I've really looked forward to the day when I could post this interview. Lind and I have walked together on much of the journey. Welcome, Linda. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I probably put a lot of myself into my characters more so subconsciously than consciously. For example…Samantha Knowles is an attorney who was abused as a child. I am not an attorney nor have I experienced physical abuse first hand. However, my work as a social worker has given me insight into the lives of attorneys and the affects of child abuse. Sam is a perfectionist, driven to achieve excellence and frustrated when it does not happen. That is probably one of my downfalls.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
It is difficult to pick one out of several hundred. My husband says he wants to stamp it on his palm that he married a blonde and to remember to expect the unexpected from me. Probably the bravest thing I’ve done is my recent move to
. I packed up what I could
from my home in Northern New York into my little Ford Focus and headed
south…the only sure thing was that I’d eventually wind up at my brother’s home
Where I’d live and if I’d make Jacksonville
my home were all in God’s hands. Step by step, like Abraham, my new life
unfolded…an apartment then a house, a job…then a book contract…and I’m looking
forward to when my husband retires and can join me here. Jacksonville
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
Many writers say they were born with a pencil in their hand. I do know I’ve always loved telling stories and writing them down. In grade school, I won several writing contests. I always wanted to be a writer and did so as a hobby. Life responsibilities pushed me into other careers until June 21, 2000 when God revealed His plan that now was the time for me to pursue this gift as a profession.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
As in music and movies, I enjoy any work that is done well. My reading over the course of year will vary from historical and romance to contemporary and science fiction. I want to read a story about people, about their overcoming obstacles and their spiritual growth. In that regard, I prefer character driven stories.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Pray, pray, and pray. Regardless of how crowded my day may be, I have discovered that planning time for God first thing in the morning…before breakfast… is critical. I set my alarm early to allow for that special time with Father God…even if that means I miss some other critical element in my day. In this life, God is more concerned about our being than our doing. And our doing is vanity, as Solomon says, unless it is rooted in our relationship with God.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I choose names according to their meaning and according to the character type personality. I also factor in geographical factors, historical factors and family probabilities. For example, Zack Bordeaux is a teacher, a product of his geographical location. French names are prevalent in the Adirondack region due to its proximity to
and migrations from .
Zack is a popular name for the age of my character. He is athletic and the name
seemed to fit him. Jonathan Gladstone is an artist and the heir to an English
Earl. I needed an English name that had an aristocratic sound. Quebec
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I am first and foremost proud of my three children and my nine grandchildren. To me, family, next to my relationship with God, is the highest priority. My children are great parents and that thrills me. My sons both served in the military, and my daughter is an exemplary mom and wife. Career wise, I think I take greatest joy in winning writer of the year for the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers conference. That year God affirmed His call for me to write.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I’d like to be a lion. I roar a lot and I like to prowl. I wouldn’t want to be a man-eating lion, though.
What is your favorite food?
Pot roast. I love tender beef and vegetables cooked in the broth. Next to that, I’d say spaghetti. Third favorite is hot fudge sundae. Now if I could only combine them in one meal, but I’m afraid the blended flavors would not set well in the stomach. As in many areas of my life, my tastes seem to be varied.
I would like to eat with you. Tell us a little about your journey to publication.
It has been a wild ride filled with highs and lows. God yanked me from complacency on June 21, 2000, in a vivid call to move my life toward professional writing. I don’t advocate quitting the day job, but in my case, God insisted. He promised to meet our needs, and He has done so beyond any expectation. Though I published short stories, essays, poetry, and devotional articles, as well as a newspaper column, obtaining a book contract was a challenge beyond all others, even with an agent. I questioned if I’d heard God right. I thought of going back to work full-time and keep writing short pieces. God reminded me that quitting now would be akin to the Children of Israel re-crossing the
Then, on June 21, 2011, God affirmed His plan for me through my first book
contract, eleven years to the day. Jordan
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I fell into the trap of thinking God needed me. I made writing my primary focus in life, even before my devotional time. I fooled myself into thinking that this was okay since I was doing God’s work. God had to chisel my pride. He didn’t need me to do anything. God is sufficient in Himself. What He offered was a privilege to work together with Him. Then I asked God to take away the desire to write. He told me that was foolishness to ask Him to take away His gift to me. He had to show me the importance of being, living and breathing each day in sync with what He wanted to show me for that day. He taught me that my call to purpose is not what I do but who I am in Him. The rest will fall into place. “But seek ye first the
, and his righteousness; and all
these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33 KJV). kingdom of God
What advice would you give to others who are trying to get their first book published?
