Linda Thieman is represented by the interviewer's Pump Up Your Book Promotion.
Linda Thieman writes the Katie & Kimble chapter book series and runs the Katie & Kimble blog. She is a former English language teacher who has created a set of reading skills worksheets and classroom materials that teachers and homeschoolers can download from the Katie & Kimble series and are guided by the standards set for third grade reading skills in Iowa school systems.
Linda lives in Sioux Clity, Iowa, and is the author of the children’s book, Katie & Kimble: A Ghost Story. She hopes to publish Katie & Kimble: The Golden Door in 2009.
Thank you for this interview, Linda. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
I’ve always been a language aficionado. I fell in love with linguistics when I was 10. I started writing stories that included people in the neighborhood as characters when I was 12. I attempted my first novel when I was 13. Never finished it, but it was one of those Partridge Family mysteries that were so popular at the time, based on the TV show. That was a fun exercise. Then in high school, I wrote my own Star Trek fanzine every other month. Had quite a substantial list of subscribers. I’d write to authors of Star Trek books, send them a list of interview questions and publish their answers. I’d do reviews and parodies, too.
In college and grad school, I majored in applied linguistics and published in professional newsletters and journals. I was always writing something. At one university where I was teaching English, I wrote and edited the faculty newsletter, which was more like a little journal. At another university, I wrote and edited the faculty handbook. From there, I moved into freelance writing and then into fiction. As long as you just keep writing, you are a writer.
What was your favorite book to read as a child?
I regret that I did not get very good guidance on book selection when I was a child. But in spite of that, I managed to read some really great books. The Boxcar Children was a favorite, and Susie and the Ballet Family, too, which is now out of print. I also loved From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, but could never figure out what the title meant! And then, in 6th grade, it happened. I had a new and dedicated teacher who would read to us for a half hour after lunch every day. And one day, she started reading A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle and my world sort of shifted.
What is your favorite book at the present?
I am an avid fan of Georgette Heyer, an Englishwoman who lived from 1902 to 1974. She wrote a lot of meticulously researched and detailed historical novels and I particularly like her Regency novels. Today I suppose they would be called Regency romances, but they are so much more than that.
If I had to choose only one of her books as my favorite, it would be A Civil Contract. A young viscount inherits his father’s title and the family is pretty much ruined by the father’s debts. So as an absolute last straw, the viscount agrees to an arranged marriage with the genteel daughter of a wealthy merchant. It was a fairly common situation at the time within the gentry and the aristocracy, and I find it fascinating how well Heyer develops the characters after the marriage takes place. All the little “walking on eggshell” moments while two good-hearted people try to make it work and try to keep their pride and dignity at the same time. Very well done.