“So, what do you do for a living?”

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Me, before retiring from my position as radiation protection technician at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station

“So, what do you do for a living?”

The question seems to be a kick-starter for  dialogue when meeting someone for the first time. The awkwardness of the moment melts when you have something, anything, to talk about.

Recently, at a social gathering, I was intrigued by a man who said he was a retired US Air Force fighter pilot. His Viet Nam era Top Gun  stories (yes, really) had me and a small gathering of others riveted to his every word. By far, he’d had the most interesting career of anyone in the room. None of us had ever flown at supersonic speeds, and not a single person in the room had ever had a missile fired at them. 

“So, what do you do for a living?” someone asked me later that evening.

I told them I was retired, left out the details of my career, and said, “And now I’m pursuing a career as a writer of romance novels.”

Amazingly enough, the person didn’t squeeze a social yawn out of her eyeballs and walk away. Instead, her eyes widened and she said, “Really? I’ve always wanted to write a book.”

I’m meeting more and more people with the same dream. We want to leave an indelible mark on the fabric of time. Something to say, I was here. Here are my thoughts. My hopes, my dreams, the things I think about.

If you’re one of those people who would tell me you’ve always wanted to write a book, here’s my advice: Write. That. Book. Get your thoughts down on paper or into the computer and save every jot and tittle. Worry about what you’re going to do with your masterpiece later.

Never give up on your dreams. Ever.

 

 

Interview with author Linda Robinson

Today I had the privilege of interviewing my good friend and multi-published author Linda Robinson. Not only is she an established writer, she’s the queen of Southern hospitality and fries up some mean fried green tomatoes.

Linda's Author PicLinda was born in Alabama, married as a teenager, and traveled extensively with her husband throughout his military career. She currently lives in Alabama with her husband and spoiled pet, a Maltese dog named Joy, where she enjoys reading, writing, flower gardening, and all things nature.

1.  Natalie Hudson, the heroine of the Natalie books, is a spirited yet lovable girl  with a stubborn streak. Did you model her after someone you knew in real life? Yourself, perhaps?

Natalie, as with all my characters, is a composite of several different people I’ve known. Yes, she has a few of my traits as well, maybe the rebel side.

2.  You recently published Natalie’s Consequences, the third installment of your Faith and Family series. Can we expect to see a fourth book?

No, I think I wrapped Natalie’s and her friend’s lives completely in the last book, with both on their way to a rewarding life as Christian wives and mothers. I’m ready to move on to something new.

3.   How heavily do you draw on real-life when you’re molding and shaping the characters and events in your books?

Very. I try to depict real-life situations in order for my readers to relate. However, the first book, Natalie’s Choices, in the series began in 1987 when there were not quite as many social issues for teens to contend with as there are today. Natalie’s Commitments continues through the college years in the early nineties.

4.   Tell us a little about Rails of Freedom and how it relates to the Faith and Family series.

That one required a lot of research, but it has been my most enjoyable to write. My brother left home as a teen and became a hobo for a year. He told me a few stories about his experiences and spawned my idea to write the second novel. When I finished Rails of Freedom, God gave me the idea to write a book about teens and the relationship with their parents, using the mother and father characters in Rails of Freedom. I think possibly because I personally never had that type of family relationship, and subconsciously, I could have it through my characters.

When I told my first cousin, who is a pastor’s wife, she suggested I write a series for young adults in high school and college. I have two sons and no daughters, so God certainly has a sense of humor. But he placed the right people in my path to accomplish the goal, including my cherished critique partners, one of whom had four teenagers at the time. I chose to end the series with the third book being what is referred to now as the New Adult genre, since my characters are married with careers, families of their own, and some of the many problems life presents at that age.

5.  Care to share a little something about your first novel, When Love Abounds?

My first book was hard for me to write because it’s a fictionalized account of my life story. But it was also liberating and rewarding. And had I not followed what I believe was God’s will for me, I might never have written the next four books at all.

6.  At one time or another, and to different degrees, every author experiences writer’s block. You’ve written five novels. Can you share with us your secret weapon for enticing the muse back into your quill when she seems to have taken an extended vacation?

Great question because I’ve just experienced that exact condition. Because of my husband’s serious health issues last fall, I put writing on a back burner. I would advise to never do that because it’s hard to get back in the groove. I found myself without a desire to write the past few months. But I also discovered that if I will just sit down with my laptop and think about my characters for a few minutes, I start typing away. Soon, I’m enthused about where my story is going, and ideas of potential for making it exciting and interesting come to me.

7.  What’s your particular writing style? Would you consider yourself a plotter or a pantster? That is, do you write an outline of the plot of your book, or do you fly by the seat of your pants?

I’m a 100% pantster! But I do jump ahead and write a later chapter or jot a note about a future scene if an idea comes to me. You know…capture the thought before I go to sleep and it disappears. I keep a note pad and pen on my nightstand.

8. So, Linda, what’s next?

I’m currently debating two ideas. The first is to publish a compilation of short stories I’ve written, which I’ve titled Truth & Southern-Fried Fiction. The second is to pen a new novel about a couple who buy a Blue Bird motorhome, set out to travel the United States for a year, and encounter a myriad of problems as well as enjoyable experiences. It’s actually my current work in progress. Eventually, I’ll complete both. I’m just not sure of the order.

Click HERE to learn more about Linda Robinson and to order any of her books listed below.