Linda Robertson is the mother of four wonderful boys, owns three electric guitars, and is followed around by a big dog named after Bela Lugosi. Back in her high school days she was the lead guitarist in a heavy metal cover band, and now she is a member of Hagatha's Bluff (best known as "The Hags"). This hard rock band plays a mix of covers and originals, in and around her hometown of Mansfield, Ohio. She loves stand-up comedy, really good margaritas, and movie heroes who look hot in loincloths.
Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?
I plan the big points, the beats that have to be hit, and leave just a general idea of how to get from here to there with the rest. That way it has structure, but it also has the freedom of that "in the moment" creativity. Sometimes an idea comes unbidden that forces me to change the beats. You have to be open to let those ideas flow.
Do your characters ever want to take over the story?
Absolutely! My series was supposed to be about Johnny. I had his character in mind as the lead, then I started working on his ideal companion and Persephone came along. She took over, as her story was the stronger one to me, although now that I've opened up the world in books 5 & 6 (WICKED CIRCLE and the new release SHATTERED CIRCLE) by using 3rd person scenes for everyone but Persephone's POV scenes, I'm able to delve in to Johnny's backstory and bring it to the light as his character arc pushes him into the spotlight as the about to be crowned King of the Wærewolves.
What is your favourite food?
Chocolate. Sweets. The stuff I shouldn't have. I love it in my coffee. Gimme cookies, brownies, ice cream. You can add chocolate chips to just about anything...
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I'm best when I'm doing things late, late morning, late night, but not night owl late. Let me sleep in until 10 am, fabulous. Let me stay up until midnight, perfect! But that's only doable in the summer. Otherwise, the kids have me up to see them off to school. Otherwise, I don't think they'd go. Hee hee.
Where do you dream of travelling to and why?
I want to see Venice and take a gondola ride in the spring. It just seems so romantic and inspires my sense of wonder. I also want to visit Machu Picchu and the Pyramids because I've always been fascinated by them.
Do distant places feature in your books?
In the Persephone Alcmedi series, they have travelled to Pittsburg and upstate New York. But another book I'm currently working on is set in San Francisco. A collaboration I'm also currently working on is set in Russia.
Do you listen to music while writing?
Constantly. I love Hans Zimmer's movie scores, because music without lyrics works best for me. I'd like to have the rock n roll cranked while I write but I end up singing along and focusing on those words and not getting any on the page.
SHATTERED CIRCLE is the 6th installment in the Persephone Alcmedi series from Simon & Schuster's Pocket Books. The vampire hierarchy has taken the haven from Menessos, and transitioning it into Goliath's rule--and the plotting of the Shabbubitu--strains their relationship to the breaking point. The wærewolves are losing their den as the local Department of Transportation intends to seize it and tear it down to make way for the new highway (I placed them in a real building in Cleveland that ODOT has truly taken and torn down for their I-90 project...). As if that isn't enough for Johnny to deal with, his new assistant, Aurelia, shows herself to be a serious threat to all he holds dear. Seph’s beloved foster daughter, Beverley, has been playing with a magical artifact that’s far more dangerous than she realizes. Our heroine, named for the goddess best known for being abducted, summons help from a mystical being so potent that even vampires fear him . . . and the cost of his aid may be more than she’s willing to pay. So...Seph, Johnny, and Menessos are facing threats from all sides—and a few from within. These forces may cement their tenuous supernatural union, or shatter it forever....
What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?
SOOO much! I always say the first book is the worst book. Working with my editor taught me many invaluable lessons over the years. I think the biggest thing I learned, the thing that has had the most impact on me and which I have given some seminars on at conventions is how to polish your manuscript before you send it in, to give it the best chance of being noticed. It's about overused words and word choice, but mostly, it is about your command and use of language. Books are full of words, stories are nothing but massed words. The ones you choose and how you put them together are so vitally important. People think I can write sentences, I can write a book. Yes...and no. Communication has become so strange in this modern age. Go find sources that show actual letters written between people a century ago. They USED their language. It was beautiful. Hell, read Poe. Just the opening to Ligeia.... Writing is more than communication. It needs to be engaging, it needs to define characters, it needs to develop an interesting plot, and it needs to do all this in an economy of words...and the language one uses will make all the difference.
Is there anything you would do differently?
Ahhh, to have a tardis, to go back and make changes. Yes. I'd apply the above lessons more sternly. I'd use my time more wisely, I’d not let some life situations interfere so much. Late 2011 through mid 2012 were wonderful and terrible all at the same time for me. If I could only have known then what I know now... :-)
Everything! Everyone! Aside from the industry folk like editors, copyeditors, etc., who have the obvious influence, the world is fair game to me. The character Nana is a conglomeration of my mother and aunts and all the older women I know. She embodies the spunkiness I see in them, as well as the wisdom, and the aches and pains. That springboard from reality makes her real. It's the same with the wærewolves den I mentioned earlier. When I heard ODOT was truly tearing down the building I'd housed my wærewolves in, that influenced a subplot that has affected WICKED CIRCLE and SHATTERED CIRCLE. It was a wonderful little bit of truth, of chaos, of the unexpected crap that kicks you when you're on your way up, on already really down. I had to throw that in there. I try to stay open to those bits of reality that I can drop into the story. It's what makes it feel real.
Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?
It's more work than you know. If your skin isn't thick, if your ego bruises easily, or if you are trying to get into writing for any reason other than the passion you have for telling a good compelling story, then you might want to look into being a gas pump attendant or cashier. (I've done both. Neither was hard on the ego or required extra-thick skin.) However, if hard-work and critical thinking isn't the complete starter-set for a whine-fest to you, if you can take criticism, and if you're going to write those darn stories no matter what anybody says or thinks, then challenge yourself and master those skills.
Creative. Goofy. Hard-working.
What's youfavourite book or who is your favourite writer?
It's tough to answer that. I will always love both, Ellen Kushner's "The Fall of the Kings" and Jennifer Roberson's "Sword Dancer."
Blurb of your latest release or coming soon book
JUST YOUR AVERAGE MEGA-WITCH. . . .
It’s tough being a modern woman, but Persephone Alcmedi has it worse than most. Being the prophesied Lustrata has kicked her career as a witch into high gear, and juggling a wærewolf boyfriend who is about to become king of his kind and a seductive vampire who bears her magical Mark isn’t easy either.
Still, Seph’s beloved foster daughter, Beverley, is causing more trouble than these two men put together. The young girl’s been playing with a magical artifact that’s far more dangerous than she realizes. Now Seph must summon help from a mystical being so potent that even vampires fear him . . . and the cost of his aid may be more than she’s willing to pay. Seph, Johnny, and Menessos face threats from all sides—and a few from within. Will the forces of destiny cement their tenuous supernatural union, or shatter it forever?
List of previous books if any
VICIOUS CIRCLE (#1)
HALLOWED CIRCLE (#2)
FATAL CIRCLE (#3)
ARCANE CIRCLE (#4)
WICKED CIRCLE (#5)
Any websites/places readers can find you on the web.
and on I post on Wednesdays at www.word-whores.blogspot.com