Name Linda M. Crate
Where are you from Pennsylvania, USA
I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania but raised in the rural town of Conneautville. I attended Linesville High School and graduated in 2005. I went to Edinboro University where I got a Bachelors in English-Literature.
I have been writing since I was thirteen years old, but my first poems started to be published in 2011. I have two published chapbooks: A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press) and Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon).
I am also the author of the Magic series through my publisher Ravenswood Publishing and their imprint Chimera. Blood & Magic was published March 2015 and the second of the series Dragons & Magic was published October 2015. These are the first two of a seven book series.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My book of poetry Sing Your Own Song is forthcoming from Barometric Press Series.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing when I was thirteen. At first it was just a way to get my feelings out as I never really fit in with anyone despite getting along with most everyone. Most of it was very confessional in nature, but through encouragement from the few close friends I had, I pursed it and also expanded into short stories and novels.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always considered myself a writer since I found my voice through writing at thirteen. I had done some writing before this and enjoyed it, but I didn’t realize when I was younger what a profound affect it would have on my life.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
It was first inspired by a roleplay between my friend Rory and me. I really liked the characters and I wanted a chance to immortalize them through print. I was really fond of them and knew that they could exist out of the world of Harry Potter.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I don’t really think so. I write in whatever way/voice suits me. I prefer to have some realism in all my writing though whether it be fiction or poetry even including fantasy poetry I always want there to be truth in my words and be able to connect to someone somehow.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Blood & Magic came naturally to me because the love-interest in that novel was a part-vampire and I thought it sounded a bit more intriguing than simply “Vampires” & Magic. Not to mention the two main characters aren’t the only characters in the story. It’s a bit of an ensemble piece and there are more than simply vampires in the story.
It was also alluding to the fact that there would be battle and bloodshed in Atriel.
The second novel Dragons & Magic seemed fitting because the main character of this novel is a shapeshifting faerie who can take the form of a dragon.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are several. The most important of those being love, friendship, comradery.
There are also other themes that I find important: sometimes bad things happen to good people and it’s not their fault/they’re not being punished by gods or heaven, that life goes on through hard times we just have to keep moving forward, the environment is important and should be protected, all men and women are made equal and deserve to be treated as thus, everyone is flawed but they’re still beautiful, that sometimes good people make bad decisions, etc.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic ?
I feel like the characters are realistic. I try to give them depth and character and make them relatable. Even in a world full of magic that is so vastly different from our own – I try to make the story believable.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
There are some people based on people that I know in my life. Some of the villains are customers that I’ve waited on and have made me cry. Others are combinations of people I don’t like or are inspired by sheer dumb luck. Some of the heroes have qualities that either me or my friends or people I have known have exhibited.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I think the books that influenced me the most in my life have been the Harry Potter Series, The Inheritance Series, Vittorio the Vampire by Anne Rice, Lord of the Rings, and the tales of Sherlock Holmes specifically The Hounds of the Baskervilles. However, I generally tend to glean wisdom from every book I read.
As far as mentors go I had a few. My neighbor whom I loved dearly Kathleen was always good at giving me advice in life and listening to my problems without judgment, and she always encouraged me to follow my heart and my dreams.
My late uncle Jimmy who told me to chase my dreams relentlessly and never to give up because anything else in life would only grieve my heart.
My teacher Mrs. Meyers who always believed in me and encouraged me to be the best me I could possibly be.
My teacher Ms. Struski who was one of the kindest yet fiercest and snarkiest women I knew. She always inspired the inner warrior in me, and she helped me see that standing up for myself was sometimes necessary but it didn’t make me a bad person. She also reminded me of my strength and beauty when I didn’t necessarily feel either of those two things.
My fellow author Sunbow Pendragon who is a very kind and inspiring woman who encourages me more than she could possibly ever know, and someone whom I very much admire.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m not currently reading anything although I have a few books that I received for Christmas that are beckoning to me.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I am always working on something. I am currently working on the final book of my Hybrid series in addition to slipping in some poetry, short stories, etc. in daily.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Outside of family – I would have to say that my friend Alicia has been the biggest supporter of mine. When my first novel Amethyst Epiphany was held in retainer to be published for over a year and rejected on length alone and not content – I was a bit of a mess. She was the one that helped me to dry my tears and keep pursuing my dream and for that I will forever be eternally grateful.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I do! I hope that one day I am able to quit my day job and focus on writing solely.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I would have probably wedged another book in between the first and the second simply because a lot of time passes between the first and the second books. However, I don’t know if that’s necessarily a bad thing as you do get the backstory for some of the history within Dragons & Magic.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I always loved reading books, and I thought to myself that it would be very cool to have my words in a book since I loved books much more than anything else.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Most publishers are very picky about stuff that has been previously published online so I must politely decline, but if you’re interested in my work you can find examples of it by simply typing Linda M. Crate into google.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I have always struggled with the passage of time. Once a friend told me that I make things happen too quickly so I’ve tried to draw things out a bit more in detail and expound upon things instead of having everything happen at once with little to no explanation.
