Interview with Linda Merlino

When did you first start writing?
Writing has always been an outlet for me – even as a kid. I wrote stories and plays when I was in grammar school and acted them out in the classroom thanks to supportive teachers. My novel writing began in the late nineties and escalated after self-publishing my first novel. I learned so much from that experience that I had to keep writing.
Have you always dreamed of becoming an author?
The idea of being an author was spawned from the first novel experience. I wanted to write a fiction novel that a traditional publisher would publish. I’ve been fortunate in finding Imajin Books. My Indie publisher is amazing and willing to go out on a limb for new novelists.
Please tell us about your book(s). What genre is it in, who are the main characters (if fiction), how long is it, what is the book “about,” and, most importantly, when will it launch?
Room of Tears was released Tuesday, July 23, 2013 by Imajin Books. It is a work of fiction written out of respect for families and friends who have lost love ones through tragedy. The genre is literary fiction. Room of Tears is under 200 pages. The main character is Diane O’Connor, a firefighter’s wife whose husband Billy died in the South Tower on September 11.

My previous novel: Hudson Catalina, a fiction re-released September 14, 2012 by Imajin Books, won a best fiction runner-up award from the Connecticut Press Club in 2009. The novel is under 200 pages. The genre is suspense. The main character is Hudson Catalina, wife, mother and breast cancer victim – 38 years old. The story is set in a 24 hour time frame and tells what happens when she loses hope of surviving her illness.
You write about strong women, why is that?
I never consciously thought – your protagonist needs to be a resilient, strong female. Both characters evolved on their own. This sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. My characters seem to ride with me during the writing process – guiding me – forcing their strengths and weakness on the written pages until each becomes an individual.
If you could do one thing to improve the publishing industry, what would that be?
Remove the walls created by the major publishing houses that prevent entry from authors other than the standard a-list ones. If you scan the New York Times bestseller list it is rare to see an author other than the usual suspects.
Are there any final thoughts or suggestions you can offer to other authors just starting out?
Stay true to yourself and follow your dream – you can always be what you dreamed you could be no matter your age or your place on the planet. Never give up.
If you could have dinner with anyone from history, who would that be, and why?
Joseph Campbell – I find his philosophy of life and his study of mythology fascinating. Through Mr. Campbell I began writing about heroes – the ordinary man or woman who reacts unselfishly in extraordinary circumstances.
Published 2013-09-18.
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