers all,” she said. “It’s cliché, but it’s true.” And, in Joyce’s brand of contemporary women’s fiction and romance, what love frequently conquers is her main characters’ unmarried status.
Since late 2016, the Kennesaw resident has published a series of four stories about a quartet of romances leading to various altars around Fleur de Lis, a fictional estate on the border of Mississippi and Louisiana.
“Each bride has met her soulmate,” explained Joyce, who is from New Orleans. But, as fans of her Fleur de Lis anthology well know, “The course of true love and getting to the altar is not always smooth.”
“Branna,” “Biloxi” and “Camilla,” Joyce’s first three bridal e-books, have been compiled in “Fleur de Lis Brides.” The fourth book in the series, “Bayou Brides,” was published in October. The fifth, and final, Fleur de Lis release will be “Bayou Brothers,” said Joyce, though she plans to finish another title or two before wrapping up the series.
“I call it dedication,” she said. “My husband calls it obsession.” Her husband might have a point. By the time “Bayou Brothers” is complete, Joyce will have penned at least 13 novels and a host of short stories and poems since leaving her corporate job in 2008, determined to realize a decades-old dream of writing a novel.
“Mind you, I had to learn how to write to begin with,” she said, laughing. “Everything I thought I knew about writing was a lie.” Some of the discoveries that classes, conferences and critique groups provided along the way to Fleur de Lis literary success include:
“Dialogue moves a story, not internal monologue.”
“While we speak in mostly passive verbs, in writing you need active verbs.”
“And ‘ly’ adverbs can be death.” Previously fond of characters who “prettily” sat or “daintily” behaved, Joyce said becoming an Amazon best-selling author meant learning to “show, not tell.”
And what she shows readers in her bride series is “no matter the obstacles, true love will prevail.” If not the first time around, then the next.
“My romance books are about assertive women and the men who love them,” she said. “The women’s fiction I write, also about second chances, focuses on a protagonist’s journey to empowerment.”
It’s a familiar path for Joyce. Married for 36 years to her college sweetheart, the man she credits with giving her the “opportunity to fulfill my dream” after a 20-year corporate career, she said, “It’s not surprising my books have a recurring theme – second chances.”
There are, however, several more ongoing motifs in her bride books, from interconnected family relationships to nail-biting romantic intrigue, as Joyce describes below.
Branna: Fleur de Lis Brides Book 1
The winds of Hurricane Katrina have pushed the wedding date for Branna Lind and James Newbern into an uncertain future. She can’t wait on Fleur de Lis to be restored. Otherwise, her secret will shock their families.
James’s gun-toting ex-fiancée has been dipping into crazy and causing trouble. However, James protects Branna. She’ll be a Fleur de Lis bride, just as tradition dictates. Or he’ll die trying. Will they ever get to their happily-ever-after?
Biloxi: Fleur de Lis Brides Book 2
The Dutrey family will host the finest reception at fully restored Fleur de Lis for Biloxi Dutrey and Nick Trahan. Only days before the wedding, Nick demands a change to the guest list and Biloxi panics, fearing his decision will revive the old Dutrey-Trahan family feud and ruin their future.
To get to the altar, Biloxi and Nick face a battle where the family loyalty lines are murky. Will they ever say, “I do?”
Camilla: Fleur de Lis Brides Book 3
Camilla Lind finally accepts Jared Richardson’s ring, but she won’t be pressured into setting a wedding date at Fleur de Lis. When Steven Sterling shows up to convince her of his undying love, he’s not beneath blackmail to get her back. Camilla fears Jared will believe Steven’s lies because of her shameful past.
Jared won’t back down from Steven’s threats – but he won’t marry Camilla if the only reason she sets a date is to close the past on Steven.
Will Camilla and Jared learn their love is steadfast and strong?
Bayou Brides: Fleur de Lis Brides Book 4
Jazz singer Nola Dutrey is dedicated to her kids’ community band in New Orleans. She meets her best friend’s brother, Rex Arceneau, and her heart trips into love. But she’s New Orleans. He’s New York – there’s no future for them.
Rex is home to settle his father’s estate and get the family restaurant running in the black. He wants to cut entertainment and focus on food, then he meets Nola – the weekend singer – and their connection sizzles.
New Orleans. New York. New love … but will Nola be a Fleur de Lis bride or will life’s dissonant notes ruin her harmony with Rex and once-in-a-lifetime love?