Welcome Wednesday guests for October:
10/01 Finding Sky author, Susan O'Brien;
10/08 Award-winning Hank Phillippi Ryan (Truth Be Told);
10/15 Indie authors Polly Iyer (Backlash) and Ellis Vidler (Prime Target);
10/22 Murder by the Month author, Jess Lourey;
10/29 Marilyn Levinson, Golden Age of Mystery Book Club Mystery author.

Gloria Alden's latest publication is nonfiction. Boys Will Be Boys: The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys. Edited by Cher'ley Grogg was recently released and available on Amazon. Gloria wrote three essays and two poems in her chapter included in the book.

Don't miss next month's release of Chesapeake Crimes: Homicidal Holidays on October 7th, in which WWK bloggers Shari Randall ("Disco Donna") and E. B. Davis ("Compromised Circumstances") have short stories.

KM Rockwood's
short stories will appear in two anthologies released in October. They are: "The Lure of the Owl" in Swamp Mansion and Other Dark Stories, to be released as a ebook, and "Aunt Olga and the Werewolf" will be included in the third Creatures, Crimes and Creativity anthology release by Intrigue Publishing. at their conference in October.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Book Give Away and Interview with Linda Rodriguez



Interview with Linda Rodriguez
I knew Linda as an active member of the Border Crimes Chapter of Sisters in Crime who talked knowledgably about writing and asked insightful questions before I knew about her writing.
Her novel, Every Last Secret, won the St. Martin’s Press Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Competition. The publication date set by St. Martin’s Press is April, 24, 2012. She has published two books of poetry and won several awards for her poetry and her fiction.
How long have you been writing?
I started writing when I was quite young—poetry and stories that I wanted to think of as novels—but I really began in earnest when I was a young, college-drop-out mother and wife. At various times in my life, poetry has taken precedence over novels and vice versa, usually because of time constraints. Novels, I have found, require a longer chunk of writing each day and over a longer period of time. Poetry takes as much work—one poem may go through twenty or more revisions—but that work can be done in shorter bits of time with longer absences from the work in-between.
What was it like to win the contest?
Absolutely heavenly and totally a shock! My editor called to notify me, and I became sort of a gibbering idiot. Fortunately, she didn’t take it right back. It was really like a dream. They paid my way for the presentation of the award to the national Malice Domestic Conference, which I’d not heard of and which proved to be such a delight that I imagine I will continue to attend for years. All the other established writers at Malice kept telling me how lucky I was to start with St. Martin’s, that they had the best editors and treated their writers really well. I’ve come to see that they were absolutely right.
What has being the winner required of you from the time you won to the actual publication date?
First, I had to go to the Malice Domestic conference to have the award presented. St. Martin’s sent me their standard contract. At the conference, I talked with my editor (and again, later, on a trip to New York) about edits (relatively minor) on the winning novel, Every Last Secret, and about the series this book was to launch, as well as about the second book in the series, Every Broken Trust.
My editor also asked me to fill out a lengthy author questionnaire that would be used in-house to help the rest of the staff get to know me and the book and to help them promote the book. They also asked for my suggestions on cover art and photographs of some of the towns and campuses that went into the creation of my fictional college town. I was surprised at how hard they worked to give me a cover I’d be happy with, and I do love my beautiful cover.
Then, I had to cut the book by over 20,000 words because the longer book would have to be published at a higher price, and they felt that would rob a first-time author of readers. This necessitated going through the book several times as if it were a humongous poem and tightening and compressing wherever possible. It was a bear to do, but I think the book is even stronger for it.
Next, I received the copy-edited manuscript and had to go over it in detail. I did the same with the page proofs, which had very few changes by this stage of the process. Now, I’m waiting on ARCs (advance reading copies) which are going to reviewers.
The other thing St. Martin’s wanted me to do was strengthen my online presence. I already had a blog and was on Facebook. They wanted me to go on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites and to develop a website.



