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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

INTERVIEW: LINDA SWIFT

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Long and Short Reviews welcomes Linda Swift, whose suspense debut print novel, Resurrection, was released this month. Linda also has a suspense short story that has been on Smashwords for a few months. She's giving away a digital copy of Resurrection today, so be sure your email address is included in your comment.


"If you have ever had a nightmare where you are trapped and helpless to escape, you can relate to Charlotte's story. The entire book is based on her efforts to convince someone--anyone--that she does not belong in the situation where she finds herself. Failing that, she devises plans of her own to escape but they meet with failure every time," she told me. "One reviewer has said, 'You did a superb job on this tale about Charlotte. I felt what she felt, saw what she saw. It gives the reader a high level of tension and frustration.' And she added, 'I kept thinking, if this doesn't have a happy ending, I'm not going to be happy, at all.' It was difficult to find a cover that represented the story without depicting a house of horrors. I didn't want to mislead readers into thinking this was a totally optimistic read nor did I want to convey complete pessimism. I think the artist found the right balance with a beautiful woman and the contradiction of incarceration and a dream of freedom."


Linda had planned to create a poetic pen name, when she first started writing, but her agent suggested she use her maiden name since it was short, easy to remember, and could fit easily in one line on a book cover.


"Since I am the only child of an only child and my family name dies with me, this is a nice way to leave a bit of the name behind and honor my daddy and maternal grandmother who passed on their love of books to me," she added.


When Linda's not writing, her favorite pastime is reading—and her favorite spot for her favorite pastime is in the swing on her porch or lanai.


"I watch little TV. I enjoy walking a couple of miles every day and using the pool when in Florida. My husband and I do ballroom dancing at least once a week and that is great fun. In Florida we also enjoy picnics on the beach," she said. "Oh, did I forget to mention eating, either in or out, but preferably the latter. And no, I did not mention cooking."


Linda has written seventeen books, but by her own choice four will never see the light of day. There's also one she wants to save for later. Ten are already published with a couple of them being poetry books. She also has some former Kensington publications that have been reprinted.


"Confused yet? Join the club. I've stopped trying to keep count," she admitted. "As for my favorite, I can't narrow this down to one book. I am always caught up in whatever I'm working on and living vicariously through those characters at the moment. But I'm fickle. Next week or next month, I will be in another character's head and oblivious to the others."


If she could start her journey to getting published over, she would start earlier and not allow herself to get sidetracked by other things.


"I was just a few years too late getting into the romance genre to get established before the market changed," she explained. "When I think of all the books I could have written and had published in the time from then till now, it saddens me. But I can't change the past, and it's pointless to long for what might have been. And I did have some wonderful experiences along the way in spite of my thwarted writing goals. So I will just enjoy the many books I now have published and continue telling the stories of all these characters I still have living in my head."


"E-book or print?" I asked. "And why?"


"I can't choose between e-books and print. I love them both. My love for prints goes back to early childhood and my discovery of the make-belief world of fiction through my daddy. I will always have a library of print books wherever I live. But I can't deny the convenience of e-books, especially with e-readers. I like being able to carry a whole library in just one 'book' because I never travel without my books. And the price of e-books makes it possible for more people to read and own more books. As an author, I like being able to offer my books both ways to suit the needs of my readers. I don't think one will ever replace the other and I don't see any reason to do so. There is room enough for both to co-exist in harmony and complement each other."


One of Linda's favorite characters from all her books to date is Jondalar, the castle guard in Maid of the Midlands, another book Linda had published this year.


"He was a good man at heart but he wanted badly to better himself. There is nothing wrong with that, but Jondalar went about it the wrong way because he wanted results in a hurry. Of course, his reason was honorable but his greed caused him to lose sight of what was really important. He was a man of conflicting goals and he had a hard lesson to learn. I like characters who are flawed and have room to grow and change and poor Jondalar was a prime example."


"What are the best and worst pieces of writing advice you ever received?" I wondered.


"The best writing advice I ever received was from an English professor in a creative writing class who said 'The only difference between a published and unpublished author is lunatic persistence.'
I quality on both counts!" she declared. "The worst advice was from my only agent who told me to forget a story I had in mind because it could not have happened. But I knew better than he that it could so I quietly ignored his words and it is now available in e-book and print titled Single Status."


Linda's best fan letter was from a neighbor in Kentucky who wrote to say she was obsessed with reading a book she had bought from Linda at a signing.


"She said she was doing nothing but sitting and reading and if I knew how unlike her that was I would know how much she loved the book. This happened to be my Civil War historical that won Book of the Week at LASR. But when she later read a contemporary I wrote and contacted me again to tell she stayed up till all hours to finish it and wanted me to write a sequel and let the characters meet again in a few years for a happy ending, I knew I had succeeded in reaching her in both genres and that was very gratifying."


"Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book," I said. "Where would you most likely want to go?"


"I can answer this with one word. England. But to elaborate, I would like to have a summer or a year to travel over the entire country, stopping for as long as I liked in each village or city and getting to know the people there. Then I would have wonderful images to use as settings for many books, perhaps even a series."


The scariest moment in Linda's life was when she got a phone call in the dark before dawn from her son-in-law telling her that her daughter had been hit by a car and was in the trauma hospital in Memphis.


"His first words, coached by the hospital chaplain, was that she was alive. And my first thought was How bad is she hurt? And it was very bad, but I'm happy to report that she is well and leading a blessed and creative life now. And the entire family feels that this is God's miracle for us."


Finally I asked, "What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?"


"Believe in yourself. Read books in the genre you strive to write. Learn from rejections and don't take them personally. Keep on writing and you will become a better writer and you will be published."


About the Author:
I have been a nomad all of my life, calling many places home from California to New York to England. I share my life with my husband, a great musician, golfer, power plant consultant, and in-house computer tech.


We now divide our time between homes in Kentucky and Florida, stopping en route in Tennessee to visit our children who live in Nashville. I am the only member of my family who does not sing or play an instrument, but I like to think I make music with words.


Although I am an only child, I have never been lonely because my head has always been filled with imaginary people. I love giving them a chance to tell their stories and I hope it brings you pleasure to read them.


Find the author online at:


Website: www.LindaSwift.net

https://www.facebook.com/home.php?clk_loc=5#!/profile.php?id=1213390116

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Charlotte Timberlake, an enterprising newspaper reporter, wants to write a book comparing past and present treatment for mental illness and persuades a doctor to have her admitted to a state hospital as a patient. When unforeseen events make it impossible for her to leave, she finds herself unable to convince those in charge, her children, or ex-husband that she doesn't belong here. Charlotte soon realizes it is up to her to find a means of escaping the nightmare of her self-condemned prison.