Friday, February 21, 2014
SCHMOOZING WITH LINDA HALL
Who has influenced you the most in your writing career?
I’ve had so very many influences through the years that it’s hard to come up with just one. If you had asked me this when I was a teenager I had one name- Edgar Allan Poe. Later on it was Ruth Rendell. I especially adored her Barbara Vine books. I read Sue Grafton devoured her books and loved the idea of the series character.
What are you working on now?
I have a number of projects in the works. As we speak, my full length mystery, Night Watch is in with my agent. It features my new series character, Captain Emmeline Ridge, a female boat delivery captain who, of course, ends up being right in the middle of all sorts of murders and mystery and mayhem.
A second thing I’m working on is a short story collection. I’ve written a number through the years and I’m currently planning on self-publishing an ebook collection. I love short stories, love reading them and love writing them, but for a long time the publishing industry decided that “they didn't sell”. Well, no body asked me! This collection of mine will include a few stories reprinted from anthologies and some new ones. Currently I don’t even have a title for the collection - so stay tuned - writerhall.com or Facebook.com/writerhall
The final thing I’m doing is re-editing some of my out-of print works and getting them up as eBooks. That has been rewarding and great fun.
In what ways is your main protagonist like you? If at all?
Writing a series featuring a sailor has long been something I’ve wanted to do. I love the water and boats and happily am married to someone who shares this passion. My husband and I have a sailboat, aptly named ‘Mystery’ that we move aboard once summer comes. We consider it our summer cottage. Em Ridge is sort of my alter ego, the braver version of me. She’s the kind of sailor I want to be, not the kind I really am - the one who cowers down below in the cabin during storms while my husband mans the sails. She is strong and brave and takes control. I’m not that way so much on boats during storms.
Are you character driven or plot driven?
I like to say character driven, and probably for the most part that’s true, but sometimes stories come to me by a snippet of plot or a bit of a setting. Setting is a big one for me. Recently I watched a documentary about groups of young dumpster divers. They are very regimented - as in they have certain dumpsters they go to on certain nights of the week. But oh, the stashes they come up with - full loaves of bread, tons of barely bad produce, boxes of cereal and more. I kept thinking about these kids, and kept thinking about them, until an idea came to me. It’s the short story I’m currently working on. So, is that character or plot? Yes. And no.
Are you a pantser or a plotter?
Again, I would like to say Pantzer, but recently I’ve begun using Scrivener and LOVE it for writing and organizing my mystery clues and ideas. So, maybe that makes me a plotter? Don’t know.
What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?
Entertainment, and entertainment alone. I hope I can provide a moment away from my reader’s real life. I want them to finish my book and quickly ask, “Where’s Linda’s next book?”
Where do you see yourself as a writer in 10 years?
I am chuckling as I read this question. This is the sort of question you ask someone in their 30s and 40s, maybe even someone in their early 50s. People in these age categories spend a lot of time at the beginning of every year writing down goals. They come up with 5-year plans and 10-year plans, carefully kept in notebooks which they check from time to time to make sure they’re on track.
But where do I want to be in ten years? I want to be ten years older, but still writing and still healthy and enjoying my grandchildren who will be ten years older. I cannot envision myself ‘retiring’ from writing.
What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?
In the mid-2000s I studied Celestial Navigation - it nearly killed me. It was a difficult, difficult course, and took this non-Math person a year to complete, but I can theoretically use a sextant to find my way around the planet’s oceans using nothing but the math this planet provides.
What do you like to read for pleasure?
My favorite reading is mysteries, of course, but I enjoy a lot of genres. One of the funnest things I’ve done lately is to join a book club. We read a wide variety of books, including Canada Reads selections and Gov. General Award finalists. It has really broadened my reading. and I love it. I feel I’m learning a lot.
Give us a summary of your latest book in a Tweet
Everything is not as it seems aboard sailboat Blue Peace and when one crew member is found dead and another goes missing, Captain Em Ridge finds herself right in the middle of mayhem on the high seas.
Award-winning author Linda Hall has written eighteen mystery novels plus many short stories. She has written for Multnomah Publishing, WaterBrook Press, Random House and most recently for Harlequin’s Love Inspired line. Most of her novels have something to do with the sea. When she's not writing, Linda and her husband Rik enjoy sailing the coast of Maine aboard their 34' sailboat aptly named - MYSTERY.