Author Interview: Linda Kay Silva, Author of ACROSS TIME

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Linda. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

My dream was to become a published author by the time I turned 30. When I succeeded, and I felt that rush from holding my first novel in my hands, I knew I was hooked. I have been writing almost every day for 20 years, and I need to write almost as much as I need to breathe.

When I am not writing (which is seldom), I teach various college English courses from American Minority Literature to Introduction to Fiction. Living with my incredibly patient partner of 10 years, I take time out to play with Lucy Lui, my cockapoo.

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

We live in an age when the dominant religion of our country is beginning to frighten even its followers. In a time when 10 year olds are graduating from med school, 5 year olds are playing Bach, and dozens of people have come out of comas speaking a foreign language fluently, the “newer” religion’s labeling of “miraculous” has left us wanting. Why is every inexplicable thing a miracle? Is it a miracle that we’ve managed to go to the moon? No, but it would have been miraculous in DaVinci’s time.

Time. It truly is the final frontier. We have not managed to harness it, transform it, or really even understand it. Because we can’t see the other side, there is an assumption made by western religions that the other side is something heavenly; a place where “good” souls go and “bad” souls don’t. People live their incredibly short time on this planet focused on getting to this place, regardless of whether it is heaven, nirvana, or paradise. Instead of living this life to the fullest, they either look beyond where they are, or struggle to drag where they were into the here and now.

The truth is we cannot understand where we’re going until we know, and remember where we’ve been. There’s a reason why a 10 year old child prodigy has the ability to grasp courses as difficult as med school courses and it has nothing to do with miracles or genetics; it has to do with memory…soul memories.

The same folks who believe in souls and heaven are often the first to discount the notion that souls have memories…residual memories. This accounts for things like déjà vu, love at first sight, and unexplainable phobias. Ask almost anyone you know if they have a phobia they don’t know the origin of, and 9 times out 10, they will tell you about something that frightens them and they have no idea why. How can this be? How can I be so afraid of heights, when nothing ever bad ever happened to me when I was really up high?

The answer? Nothing bad in this life.

How can a ten year old who is not developmentally ready for anything greater than long division go to med school? She isn’t just brilliant. She remembers more about past knowledge that the rest of us do. She is capable of accessing past knowledge, experience, and memories that enable her to do things far outside the realm of other children. We all have those memories, but we pass them off as something else for fear of being labeled crazy? We can’t explain how it is we know something. We can’t explain away the time we met someone for the first time and after ten minutes, felt like we’d known them our whole lives. We can’t explain the almost tangible feeling of déjà vu. We can’t even explain why some of our dreams just feel so real.

They feel real because once upon a time, they were. My novel is about a young woman whose past self calls her for help, and she must rise to the challenge of flinging her soul across time in order to help.

What kind of research was involved in writing “Across Time”?

I did a little research about time and the time elements for the book, but since it’s the one area we know so little about, I decided to bend what we do know to fit my story. I had to do some research on the Druids and what happened to them on the island, but for the most part, there is A LOT of wiggle room when dealing with the paranormal or supernatural.

How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?

Normally, authors have very little say, but Spinsters was incredibly generous in the amount of input. I wanted a pocket watch and a few other smaller details, and the artist’s rendition of the story couldn’t have been any better. I am most pleased with this cover.

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

Bumpy? Absolutely! I have been published by 4 different publishers now…the first three went under when Borders and Barnes and Nobles started gobbling up the independent booksellers. Those small, wonderful little book stores were faithful to small presses, but in the end, the big box chain won out (for the most part) and we saw a dwindling of the stores that regularly carried our work. After the third publisher went out, I tried to get an agent, but found that to be more difficult than getting a publisher. On one hand, I’d love to have an agent so I can take my other series (about a paranormal woman) to a larger publisher so I can make some money at this, and on the other, I want to help Spinsters grow into a larger publisher so I can make money with them. I don’t want to make it sound like it’s all about money, but the truth is, we all dream about making a LIVING at our writing…and to do that, one must MAKE money. This IS a business after all.

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

About a year. I had the pleasure of working with Katherine Forrest as my editor, and she is fast and thorough, so the novel didn’t sit around neglected.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

See above. I don’t, but I want one for other reasons.

Do you plan subsequent books?

I have the first 5 of this series completed and hope that Spinsters puts out the next two in 2009. Readers of series want to see their favorite characters more often than one book a year. I have a second series about an empath who is an investigative reporter, and so far, I’ve finished 4 in that series.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

Both. I write whenever I have a spare moment. I am no diva who has to have all the stars aligned in order to write. I can write while watching a movie, on the deck of cruise ship, at the airport, whenever. I have a Sherlock Holmes style library that I love and work in a lot (I teach online college courses), but I can (and do) write anywhere and everywhere. What makes that possible is that I write my first draft longhand with a fountain pen. My trusty pens go with me everywhere I go. I’ve even written while waiting at the doctor’s office. If you want to write…you’ll do it. You won’t FIND the time to write…you’ll CREATE the time.

If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

That’s a GREAT question! A publicist. I am wise enough to know when to hire people who do something far better than I ever could. I want an expert promoting my book; someone whose sole job is to get me out there.

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

Self promotion is HUGE. You have to THINK and ACT like this is a business! Once the initial thrill of holding your book in your hand wears off, it’s time to put on a different hat…it’s time to help the people who MADE your dreams come true make some money and want your next book. To that end, you need to get into the business of promoting. I have free business cards made up at www.vistaprint.com , where the front of the card is my book cover and the back has all my titles and additional info. I carry these everywhere I go and leave them everywhere I go. Hey, 500 business cards for the price of shipping is worth it. I also made bookmarks, which all of my friends, family, and colleagues all have. And speaking of those folks, you train them to talk about your book, to send out announcements to ALL of their friends, and then things snowball. I have been promoting myself online through my blog: http://lindakaysilva.livejournal.com and my web site, where people can buy my books www.lindakaysilva.com. I am also doing this virtual book tour, which has been the BEST business investment I’ve made. Anyone interested in getting help promoting their work online ought to try it out! http://www.pumpupyourbookpromotiom.com/

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

1) Don't give up.
2) Stop reading all those how to write books. If you want to write, DO IT.
3) Don't talk about what you're writing, don't read about writing, don't dream about writing. Put the pen to the paper or the fingers to the keyboard and do it. Just as one step takes you on a trip around the world, one page gets you closer to completing a novel.
4) Take that step.
5) If you haven’t read The Secret or watched the video, I suggest doing that as the ONLY extra piece of motivation…then get back to writing.

Thank you for coming, Linda! Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

My blog: http://lindakaysilva.livejournal.com/
My web site, where people can buy my books http://www.lindakaysilva.com/.
My publisher: http://www.spinsters-ink.com/
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ACROSS TIME VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '08 will officially begin on March 1, 2008 and continue all month. If you would like to follow Linda Kaye's tour, visit http://www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/ in April. Leave a comment on her blog stops and become eligible to win a free copy at the end of her tour! One lucky winner will be announced at the above mentioned blog on March 31!
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Linda Kaye's virtual book tour is brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours at http://www.pumpupyourbookpromotion.com/ and choreographed by Dorothy Thompson.
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