A Q&A with Linda Mooney

Questions emailed in from fans who read her books.

1.  Where do you get your ideas?

I think that question is asked more than any others.  Where?  Believe it or not, my stories and ideas don't come from any one particular place or instance in my life, but are a collection of many different happenstances that suddenly just gel for me into a whole.  More often than not, a plot or locale simply pops into my head without explanation.  Several times I've thought and dwelled upon a story, until I can write the whole novel within the space of 30-45 days.

2.  Do you do anything to keep you inspired?

Oh, yeah.  And my iPod is Prime Suspect Number One.  I download songs that "sound" or remind me of certain scenes in a book I'm currently working on.  I make a "soundtrack" of that book, and play it over and over as I'm writing, to keep me focused on whatever feelings and emotions I'm wanting to relay onto paper (or computer screen).

3.  Does your family support you?

Most definitely!  In fact my hubby gets a kick out of telling his bowling buddies that he "needs to head on home so he can do a little research".  My sons are proud of me, although they tend to blush whenever the subject is brought up in front of company.

4.  I heard you work on more than one book at a time.  How do you keep track of it all?

My journal.  I keep a little wire-bound journal with me at all times.  I jot EVERYTHING down -- every idea, unique name I encounter I want to remember, story threads I need to tie up, incidents in a chapter I may want to expound upon, possible future book titles, and research material I encounter or Googled I may need to use.   A journal is also great to keep phone numbers in, birthday reminders, real life To Do lists, names of contacts, and just about anything else I may want to recall later.  Hey, getting old sucks.  So I figured why risk forgetting something important, when I can just keep it all in a handy little book?   Besides, it's cool to go leafing through it sometime when I'm waiting in a doctor's office or post office, and see something I'd notated that I'd completely forgotten about, and have it send up flares!  My own private little Oh, Yeah! moment.

5.  Do you have other books available?  Is there a sequel to The Battle Lord's Lady?

Yes!  But I'm waiting for my contract to be up with Battle Lord, so I can submit the initial book, and the rest of the series, to another publisher.

6.  Do you use any real life actors as models or inspiration for your stories?

Yes, but not many, and not in the capacity as you may be thinking.  In most cases it's just one actor.

In Lord of Thunder Wilford Brimley was my Horace Funderburke.  Every time I wrote something for him, be it action or dialog, I could hear that man's voice in my head.

In my Battle Lord series, the part of Dr. Liam MaGrath was Clancy Brown, right down to the gray-streaked hair and calm bass voice.

In AEquana, the grandfather Conrad "Buck" Slow Deer was Graham Greene.  I've loved everything that man's ever done.

In the Runner's Moon series, the owner of the Harvest Moon Motor Lodge (and aunt) Wendy Newburg was Ellen Burstyn.  She seems like the kind of aunt every family should have.

I may have an "idea" of a particular actor in mind when I knit a character together.  Sometimes I'll borrow the face or physique, but not necessarily that actor as a whole.  (Maybe the voice strikes me wrong, or I haven't seen my character emerge from them in a part they've portrayed.) But every once in a while there may be someone I can't help but "hire" for my literary "movie".

7.  I live in West Virginia.  Is there any way I can send you one of your books and you autograph it for me?

GREAT NEWS!  You can now order an autographed copy of most of my books and have it shipped to you!  You can even have one personalized, or have a copy autographed for one of your friends and have it sent to them!  Just check out the new "rose" link for that option!

8.  How big are your books?  Are they novel size or short story size? 

Until recently all my books are novels.  That's a good question because more and more I'm discovering that what some authors are calling "books" are actually short stories.

A plus-size novel is usually 80,000 words (true count) or more.
A novel is 60,000 words and up.
A novella is 30,000 words, up to 60K.
Anything below 30K is basically a short story.

By "true count", I mean if you actually counted every single word in the story, it would add up to that amount.  A "New York count" is where an author boosts his typewritten font to New Courier 12 pt., then multiplies the number of pages in the story by 250.  In short, it's an inflated count that doesn't represent the real size of the manuscript, but it's used to give an overall "idea" as to the size of the book.

9.  You said you listen to music when you write.  Any songs in particular?

If I listed all the songs I listened to for each book, it would make a novella of its own.  (In most cases, my short stories don't have a signature song.) But I will give you The One Song that inspired me the most when I was working on certain books.  To this day, whenever I hear that song being played, my book comes right back to me.

The Battle Lord's Lady
"The Last Words You Said" by Sarah Brightman and Richard Marx

"Ain't No Mountain High Enough" by Michael McDonald

Runner's Moon: Jebaral
"Better Now" by Collective Soul

Runner's Moon: Tiron
"Stairway to Heaven" by London Symphony Orchestra (instrumental)

Runner's Moon: Simolif
"The World" by Brad Paisley

Healer of the Heart
The entire soundtrack to the movie Timeline

The Gifted
"Every Little Thing She Does is Magic" by The Police (and remake by Ra)

"Amas Veritas" from the soundtrack to the movie Practical Magic

"Tell Him" by Celine Dion and Barbra Streisand

"If You Ever Leave Me" by Barbra Streisand and Vince Gill

A Different Yesterday
"Until I Find You Again" by Richard Marx

Lord of Thunder
"Oceano" by Josh Groban

Passion of Thunder
"There You Are" by Martina McBride

Wings of Thunder
"Wild Angels" by Martina McBride

10.  Will you ever write a vampire story?

I'm dabbling with an idea.

11.  Do you write anything other than fantasy or science fiction?

Yes.  I wrote a mainstream contemporary (Sand Castle) that's also a Christmas short story.  I don't foresee myself venturing out of my "comfort zone" again any time soon.

12.  My mother and I read Sandeflay.  You have it listed as an urban fantasy, but we were arguing whether it was also a science fiction story.  Are your stories hard to categorize?

Very much so!  And when I have to give my publisher one or two categories where to place the book on their website, I tend to argue with myself.  Since the majority of my stories originally fall first in the erotic romance category, it's deciding that second category that gives me fits.  LOL! 

13.  I'm curious.  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I'm basically a plotter. I have an idea, I come up with possible problems and plot points I want to include, and I know how I want the book to end. In my journal, I make notes of characters (and their descriptions), and other names I need to keep track of. After that, I begin to write.

Of course, sometimes my story veers off, which means my outline needs revision. I don't force a story to stick to my outline because circumstances change. But I can't "pantser" -- I can't sit down with no idea what my story is going to be about, or where it's going to take me, or how it's going to end.

14.  I see where most of your romances are written in third person, but I haven't read any of your urban fantasies yet, and those I have read are in first person.  Do you write in first person?

I write all of my romances in third person, including my urban fantasies, but I write some horror in first person because I feel it better "reveals" the terror in that voice. 

15.  I love your covers!  Do you do them yourself?

No, but thank you!  Most of my covers are done by Kendra over at WCPT, and at Red Rose I have Ash design them, based on suggestions I've written in my cover art request forms.

More to come!