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Author Spotlight on Linda Strader

Tell our readers briefly about yourself.

When I was 20, I became one of the first women to work on a Forest Service fire crew. A very unusual career for a woman in the 1970s. I never thought it was a big deal, though. I kept that career until I was forced to quit. I decided to look for a new line of work to feed my creative side. That led me to becoming a landscape architect, certified arborist, watercolor artist, and most recently, a published author.

What books do you have available?

I have two memoirs available:

Summers of Fire: A Memoir of Adventure, Love, and Courage

Uprooted: A New Life in the Arizona Sun

Can you tell us about your most recent release?

Uprooted is the prequel to Summers of Fire. It is the story behind how, after my parents uprooted our family from Syracuse, NY to Prescott, AZ, I found my way to becoming one of the first women to work on a US Forest Service fire crew in the mid 1970s.

Do you stay in one genre when you write or do you find yourself veering toward others?

Both of my published books are memoir. When asked if I would ever write fiction I used to say never, because I’m terrible at making things up! That said, I read a book that inspired me to write fiction based on fact. I’m in the middle of it, and learning that it is tough to write fiction…far harder than memoir.

Are you a panster, planner, or someone in between?

First off, let me say it wasn’t until I’d written my first book that I even heard of those words! Now that I know what they are, I can say that, at least for me, memoir is much easier to not worry about where the plot is going because I lived it. I guess I’m a panster in that respect. However, with my fiction book…maybe I need to plan it because I’m struggling to figure out where I’m going and why!

What is your writing routine like?

My best time to write creatively is late afternoon. I find it helpful to write at the day’s end, letting my mind go and not think about my job or chores or whatever is not about writing. Editing, though, needs to be early in the day when my mind is uncluttered with the day’s events.

Tell me about your favorite character that you’ve created?

Bartholemew in my new book. He’s a combination therapist, friend, and confidant. I really like him.

Do you add romance to your writing?

My life was full of relationships and romance, so yes, I included it in all of my books. Real life events were hard to write about, though, in the sense that either I have regrets or find it painful to relive what happened.

What was your favorite scene to create?

Fighting my first wildfire! Once I started writing about it, I remembered more details. Each detail I added made the adventure even more harrowing than it seemed at the time. But then, I was only 20 and didn’t know enough to be scared.

What genre do you prefer to read?

Just give me a great story with great writing…it doesn’t matter what genre it is.

Do you have any specific authors you follow and try to craft your work after?

Lately I rediscovered Stephen King. I read his early scary books, and enjoyed them, until Cujo, which was too violent. I stopped reading his books for years. After hearing tremendous praise of his book, 11/22/63, I decided to give it a try. What a surprise! Every spare minute I had, I read that book. I’ve decided that he is now my favorite writer, because his work is impeccable. ALL writers could benefit from reading his books. If you want to know how to write a great scene and believable dialog…read Stephen King.

What does your editing process look like?

I try to write without editing as I go, but it can be hard to do. It’s easier if you write as much as you can before starting to edit. That said, sometimes when I get stuck on a chapter or section, I find backing up and editing what I’ve written helps get me unstuck.

Do you have a preferred drink or snack that you eat/drink while writing?

I remember reading that Hemmingway once said: “Write drunk; edit sober.” After checking that quote, I found that it’s incorrect. So, I while I can’t justify writing drunk and editing sober is what I do, I will say that a glass of wine while writing works for me. No more, no less.

When is your favorite time of day to write and why?

As I mentioned above, late in the day seems to work for me.

What hobbies do you have?

I paint in watercolors and have a large vegetable garden. I also love to hike.

What is something your readers don’t know about you or something unique about yourself?

Not much! I divulge a great deal about who I am in my books.

What defines success for you as an author?

Publishing traditionally.

Do you have a selfcare routine that you follow?

I exercise daily, at least an hour in the morning and again in the afternoon. I am vegan and cook most of my food from scratch…or as much as possible. I think it’s very true-you are what you eat. If you eat awful food, you will feel awful!

What advice would you share with new or aspiring authors?

Do not give up! I had no idea how to write a book, but I wrote one, AND I found a publisher. Yes, it took years. Eight years! It takes as long as it takes. DO NOT rush into publishing. I think the biggest mistake that writers make is publishing too early—the main problem I see with self-publishing.

Where can our readers find you?

My blog or on my Facebook author page.

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