Linda Griffin is sharing some cool facts about her latest book and writing process. Let’s get to it!
What process did you go through when you picked your characters’ names for Bridges?
Mary Claire’s name came to me along with all the other details of the character through a mysterious process I can’t explain. I borrowed her last name from Maxim DeWinter, the hero of Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca. Neil and Vincent are both names I’ve always liked and hadn’t yet used for a hero. They seemed to fit, so it was an easy decision.
It’s always so nice when it’s easy to come up with names. I have the hardest time with it. Are your characters based on anyone you know?
A couple of heroes have been inspired by men I’ve admired, but the characters in Bridges are entirely fictional, except where I gave Neil a few of my own quirks. I have cremniphobia—fear of precipices—and share his views on religion. I’m not fond of horses either, although I think they’re remarkable creatures.
That’s interesting! All writers suffer from writer’s block at least once in their career. What’s your go-to cure?
The best advice I ever got on the subject came from an article in Writer’s Market that claimed there is no such thing as writer’s block but advised writing scenes out of order when you feel stuck. As a pantser, I found that counterintuitive, but it proved to be very freeing. With modern word processing, it is super easy to straighten out any inconsistencies later.
I do that too sometimes–writing scenes out of order. Any advice for the aspiring authors out there? Particularly those who are feeling a little discouraged?
Never give up! You never know when a story will find the right home. I just had one published in The Adirondack Review that I had cannibalized from an unfinished novel I wrote fifty years ago. Keep writing, keep revising, keep submitting, and above all, keep reading. Reading other writers helps you develop and improve your own style as well as broadening your knowledge base. Never assume you’re as good a writer as you can be or that you have nothing left to learn about the publishing business.
Very true. How do you market your books? What do you find more effective?
I’ve tried a lot of different methods, and sometimes it’s hard to tell which strategy is working. The single most effective thing I’ve found is putting a title on sale and promoting the sale through newsletter services like Bargain Booksy, The Fussy Librarian, and ereaderIQ. The first two can be used for non-sale ebooks priced under $5 too, but a price drop entices a lot more readers, who hopefully will review the book favorably and attract more readers.
Thank you so much for visit, Linda. It was a pleasure to talk with you.
In 1963, Neil Vincent, a middle-aged World War II veteran and “Christian atheist,” is working at Westfield Court as a chauffeur. He spends most of his spare time reading. Mary Claire DeWinter is a young, blind Catholic college student and reluctant heiress. To secure her inheritance, she has to marry within a year, and her aunt is pressuring her to marry a rich man who teased and bullied her when she was a child. Neil and Mary Claire shouldn’t even be friends, but the gulf between them is bridged by a shared love of books. Can they cross the bridge to more?
“To my beloved granddaughter, Miss Mary Claire St. James DeWinter, my sole surviving grandchild,”—as if poor, disowned Phillip no longer existed—“the house at Westfield Court and all my remaining possessions and assets—” Edna St. James sat very straight in her chair and glared balefully at her niece, and several of the others gasped, but Mr. Prentice was not finished. “Providing only that she fulfill two necessary stipulations. Firstly, that she permit my daughter-in-law, Mrs. Edna Carrington St. James, widow of my beloved son Marcus, to remain in residence at Westfield Court for as long as she lives, and Secondly, that she, as a young woman in need of protection and guidance, marry within one year of my death and remain married. If she fails to marry within the stipulated time or is divorced or widowed and fails to remarry within a year, Westfield Court and the entire estate is to be bequeathed to the State of Massachusetts, for whatever purposes it may deem fit.”
Everyone stared at Mary Claire. She was so white that her scars were more visible in contrast, and Neil half rose from his chair in case she was about to faint. “Is that even legal?” Mrs. St. James demanded.
“Yes, ma’am,” said Mr. Prentice. “I believe it is.”
“After all the years I spent managing this house, not to mention his precious Marcus, he’s left me at the mercy of this little—” She rose to her feet, bristling with injured dignity, and stalked out of the room.
Linda Griffin is a native of San Diego and has a BA in English from San Diego State University and an MLS from UCLA. She retired as fiction librarian for the San Diego Public Library in order to spend more time on her writing. Her stories have been published in numerous journals including, Eclectica, Thema Literary Review, The Binnacle, and most recently The Adirondack Review. Bridges is her fifth novel from the Wild Rose Press, after Seventeen Days (2018), The Rebound Effect (2019), Guilty Knowledge (2020), and Love, Death, and the Art of Cooking. In addition to the three R’s—reading, writing, and research—she enjoys movies, Scrabble, and travel.
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