Now, I sometimes worry if I don’t draw things out too far. But I have people who love my books so I must be doing something right.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
One of my favorite writers is Jodi Picoult – I love how she can talk about a hot button issue but do it in such a way that is both sensitive and thought provoking.
I am also a fan of J.K. Rowling. I love how expansive and immersive her world is, and how the characters are so real. I remember once that I was compared to Molly Weasley and I swelled up like a tiger and they were like: “We’re not calling you fat, Linda! We’re saying that you’re really sweet, but you’re scary when you’re mad.” Which, I suppose, is a fair point.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not really as I write fantasy that doesn’t typically happen on Earth but in other worlds that I’ve constructed of my own devising which is particularly helpful as I am broke right now. I would love to travel some more and get some more cultural backgrounds and histories for future novels and even just to get some ideas for the books that are currently in my head.
I’ve only traveled to Ohio, South Dakota, North Dakota, North Carolina, and South Carolina and visited some of the states in-between but didn’t really get to know them. The only country I’ve ever been to is Canada and that was before you needed a passport to get in.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
For my first book it was designed by Elayne Griffiths. The second one was designed by my publisher Kitty Honeycutt.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The passage of time and some of the characters deaths were painful. I cried over some of them. I even tried to spare one from dying, but they ended up dying in the book after that one; anyway. I have no control over it, it seems. The characters know their story better than I do – I’m just the muse lady.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Sometimes no matter how hard you fight it what must be will be, patience is definitely a virtue that I could work on, and characters are like children and require constant supervision; sometimes.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Keep on going. No matter what, if this is your dream then you’re going to have to fight tooth and nail for it. No one’s going to be able to do it for you.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I thank you for considering my works.
If you enjoy them I’m glad that you were able to take something from my works, and I thank you for supporting me and my art. IF you do not enjoy them I’m sorry for the bad experience and I hope that won’t turn you off from considering future works. I know every piece won’t be for everyone, but I do hope to get better as I progress in my writing career.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
My mother used to read Dr. Suess to me when I was younger. I really enjoyed those books. I can’t remember my first book independently read, though. I’m sure it was something fantasy or related to The Little Mermaid.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
This is a loaded question. My friends and family make me laugh, some comedy movies (but I’m not a fan of stupid funny or slapstick humor), my characters. As for things that make me cry: reading stories about animals being hurt in any way, bullies (although I try to hold in the tears until they walk away just so they can’t have the satisfaction of knowing they got to me), happy stories about animals that have found homes or survived horrible things, happy stories about children who have faced difficult/horrible odds, people doing horrible things to people, characters, fan fiction (especially the poorly written kind and those who do weird crossovers into other fandoms that I like).
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
I would have loved to have met Eleanor Roosevelt because she seemed like a wise woman, and I’d love to gain some insight from her.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
I’m not sure. Something witty probably.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Singing, swimming, shopping, hanging out with friends and family, making parodies of songs that apply to my current situation, nature walks, photography, dancing.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Criminal Minds, NCIS, Law & Order: SVU, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Will & Grace, Friends, most animes I come across (really hoping for more Kamisama Kiss and Yona of the Dawn), etc.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Foods: Meatloaf (but only my mothers and grandmothers – I’m picky like that), tacos, pizza, chicken, General Tso’s Chicken, burritos, egg rolls, shrimp, clams, jalapenos, banana peppers, onions (only raw, I hate them cooked), bread (garlic, cheesy, everything, white, etc. I could probably live off of bread.), pancakes, waffles, Danishes especially cherry and apple, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin anything really (except the lattes at Starbucks which I find are gross and don’t taste like pumpkin), cupcakes, cherries, oranges, bananas, honey graham crackers without the cinnamon, peanut butter, grapes, etc.
I love food. I also am very picky, but those are my favorites.
Colors: I like most colors but my favorites would have to be dark reds (like scarlets and crimsons), teal, black, and dark purples.
Music: Anything but country music, really. Or polka.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Everyone told me in school I should have been a singer. I totally could see me doing that now – I’m braver than I once was. I also would have liked to have been an actress or a model. I’m dying to do a fantasy shoot someday.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I have a blog for my Magic Series for the time being. You can find it here: http://bloodandmagic.blogspot.com/ .