Monday, April 9, 2012

Interviewing Linda


This is my first ever interview and I’m so excited to have Linda Jackson here on my blog.  I just met her during Rachael’s latest blog campaign but she is an amazing person. One I think I can learn a lot from.  Lets just get to the good stuff. Here’s Linda.

Sara, thank you for interviewing me for your blog! I feel so special. :)

Personally I think middle grade novels would be the hardest to write. Why did you choose
to write them?

When I first began writing—about 17 years ago—I didn’t know there was such a category called middle grade. I just knew there was fiction and non-fiction. And fiction was separated into Westerns, Romance, Mystery, Suspense, etc. So when somebody asked me if I was writing a book for children, I said, “No, it’s a suspense novel.” Boy, was I green! (Which probably explains why agents kept turning me down.)
My first manuscript just happened to be about children because that’s all I knew. I was in my twenties, so I hadn’t experienced enough “real” life to write about adults. I tried, but you don’t want to read what I wrote. Trust me.
But now, middle grade seems to come naturally for me, probably because I spend so much time around children. :)

I love that you said it wasn’t a children’s book. 

You've self published a couple middle grade books. Are they still available? I say they’re middle grade, but I don’t really know how to categorize them. Tween, maybe? But, yes, my books, The Lie That Binds and When Lambs Cry (the sequel) are still available. I thought about allowing them to go out of print a few years ago, but The Lie That Binds is actually required reading in some of our local middle schools. And I say local because right now, those are the schools that I know of. But I have received calls from schools outside my local area, too, over the past years, requesting classroom sets of the book.
Thankfully, Amazon has made it easy and basically cost-free to keep books in print. It doesn’t cost me anything when someone orders my books from Amazon or Barnes&Noble, or any other source. Createspace prints the book, ships it, and puts the money in my account. There is no cost to me unless I decide to order copies of my own book and hand-sell them, which I don’t do any more.

That’s so cool your books are used in schools!

Why have you now chosen to pursue traditional publishing? Many things have caused me to pursue traditional publishing. 1) After I began writing for educational publishers and working with an editor, I saw how my writing improved through the edits of those extra sets of professional eyes. 2) A school librarian once told me that if I really wanted my books to reach more kids, I needed to be published by a traditional publisher and get reviewed by School Library Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, etc. As you can see, I’ve taken her words to heart. 3) While I was struggling with the decision to remain indie or go traditional, I had this weird dream that I was trying to braid my daughter’s hair like Pippi Longstocking’s and a voice said, “You need to let a professional handle that.” I take my “strange” dreams seriously, so I took that to mean I needed to go traditional and let a professional handle my writing career. And 4) I won’t lie—I need that validation that my writing can get past the Gatekeepers.  There is a proverb that says, “
Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” So, I’ve decided that it is not in my best interest to continue to try to go at it alone. :)

I always listen to my dreams too.  Well, not the psycho ones.  But I’ve had some dreams that ended up being very important. 


What are you working on now? I have a completed manuscript A PLACE TO CALL HOME, which is making its rounds with agents. I’ve had some really close calls but none that have led to “the call”. I revised after each close call and kept moving forward. I have a second completed first-draft manuscript, IT HAPPENED ONE DAY TO A GIRL NAMED JIMMY, which is resting for a few weeks before I go back and tackle revisions.

Good luck with that!

Which of your characters was your favorite to write? I think my favorite character is my MC Joshua Tanner from my first book THE LIE THAT BINDS. He will always be my baby, my firstborn. Strangely, I saw a kid named Joshua Tanner in the local paper a couple of years ago, and he was the same age that my character would have been if he were a real person. I thought that was pretty cool.

Is there an author that has influenced your work or that began your journey as a writer? I think most of the Newbery winning authors have influenced my work. I confess: I am a Newbery junkie. Also, John Grisham. After reading The Client, I wanted to create a boy character who could outsmart the bad guys like Grisham’s character, Mark, had done. And it was kind of because of John Grisham that my manuscript of THE LIE THAT BINDS survived. I tell that story on the FAQS page of my website (
www.jacksonbooks.com), so I won’t repeat it here.

That’s an awesome story; you should all go check it out!  You can also order her books from there.

If you could be any literary character for a day who would it be and why? I said this on my blog a few weeks ago, but I’d choose Caroline, the favored twin in JACOB HAVE I LOVED by Katherine Paterson. That girl had it made—not a care in the world.

I never would have thought of her, but she did have it pretty good.

What is your favorite time of year? Fall. It’s so beautiful. It’s also the beginning of the school year—a time I looked forward to as a child because I had been bored all summer, and a time I look forward to as a parent because my kids are bored all summer.

Do you have a favorite fairy tale? What is it? Hansel and Gretel. They outsmart the witch.


Which country would you most like to visit? Strangely, I’ve never had the desire to visit another country. I know. I’m weird.

