Are you all ready for another week here at The Mustard Seed? Linda Hall is visiting today. Thanks everyone for stopping on by. Let's hear from Linda about herself.

I spent the early years of my writing career as a journalist and freelance writer. I also worked in the field of adult literacy and wrote curriculum materials for adults reading at basic reading levels.

Then, in 1990 I decided to do something I'd always dreamed of doing, I began working on my first novel. The book I wrote, The Josiah Files was published in 1992.

Since that time I've written eighteen more mystery and suspense novels. I have been published with Multnomah/WaterBrook, Evangel Press and Harlequin’s Love Inspired line

Most of my novels have something to do with the sea. I grew up in New Jersey and my love of the ocean was born there. When I was a little girl I remember sitting on the shore and watching the waves and contemplating what was beyond. I could do that for hours. I have roots in two countries. In 1971, I married a Canadian who loves the water just as much as I do. We moved to Canada and have lived here ever since. One of the things we enjoy is sailing. In the summer we basically move aboard our 34' sailboat aptly named Mystery.

Both my husband Rik and I have achieved the rank of Senior Navigator, the highest rank possible in CPS, the Canadian Power Squadron. My Senior Navigator diploma hangs proudly on my office wall.

What this means is that I know how to use a sextant and can 'theoretically' find my way home by looking at the stars.

Rik and I have two grown children and four wonderful grandchildren.

Linda thanks for sharing, where can readers find you online?

Website: Linda's Website 
Facebook: Find Linda on Facebook
Twitter:  @Writerhall

Please share with us about your books.

Most recently I have been involved in the exciting project of revising, bringing up to date and getting some of my earlier books up as eBooks. With so many people now reading their books on Kindles or Nooks or iPads etc, we thought it was time to make these books available. I’m especially proud of my Coast of Maine series which include Margaret’s Peace, Island of Refuge, Katheryn’s Secret and Sadie’s Song.  These have long been some of my favorite books, but I hated that readers weren’t able to download them onto their reading devices. So, we decided that getting them up as eBooks would be a priority. At the same time I knew they needed a bit of up-dating and rewriting. These are now completed and available where eBooks are sold - the Kindle store, Smashwords, etc.

That's great to have your books now available in eBook. 

Why did you become a writer…was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?

Writing has always been a dream of mine, plus, it was always something I did. When I was a child I was a daydreamer, and a crybaby, (Really. I was.)  It was only much later that I realized that my tears and emotion were a gift - they helped me to become the novelist I am, delving into the human psyche and they give me the ability to understand my characters. (I still cry. Movies. Books. So many things bring tears to my eyes.)

When I was a young girl I would walk home from school, and it was a long way, and on the way home I would invent stories. They usually involved me saving my school from some certain disaster, with me, front and center as the hero. Pretty heady stuff for a shy introvert. When I would get home I would find a new binder and begin writing these stories down. But, I never completed any of them back then.

Can totally relate to being a daydreamer and very emotional. Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

My characters are totally from my imagination. Oh, sometimes I might see a person with a quirk and think - “I’m going to put that in my next novel,” but I never put real people in my books. I’m not totally sure that’s a wise thing to do. (Although, I have heard that even if you do use real characters they never recognize themselves anyway!)

What was the most interesting research you had to do for any of your books? 

My book Dark Water features a PI who on the side has a whale watching boat business. My husband and I have a sailboat, and we’ve been very fortunate to see whales up close on the Bay of Fundy, but I’d never been on an organized whale watching tour boat. I knew that if my main character owned a whale watching business, I needed to see first hand how they operated. So, I called a whale watching boat owner and told him what I was up to.

Even though this was September, past the time when tourists come, he said he’d take me out in his fast cigarette boat. For this sailor who spends her days cruising slowing along in our sailboat, this was exhilarating! So, there we were, out on a gorgeous fall day, the two of us speeding around the Bay of Fundy. We saw every kind of whale the Bay has to offer. I even saw a Basking Shark breach. I learned all about the biz, and when I was driving home I thought to myself, “I love my job!”

Sounds like an awesome experience. Where do you go to do your research? 

Mostly the web. Sometimes I travel to the various settings in my books, although, I have not been averse to honing in on places with Google Earth.

How do you go from an idea for a book to the birth of the story?  Is the process the same for every book you write?  How long does it take you to write a book? 

Every book is different, but it usually takes me nine months to a year to write a novel.

Are you currently working on any new book projects?

Right now I’m working on developing a new mystery series character. It’s with my agent now - so more about that later...

I love a good mystery series. Can't wait to hear more about that one. Do you have any advice for beginning writers on how to write a book?  Do you have any advice for them regarding promoting that book once published?

My advice for beginning writers - Start it and then keep on going, and don’t stop until you’ve finished your book. As for promotion, be involved in all the usual suspects - Twitter, Facebook, and a professional looking website.

What is your favorite work of literary fiction and why?  Do you have a favorite literary author?

