Thursday, 24 November 2011

Words with... Linda Rae Blair

Thanks to Linda Rae Blair for this interview

What is your day job or are you lucky enough to write for a living?

I’m retired and now writing at my leisure.

What books have you written so far?

The Chicago Trilogy “Intersections - Love, Betrayal, Murder”
“Where Is Harry”
“Claire: A Woman’s Journey - NY Heiress ~ Chicago Madam
“Richard: It’s In The Blood”
“100 Years of Brotherly Love”
The Preston Andrews Mysteries -
            “Hard Press’d”
            “Press’d Into Action”
            “Press’d To The Wall”
            “Press On”
            “Pressing Engagement”
            “Press The Message Home” - due to Release 2012
            “Press ‘n SEAL” - due to Release 2012
“The Board Game Murders”

What works in progress do you have?

“Press The Message Home” - due to Release 2012
“Press ‘n SEAL” - due to Release 2012

How long did it take you to write your books?

“The Board Game Murders” was written in 12 hours. It was a fun little exercise that simply wrote itself. The average is probably a month or two. These numbers, of course, do not take into consideration the editing time by others.

Do you write linear, or jump back and forth? Do you plan or write by the seat of your pants?

If you are asking whether my books are linear - no. As to the writing process, I often know what has happened but seldom know whodunit until the characters reveal it. I have to admit to writing the very last scene before I finished the mystery storyline, but only because the very first page dictated that I do so. 

Why do you write?

Well, it’s a long story and I have a blog that tells it all. I hope your site’s readers will take the time to enjoy it!

How long have you been writing?

I did a lot of writing as part of my work prior to retirement. I’ve been writing fiction for 4 years.

Where and when do you write? Do you have set times?

Most often I write at Starbucks during the day. I enjoy the music and coffee, and it keeps my cat from sitting on my mouse! As part of my contract with myself, I write when I’m darned good and ready, and not before. When it becomes work it will no longer be fun!

Which character from your books do you like most / are most like?

I really like a lot of my characters. Claire (“Claire: A Woman’s Journey - NY Heiress ~ Chicago Madam”) has a lot of determination and a very loving heart. Richard (“Richard: It’s In The Blood”) - what can I say about Richard? For faithfulness, he’s outstanding. Preston (The Preston Andrews Mysteries series) is a hunk, rich beyond 0s, loving, smart - what’s there not to like? But somehow, Autumn (“100 Years of Brotherly Love”) comes through. She’s strong, funny with a sarcastic edge, bright, a skilled professional, an artist and, yes, she’s the most like me.

What/who inspired you to write and still inspires you?

Again, I would refer your readers to my blog. It was a family-related issue and a casual comment by a friend. Once the ball got rolling, the characters and the stories they want to tell drive this train!

What do you think is the ideal recipe for a good novel or story?

Of course, a good story, but you also need characters the reader can feel for and about - people in which the reader can become invested. As for my personal choices, I like to add scenery the readers can smell, taste and enjoy - or by which they can be revolted - as in an autopsy scene.

Have you ever based a character on someone from real life?

Oh, heavens, yes! I shoved an ex-husband out of a window during the stock market crash of 1929, and “Where is Harry?” is loaded with family members, although not necessarily identified by their correct places in the family. My granddaughter asked to be a character, so she was added into “Pressing Engagement” as Samantha Hartley (not her real name, although she is a Samantha).

Fave things: animal? food? drink? film? colour? band? song?

Cats of most any variety. My current love is Potter As In  H-A-I-R-Y (otherwise known as “lead gut” or “Pottie”) who is a 17-pound tuxedo with a white streak up his face that immediately reminded me of Harry Potter.

Seafood, including calamari. When my grandson comes to town while he’s on leave, we always go out for calamari. He’s my only relative who enjoys it. No one else will even eat fish!

For many years it was “Gone With The Wind”. It has since been replaced by the Harry Potter series. I have all the DVDs and hold HP marathons whenever the mood strikes me.

This is hard. I don’t like most “bands” these days. I especially loved the Vietnam War-era bands and just recently lost my fav “Creedance Clearwater” DVD in an auto accident. I enjoy Doughtry when he’s on the radio, but haven’t bought anything of his yet. Did I mention that I love Creedance Clearwater? Oh, then there is Aerosmith. Better quit while we’re all ahead.

I love Creedance Clearwater - Bad Moon Rising is my fave!! - Vickie

Nessun Dorma when sung by a really good tenor.

You’re walking in the forest and you bump into an alien librarian from Mars. He wants five book recommendations from you…

Well, since most of the trouble we get ourselves into is about religion and customs, I’d have to include a copy of the
Bible, the Torah and the original Quran. So, with only two left, humour and the ability to not take ourselves so seriously - something by Mark Twain; and for our drive and determination - a biography of perhaps Martin Luther King or someone else who has overcome obstacles to climb as high as a human can climb.    

Who is your favourite character from any book and why?
Well, I recently read the autobiography of Mark Twain and I have to say THERE was a character. He took a number of things in life very seriously, but never himself.

Which book do you wish you had written?

The Harry Potter series. The reasons are oh so obvious!

Which three authors would you like to take to the pub?

Not to beat a dead horse, but Mark Twain, Jane Austin and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 

Are you published or self-published? What is your experience?

If you are self-published, are you not published? I say yes!

How do you find the marketing experience? Any advice for other writers?

I hate marketing - always have - always will! That said, she laughed, one must do what one must do. I have stuck with social media so far.

Do you have a blog? What do you blog about?

I do have a blog,, where I follow the advice of a gentleman named John Locke and post only when I have something of value to say. Not often enough to drive my subscribers crazy trying to keep up with me.

What other hobbies do you have?

I am also an artist, painting in acrylics on canvas.

What would you like to achieve in the next five years?

Last week I had the #8 ranked Free Kindle Book on Amazon. I currently have five in the top 1% of all Kindle ebooks on Amazon. I would love to make the top 100 list of Amazon books!

If you won the Lotto or a major publishing contract, what would you do with that dosh?

Travel, travel, travel!

Complete one of these stories in 100 words or less…

There was once a wee worm called Fred.... and somebody found him very, very dead. The chief caterpillar-in-charge looked at the small and the large, but the killer could not be found. At last he declared, in his official decree, “I’ve decided he drowned!”

What question do you wish I’d asked and, of course, what is the answer?

Where can I buy your books?

Indie Book Lounge (has links to many purchase sites) (paperback and Kindle)
Amazon France (paperback in English)
Breakthrough Book Store - use the Amazon search box to find all my novels by searching for “Linda Rae Blair”
eBooks (Smashwords - has formats for Sony, Kobo, Kindle, Nook, Apple, Diesel)
Kobo (not all titles are currently available from this source - see Smashwords for Kobo format of other titles)

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