Well, really, the best thing is to love where you live.


Sara, thanks again for having me on your blog. I feel overwhelmingly honored!



Thank you so much Linda!  And thanks for being willing to let me cut my interviewing teeth on you.  Figuratively speaking.  Really, I don’t bite.

You can check out her blog here.  

Linda has generously offered a copy of her book The Lie That Binds to a lucky, randomly chosen, winner.  Just leave a comment and your name will be entered.  Thanks for joining us and I’ll be back on Wednesday to announce the winner.

37 comments:

  1. I love Linda! Great interview. And I love that she follows the advice in her dreams.

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    1. It was a good interview. I loved her answers, they really made me think.

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  2. Sara - Thanks so much for the wonderful interview with Linda Jackson. I have been following her blog for a little while, but never knew most of the details she shared with you here today! She definitely is someone I admire, since I am attempting to write for middle grade readers too. It's encouraging to follow an author's path to publication!

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    1. I don't think I could write MG but I'm so glad people do. It is such a pivitol age and can sometimes determine whether the child will grow up a reader or not. And there were so many MG novels I loved growing up. Thanks for stopping by.

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    1. Thanks! It's good to see you around again.

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  4. I, too, appreciated this extra insight into Linda! Thank you so much, both of you. It's interesting to hear your specifics of self-pub and the hop to traditional pub. Special thanks for that. Middle grade is such a wonderful world to live in (and write in). On the journey with you.

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    1. It's so nice to be able to learn from those who have experience. I was so excited when she agreed to this.

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  5. Fabulous interview ladies! And I agree --- so awesome that your books are used in schools. WOW!!! Super awesome!

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    1. Thanks for coming by, glad you enjoyed the intervieview.

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  6. Linda and Sara,
    What a great interview! You two did it right. ; )

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    1. Thanks! Linda had some great answers.

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  7. This is a great interview. I'm talking about self publishing and libraries on Wednesday. That's part of the reason why I'm still chasing the traditionally published dream. Linda's nailed all my reasons for not rushing into self publishing.

    I'm impressed. I'm around three kids (mine) and I know I can't write tween books, even if I read them to my daughter. They aren't an easy to write.

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    1. I'm the same, I Just don't have the talent to write that age group. I'm with you. Right now I'm persuing traditional publishing too. There may be a time in the future for self pub. but not right now.

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  8. Linda is great! I found this interview fascinating. Especially the bit about going traditional. Thanks so much, Sara! :D

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    1. Glad you liked the interview! Thanks for stopping by.

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  9. Great interview, Linda and Sara! I love that Katherine Paterson story.

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    1. I hadn't thought of that story in a long time. It was nice to be reminded of it.

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  10. Thanks, everyone, for stopping by! I enjoyed this interview with Sara, and I'm so glad you found the information helpful. :)

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  11. Linda and Sara, this was a fun read! Linda, I'm happy to hear about your writing successes and wish you many more!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it. Linda was so much fun to interview

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  12. Hello, Sara and Linda! Linda, good for you for listening to that dream you had! Dreams can be very telling but they're also easily dismissed or forgotten. That one sounds to me like it was definitely clear instructions! The Client is my favorite John Grisham legal thriller, too, and I'm heading on over to your website to hear how that revived your manuscript!

    Hope you both are having a great week!!

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    1. It's so true that dreams are easy to dismiss or forgett, but they can often be very important. I thought it was pretty cool that Linda had learned to listen to hers.

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  13. This was a great interview. I enjoyed learning lots of things about Linda and her books. Have a wonderful day!

    Susanne
    PUTTING WORDS DOWN ON PAPER

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    1. Thanks! Hope you have a good day too.

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  14. What a good interview and such interesting answers. That dream was definitely giving Linda a hint, I think! And it is very cool that her books are available in schools - job well done there! :)

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    1. I thought that was pretty cool too. Thanks for reading!

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  15. "It happened one day to a girl named Jimmy" sounds like a great title - I knew a girl named Jimmy a long time ago . . . Congrats on your books being used in schools!

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    1. It does sound great, very intriguing.

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  16. What a great interview, SP. I have been following and enjoying Linda's blog, but this was so informative. I think it's great that she didn't realize she was writing a children's book at first. Madeline L'Engle always said she couldn't tell the difference between a book for children or adults when she was writing them. The Lie That Binds sounds like a must read. Please throw my name into the hat.

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    1. You're in. I love Madeline L'Engle, thanks for that quote.

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  17. Everyone, thanks again for your generous comments. Sara, I think you should draw two names--I'd like to show my appreciation and give away two books instead of one. :)

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  18. This was a great interview!

    I love to see people using all the great venues for publication out there. So much fun.

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  19. I've learned a bit more about Linda,, that's for sure. I things it's wonderful that her books are used in the schools. The best part is not having to do anything at all but make the books work for her.

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