Don’t quit. If you believe God has called you or even if you are writing for your own pleasure, don’t give up. Rejection is not failure but rather an opportunity to try again.
Tell us about the featured book.
The Other Side of Darkness, (working copy title Dawn’s Hope) came to me as I drove through the
area in which the story is set. Its history has always intrigued me. The
question occurred to me what if someone from the city became stranded in one of
its small towns. During the initial formation of the novel, I took a trip to , the birthplace
of the American Navy, and toured the quaint town. I became intrigued by Skene Manor
the home a former Supreme Court Judge and originally built by the town’s
founder. It overlooked the village like a sentinel. The town of Whitehall was born in my mind
and the estate, Dawn’s Hope. The early version of the story was a finalist in
the 2008 Genesis contest, a story about a Haven attorney who becomes stranded in a
small town after a moose accident. On my way to the airport for the Minneapolis
ACFW conference, my husband nearly hit a moose that wandered on to the road.
Then ACFW president Cynthia Ruchti said, “God is smiling on this manuscript.”
And the rest is history. New York
Please give us the first page of the book.
He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed…and He guided them to their desired haven.
Spaghetti legs, Daddy called them, spindly appendages that kinked when stressed—like now.
Samantha Knowles leaned against the table for support as Bailiff Don Hunter came to the front of the courtroom. “All rise.” Judge
entered, his limp necessitating a much longer plod from his chamber to the
bench. Soon, the wait would end—three years of sleepless nights, endless days
of preparation, postponements, and courtroom theatrics by defense attorneys.
After three interminable years, Justice would now show its face. Normandy
As the judge took his bench, the crowd silenced to await his summation. Sam glanced at the defendant’s table where a calm Harlan Styles sat, a wart on the cheek of humanity, an insulated icicle against the rising heat, tried and convicted—the rest up to
’s guillotine. Normandy
She fingered her notes, though she didn’t need to see them—the image of Kiley’s tiny, battered body tattooed on Sam’s brain, a brazen scar, indelibly etched on her heart.
spewed his rhetoric—penal codes entwined
with case facts, cold, distanced from the victim, yet succulent to Sam’s ears.
In spite of their dry, unflavored essence, she feasted on his words—each
pursuant finding heaped upon the other and topped with the last morsel, “The
court can find no other just rendering than life imprisonment.” Normandy
Victory should taste better, like syrup over pancakes—not this metallic aftertaste.
A woman’s scream silenced the murmurings, and Sam turned with the rest of the throng toward the source. Kiley’s mother, Brenda Smith, had leaned over the rail and grabbed Styles’s sleeve while Don Hunter ordered her to step back.
Brenda was weak—just like Mama was weak. Brenda Smith deserved the same fate as Styles. Too bad stupidity wasn’t a felony.
The DA stood in the back of the courtroom. Without a word, Abe Hilderman, her boss and second chair, abandoned Sam to shake the DA’s hand. A simple, “Good job, Counselor,” would have been nice, even a slap on the back. Nice, but not necessary. Abe often said that Justice was its own reward.
Emboldened, Sam stepped closer as the deputy handcuffed Styles. He saw her, pulled free, put his shackled hands on the prosecutor’s table and leaned into Sam’s face, his cologne lethal… a designer blend—suede, water, and moss—like Daddy’s. Sam fixed her stare into steel-gray eyes, magnets that drew her headlong toward a spinning saw—Styles’s demeanor, a calloused calm…except for his lips… parched, purple–tinged lips that formed his threat. “Keep your light on, Miss Knowles.”
Her spaghetti legs wobbled. Three years of lamp-lit nights had failed to chase away the recurring dreams—dreams Sam kept secreted from everyone, especially Justine, Sam’s best friend. How, then, did Styles know she kept a light on all night?
How can the readers find you on the Internet?
This Daily Grind (God often teaches us life’s greatest lessons through the mundane) http://lindarondeau.blogspot.com/
Back in the Daze (because life never ceases to be amazing)
My on-line writing community: Pentalk Community
Pentalk Community Blog: http://pentalkcommunity.blogspot.com/
To purchase book:http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/the-other-side-of-darkness-softcover
Thank you, Linda, for sharing all of this with us.
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