Hello Linda, nice to meet you!
Tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy?
An Atlanta city girl turned country; I now live in rural AR with my husband, Jerry and our animals, including an amazing pet squirrel, Spunky Doodle. We have four pet miniature goats and an old dog, Tinker. We have spent a lifetime traveling the world doing mission work and feeding my wanderlust, which is why I became a travel agent.
How did you start writing? What was your inspiration to create?
My writing journey began later in life with inspirational articles for a church newsletter. Our Pastor graciously told me he hated writing his column because mine was so much better. I chose to consider my writing style different, not better. Every writer has something to offer. He has a much greater gift with the spoken word.
What genre do you enjoy reading?
When I read it is purely for enjoyment. My day is filled with details and can be very stressful. I don’t want to have to tax my brain to figure out a plot. I just want to lose myself in a good story. I do like mysteries with a splash of romance. Iris Johansen does a good job fitting this bill for me.
If you’ve published a series, what is the series about?
Almost three years ago a very special critter was literally thrown into our laps. Enter Spunky Doodle, a unique, sassy, wonderfully personable little squirrel found my husband in the woods. She was all alone and immediately climbed on his gloved hand. I went back with him later, and she climbed into my arms, refusing to be left alone. I tried. She followed us. The rest is history. Spunky writes daily stories and has brought smiles and inspiration to many. She has also left her mark on me, as I’m her Mommy tree.
What was it like creating back to back stories that link?
With Spunky as the inspiration for my stories, there is certainly no shortage of material. Many are based on her antics and personality, but she also weaves life lessons for young and old as well as inspiration to others.
Have you ever thought about writing in a different genre? If you could, what genre would you like to dabble in?
I also enjoy inspirational writing, much of which is woven into Spunky stories.
What has been your most proud moment as an author?
Two things instantly come to mind. We have a blind friend that told me once,”I can actually see it happening when I read your stories”. Proud moment! Another is a friend who had been housebound for years. She told me Spunky stories were the only bright spot in her day. During her last week on earth, her granddaughter lay in bed with her, reading Spunky stories and laughing together. It made her final moments on earth happier. It is priceless when you can bring joy and laughter to someone who so desperately needs it.
Was there ever a time you wanted to pick up your laptop, and then launch it out the window with frustration?
My desktop, yes, every single day. I love writing, but when it comes to anything technical, even the simplest things, I throw up my hands and walk away.
Are you a “plotter” or a fly by the seat of your pants “pantster” as a writer?
My writing has all been short stories and based on personal experiences. Many times it takes time to process those experiences, and there does not seem to be a set time period for this. I just “know” when it’s time. I don’t even think about what I’m going to write; it seems to flow from my heart to my fingers. I don’t think the way I write, it just happens. Some of my journeys are more profound than others, and it takes my mind and heart whatever time it takes to get to the point of sharing them. Many times I go back and read what I’ve written and I have to wonder how those words arrived on the screen.
What three tips would you give any aspiring writer?
Find a subject you are passionate about!
Just write! Get it down on paper in some form.
Talk to published authors to see where you want to go from here.
What are you working on now? What will you release next?
A short story for a book to be published later this year. Also, a children’s book and possibly an adult version of same is sitting in my computer waiting for me to fine tune.
How would you define what being a successful writer means?
There is a huge difference in being a successful writer and being a published writer. In my heart, I feel I am successful if by sharing my personal experiences I can make readers feel as if they were there seeing what I am describing, instill laughter, inspiration, and hope. That’s my measure of success. In the end, that’s what counts.
Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
I have no aspirations of becoming rich and famous from my writing but I think we do need to take pride in our work. If that is ego then it’s a good thing. Just don’t take it too personally if another writer offers suggestions that aren’t quite in your comfort zone.
What’s your writing schedule like?
I write when I feel something is ready to come forth. Things pop into my head when I sit down in front of the screen; then it seems to flow.
How have your family and friends accepted your career as a writer? Are they supportive?
My husband has been my constant source of support and encouragement. However, I cannot overlook the many friends that have pushed me forward with the “You can do this” nudge. I tend to want to write for the sense of satisfaction I feel when it’s done, and the joy it brings to others. I openly admit that I have little inspiration when it comes to trying to get anything published.
