Friday, March 9, 2012
Author Interview: Linda Todd
A resident of West Lake, Linda Todd likes writing short stories, especially flash fiction. She has completed a book and plans to start queryingsoon. Her next project is going to be a chapbook of flash fiction.
1) How did you develop an interest in writing? I started scribbling back in high school. I had always been a reader, graduating from the Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew to Zane Grey and Edgar Allan Poe. I started writing my own silly teenage fluff. Stock characters. No setting. Worst of all: NO CONFLICT. My writing kind of sat on a back burner until 1985 when my husband died. I went back to school and got a Masters Degree in English. I took every creative writing course that came down the pike and read every book I could get my hands on about the writing process. If anyone, back in the fifties, would have told me I'd actually complete a book I would have laughed them out of the room.
2) Please tell us a little about your blog. The name of my blog is LF Todd's Incurable Itch and can be found at http://lindaheberttodd.blogspot.com/ .I'm fairly new at this. Jess Ferguson got me started and keeps me motivated. (Thanks, Jess). So far everything on it is writing related and I think I'll keep it that way. I'm signed up for an online class on how to blog and hope I can get more proficient at it.
3) I see you are working on a MS - please tell us a little about it. The title is Wild Justice and it's a crime story with a vengeance theme. I got the idea from a newspaper article about a double murder in a quiet little Louisiana town near the southeast Texas border. I set it in Westlake (write about what you know, right?) but changed the name to West Dulac.
4) What other styles do you write? I like writing short stories, especially flash fiction. My next project is going to be a chapbook of flash fiction. I also like writing poetry, and I'm starting a memoir class at McNeese. Not for publication - just for my kids.
5) What authors do you admire? James Lee Burke is my favorite, especially his Robichaux series. He tells a great story and plunks you right down in the middle of Cajun country. Thomas Perry, John Sandford, Sue Grafton, Ken Follett, Nelson DeMille, Lee Child, to name a few. You'll notice I'm into mayhem and murder, but at my age I'm entitled.
6) Have you submitted anything yet? I sent a query letter and the first twenty-five pages of my novel to a publisher, but got a rejection. I've finished my synopsis (finally) and am set to start querying agents. I've sent several short stories to magazines, but received rejections on those also. However, I'm not giving up.
7) Are you part of a critique group or writer's guild? I'm a member of the Bayou Writers Group that meets once a month at Carnegie Library in Lake Charles. Several members meet on Thursday mornings at Stellar Beans coffee shop for critiques. I also belong to Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Guppies, a sub-group of SinC. Guppies stands for the "Great Unpublished": a very supportive and informative group with a newsletter to die for.
8) Have you ever attended a writer's conference? Yes. The Bayou Writers Group hosts an excellent conference every year in November. The second Saturday. A good general conference is held every year in the spring in Houma, Louisiana, at the Terrebonne Parish Library. I've been there every year except the first one. Cost is $30.00, which is a great price for a one day conference. I've also attended Killer Nashville twice. This one caters to mystery writers.
9) When working on your current MS did you complete an outline first or did you just start writing? I am not a pantser except for flash fiction. My novel started out as a short story. I knew the beginning and the end, so I just had to fill in the middle. Not an easy task. I borrowed a hint from screenwriters and got a couple of packs of index cards. I started jotting down what I wanted to happen on the cards and put them in order. Then I got it done, scene by scene.