THE OTHER SIDE OF DARKNESS
(see Lilly's Book Club page for my review)
and what a woman of adventure she is, as you will shortly find out. So glad to have you here, Linda… welcome!
Happy to be here, Lilly.
Well, let's see. One of the first things I noticed about your writing is that it was rich. Multi-layered, well-crafted, and well thought out. How did you get to this point? Have you done a lot of writing in your life? And how long have you been writing fiction?
I have been writing my whole life in some form or another. As a hobbyist I wrote newsletters, stories, and plays for our church. On June 21, 2000, I received an unmistakable call from God to write professionally. I composed a poem called The Song of Peace* that includes a line, "there is light on the other side of darkness."
I managed to publish in anthologies, periodicals, and church papers, as well as a regular newspaper column. I received notice of my first contract on June 21, 2011 on my manuscript with the working title, Dawn's Hope. The editor, unaware of the poem I wrote eleven years before, changed the title to THE OTHER SIDE OF DARKNESS.
My goodness, if that wasn't a sign from heaven, I don't know what is. What made you want to write this particular story?
I have always been intrigued with the Southern Adirondack area for it's beauty and historical importance. I also wanted to write a story about overcoming childhood trauma.
Why is that? Are there experiences in your own childhood that contributed to this desire, maybe had some effect on who you are today?
Well, my mother suffered from depressive symptoms...never diagnosed and never treated until late in life. She expected things from me I could not comprehend or provide. We had a troubled relationship, and I suffered from severe poor self esteem. But as I have grown in my faith, I believe God has used those childhood experiences to make me more sensitive toward others while He has affirmed me in His grace, a child He loves. I think that is why God has called me to encourage.
Interesting that you use the word encourage, as personally, I believe one must first have a certain amount of courage before they can pass any on to others. Which you do! And I find it so interesting that THE OTHER SIDE OF DARKNESS deals with this very theme in so many ways. How did you come up with the character Samantha Knowles, and her own particular situation?
I imagined a citified professional who becomes stranded in a secluded town, and who must confront their childhood nightmares. Then when a friend of mine showed me pictures of her daughter's accident involving a collision with a moose, the story took shape. I wrote an outline and first chapter for the 2008 Genesis contest. After the book was listed as a finalist, I completed the manuscript, hired a professional editor, and the rest is history.
Yes, and a great example of how you seem to take such giant, courageous steps toward whatever you decide to tackle! Wonderful the way so many doors opened up for you after that. I really enjoyed reading THE OTHER SIDE OF DARKNESS, and can see why it was a finalist in the Genesis contest. Which makes me wonder if you've ever been to any writer's conferences along the way.
I have a fortune invested in writer's conferences. I've attended at least fifteen over the years, such as, The Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference, The Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, ACFW conferences, and Montrose… just to name a few.
Do you feel they were beneficial?
Absolutely. With each conference I gained in the knowledge of the craft, made valuable connections, and even some life-long friendships. Yes, they are worth the investment. I have never come away wishing I'd never gone.
Well, however it came about, you sure have developed a wonderful knack for creating vivid scenes. Is that something you work especially hard at, or is it just sort of a gift?
Thank you for the compliment. I think I am a visual person by nature. For instance, when I produce a play, I see my characters moving from place to place. I think I bring that to my writing, as well. It is as if I see a snapshot in my mind and want to recreate that scene.
When you produce a play… good heavens, Linda, that's something I find incredibly fascinating, and would love to talk about in depth. Especially the characterization aspect. Will you come back tomorrow, so we can really enjoy ourselves, with it?
Love to Lilly, that would be a pleasure. Maybe I'll even bring a few of my favorite props with me...