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
I couldn’t even begin to imagine the characters I use in my writing. I am blessed to have traveled to the ends of the earth and have encountered countless “characters” that have inspired me. There simply is not enough time to do them all justice.
Where would you like to travel to and why?
We have spent our lives traveling the world, both as a travel agent, for personal enjoyment, and for mission work. I am quite content now, at my ripe old age, to sit here on my little farm and enjoy our animals and the serenity of our creek behind the house.
Which one of your characters is your favorite and why?
Spunky Doodle is without a doubt the shining star in my writing. If you haven’t read her stories, you in for a real treat. I don’t mean that to sound boastful, she is a blessing from God and has enriched my life and that of so many she has touched with her stories.
Meet Spunky Doodle and how she came to live with Linda at the end of the interview.
What would you like readers to know?
I am an only child, have always been shy, but my world comes alive when I write. I don’t think I am special. I feel God has given me a talent to share, through whatever avenues that come available. My goal is to connect with my readers in such a way that I make them smile, belly laugh, weep silent tears, teach life’s lessons, however simple they might be so that they will take away something special from anything I write. That is enough for me.
Visit Spunky on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/linda.suit
or on Pandoras Box Gazette the second Saturday in each month for the newest adventure in “Spunky Tales” https://www.pandorasboxjt.com/
SPUNKY DOODLE FINDS A HOME
I was little, lost, and alone. I couldn’t find my Mommy anywhere and I was very scared. Oh look, here comes someone! He came close and I peeked over some bushes. I decided I really needed him as a friend, so I was brave and climbed on his glove. Boy was he surprised! He talked to me but then he left, so I hid in the bushes again. I was so afraid. Please let him come back. Yes, there he is! I was glad to see him cause I was really worried since it was getting late and I was hungry. He sat down, played, and talked with me. I tried to tell him he was nice but I really needed a Mommy. Oh no, he’s leaving again. What am I going to do? I don’t know how to take care of myself. Yes! Here he comes with a lady. I hope she’s nice and wants me as much I as need her. I will do my best to convince her. I’ll be good.
I ran from behind a tree and before she knew it, I was on her shoulder. Hi! Then I kissed her neck and sat on her head. She was really surprised I didn’t bite her. We played for a bit but then she put me down, and they walked away. No, please, you can’t leave me, I’m all alone, I need you to be my Mommy! She looked kind of sad but kept walking, so I followed them. I was not taking no for an answer. I ran up her leg, into her arms and wouldn’t let go. She looked at the nice man, then down at me and said, “Ok, Spunky, you can come home with us.” Silly lady thought I was a boy at first! I lost my squirrel Mommy, and that makes me really sad but how lucky can I be to find someone to take care of me? They took me home, fed me, but now the bad part…she gave me a bath! I’m so glad I found them, even after the bath cause I got to snuggle with her. My new Mommy and Jerry Boy take really good care of me, even if they do make me eat veggies before I get my nut for dessert.
I curled up in Jerry Boy’s pocket to sleep. After a few nights of this, I was asleep in his pants pocket after all my antics, and Mommy was ready to put me to bed. First trick was to get me out of his pocket, so Jerry Boy reached in to get me, and I was not having it. I started kicking and burrowing deeper. So he has a mad squirrel in his pocket, and every time he tries to get me I kick, bite, and squeal trying to get him to leave me alone…getting the picture? He is stretching to give me more room and I am getting pretty close to forbidden territory. The look on his face is priceless. He is squirming to avoid permanent damage, and Mommy is laughing so hard she almost fell out of her chair. Moral of the story, when a squirrel is sleepy let her sleep!
Fast forward to today, it’s been almost three years, and I have a lot of friends young and old that love reading my stories. I even have conversations with them. Can you imagine people actually talking to a squirrel? Take my word for it, they do! When I got discouraged from writing, someone would say, “Spunky, you are the only thing that brought a smile to my face today.” So you see, I was sent here for a special reason, to bring laughter, teach my little friends about life, and tug at your heartstrings.