Welcome Linda Schell to Author Interview Friday. Tell us a little about yourself.
Combining childhood innocence with historical verisimilitude and a dash of magical fantasy—that was the impulse behind the start of my writing career. A travel log about the city, St. Petersburg, Russia inspired me to write my first fantasy-adventure book, Come Along With Me.
I wanted to bring appreciation to American children and their parents for the magical city known for its culture, architecture, tree-lined parks, and its bridges by the hundreds. This led me to my second book, The Palace Buzz, a wacky romp coated in outrageously true history.
Perhaps one day the series will find its way into Russia, and the people there will learn that there are people here in America who have an appreciation for their history and accomplishments.
Do you remember when you first wanted to be a writer?
When I was five years old I saw a broken typewriter in my aunt’s attic, and I wanted to start writing then. I didn’t have access to a typewriter until I was a junior in high school. By then I had put my writing ideas aside.
My long-range goal is to expand the imaginations of children while simultaneously exposing them to a variety of cultures and histories. For the last twenty-four years I have lived in Venice, Florida with my husband, Tom, of forty-six years. We have one son.
Do you have a background in writing?
My background in writing is business. The Elements of Style helped me in the business world. The book is short, and informative, and easy-to-understand.
I wrote the first rough draft to my debut story in about three weeks. Because I worked full time and sometimes sixty hours in a week, it took me years to tweak it, have it edited, and finally published.
What genre are your books in?
The two books I have written are fantasy/adventure, primarily for the nine to twelve set.
The Gracie Series would be found in the children’s section for fantasy, although the books do claim a little science fiction.
I see you went with self-publishing? Why did you go that route and are you happy with the results?
The hours I worked in my day job didn’t permit me to query main-stream publishers. At the end of the day I was too tired to query. Eventually, I would like to try mainstream. I am pleased with Amazon’s Create Space. Their crew responds immediately to my phone calls. They are patient.
What has been the hardest part of writing for you?
Writing a well-crafted descriptive sentence. In order to overcome my personal obstacle, I read not for enjoyment, but to learn how other author’s craft their sentences.
What are you doing to promote your books?
I’m a novice to writing as I started two years before I retired from work. Right now I am relying on Facebook, book fairs, and my husband’s great selling skills. Eventually, I will have to move to my own blog and website. I’m talking my time and learning as much as I can about marketing before I take definitive steps.
Do you have advice for other writers just starting down this path?
If the writer is as “wet behind the ears” as I was, I hope the newbie can find a friend who doubles as a writing coach. I’m not suggesting a professional, I am suggesting someone who understands what it takes to move a story forward, and someone who understands good sentence structure. I would suggest finding a Writer’s Group to learn about social media and marketing. If new writers finds themselves in a Writer’s Group that delves on negative personal criticism and the leader of the group is weak, move on. There are lots of groups out there. Read good “how to” books. Be mindful that some books are long on form and short on good advice. Read books. Although my target audience is children’s chapter books, I read adult books to improve my writing style. J. D. Salinger is a great author to study. Personally, I don’t care much for what he says, but how he says it was a learning curve for me. When sitting down to write, don’t worry about an outline. How can an author produce an outline if the author doesn’t know what he wants to say in precise detail.? Let your pen take you to the place you want to go. If you have amassed a great deal of research data, a time line will start to emerge in your mind. At that point, write down key events of what comes next and when. Another thing I taught myself to do, I did this with my first book because I had a beginning and no middle or end, I wrote little scenes that I thought would be interesting. The scenes spawned other ideas. Before I knew it I was easily connecting one scene to another, and throwing out other scenes that didn’t fit. That said, if an outline works for the author, use an outline. Use what works. Write in a way that the reader wants to keep turning the page to find out what will happen next.
What is the premise of the book we are promoting today?
My protagonist wants to visit the magical, fairy-tale city of St. Petersburg, Russia. Instead she finds herself marooned on a dairy farm in St. Clair, Pennsylvania where she meets a new friend, Gibson, a Maine Coon Cat who was just dumped off on the farm. Gibson is a dude from the city. The two meet two evil rats who are on a mission to destroy the farm and the farmer. In the end good triumphs over evil. In the meantime the grandparents will have fun reading Come Along With Me, because it takes place in the 50’s, pink kitchen appliances, hoola hoops, and all!
Watch this interview with author Linda Lee Schell:
BUY LINKS :
EXCERPT OF BOOK Come Along With Me, Vol. 1 in the Gracie Series: (First page)
Deep inside the thirty-sixth universe, just south of the Never-Ending Rainbow, millions of shimmering spheres drift serenely through a tranquil sky. Gracie, a gentle soul, lives on one of these spheres, located near the heart of not only one of the oldest, but quite possibly the grandest of all the universes.
When the rays of the Everlasting Never-Ending Rainbow find their way to Gracie’s sphere, rose petals in myriad shades of pink and red flutter playfully to the ground. The creatures in Gracie’s world amicably take turns removing the petals from their lawns and winding paths. Here, even the local version of “bad weather” (which is always conveniently forecast well in advance by the Weather, Whether or Not creature), rarely turns out to be anything more severe than a late afternoon breeze, producing much rose-petal clutter, but little else. Undoubtedly, Gracie’s world is perfect in every way–except for one small problem: Gracie is bored.