October 31, 2016

Linda Wiken - Cozy Mystery Author Spotlight and Interview

I have been hosting a number of cozy mystery authors on my blog for the last two months. If you have not had the pleasure of enjoying a cozy mystery I encourage you to do so. The cozy mystery industry as a whole is in danger of being lost as the publishers are ending a number of series. Please note that not all series I will be sharing are in danger. There are many that will be continuing on as normal. I just wanted to do my part to make everyone aware of this genre as a whole. 

Today I will be showcasing Linda Wiken

About this author:
Linda Wiken and Erika Chase share a passion for writing. As Erika, it’s the Ashton Corners Book Club Mysteries with five books in the series, Law and Author being the most recent, while Linda writes the Dinner Club Mysteries. The first in this series, Toasting Up Trouble, debuted in July. The second, Roux The Day, is coming in 2017. In a previous life, Linda/Erika owned a mystery bookstore. Her first Erika Chase novel, A Killer Read, was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel. While Linda has been short-listed for an Arthur Ellis Award from Crime Writers of Canada for Best Short Story. When not writing, Erika/Linda caters to her two Siamese cats, sings in a classical choir, and devours chocolates.

Where to follow this author:

1. Who or what inspired you to start writing?
That's an easy one and goes way back to the 8th grade. I can't remember the topic but I did get an ‘A’ on my essay. Thank you Mr. Ross! Of course, that spurred me on to writing a book. I started the next day and have never finished it. Fortunately!

2. How did you choose this genre to write?
I've always loved reading mysteries - think Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, Ginny Gordon and the like. I still love reading them, especially cozies, so what better genre to write.

3. Do you have scheduled writing time or a certain amount of words you write each day?
I do have a routine which I try desperately to stick to but not always successfully, I must admit. Mornings are for the business of writing, ie promotion and all that involves. Afternoons, starting around 1:30 is my writing time, at my desk in my home office. I mention the office and desk because when I'm in editing mode, I usually move to the dining room table. It promotes a different mindset.

4. What do you do to help you get over writer's block?
I walk it out. Whether it's around the block or to the kitchen for a snack (caution - writing can add inches), I do some of my best thinking when I walk.

5. What was it like to get your first publishing contract? 
It was Christmas and birthday all in one. Pure heart-pounding pleasure!

6. How has the publishing/writing world changed since you first started writing?
That was a long time ago because I wrote for many years before becoming published. At that time there were mainly the large publishers inhabiting that world and very few smaller independents. It was still difficult to find a publisher but if you did, they would handle the majority of the promotion. And there were tons more bookstores!

7. You write about strong female characters. Are they modeled after anyone? 
My female characters are not specifically modeled after one person but probably more a composite of women I know and admire, women I don’t know but admire, and my ideas about how a strong resourceful woman should be. I think cozies are the perfect vehicle for showcasing strong women who are fiercely loyal, concerned about society’s woes, and determined to see justice prevail.

8. When you are not writing what do you like to do?
I love reading, walking, and singing in my choirs. I'll also admit to looking forward each day to sitting on my deck with an espresso in one hand, a piece of chocolate in the other, and a cat or two on my lap.

9. Do you have any advice for beginning authors?
Don't give up. Keep rewriting until you get it right and keep trying to get an agent and/or publisher until the contract is signed.

10. Do you have a favorite author or book you would like to recommend to your readers?
I have a yellowed copy of Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott that I go back to regularly. She's a wonderful writer with some very insightful words that never fail to inspire me.

11. Please tell us five random things about yourself
Cat lover; have a desire to paint; wanted to be a police officer; love to dance, especially my Zumba class; enjoy traveling through Europe

What I learned about this author:
Linda is a fan of classic mysteries like Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. She also tries to stick to a routine when writing and her advice is to not give up on your writing. Keep at it. Her one book she recommends/loves is Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. What did you learn?

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