Linda Kepner and I had crossed paths long before we knew each other as writers. Today, our paths merge again on our author journeys. I am so pleased to welcome her to my blog today. So, Linda, please tell us a little about yourself.
I am a multi-genre writer – I write science fiction, fantasy, slightly historical (1969) romance, and vampire fiction. I grew up on a farm in New York State, about 65 miles from Montreal; graduated from a college (Eisenhower) and got my advanced degree (Geneseo) in the same Finger Lakes region where Elizabeth’s The Cavanaugh House is located. (I remember those wineries.) Now, I live in New Hampshire. My day job is Technical Services Librarian at the oldest public library in the world. Darling Husband is a retired magazine publisher. Beautiful Daughter is preparing to attend the Center for Cartoon Studies. I like adventure stories, and tend to write that way.
I love the term “slightly” historical. The Cavanaugh House is set in 1968 and I never know if that is “officially” historical LOL. Talk about the books you’ve written. What was the first seed of an idea you had for your book? How did it develop?
My current book, Magicians and Vampires, (available Oct. 15) is the fourth of a series but is also a stand-alone book. You don’t need to read the other three to “get it.” It’s told mainly from the point of view of a young man on the run from Detroit to NY City, who is gradually becoming aware of his supernatural powers. I got great ideas from both writers’ groups to which I belong. Also I worked for a publishing house and a hospital—after that, no other job can ever seem crazier.
Sounds like your jobs provided plenty of grist for the mill. How has writing this book changed you?
On writing in general – I had serious self-confidence issues. But when a friend of mine died, and he had been the one encouraging me to write The Whisperwood Ordinaire, I figured I owed it to him to push it out. That fired me up. One book was already in the pipeline (Play the Game), so I got Flying Chipmunk Publishing to release them both. Then Crimson Romance accepted two books and I got excellent “conventional” editorial experience. FCP has published everything since then. My only goal is to be a competent mid-list author, and tell my stories. The Vampire of Manhattan series started because the NHRWA (New Hampshire Romance Writers of America) PRO Liaison challenged us to “write crap—turn off your inner editor.” I took an idea and made it into a four-book series, so far. One more, then I’m done with Drinan and Jenna.
I love your liaison’s advice. What is your research process like? Do you enjoy it?
I write what I know: farms, research, hospitals, magazine publishing, computer geeks. My husband’s an astronomer and my daughter knows manga/anime/Japan. I love the Internet for research, but I have picked up some nasty viruses that way. One horrid sales virus assumed I was in the market for buying a mansion because I was researching mansions; almost had to dismantle my computer to get rid of that one. My fellow writers are also very knowledgeable. So I ask. I also keep guidebooks and cookbooks nearby.
When you get the edits back from your editor, how do you work through that process?
My science-fiction background means that most critiques/edits are Clarion rules or modified Clarion rules, which is basically, Respect the author. If a scene jars you, you can’t be vague as to why. You don’t re-write others’ work. You might suggest, or ask open-ended questions, or show evidence to disprove a fact. You start with generalities and work down to detail. When being critiqued, I try to focus on the mechanics and leave the personalities out of it. That works for me.
Do you work with a conference partner, writer’s group or other organization? Where do you get support?
I belong to two “live” writers’ groups, the NHRWA and the Monadnock Writers’ Group. I get my occasional electronic perks from the FB pages of Crimson Romance authors and Viable Paradise workshoppers (science fiction; I’m a VP 9 graduate). Otherwise, nothing else at the moment—there’s only so many hours in a day.
What are you currently working on?
The working title of my WIP is The House of the Past, the only thing I’ve ever done where I have it almost all laid out in my head. Usually I “wing it.” The main character, Anna Blunt, is a psychic who is eventually going to become the troubleshooter for the Psychic Association, but right now she’s still a student at Salem Academy.
What an intriguing premise. What surprised you as you wrote your books?
The past couple of books have really surprised me by how much Wicca there is in this region. Apparently we’re on a ley line. I have encountered a number of anti-witchcraft people; they’re much scarier than the witches. I have also encountered several people who have had ghostly experiences and just consider them part of their normal day-to-day existence.
Since ghosts seem to work their way into my books, I would love to meet those people! Thanks for visiting with me today, Linda. I wish you all best with your books.
- My web site is LindaTKepner.com (Don’t forget the “T” or you’ll end up with a dog-washer in Pennsylvania.)
- I’m on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/linda.t.kepner
- Snailmail can be sent to my publisher, Flying Chipmunk Publishing, P.O. Box 41, Bennington NH 03442-0041.
Linda’s books are available on her Amazon Author Page.