I was first introduced to Edgar A Poe when I was in junior high school. In high school I memorized The Raven even when I didn’t have to. I have always loved mystery and ghost stories.

Who is your favorite contemporary author?  Are you currently reading any contemporary novels?

I always have a novel on the go - even when I’m in the middle of an intense deadline, I can always find fifteen minutes to read a novel. I think it’s important for writers to read, and I really, really don’t understand writers who say they have no time to read. Reading good authors is the way we learn to write! Currently, I’m reading Long Lost by Harlan Coben.

Couldn't agree more. I love to read, always have and find it so helpful, especially now that I'm an author. How did you find your publisher?  What was your journey to publication like?

My journey was easy at the beginning but has become more difficult as time has passed.  My first novel, The Josiah Files was accepted by the first publisher I sent it to. The same thing happened with my next mystery series which featured a Canadian mountie.  I thought, “So, what’s so hard about this?” I soon learned. Since I began writing I have had four series cancelled before I got the third or fourth book written. But, that is the way of publishing. I’m not stopping, however. I’m still that little girl walking home from school and making up stories.

So glad you're persevering. Do you have any writing idiosyncrasies? 

I get my best work done in coffee shops and cafes. I don’t like the high price of some of these coffees, (since I can make it just as good at home with my Tassimo), but I consider it my table rental. So, I gladly get a skinny latte, find myself a table, and hang out for a couple of hours. Another idiosyncrasy of mine is that I mostly write my first drafts by hand on the back sides of scrap paper. (Because I go through so much paper, I get scrap paper, one-side-good at the university.) I’m also very particular about my pens. They must be gel pens and in interesting colors, like green and red and light blue. Right now my favorite brand is Sharpie fine points.

What’s the most challenging aspect of writing for you? ~ POV issues; using too much passive voice and not enough active voice; trouble creating active and engaging dialogue; using too many similar words in starting sentences; or something else?  

I find the middle of books the most difficult. Beginnings are easy. I’m full of great ideas, and I love writing the “set-up” part. Endings are okay too, because I know how I want it to end. Yet those durn middles get me every time. When to release that clue? Should it be in this chapter or the next? And how much shall I reveal? Plus, usually by that time I’m tired of the book, wish it would end, and it suddenly I get this feeling that it’s the worst book I’ve ever written! And who will read this? And why am I wasting my time?

But then by the end of the book, I’m in love with it again. 

We must be kindred spirits because I've felt that way so many times as I'm writing. Linda, thank you so much for guesting today. 

If you're interested in entering to win an eBook copy of Linda's book, Steal Away, feel free to comment on this blog post. 

Steal Away is book one of the Teri Blake-Addison private investigator series. Teri's specialty is finding people. But Teri often finds a lot more than her clients want! In Steal Away Teri is hired by a well known evangelist to find out what really happened to his wife. Five years previously she was in a sailboat accident with two friends. Their bodies were found. Her's wasn't. The minister wants to get married again yet is troubled by "ghosts of the past" and he wants to put to rest once and for all what happened to his wife.

Steal Away was a Christy Award finalist, a Daphne finalist and was given top honors by The Word Guild. As well, it was the 2004 Beacon Award winner for Best Inspirational Novel, the Winter Rose Award Winner for Best Inspirational Novel, and it was given the Award of Excellence from the Colorado Romance Writers. 

9/26/2011 09:32:03

Great interview, and advice for writers, too. One particular comment caught my attention. Having 15 minutes to read per day...not sure why I figured it needed to be longer. I need to organize each day better. Thanks for the tip!

9/26/2011 13:26:36

Sometimes the only fifteen minutes I get are lying in bed at night before I fall asleep! But, I think reading is so important.

9/26/2011 14:07:40

Oh my, I can so empathise with so much of what you say. the middle of the book -stuck- the love/hate relationship with it at that point.
The other thing that fascinated me is you say you've had two series cancelled before they're complete. Did that mean you got your rights back to the ones published and could you then take them elsewhere?
Enjoyed your blog.

Doris McKay
9/26/2011 14:08:40

Hi Linda, What a wonderful interview. I'm greatful to know you and met you. Keep us all informed on how you are doing, Doris

Jayne Waite
9/26/2011 14:25:16

I enjoyed your interview, I am a huge fan of mysteries and have been so all my life, also very introverted and a dreamer so reading is one of my favorite pastimes.

9/26/2011 14:42:35

Sherry, Yes - I have gotten the rights back to most of my early books. Dark Water and Black Ice are still in print as well as the 6 books I wrote for Harlequin's Love Inspired line. The rest I have re-edited and put up as eBooks. (Kindle, etc.)

9/26/2011 14:44:05

Thank you Doris and Jayne for your comments. I'm glad you enjoyed the interview. All of my life I have loved reading mysteries and am indeed, an introvert!

9/27/2011 07:03:55

Nice long interview, Linda and Joanne. I enjoyed it very much. It's nice to peek inside of the writer's mind. Thank you.


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