So be careful what you wish for. Can you tell us about Every Last Secret?
My protagonist, Skeet Bannion, is a half-Cherokee, former Kansas City, Missouri, police officer who has moved to a small college town nearby and become the chief of campus police. She’s just settling in, away from her ex-husband and alcoholic father, when the editor of the college newspaper is murdered. He has been ferreting out the many disreputable secrets of people on campus and blackmailing them. College administrators demand that she conceal all college involvement in the murder, and in the midst of her search for the killer, Skeet takes up responsibility for a vulnerable teenager while her jealous ex-husband and seriously ailing father wind up back on her hands. Now, Skeet has to seek out all those skeletons in all those academic closets and learn who killed to keep their secret hidden.
The various scandals on college campuses lately (Penn State, Syracuse, and others) and the recent killing at Virginia Tech have brought campus crime and campus police into the spotlight. So right now, there’s much more interest in campus crime and campus police than there has been.
Is there a link where we can order your book?
My website, www.LindaRodriguezWrites.blogspot.com, has links where Every Last Secret can be pre-ordered plus lots more information about the book, including many wonderful blurbs.
From your blog site it sounds like you have an interesting family heritage. Can you tell us about it and how it impacts your writing?
I have spent most of my life bridging Native American, white, and Latino cultures. There are different terms for people like me, mixed-blood, mestizo. Most of them are pejorative, but I feel that those of us who combine cultures in our heritage have a lot to offer the world. We see things from more than one culture, more than one history, more than one perspective, and that’s useful in this changing world. It’s also extremely useful for a writer.
Has your work or life experiences affected your writing?
I spent many years running a university women’s center, and that has translated directly for this series of books into background knowledge of the university setting and campus politics and procedures. It has translated also in a more general way throughout all my work into a concern for women’s issues and an option for and understanding of strong female characters.
I spent a good deal of time in my childhood with my Cherokee grandmother and aunt, whose influence on me shows daily in how I live my life and in almost everything I write, especially in this series of novels. I have another series I hope to write someday that would be permeated with Latino, specifically Chicano, culture and food—I once wrote a Mexican cookbook that remains a steady seller.
Just off the cuff without serious study or reflection, which 10 writers have most influenced your work?
Aaaggh! Not really a fair question since I’ve been an omnivorous reader since before I started school. For novels, the following have been very important to me.
Charles Dickens
Fyodor Dostoyevksy
Virginia Woolf
Rudolfo Anaya
Linda Hogan
Agatha Christie
Dorothy Sayers
Patricia Highsmith
Sara Paretsky
Elizabeth George
Thank you so much for sharing with us. Best wishes for your success.

Linda has graciously agreed to give away a signed copy of her book to someone who comments on the blog, lives in the United States and includes a valid e-mail address with his or her comment. (So I don't have to track you down.)

27 comments:

E. B. Davis said...

Linda--I downloaded my preordered copy on Kindle yesterday, and I'm enjoying the reading.

Since I'm not yet published in the novel market, may I be nosy and ask what your final word count ended up as after you cut 20,000 words? I can't imagine how you did that. What were your priorities when you cut? I'm revising my manuscript now, so I will take your answers to heart.

Good luck on the book! As I read (and I'm not very far along), I'm comparing your main character, Skeet, to Police Chief Sheila Dawson in Susan Wittig Alberts's China Bayles series, who Ms. Albert must have wanted to explore more since the most recent book is mostly based on this character. Skeet is a great character.

randall031 said...

I'm ALWAYS looking for new authors -- thanks so much for this introduction. I'll look forward to reading Every Last Secret. Thanks.

Elizabeth Randall
b_a_randall@hotmail.com

Gloria Alden said...

Excellent interview. I can't wait to read you book and meet you at Malice. See you soon.

Now back to all those things that need done before I leave tomorrow.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Excellent interview and it sounds like a very interesting book. As it happens my local library system is picking this up so I am now on the hold list.

I'm also frequently a gibbering idiot---and have no book contract--so I understand that issue in others. :)))


Kevin
kevinertipple@verizon.net

Anonymous said...

