Thursday, March 24, 2011
Linda Sandifer is the author of thirteen novels of various genres, but mostly western romance. She is a member of Western Writers of America, Women Writing the West, and Idaho's Blue Sage Writers.
I used to be a member of the Idaho writer's group when it wasn't the Blue Sage Writers and when I used to live there back in the 1990s. Since moving to Alaska, I had lost touch with a lot of my writing friends, in Idaho and Hawaii, but recently got back in touch with Linda and she agreed to do an interview with me. She talks about her new novel, "The Last Rodeo", her feelings about self-publishing, who her writing influences were, her writing regime and what she is currently working on.
- What drove you to write The Last Rodeo, your latest book?
I guess you could call The Last Rodeo a "book of the heart." It's one of the first ideas I ever had for a book, back when I was in my early 20s. It started off being a coming-of-age story with the main character and his brother as teen-agers. The only other character in that early version that was also in the final version was the brothers' father. Over the years, the idea grew and matured, as did the characters. I tried writing it several times, but never got it where I wanted it. I was writing all my other contracted books and so I kept putting it on the shelf because I knew there wouldn't be a ready, or an easy, market for it. Finally I did write it, and by then, the brothers were in their 30s and it was more of a family relationship story with a love story. It spans four generations of people (all in one family) so I think it helped that I was older, too, in order to write all those characters at different stages of their lives.
- Is the book in any one particular genre? Is it a genre that’s familiar to you?
I would label the book as contemporary mainstream women's fiction. I hadn't written contemporary before, but I had written a historical saga that was mainstream.
- Who are your greatest writing influences?
That's a hard one because I've always read a wide variety of writers. Very early on, I liked William Faulkner and Jack London.
- What’s your writing regimen? Any tips for keeping focused?
I try to do something every day for a few hours, depending on the stage of a book. It might be research, or it might be a final edit. Just depends. If I'm writing, I'll spend 4-6 hours a day at the computer. I usually don't write on weekends. I don't have trouble keeping focused. It's like any job. You just get up in the morning and you go do it.
- How do you feel about the direction of the publishing industry and the trend toward ebooks?
Well, it seems to be catching fire. I have a Kindle myself and two of my books are available as ebooks. I find reading from it handy at times. I like that you can pump up the font. I still prefer paper books. Maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but it's hard to get a "connection" to an ebook. It's just words on a screen. Whereas, with a book, you can hold it in your hand and get a sense of the work as a whole. It has substance. It really distresses me to see bookstores and libraries closing. I think it would be a mistake if we didn't maintain paper copies of books in some sort of depository.
- How do you feel about the pricing for ebooks, from free to .99 to 2.99 and higher?
I think people prefer to spend less on ebooks simply because they aren't getting anything but words on a screen. Like I said, it's nothing they can hold onto and later display on a shelf or trade at a used bookstore. The Kindle now has a loaning program, which I'm not in favor of. It's just another way to cut in author profits. Publishers, however, are asking as much for ebooks (sometimes more) than they are paper books. Former agent-turned-author, Nathan Bransford attempts to explain the reasoning behind the publishers' pricing of ebooks on his wonderful blog. I would suggest people read his article to get a better understanding.
- What are you working on now?
I just completed a romantic suspense set in Idaho. It's a new direction for me and I'll probably use a pseudonym. I'll see how it goes. That doesn't mean I'm giving up writing western romances and other novels of the West. I still have a number of those types of stories I'd like to tell, but the market is really soft right now for westerns.
For audio versions of Linda's previous books they can be ordered through Amazon. If you want to know more about her books, you can go to her website.