Today is the first day of the Public Safety Writers Association Conference. We’re at the Orleans Hotel and Casino, where we’ve held the conference for the last several years. I am looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones.
has just been released! I have several entries in this fascinating insiders’ look at the real life heroes in our world. A collection of tales from members of the Public Safety Writers Association, this is a must read. Get your copy on Amazon today.
I recently entered several photos in a local photography show. Although my photos did not win an award, one of them was purchased by an attendee. What a pleasant surprise and satisfying conclusion! I now feel emboldened to continue bringing my camera wherever I go. Enjoy the black and white pic I choose to call: Concrete Soldiers.
My guest author today is good friend and fellow novelist, Linda J. White. Linda has been writing most of her life, both professionally, and as a hobby. More importantly, she and her husband, Larry, have raised three wonderful children. The couple enjoy spending time together in the rural Virginia home they share with two cats and a dog.
Linda, please introduce yourself and tell us about your writing journey.
I like to say I can’t do anything—I just write about what other people do! I never set out to be a novelist. After a seven-year career with the government during which I won awards for my writing, I elected to stay home with my kids for 24 years. During that time I wrote everything from preschool newsletters to a full-blown play for my church. One day I had an idea for a story. I mentioned it to my husband, and he said, “You ought to write that!” Bless him! I think most husbands would have said, “Uh, don’t you think you should get a job?”
That was 20 years ago! And that first novel has never been published.
Do you write every day, and are novels the only things you write?
I write every day. I am the assistant editorial page editor of a daily newspaper. I’d like to say I work on my fiction-writing every day but lately that has not been possible. Instead, I’m working on marketing my new book.
I know you have a new novel just released. Please tell us about it.
Seeds of Evidence is an FBI thriller set on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Kit McGovern is a stressed-out FBI agent. She’s jogging on the beach on Assateague Island when she finds the body of a little boy washing up in the surf. She becomes obsessed with finding out who he is and why he is dead. Normally the FBI wouldn’t get involved in a single murder, but she pushes the point. Kit teams up with a D.C. homicide cop who is recovering from a shooting incident and together they hunt for the boy’s killer. That leads them into the dark world of human trafficking.
Seeds of Evidence is about the power of perseverance, and hope.
What authors most inspire you?
I read a lot of Christian non-fiction—C.S. Lewis, John Piper, Tim Keller. My heart gets stirred by the classics—Dickens, Austen, Madeleine L’Engle. And I do like the writing of Michael Connelly and Sibella Giorello.
What is your most rewarding writing experience?
Not long ago I was writing a scene in which my protagonist was interviewing someone at that person’s house in a sleazy neighborhood. She was pressing him a little, and it was a touchy situation. When the tension became high, another character (another bad guy) walked into the room. I didn’t plan that, didn’t anticipate it, it just flowed out of my subconscious and into the manuscript. I love it when that happens!
Where and when do you write? Do you create a certain environment for writing, i.e., certain music playing, favorite chair, etc.?
I am best in the morning. I have a writing nook in our guest room, a room with lots of windows out of which I can stare! I have a comfortable chair, and my Sheltie is usually lying at my feet (I have chewies in the desk drawer for her!). I can’t have any music on. My second favorite place to write is Panera, where the buzz of the crowd (oddly) allows me to concentrate. I guess I know I don’t have to make them breakfast!
Are you working on a new project?
I have another book coming out from Abingdon Press next April, called “Words of Conviction.” It’s about forensic psycholinguistics, which is fascinating. And I’m starting another based on the 2002 Beltway Sniper incident—only I’m setting it in Norfolk.
Is there anything you would like to share with our readers?
Be a BFF to your favorite writers—write a review on Amazon or Goodreads if you like their book. Read, read, read. And if you’re a writer, put yourself in that seat and write!
Please provide the readers with a link to your website, and a link to your book.
Thanks, John, for the interview!
Here’s my website: www.lindajwhite.com
And a link to my book: http://amzn.to/YZXD2Q
And my Facebook author page: http://on.fb.me/YiCZ8a
I’ve had conversations with fellow writers who tell me they dream of writing a book. However, some of these aspiring novelists always seem to have a reason why they have yet to realize their dream. They insist their wonderful, unique storyline is sure to be widely accepted, but then moan that the task of writing a book is just too demanding. Is that a valid excuse? I guess it might be. On the other hand, writing a book might also be a wonderful cathartic exercise.
In lieu of writing a 300 – 400 page novel, might I suggest writing a novella? It has many of the characteristics of a novel, yet lacks some of the structure and requirements. A novella is basically a long short story. If you research novellas, you will find varying opinions regarding what length they should be. The most common answer is probably somewhere around 20,000 words.
The novella is an interesting piece of literature because it doesn’t seem to fit well in conventional publishing mediums—magazines and books. It’s too long to be included in some online publications, yet it’s too short to be deemed appropriate for print.
Nevertheless, a novella is a great way for a writer to develop characters and plots. It’s also a good way to flesh out a writing portfolio. While there are no chapters in novellas, there can be distinct breaks to divide sections. Novellas contain protagonists and antagonists, conflicts, and more than enough space to fully develop settings.
So, where is the market for this type of writing? Some publishers may consider a novella as a print piece or ebook. However, Amazon recently introduced “Kindle singles” in their online store that specializes in standalone works like novellas. Writers follow simple instructions to upload their work and, voila, a best seller may be born.
I took a test drive at the Amazon Kindle store and created my own anthology, “The Nightstand Collection.” It’s a collection of my short stories and poetry. The process of self-publishing was straightforward and easy to understand. Amazon even provides a video demonstrating the steps involved in an easy to understand tutorial.
My recommendation? Don’t be afraid to experiment. If you’re reluctant to commit to a novel, try the novella. If you have success with writing a novella, you may have discovered your writing niche. Or . . . the novella may just be the springboard that launches your book career.