Welcome Linn, lovely to have you here at Sally Lunns. This weekend has been busy as I’ve had two guests so hope not to pile on the calories too much. The cakes in here are wonderful!
Thank you for inviting me, I’m partial to a toasted tea cake myself but cup cakes are now a serious contender ha! Ha!
My first question as always is to ask a little bit about you.
I live in Arlingham, alongside the River Severn in Gloucestershire, UK. We’ve been here about eighteen months and we love the small community atmosphere of this little village. Writing is my third career and one I had to wait quite a long time to have the pleasure of beginning. After nearly 20 years in finance, I then found myself involved with interior design. It had been a long-time hobby and I’d styled quite a few homes for friends over the years. Getting involved with designing the interiors for new build show homes took it to another level. It was one of the most enjoyable working periods of my life, because it was great fun. However, it was very hard work and often a pressure due to very tight timescales from a house being completed, to having to get it totally set up.
Often people don’t realise that the interior designer not only ‘styles’ the interior, but chooses the final finishes, fixtures and fittings, then has to buy all the furniture, soft furnishings and decorative display items. All those items have to be stored off-site until the house is ready and then typically it’s a two-day turnaround to get things delivered, unpacked and set up. The final result often makes it seem like a glamorous job to have, but organising storage, someone to accept delivery of the goods and check them, sorting the labour for moving-in day and even things like arranging for the disposal of packing materials, can be a headache! I had a good team I could call on to help out and everyone worked until the job was done, regardless of how late in the day it was. I learnt a lot, including how to iron curtains in situ with a steam iron – invaluable! I’ve even been known to whizz the iron over a fully made up bed to get final creases out of the duvet cover…
How long ago did you first start writing?
In terms of the five books I now have published, I began writing in March 2009. I had given up work in December 2008 to look after my mum, but sadly she passed away just three months later. I had a choice, to go back to work or to take that ‘time’ to write. I haven’t stopped since.
What sparked your interest in the paranormal?
Interesting question Joanna! I don’t really connect with the word paranormal. To me it smacks of ghosts and people who seek out encounters because they want scientific proof to parade to the world. For me personally, and I might be alone here, connecting with loved ones is something totally different. I’ve had experiences dating back to a young child and a mere few were things that were unpleasant; I’ve had no more than four or five that I would class as terrifying. On those occasions I left immediately and never looked back. As a child the encounters were mainly to do with things associated with the houses I lived in. Increasingly over the last ten years it has become more about my loved ones, having lost my parents and an aunt and uncle to whom I was very close. When something happens it’s natural to look for some simple explanation so you can pass it off lightly. I’ve tried them all – tired eyes, trick of the light, imagination, wishful thinking. However, I have also visited a number of incredibly good psychic mediums who validated beyond doubt some of the spirit helpers around me. I think my spiritual journey began after my father died in 2004. For a long time I talked about the incidents but simply filed them away as unexplained. Living with someone who was an even greater sceptic than I was to begin with, meant I had to wait until someone else brought up the topic in conversation. Then my husband Lawrence had his first experience and things changed. Since then we have had quite a few shared experiences and, as the saying goes, seeing IS believing. However ‘the proof’ is personal, a bit like believing in God. If you aren’t ready to take that step, then you simply won’t pick up on what is happening around you, around all of us.
You decided to incorporate that interest into your writing. What was the trigger for the first book?
Since a very young age I knew romance was always going to be my genre and I have a journal full of ideas for stories that I’ve kept since I was a teenager. However, when I sat down to write Touched By The Light in March 2009, my mother had literally just passed away. I was in the middle of sorting the funeral and her effects and began writing simply to have a break away from the sadness of it all. To keep my sanity I needed to lose myself for a couple of hours a day in something totally unrelated. The opening scene is one where Mya, who is twenty-three years of age, is in an emergency room in a hospital and suddenly she ‘follows the light’. Given my personal situation, I think it’s obvious what was on my mind, although I hasten to add that it’s a romance with a lot of humour in it, but written to make the reader think about both sides of life. However, when I include psychic elements I always draw on actual first-hand experiences to weave into the fictional stories. The result is that I get a lot of mail from readers who have had similar experiences and some are sharing theirs for the first time with me. I always feel that’s something rather special and for which I’m very grateful.
You are now a successfully published author with Sapphire. How did that come about?
It was a random exchange on Twitter, when Sapphire Star had literally just launched. After a brief exchange I submitted The Quintessential Gemini, my second manuscript and the only one that doesn’t have a psychic twist. I was almost ready to self-publish it at the time but that Twitter exchanged convinced me to have a go. Shortly after I signed the contract I submitted my third manuscript, The Restaurant @ The Mill and that was accepted too. They are a fabulous team and the support has been fantastic. It can really make a difference when you are a new author.
What is your next project?
I have two on the go, The Quintessential Astrologer (a sequel) and The Glass Wall. Very different stories, but great fun to write.
I know you have an incredibly busy life but when you do get spare time what do you like to do?
I write. My ‘work’ time is taken up with running websites, to the extent that I am no longer OCD when it comes to housework I’m afraid. Neat, tidy and clean, yes, but the dusting can wait and often does. Any time away from the computer is spent with the youngest members of our family and in finishing the renovation work to our cottage, a converted cowshed and hayloft.
What is your favourite holiday destination and why?
France and California. For the same reasons – we’ve visited some many times over the years and feel we have an affinity with both. Also there are so many memories from when the children were young, when my mum and dad often came with us on trips and wonderful people we’ve met. Also the romantic times we’ve had for wedding anniversaries and birthdays etc. Treasured memories and we will be making some more when we are off to France again in June.
And lastly, if you could invite four guests to dinner, who would they be and why would you invite them?
Jonathan Cainer, he’s my favourite astrologer and I’ve followed him for more years than I care to remember. Richard & Judy, I assume they count as ‘one’, being a couple! Having seen them live at the RNA RoNA awards recently, I was amazed to discover they sit opposite each other at the kitchen table to write. Jamie Oliver, and I would ask him to do a demonstration so that I could sample some of his delicious recipes. James Blunt, because he’s an interesting guy and the words to some of his songs are amazing. I would want four separate dinner parties though, as I would have so many questions for each one!
A great mix of guests Linn and yes I guess you would need to have four dinner parties for such a diverse quartet! Thank you so much for coming along and for such a great interview.
More information on Linn and her writing can be found on the social network connections below:
Life, love and beyond … but it’s ALWAYS about the romance!
I’ll be back with Tea and Talk on the 31st March when I’ll be chatting with author Jane Risdon.