I also wanted to thank you for being so generous to give away four free copies!
I found the story very original and really wanted to know how you thought of blending two periods of time in one novel, 1971 and 1895?
I don’t usually like a story that is split, so it was interesting to me that I went with this structure, back and forth between main characters. I didn’t want the book to have a lot of flashback. As I got farther into the plot and into Pegeen’s character, I realized this was a story in itself and needed to be given that time. Thus, I devised a structure to carry both stories. My biggest fear was that folks would get so caught up in one woman that they might resent being pulled away. I’ve been told that both stories kept moving and the reader always wanted to know what was happening next regardless of where they were.
Were any of the characters based on relatives or people you know?
Not directly, but the whole time I was writing about Pegeen, my grandmother was in my mind. She was a strong, honest, hard-working woman. Even though, she was nothing like Pegeen, the core of Pegeen’s integrity, I got from my grandmother.
I did have an experience when I was two years old. My mother took me somewhere and didn’t come back. It is sort of “Rashamon” in nature, in that everyone has a different story about what happened. Consequently, I don’t know what happened to this day. I never saw my birth mother again, but was lucky to have a wonderful stepmother that raised and loved me. I believe that even though we don’t remember dramatic events in our lives, ( which I certainly did not at age two), I’m sure this worked its way into my novel and had an effect on my life.
We are a composite of all the good and bad that happens to us. I believe that if we like ourselves, we must embrace our history.
I had two sayings I used to lay on my kids: Be sure you know where you’re going because you’re going to get there. And: Don’t ever get mixed up between your backbone and your wishbone. Some how these two ideas have guided me and I think are part of what is going on with my characters in Touch of Magenta.
Have you been to all the places that you describe so well in you novel: California Gold Country, San Francisco Chinatown, Singapore, Italy, and England?
England is one of my favorite places and I have been lucky enough to have been there many times, as well as to Italy.
I was close to an older women who lived in San Francisco during the earthquake. She was just sixteen and remembered watching the fires burn for days.
I did not go to Singapore but brought home about twenty books which I devoured for the information.
I have a BA in History and loved the research. It was especially fun to learn more about the Chinese coming to California and San Francisco.
Would you consider this book to be for young adult as well as adult?
Humm? Well, there are a few sexually explicit scenes but beyond that, I think the subject is one that a young adult could enjoy and understand.
What have men said about your book?
It is more of a woman’s book, which I hate to admit. Being my first novel, I needed to stick close to what I could readily understand and be in touch with. Though the men who have read it, have given me very good reviews. They found the story and mystery compelling.
I see at the end of the novel that you have a book club reading guide. Why did you add this and how did you think of the questions?
Since I planned to go and visit book clubs who read my book, it seemed like a helpful thing to do.
The questions came from things people said to me and asked me when they’d finished reading my book. Actually, I was surprised at some of the discussion the book created but then you never know what emotions a subject might create in someone else.
The book is about morality, making tough decisions and living with them. It is looking back over the years and seeing those decisions as marks of integrity. It’s easy to be moral and do things right when all is going well, but under stress or fear, people react with their gut. This can be good or bad.
Have you presented to many book clubs and what was that like?
I love going to book clubs. What could be more fun than discussing your book with people who take the time to give you a “read.” I’m always so appreciative. I love the questions about why the character did this or that, or didn’t do something!
Your book is 464 pages long! Some people might find that daunting, but when I read a great book, I don’t like it to end! Do you think your next book will be as long?
I certainly hope not!
I too, don’t mind a long book if it keeps me going.
Maybe I’m long winded, but I want this next book to be 300 pages; long enough to be serious but short so it doesn’t cost as much to produce.
I know you are working on your second novel in between being the President of the Redwood Writer’s club, painting and directing plays for 6th Street Playhouse and the Novato Theater Company. Could you tell us the name of your new novel and a little of hint of what it is about? How is it different from Touch of Magenta?
It is completely different from Touch of Magenta in structure and style.
The novel takes place in Dillon Beach. There are five main characters, which they say not to do, so I'm taking a chance! When they were in high school together, a friend committed suicide. Each woman believes she was the cause. Year's later, at age 48 that have inherit a beach house from the dead girl’s mother. These are the interesting questions that will be answered in my new novel:
Why did Annette kill herself on Prom Night?
Why have they inherited the Beach House?
How are their lives today settled out, as old and new issues boil over?
This book sounds very intriguing and I am looking forward to reading it!
What is the best advice you could give to a new writer who wants to publish a book?
Write it! That might sound trite but really, if you just keep writing it will happen.
Along the way you should go to classes and join a critique group. Mix with other writers at a non-threatening place like Redwood Writers.
But mostly you need to write. When you let yourself go, fill the page without judging yourself, magic things will begin to happen. When first considering if I wanted to write, I was worried that it might be too solitary.
Here’s what I discover when I write: there’s a whole bunch of folks with me, in my mind, and often when I’m just typing away, minding my own business. They do things I never expected! That’s when it gets really interesting!
Thank you, Linda Loveland Reid, President of Redwood Writer’s Club.
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If you don't win, please buy Linda's book at Copperfield's or Amazon.com.
Linda has generously given four copies of her novel, Touch of Magenta for people to win.
Congratulations, Charles Marquee for winning a copy of Plane Jane, last months author interview!
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