My special guest today is author Linda Merlino, whose latest suspense novel, Room of Tears, has just been released by Canadian-based publisher Imajin Books. She’s here today to talk about her inspiration for the book, among other things. Linda has a fascination with heroes and writes her fiction to honor ordinary men and women who react unselfishly in extraordinary circumstances. She lived for many years in New York City and more recently calls Connecticut her home.
Purchase ROOM OF TEARS on Amazon.
Congratulations on the release of your latest book, ROOM of TEARS. When did you start writing and what got you into fiction with a twist of suspense?
I cannot remember not writing. Early in my life I fell in love with words and discovered the art of storytelling in sentences. But writing a novel came later — during the hours and days of taking my children to soccer practices, games and tournaments I’d find a comfortable place and pull out my pen and paper. We travelled from place to place and my manuscript grew eventually filling a box in the “way back”.
Did you have a mentor who encouraged you?
My writing was a solo project. I didn’t have a sound board or a reader friend, not until I finished my first draft did I seek out writers of a like mind. Good fortune smiled when I attended the local writer’s guild. I found a group of individuals who encouraged me to continue – to write and be published. One of the best things I ever did for me.
Did you have any struggles or difficulties when you started writing?
Where to begin…the blank page. I realized I wrote best when I used stream of consciousness – when I let the words run across the page.
What was your inspiration for Room of Tears?
I’m a fan of mythology and philosophy; I admire the writing of Joseph Campbell. His descriptive portrayals of heroes gave me the inspiration for heroes in my stories. In my last book there was an autistic hero – Willy Wu. Willy defied the boundaries of his mental and physical challenges. In Room of Tears I used 9/11 as the backdrop to the story. The reader meets a variety of heroes — ordinary men and women who put their own wellbeing aside to save another person.
Do you have any plotting secrets? Do you use index cards or special software?
I usually have the ending worked out in my head then create a story around that end. Often times the characters become so visible that they travel with me everywhere telling me what should happen next, who should do what and trying to be “the boss of me”.
What do you tell your muse when she refuses to collaborate?
The muse rides on my shoulder. She is seldom absent. If she fails to collaborate it is likely because she is bored with my attempts to override her suggestions. My muse is always right. Amen
Many writers experience a vague anxiety before they sit down to write. Can you relate to this?
Writing calms me. I seldom feel anxious when writing, quite the opposite. Everything is right in my world when I’m writing.
Do you have a writing schedule? Do you set yourself weekly goals for your writing?
My writing schedule has under gone an adjustment. Formerly an early riser I would begin writing at 5am and write until I had to get ready for work then at night pick it up again. These days my day starts closer to 7am. I try to write at the same time — be consistent — be disciplined but honestly there is a warp of time that shifts my intentions and forces me to write whenever I can.
How do you celebrate the completion of a novel?
Simple celebration…using a bit of bubbly and a clink of glasses.
What do you love most about the writer’s life?
I love being able to use my imagination, to engage readers in a unique experience created from my own musings.
Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?
I would encourage readers to follow your dreams. Feed your creativity and be whatever you dreamed you could be no matter how old you are. Live your life with passion.