Linda aged 71, is a song writer and author. As she does not play a musical instrument others set music to her lyrics. Her song writing inspiration comes from counter intuitive places. Her song, “Amazing Grace” was inspired by her first failed marriage. “Mama Where is Heaven?” wrote itself soon after the death of her 3 month old daughter. “Mary’s Christmas” fermented for a year while Mary morphed from the original Mary, to an orphan trying to survive on wintered streets to a military wife.
Linda was a Legal secretary for years. But the characters she met there have not yet crept into her stories. She is a natural leader and her name has often been written above the title President of various organizations like the Alpine Writers’ Guild.
Linda began her college adventure at age 49 while working full time. She graduated with honors at age 54. She married the same year and she and Fred just celebrated their 17th anniversary.
Linda wrote, The Devil Wore Plaid, in 2001 about her first marriage to an alcoholic hemophiliac, fiction based on actual events. Her older daughter, Tammy Sue, is writing about that same period of time. She will present her view of the impact of living with an abusive father and a weak mother. Linda has not read it, expects it to sting but applauds Tammy for writing it. Her son threatened to write a book called, Son of the Devil Who Wore Plaid! He hasn’t but he does write poetry. Last summer Linda self-published a collation of four generations of poetry, from her father down to her grandson. It’s already a treasured family keepsake.
She started writing later than most but has tenacity. She began at age of 32 with If You Don’t Like Worms Keep Your Mouth Shut under another title. She reworked and retitled it almost 2 decades later after joining the Alpine Writers’ Guild.
She wrote one book about two little girls, one about two cranky older persons. She says, “Worms is about my sister and me growing up in Vermont in the 1940s. Bumps Along the Way is about my husband and I on a cross-country trip we took four years ago. Ten thousand miles by car and neither of us likes the other’s driving!” While the characters are known to her they take on a life of their own in print.
She wrote fiction because “Someone in my writers’ group last year suggested I try fiction as I’d basically written about my life. I did and I think that book, Willard Manor, is my best writing yet. It’s currently in the hands of an agent. The book is about a house built in Connecticut in 1840 and the generations of one family that lived in the house for 170 years. A young couple bought the house and, in the process of renovating it, found clues to the various former owners. The story alternates between 2010 and 1840. The characters drove the plot. I had no idea where they were going to take me”.
Linda writes because “I love to take a blank screen and put words together and see where they lead.” She writes for various readers, for those who remember when there were air raid drills, ration books, when oleo came in plastic bags with a color capsule, and when families sat around the radio at night listening to favorite shows. And for any couples who have traveled together with one person driving and one reading the map.
Linda has a strong personal faith but does not barrage readers with religion. She writes about it as naturally as she would any other aspect of her life. In Willard Manor, a church-going family struggles with the death of a son in the Civil War. They’re not heroes or saints, just a normal family with a strong faith and questions.
Linda enjoys writing about historical events and times gone by even though it requires research. She had to learn when electricity was available to the masses, and telephones, septic tanks, automobiles, and indoor plumbing. She said “I also had to research the Underground Railroad, how to grow marijuana, how to demolish lath and plaster walls, and how to repair window panes.”
Her new book, Twelve Steps to Becoming an Author, will be released this July. She fictionalized her writing journey. As Linda’s maiden name was Gay, the hero’s name, Rhonda Gayetski as a nod to her ancestors.
She writes with a purpose. Worms, gives readers a glimpse into a time they might not have lived through. Bumps, offers a ringside seat to the nation’s wonderful sights. Willard Manor, invites readers to immerse themselves in the Willard family and read the book for pure enjoyment. Twelve Steps is a primer to help writers prepare for publication.
The isolation of writing is not a problem to Linda she says “I could spend all day at the computer, writing, reading emails … the computer is an extension of my hands”.
She currently revisiting The Devil Wore Plaid, renaming it, and toning down the language. She did a trailer for Worms and Bumps, using two different programs, to learn how to use them. She published a booklet on Smashwords to see if she could. It’s called, Winging it While Slinging It. It is about staying independent when your dominant arm is in a sling. She wrote it with her left hand, as her dominant right arm was broken. At age 69 she learned how to self-publish using Lulu.com. She published Bumps and a companion calendar, showing places she visited.
She advises writers to read a lot and write a lot. “Write in your own voice; don’t try to write what you think people want because people want you to be authentic”.
Linda said she was tempted to say she wished she had known how difficult getting published was before she began writing but she added “if I’d known that, I’d have never even tried. Sometimes ignorance is bliss; I blithely submitted to publishers full of hope that they would accept my manuscript.”
To learn more about Linda visit: www.lindaloegel.webs.com and her blog at www.lindaloegel.blogspot.com. and her Smashwords Author Profile: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/lindaloegel
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