Firstly, a huge, huge thank you to Linda for being here with us, and secondly, if you haven’t noticed my SLIGHT obsession with her Amish Murder series, check my review for the first and second in the series. But regardless, this NY TIMES Bestselling Author is sweet, talented, and all together awesome. Let’s welcome her! HIIII LINDA!
1. I’m dying to know, where did the Amish influence of the Kate Burkholder series derive from?
I’m originally from Ohio, so I’ve always been aware of the Amish. As a kid I wasn’t particularly interested, but in 2004 I made my first trip to Amish Country and found myself fascinated by the culture. I couldn’t think of a more interesting setting, especially for a thriller. As a writer, I wanted to explore that culture. I wanted to write a protagonist that could immerse us not only in the Amish world, but the “English” world as well.
2. Kate Burkholder has some, romantic entanglements, do you think with her past, AND stressful job she’s ready for a full-on relationship?
I think this is one of the elements that makes Kate so interesting. She’s imperfect and human—and so not ready for a romantic relationship, particularly with a man as intense and troubled as John Tomasetti. But love and important relationships rarely come at the right time. On the other hand, while the relationship between Kate and Tomasetti has had its share of turmoil and conflict, I think, in a way, it also saved Kate. In the first couple of books, SWORN TO SILENCE and PRAY FOR SILENCE, she wasn’t headed in quite the right direction. Tomasetti and everything he brought into her life—love and support and complications—changed that and helped Kate become a better person and get her life back on track.
3. Have you done research with any Amish folk to develop your characters and setting?
I’m lucky enough to tour with the book every summer and I always make multiple stops in and around Ohio’s Amish Country, which I very much enjoy. Two summers ago, when I toured with GONE MISSING, one of my librarian friends arranged for me to spend some time with two Amish families. It was fascinating. I was lucky enough to get a tour one of their farms and see their milking facility. I also got to drive an Amish buggy, which was great fun! And it was a real treat just to sit and chat over iced tea or coffee. I’m a true believer that kind of hand on research and firsthand knowledge adds so much to a book.
4. When you have a nice WEEKEND off, what do you LOVE to do [other than write!]
Like most writers, I find myself working most weekends. But I usually try to take off at least half a day to catch up on life things and maybe do something fun. I have horses and I ride them every chance I get. My husband and I trail ride in Palo Duro Canyon, which is beautiful. We also like to camp with the horses. I’ve dabbled a bit in barrel racing, too, but we’re not very fast. J I love the out of doors so I enjoy working in the yard and walking. And of course, hanging out with the dogs. We have four rescue dogs and I’m crazy about them. Those are some of the ways I recharge, too.
5. If you could travel one place in the world, where would it be and what would you do with your time there?
There are so many places I’d love to see, some exotic, some not so much. Since reading BURIAL RITES, I’ve wanted to visit Iceland. It looks like such a beautiful, stark and fascinating place. I’ve love to see more of the Caribbean. An off-the-beaten-path island for some hiking and snorkeling. And I’d love to see Ireland.
6. What is up next for you, Linda?
I just finished the copy edits for Kate Burkholder #6, THE DEAD WILL TELL, and sent it to my editor. I have two projects simmering at the moment. I’m in the process of developing the seventh book in the Kate Burkholder series. It’s loosely based on real-life events. I’m not sure where it’s going to take me at this point, but I’m having fun figuring it out. My second project is a standalone novel that’s been calling to me for quite some time. It’s set in West Virginia and features a slightly shady female private detective who finds herself on the case of a lifetime with some very personal connections.
7. There are some GRUESOME scenes in your novels, are those hard for you to write? Or does it just come to you?
I’ve always enjoyed the scary stuff, whether it’s reading or writing or even a movie. I love reading suspense and I love writing it, especially when it’s high octane. When I read a thriller, I want to be thrilled. I keep that in mind when I write my own stories. Yes, there are times when the stories take me to some dark places. Places beyond my comfort zone. I’ve tackled crimes that reach into some of the blackest recesses of the human psyche and forced me, as a writer, to delve into some areas that were, frankly, a little scary. But I think that’s key to writing compelling suspense. A writer must always stay true to her story and her characters—even her villain. A writer must be bold—and brave enough to venture into the dark places that scare us. A writer must be able to send her characters into those places. A writer may be afraid, but should never let the fear keep her from writing the story that needs to be told or hold her back in any way.
8. As I think ALL of my readers know, I am addicted to your books! I already pre-ordered The Dead Will Tell, which I ADORE the cover for. Do you have any say in the covers for your novels?
The art director for Minotaur Books is a huge talent and I feel so lucky to have him in my corner. He’s incredibly good at what he does and has a keen eye for capturing the essence of a book. Rarely, I will make a suggestion and he always listens. He’s made changes for me and tweaked a few times. But usually his work is so right on, I’m unable to improve on it.
9. Linda, what are you reading right now? Also, do you have any good recommendations for our readers?
Do I ever. I just finished RECONSTRUCTING AMELIA and BURIAL RITES, both of which I loved, and I just started THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS last night. I’m always reading something and it’s usually a thriller (but not always.) For me, it’s the perfect way to wind down at the end of the day. I’ve also read two books that absolutely captivated me: RAGE AGAINST THE DYING by Becky Masterman and Paul Doiron’s MASSACRE POND. Both books are fabulous reads.
10. Who inspires you from your genre? Any favorites?
I’ve always loved Tami Hoag, Tess Gerritsen, Sandra Brown and Nora Roberts. All of those female writers are groundbreakers and continue to be an inspiration to me. I’m also a big fan of Tana French, Gillian Flynn and Jennifer McMahon.
11. Lastly, and off topic, I LOVEEE food! What is your all-time favorite meal? [or two ;)]
Ah … a girl of my heart. I love a food adventure. I tend to go in phases. I love Cuban cuisine (and the café Cubano!) I’ve just discovered German food (not to mention German beer!) and I love both. I’m also a huge fan of Tai food. Usually I’m a weenie when it comes to spicy, but Tai food is so wonderful I’ve learned to take the heat.
Again, thank you so incredibly much to Linda! I can’t WAIT to continue on with the series, and to see what your solo projects are all about! As a thank you, I want to spoil my readers with a giveaway for an ebook copy of both Sworn to Silence and Pray for Silence and LINDA is sweet enough to offer a hard copy of the REST of the series! [Breaking Silence, Gone Missing, Her Last Breath]