Posted on 10/17/2018 at 08:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
Author Linda Thomas-Sundstrom takes productivity while commuting to a whole new level.
As a faculty member at two different colleges, she spends a fair amount of time in the car.
Luckily, her childhood conditioned her to associate vehicles with spinning tales of the paranormal, so her travel time turns into brainstorming sessions that are only limited by her ability to scribble down ideas and read them later.
And as crazy as it sounds, the process clearly works; Thomas-Sundstrom has published thirty-five books and novellas in the romance and urban-fantasy genres.
(That doesn’t count the illustrated leprechaun fantasy book she wrote at age eight — she at least kept it, though.)
Learn more about how she manages to do it in her Q&A with us.
SADYE: There’s a strong storytelling history in your family — have any of their tales popped in up in your work?
LINDA: Yes! When I was a kid, the family would make the long car trek across the U.S. to see relatives.
My father was a teacher, so we had limited time for vacations and would often drive at night.
To entertain us, my dad would tell us stories about phantom lights in the desert ( a real thing, by the way) and about diners that had burned down, but refused to die.
The first book I published was titled Cafe Heaven — An Autobiography of the Afterlife and was about a few odd people who stumbled into one of those diners, which turned out to be a holding pen for lost souls.
And the phantom lights turned out to be a big blue neon sign leading those people to the cafe in the middle of nowhere.
My dad had already passed away when I wrote this book, but his spirit is all over it, and the dedication is to him, who truly whispered this story to me from the Great Beyond.
SADYE: A recent piece on The Millions pointed out that many creative types actually don’t want to give up their day jobs. Is that true for you?
LINDA: Absolutely true. From the get-go, I had direction. I wanted to be two things - a teacher and a writer.
I've been a teacher at two universities for twenty-eight years now, and though I wrote my first story at eight years old, I didn't start writing seriously, in terms of possible publication, until about twenty years ago.
SADYE: Tell us more about the “paranormal genes” you swear you have in your DNA.
LINDA: Writing about layering our own world with the supernatural one comes easily to me, probably due to those early family experiences noted above.
It's my thing. It's what I do. It's what I love. And it's what keeps me sprinting to the keyboard as soon as I'm off work and my family has been taken care of properly.
I don't run out of ideas for my paranormal worlds. I don't get writer's block when I'm there. I have so many ideas, I can hardly keep up.
So I'm sure I have a touch of the supernatural in my cell structure, passed along to me by the other storytellers in my gene pool, that urges me to indulge my appetite for the paranormal.
I mean, why else would I be this way?
SADYE: If you could be a character in any book, who would you be?
LINDA: I have not one, but two personal favs for becoming some literary "other."
From my own work, I'd like to be Wanda, who is making lost souls comfy from behind the white Formica counter at the strange cafe in my very first book, Cafe Heaven.
From someone else's world, I'd be Galadriel, wise and elvish, from my favorite author's world.
SADYE: Did you do much research on vampires and werewolves for your books?
LINDA: Honestly, I hope I never meet a real vampire for some face-to-face time. In my books, vamps are the bad guys. But oh, those sexy werewolves!
Research? Yes. I can tell you a lot about both species, including the earliest mentions of them in ancient Greece, etc.
I give video presentations and lectures on The History and Lore of Werewolves and The History and Lore of Vampires for various venues around the U.S. and consider myself pretty well-versed in both vamp and were worlds.
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Categories: Author Interview