Welcome back to the author interview series. Today, we are getting to talk with Linda Ramirez (L.A. Ramirez) who is a native New Yorker who moved out to the open spaces of Montana.
Linda, can you tell us some about your family, growing up, and what got you started into writing?
- I grew up with 5 siblings, my parents, a beloved grandmother and any stray dog someone brought home in West Islip, NY. Life was a struggle with so many.
- I’ve been married for almost 36 years to Jorge, have two (four counting their spouses) beautiful children and two (a third arriving) grandchildren. I went back to college at 45 to finish a B.A. in Theology.
- I have always liked to write, but mostly to tell stories. I was jotting down yet another story and my son read it. He said, “Mom, if that was a book, I would read it.” So I wrote the first book. I never worked to publish it. When I started this book, my husband said he’d be willing to pay for whatever it took to get it published (editors, cover designers, formatting, etc.)
Have you had support from others outside your immediate family while you were writing?
- My friends.
With all of that history, when did you know you were a writer?
- When I published the book, January 2015.
Is this one your first book?
- Yes. Big Sky Siren was just published.
With your writing, do you feel you have a specific writing style?
- No. Not yet.
Do you draw from your own experiences and observations, or do you create your characters from scratch?
- Some small events are my own experience. I was stalked once and my son and daughter worked in a small local bakery for a total of 7 years between them. My husband is Cuban and I’m half Irish. Many people have a little slice in the characters. The whole book could be true.
Do you have a particular method you use to select your titles?
- Because when I started this particular book it had much more about goddesses and Montana’s beautiful sky. The first editor took so much of that out. The second had me work to put the sky back in.
Do you have any authors whom you consider a mentor, even if you haven’t met them?
- Hemingway. I love his word style. Sadly, I don’t imitate it.
Is Hemingway your favorite author, or do you have others?
- I have too many to be favorites, but I do love any book by Allison Brennan, David Baldacci, and Sandra Brown to name a few.
Did he influence your life and your writing style?
- Yes, along with Jane Austen, Langston Hughes, Robert Frost and any mystery out there.
Have you encountered any new authors who sparked your interest?
- Several, but their books are waiting for me to read.
That answers part of the next question – are you a big reader. The rest of the question is if you have a book currently in the place of honor at the top of that pile. Who is the luck author (and book)?
- Sydney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie
This one you may want to shoot me for asking, but I’m sure others have asked you this. If you could go back to the beginning of your writing journey and start again with the knowledge you have now, would you change anything?
- I would have kept more in it that the first editor took out and had the characters more intelligent selves be there for the reader.
It looks like you learned quite a bit going through this process. Can you describe challenges faced you along the way and what did you learn from them?
- Yes, making my thoughts and ideas clear with the written words.
- The biggest challenge was the editing.
- Anything is achievable.
You did mention the issue with one editor going one way with the manuscript, and a second editor going just the opposite. That must have been a tough call to decide which way you wanted to go. Did you have similar issues when you were designing your cover?
- No. I sent two photos to Damonza and had them design the cover.
Are you pressing on into your next project?
- Yes. I am working on book 2 of the Big Sky Series, Big Sky Allure.
May we get a glimpse at your current work?
- Big Sky Allure is about Mari, who travels to Spain to get over a very bad situation. She steps into a gun deal and to keep the gun seller from killing her, Mikel Iberra, the gun buyer, kidnaps her and takes her on his cargo ship where they travel to different places. She left one love who had used her for illegal gains, and finds herself falling for a gun dealer!
Has writing become your new career?
- I hope.
Do you leave messages in your writing for your readers to find?
- Yes. Even with pain, we can find love.
- I hope they enjoy the stories and the characters as much as I do. And yes, Mac will get his story but it will have to be book three or four.
One more question. Now that you’ve published, do you have any words of wisdom for other authors who are starting out, or further into their journeys?
- Don’t quit and keep writing. If you don’t know the craft, and I didn’t, take all the classes you can. I took around 30 ‘classes’ online in the first 18 months and still take classes. Relax, let your stories flow, but understand why a good outline will help you, even if you stray from it, know what it is that needs to be included and what order.
Thank you Linda for sharing your time today. Congratulations on your first book’s release, and I know with your “will do” attitude you’ll make that career “hope” a career “yes”.
Linda will be returning Sunday with Keeva Ryan, so be sure to come back for that one. In the mean time, for anyone wishing to talk with Linda further, you can find her on her blog, follower her on Twitter, or like her on Facebook.
If you would like me to host an author interview for you, please check out my Offered Services, and send in your submission. Thank you all for helping to make this series a success.
Happy writing, and I’ll see you next time.