Linda Leander, author of Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders
Questions by R. Murry
Linda: Can you tell me a little about yourself?
I have to write. I’m married to someone I love spending time with. My favorite color is green and I love roller coasters. I play fiddle, guitar and a few other instruments and am a singer/songwriter. I like to camp and lead the choir at my church.
Do you remember the first story you wrote?
It was in the second or third grade and I wrote it about a poor girl. She had very little and kids made fun of her. It made me mad so I wrote a story. I can’t remember what I called it but my mother was impressed, I remember that.
Were you inspired by someone or something?
I have been inspired by a lot of people in my life. My parents were very supportive and encouraged me to succeed. They both wrote short stories and poems (my dad wrote some songs too) and read a lot. It’s definitely from them that I get my love of books. My other big inspirations were my fourth grade English teacher, our town librarian when I was a child and my high school band and Literature teachers. They all saw something in me I didn’t even know I had and encouraged me to share my thoughts and feelings on paper and through music.
What do you like about writing a story?
The actual writing is what I love best. Creating a story and writing without thinking. Getting it on paper. Not worrying about errors or format or misspellings. Just writing and being lost in the characters and the plot.
Can you tell us about your book?
INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders is a story about a poor Appalachian girl in 1843. She is destined to marry one of the local boys down the mountain. All her life she has yearned to travel and see things that are new and exciting but the opportunity has never presented itself. Until now. A Gypsy circus comes to town and by some twist of fate Bertha Maude Anderson becomes INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders. She joins the troupe of performers and learns to ride Cecil the elephant. What happens after that is the story of her becoming a woman, learning to trust and stand up for herself, and enduring prejudice and hardships while seeking to solve a mystery that has plagued the circus for years.
How did you come up with the story?
The story came up with me! Really! I sat down to write and I couldn’t type fast enough to get the words down. Inzared spoke to me in her regional dialect and she was just like some old girlfriend I hadn’t seen in years. Many nights we talked until the wee hours until we drifted off to sleep. And she’s not done yet!
What genre best fits for the book?
Young Adult Historical Fiction, I think, although mostly adults have read and reviewed it so far. There is no sex in the book and only two swear words (from circus roustabouts).
Are you working on something new at the moment?
At present I am finishing the second book in the INZARED Series. I don’t have a title for it but I’m thinking it will be called something like INZARED, The Healer (Book 2). My plan is for it to be published by Christmas 2012.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Don’t take critique personally. It’s hard, I know. I have enough rejection letters from music publishers to paper a wall, but I finally did get songs published. It’s necessary to put on a thick skin and believe in yourself. Take all criticism positively and try to make your writing better. I have cried at unkind comments and gotten angry over some but after I settle down I think over what has been said and apply it to my writing. It always makes it better!
Which authors inspire you?
Thomas Hardy is one of my favorite authors and I love the fluidity of his writing. Stephen King and J.K. Rowling are great examples of writers with imagination and sheer literary genius. Margaret Mitchell and Barbara Kingsolver’s description and depth are helpful to me. When I want an entertaining read, I turn to Harlan Coben and Michael Connelly or Ken Follett and Dean Koontz. I absolutely love Ann Rule because I get so engrossed in the true crime stories she portrays so well. There are many, many others!
Where can people go to read your work?
INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders is available on Amazon as a Kindle eBook. It will soon be out in paperback.
Where can people find you on the Internet?
www.lleander.com is my website. Readers can access my Facebook author page, Twitter page and blog from there, as well as the awesome video trailer for the book. My Amazon Author Page is here: http://www.amazon.com/L.-Leander/e/B008IVRNU8/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1346994653&sr=1-2-ent
I’m also on Goodreads and Shelfari.
Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?
I love to hear from readers! I answer all emails and questions and love to chat. I review books in my spare time and am currently working to add those reviews to my blog. My goal is to be the best writer I can be!