My guest today is Linda Swift. Writing for 6 publishers, Linda has ten books of fiction and four short stories currently available, with two additional books and three short stories to be released this year. She’s lived in many places throughout the world, and while living in the UK in 1999-2000, she visited many of the castles where Mary Queen of Scots was a "guest" and became fascinated with both castles and the queen. The result of that stay was her latest release, Maid of the Midlands, which will soon be followed by a sequel, Mistress of Huntleigh Hall. Welcome, Linda!
What’s the naughtiest thing you've ever done?
As a small child living in a rural area, I robbed a setting hen’s nest of all her eggs to make mud pies. I took them one at a time, stirring more dirt and water into the mix each time. When I had a pan full, I realized my “crime” might be discovered so I dug a shallow hole and buried the mixture. I didn’t get caught and never did confess until years later when pregnant with my first child. I suppose I was wondering what secret sins my own child might commit later on and I told my mother about the incident. She accepted my story as the unimportant act that it was but my belated confession certainly lifted a heavy weight off my conscience!
What’s the worst job you've ever had?
In the early days of my marriage I was a stay-at-home mother, my husband was in a work training program, and money was scarce. I didn’t want to take a regular job and leave my children so I sold cosmetics door-to-door for a few hours during the day while my mother babysat. I hated every minute of it. I am not a natural born salesperson and knocking on the doors of strangers was pure torture.
I think I’d hate that too, and I admire you for sticking with it! So in complete contrast, tell me about the best job you've ever had.
I have it now. To be able to write books, have them published, and experience the response of people who read them is a dream realized. I enjoyed my work with children in public education in three states over a number of years, but always in the back of my mind was the desire to be a published writer. Creating stories, receiving new covers, the release of the finished product, having book signings, presenting programs about what I do, all are very satisfying. I even enjoy the editing process! Did I mention getting royalty checks? Okay, I’m working longer hours for less pay than any job I’ve ever had except selling cosmetics, but this not about money as any truly dedicated writer knows.
What would be your perfect day?
I would sleep until I woke naturally, have breakfast of my choice, take a walk, work in my study. I would meet a friend for lunch. In the afternoon maybe work for a while or read or nap. I’d go out to dinner with my husband, watch the evening news on TV, read the newspaper and/or a book. About midnight, I’d be ready for bed again. I am never bored staying home and doing simple things. Did you notice that cooking or doing housework was not included in my day? I would have paid help for that, of course.
It sounds like bliss, especially the bit about no housework! Linda, what's your favourite sandwich, and where in the world is the best place to eat it?
A chicken salad sandwich (with pecans and grapes in it) on rye bread would be perfect served at an outside cafe on Coronado Island overlooking the Pacific.
I might just have to try out that recipe, it sounds delicious! Which household chore would you happily give up forever?
Only one? How can I choose a “least” favorite? I suppose cooking which seems so boring day in and day out. I don’t mind preparing special meals for holidays but the repetition of doing this over and over depresses me. But to my credit, I love to iron. Too bad almost everything now is wrinkle-free or else supposed to be worn with wrinkles!
What talent or skill would you love to have that you don’t have now?
I would love to be able to play piano and I took lessons for a few months as a child but they didn’t “take” on me. So I did the next best thing by marrying a man who played piano (and now electronic keyboard) beautifully. I also wanted to have a beautiful voice and be able to sing well but I only mouth the words when I sing in church to avoid those nearby wondering how a frog got into the building. Both my son, daughter, and son-in-law are musical and are working or have worked as professional musicians. All three were in a Broadway musical that toured the country for two years, so my wish has been granted in a convoluted way
Indeed! And as I know you’ve said before, you make music with words, Linda! Tell me, what drives you seriously nuts?
People who make fun of other people. I think this is the ugliest character trait anyone can have. To laugh at someone for whatever reason is probably an effort to cover insecurity and lack of self-confidence but that doesn’t excuse it. People who don’t do what they say they will comes a close second. And people who don’t give credit to others for what they do or take credit for what they have not done is also on my list.
Which animal do you think you’re most like, and why?
I’m probably most like a cat. I am independent, and I love to curl up in a warm place indoors and do nothing. But I am loyal like a dog and so persistent that my husband says I am like a “dog with a bone” when I set my mind on something. I am also verbal like a mockingbird. So I suppose I’m really an enigma whatever species that is.
What’s the best review you've ever had?
My best review was actually a composite of four 5-star reviews (Long and Short Reviews/ Manic Readers/The Romance Studio/You Gotta Read Reviews) and Romantic Times for my Civil War saga, This Time Forever. These reviewers compared the book to Gone With The Wind and the TV mini-series North and South. All of them “got” what I was trying to say, felt empathy for both sides of this tragic war, loved my characters as I did and validated my ability to research and create a story that was worthy of the subject. This was the “book of my heart” and in my heart I know it is the best work I will ever accomplish. It was rejected many times when submitted by my then-agent and I almost despaired ever seeing it published. Then, ironically, this US Civil War story was accepted by a Canadian publisher and through no planning on my part, it was released in the first year of the Civil War Sesquicentennial commemoration. Fate? I like to think so.
A definite meant-to be! Linda, it's been great getting to know more about you today, and I know my readers can catch up on all your news and books at your One-Link here to your website. Thanks so much for visiting - good luck in all that you do!