Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Linda L. Richards

Linda L. Richards is a journalist, photographer and the author of numerous books, including three series of novels featuring strong female protagonists. She is the former publisher of Self-Counsel Press and the founder and publisher of January Magazine.

Richards's new novel is Endings.

My Q&A with the author:
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

This book is all about Endings. Well, and beginnings as well, I guess, but that doesn’t make as good a title! But as we join the book, a lot of things have ended and as we move forward with the narrating character we are with her for still more ends. Do wonderful new things almost always come out of endings? Well, yes. Of course. But she doesn’t see it that way.

What's in a name?

My agent sold this book to Oceanview as A Possibility of Endings, which is actually part of a line in the book. “Too many words,” they said, and fair enough. They weren’t wrong. Endings is a much better title. It’s more about promise as well as foreshadowing. I like the title a lot.

How surprised would your teenage reader self be by your new novel?

Ohmigosh, but that’s a fun and silly question! I love it. And I think she would be mucho surprised, considering the main character kills people for money and I don’t think my teenaged self would have considered that a proper career option. (Thank goodness! This whole story has a different ending if she did.)

Do you find it harder to write beginnings or endings? Which do you change more?

Oh that’s easy! I never write beginnings: they simply are. Like words will dance into my head and that’s it. I often don’t even have a story. Or characters. And certainly no ending is in sight at that point. Ever.

Endings are different. I’m so about “what if?” in my life, all ways. What if I take that road instead of this one? What if I add beer to a recipe instead of wine? Or gin? What if I don’t take that job, but spend a year writing a book, instead?

Personally, I think that is a fun way to live, but it does mean that when it comes to writing endings, the infinite possibilities of the thing dance into my mind and tease me. What if what if what if. I often write several different endings, then evaluate and create some amalgamation of what I think are the best of the ideas.

Okay: I’ll be honest. That is not the most expeditious way to get to “The End,” but it seems to be the way my mind works. I’m a bit of a perfectionist (some would say “control freak”) and all those “what if”s help me to get to what I hope is the best answer to all of the questions.

Do you see much of yourself in your characters? Do they have any connection to your personality, or are they a world apart?

All of my characters are of me and so parts of me but I think I also do a good job of writing characters who are distinct from each other and therefor from me, if that makes sense. It seems like a lot of words.

To put it another way: all of those characters I guess are of me, since they are conceived of and executed by me. But also, I think they have their own place in (at least their imaginary) world. I hope when you read, you experience characters who are distinct and have their own voices and thoughts about how they fit into their world.

What non-literary inspirations have influenced your writing?

“Influence” is an interesting word, I think. at least, in this context. We are influenced by everything we see and experience and breathe. Looked at that way, there is nothing that has not had influence. For the narrating character in Endings, I was influenced by a desire to see what might happen if extreme pressure were applied to someone of a “normal” background and life. At least, that’s how it began. After a while, the narrating character had her own life and those earlier influences because less important. Maybe that’s just always how it goes.
Visit Linda L. Richards's website.

My Book, The Movie: Endings.

The Page 69 Test: Endings.

--Marshal Zeringue