Linda Swift is a native Kentuckian who, with her husband, now divides her time between homes in Kentucky and Florida. They are the parents of a son and daughter. Linda is an award winning author of published poetry, articles, short stories, and a TV play. She was first published by Kensington and has had historical and contemporary novels, short stories and poetry books published by nine digital publishers since 2008. Her Civil War novel, This Time Forever was adapted as an Independent Feature Film titled Clarissa's War. The DVD is now available for purchase through Dreamscape Media at multiple distributors.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
A little of both. During the actual writing process, adrenalin keeps me going after midnight until I am exhausted and beyond. When all of that creative energy is used up, feel totally drained and lethargic. I can't really pace myself to avoid this so I just try to go with the flow.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
Yes, before my first book was submitted to Kensington, I discussed several names with my then-agent. He asked what my maiden name was and suggested that I use my own first and sir- names. We both agreed that using Linda Swift Reeder would be too "cutesy." And since I'm the only child of an only child, it seemed fitting to "carry on" my family name with books. He also pointed out that a short name meant larger print on book covers so that clinched it.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
I haven't had much success with writing connected books although I have friends who have done that very successfully, two writing about specific places and one writing with sea settings. Two of the three have written both contemporary and historical stories without breaking the connection. I have been a nomad all of my life and my plots and characters appear in different generes and locations and time periods totally disconnected. I can't seem to control that so I suppose I am lacking discipline.
Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?
In a sense, yes. I think the creative force, whether to write or otherwise create something from nothing is a gift and we only determine how we use it. I write because something inside me compels me to do so. I have always loved to read and certain characters remain part of my memories. My desire is to create characters who will live on in that way in readers' minds.
Goals of certain # of words a week or when inspiration strikes?
I don't force myself to follow a production schedule. If I have a deadline, the pressure motivates me to write faster. When I'm into a story, I live there in my head even while I'm functioning in real time. Sometimes, whole scenes are written in my head before they are put onto the page. Once in black and white, they seldom change except for minor corrections in grammar, spelling, etc. And so far, I've met my deadlines.
What tactics do you have when writing? (For example: outline or just write)
Once the story forces itself out of my head, I sketch a "loose" outline which is then fleshed out as I write the story. It seldom deviates from the original sketch as I don't begin to actually write until the story is fairly complete. I may not know exactly where it is going, but my subconscious mind knows.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
Once I create the main characters and get them talking to each other, I am at their mercy! I feel more like an observer, recording their thoughts, conversations, and actions. I am often surprised at something that occurs and think to myself "Well, of course, that is the way it should be" but I hadn't consciously planned it. Sometimes, even the supporting characters get out of hand. A case in point was a school custodian in a speculative fiction story. Jake was supposed to be the villain but he kept asserting himself until he became the solution to the heroine's hopeless situation. Another example was a mother and two children in a Christmas short story. Years later when I was writing a holiday novella they appeared again. I had no idea they were coming but they were on their way from Alabama to Missouri and they traveled right through Kentucky and into my novella. It had taken a few years in real time but only a matter of hours in story-time..
What has been the best compliment?
My inspiration for writing a Civil War novel was Gone With The Wind after I saw the movie when I was very young. I have always been enthralled with antebellum mansions, hoop skirts, and chivalry. (I am Southern, you know) So when one reviewer of This Time Forever said she had re-read GWTW during the Sesquicentennial and then read TTF and thought it even better as my characters were not selfish, and frivolous ---well, to me it meant I had achieved my goal if only in one reader's mind.
What genre do you consider your books? Have you considered writing in another genre?
So far I've written contemporary and historical novels and novellas, short stories (including speculative fiction) and poetry. And so I guess I'd say I write a hodge-podge of genres. And yes, I would like to write a Regency book someday. I suppose my writing is as nomadic as my life.