Your book sounds like something I'd love. Hope to win a copy!
jane Wilson
janerafal@ntelos.net

Theresa de Valence said...

Linda,

You sound interesting, so I'd like to read your book too!

Thanks Warren for the info.

Cheers,
Theresa

http://www.ReviewsByTdeV.com

Theresa de Valence said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Georgia said...

Linda, I feel your excitement through the shared details of your experience. Best wishes on the continued success of your novel.

Anonymous said...

interesting blog. Would love to win,

boots9k at wowway dot com

Anita Page said...

Linda, EVERY LAST SECRET is on my to be read list whether or not I win. Best of luck with this.

Fiona L. Woods said...

Great interview!

Like you I'm mixed blood. As my grandma used to say, "There was a teepee creeping Irishman in them hills."

Fiona
fionalwoods@yahoo.com

Carol M said...

This sounds like a book I would really enjoy! Thank you for the giveaway!
mittens0831 at aol dot com

E. B. Davis said...

For those of you new to our blog, let me assure you that both Linda and Warren will check in before too long. Warren is visiting family and is momentarily off line. Linda is, as we speak, on her way to the Malice Domestic Conference, where she will be introduced during the new author breakfast. She is also moderating a panel on books that are set in the west, as her book is (at least Kansas, that is.)

Thanks to everyone for stopping by--you'll enjoy Linda's first book, the start of her series. I would imagine, she will use some random method to determine the winner and send you a signed copy of her book, which I'm now reading and enjoying very much.

Thanks everyone!

E. B. Davis said...

PS--I've read your reviews, Kevin. Don't believe either Kevin or Linda when they say that they are blithering idiots. Both may be momentarily stunned, as all of us are at times, but they are quite astute readers and writers. Thanks for dropping by, Kevin!

Linda Rodriguez said...

Everyone, I'm back from my train trip to Malice Domestic. I apologize for not replying to comments earlier, but the train, though advertised as having wifi, did not.

Linda Rodriguez said...

E.B., I'm so glad you're enjoying the EVERY LAST SECRET!

I was supposed to cut to end up at 89,000 words. I cut a little extra and ended up at 87,000 plus an odd hundred or so.

Since the book was solid as it stood without whole scenes or subplots that needed to come out, I treated it as a giant poem and went line-by-line, trying to find every way to compress and strengthen. Can I find one particular word that could replace this phrase and make it all stronger? Can I find a verb vibrant enough to make this sentence unnecessary?

It's painstaking work, and I wouldn't do it until all the other revising is done (dealing with structure, pace, character, etc.) Writing poetry taught me that you can always cut and compress and make it better.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Thank you, Elizabeth. We authors love you readers who are always looking for new authors. You are our favorites!

Linda Rodriguez said...

Thanks, Gloria! It was lovely to meet you finally at Malice.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Kevin, I'm happy to hear that your library is acquiring EVERY LAST SECRET. As you know if you're a regular reader of this blog, we're all library enthusiasts here.

As for being a gibbering idiot, perhaps we can form a self-help association? :-)

Linda Rodriguez said...

Thanks for thinking you'd love the book, Jane. I think you might, too--but then I am prejudiced in favor of my new child. :-)

Linda Rodriguez said...

Thanks, Theresa, for using the term "interesting" instead of some other possibles, such as "bizarre," "odd," or "strange."

Linda Rodriguez said...

Georgia, thanks. You're obviously very empathetic.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Thanks so much, Anita!

Linda Rodriguez said...

Thanks, Fiona. Yes, the Scots and Irish often intermarried with some of the tribes.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Carol, thanks so much for reading the interview and stopping by.

Linda Rodriguez said...

E.B., you are a lifesaver! Thank you for picking up the slack for Warren and me. On the internet, the train was supposed to have wifi. In fact, not. The hotel's free wifi was in the lobby and overwhelmed by everyone who didn't want to pay the arm and a leg to use it from their room.

Linda Rodriguez said...

From a random drawing of all the names, boots9k wins the autographed copy of EVERY LAST SECRET. Congratulations, boots. I'll email you for your mailing address.