Friday, February 25, 2011

Interview with Linda Pendleton, Indie Author Pioneer

I can’t describe what a treat it is to be able to present to you my next guest, who was kind enough to let me interview her about one of her novels.  Linda Pendleton is her name, and she has quite a resume behind her, and is probably one of the first in what we are now calling an "indie" author. More of that in a minute.

You could say that where I am now with my writing career is the fault of her husband, the late Don Pendleton, who wrote a series of books about a fellow named Mack Bolan.  Maybe you heard of him.  The series was called The Executioner and Pendleton wrote the first 38 books before turning the series over to ghost writers who continue to chronicle Bolan’s adventures.

Back in junior high and high school, the novels in my backpack were always James Bond, Mack Bolan, or some other adventure thriller—but mostly I carried Bolan around with me, because there were so many books in the series.  During a camping trip with my Boy Scout troop, one of the scout masters saw me reading a Bolan book and said, “I have a box of those back at the house. You can have them if you want.”  Of course I said yes, but I had no idea just what that box contained.  A few days later, I learned:  all 38 original books, in decent condition, plus a few of the ghosted books.  Let’s just say that every spare moment I had I used to read those books and at one point I went through one a day (I had an hour-long bus ride to school, each way, since I lived far from the campus, so that helped).  I still have that box of books and go through it from time to time.  Along with the work of Fleming and Ludlum, Don’s novels made me want to write my own stories.

Unfortunately I was never able to communicate with Don. I had just finished reading his Joe Copp private eye series when I decided it was probably time to send him a note, but just as I began my search to find an address, I learned that he had passed away. 

But Linda has carried on the Pendleton story telling tradition, and it’s a pleasure to be able to present to you this interview about her private eye novel, Shattered Lens. If you like your PI novels with the usual ingredients, this is your cup of tea, as Catherine Winter dives into a case involving the stalking of two models. You get a few twists along the way and a perspective you probably won't expect. It's a refreshing take on a genre that indeed needs refreshing. Read a sample and see for yourself. I enjoyed the book a lot.

As promised, here's more about Linda:

Linda Pendleton has written in a variety of genres: nonfiction, mystery novels, comic book scripting, e-courses, and screenplays.  She coauthored nonfiction and fiction with her late husband.    Together Don and Linda wrote the popular nonfiction books, To Dance With Angels and Whispers From the Souls, which explored their interest in metaphysics and spirituality.    

A native Californian, Linda is a member of The Authors Guild, The Authors League, EPIC Authors, and Sisters in Crime.  She was an EPIC Award Finalist in 2001 in the Thriller Category for the Novel, Roulette (previous title, One Dark and Stormy Night); 2002 EPIC Finalist in the Nonfiction Philosophy Category for Three Principles of Angelic Wisdom; and in 2011 is an EPIC Award Finalist in the mystery/suspense category for Shattered Lens: Catherine Winter, Private Investigator, and an EPIC Nonfiction Award Finalist for The Cosmic Breath: Metaphysical Essays of Don Pendleton, Introduction by Linda Pendleton.  Her novella, The Masquerading Cowboy received an award.       

Although most of her time is devoted to her love of writing, she also enjoys the exploration of her family’s genealogical roots. 

Linda’s website:  www.lindapendleton.com

And now, the interview:

1)  Tell us about Shattered Lens.   What inspired the story?

Linda:  A few years ago, I had written the crime novel Roulette: The Search for the Sunrise Killer, with my husband, Don Pendleton.  I had very much enjoyed our female cop character, Rebecca Storme.  I had also enjoyed reading Don’s Joe Copp Private Eye Series while he was writing the six books, and I decided why not a female private investigator and one a little older with lots of experience under her belt.  So my Catherine Winter, Private Investigator was born.  

2) Authors often put aspects of their personality into their characters.  How much of Linda Pendleton is in Catherine Winter?

Linda:  Well, Brian, I want to say none but that is probably not so.  I believe a little of us always ends up in some way in our stories, even unintentionally or in subtle ways.  The things Catherine and I do have in common are we’re both curious and determined women, widows, and in our sixties.  I hope we share a sense of humor, too. 

3)  Your writing style and voice is very good—the opening scene is a real grabber, and the conversational tone of the narrative is a treat to read.  How long did you work to perfect your technique?

Linda:  Thank you for the compliment, Brian.  That’s always very nice to hear.  I have no idea how I have been able to achieve that.  Some time ago, even while writing nonfiction, I believe I found my “voice” and style and it seems to be reflected in nearly all my writing.  I have always considered my style “simple.”  I’ve been told that readers have found it easy and conversational.  

4)  If there was one storytelling technique that you learned from Don that nobody else has ever mentioned or used, what would that be?

Linda:  I learned so much about writing from Don.  He was a great teacher, not only about writing, but about life.  I do recall when he first critiqued one of my manuscripts he told me my writing was good but that I was holding back and needed to surrender and not be afraid to let it flow.  I also learned from Don to trust and have confidence in my ability to write.  Too often I would doubt myself, and he would tell me to trust that it was good.  I still find myself questioning, although much less than I did twenty years ago.  I’m proud of my work and I know he looks over my shoulder and still gives me inspiration. 

5)  Will we see Catherine Winter again?

Linda:  Yes, I’ve nearly completed the second Catherine Winter novel.  I hope to publish it within the next two months.  Her story, again, is set in Southern California.  When I had decided to write Shattered Lens in first person as many private eye novels are written, I wasn’t sure how it would go as it can be somewhat more difficult to write than third person viewpoint.  But I soon felt comfortable with the format.  My friend, the late Richard S. Prather, author of the best selling Shell Scott Mystery series, read my manuscript and gave me a very nice cover quote and encouraged me to consider writing a series with Catherine Winter.  I did enjoy working with Catherine so decided to write a second novel.  I suppose there could be additional novels in the future but I have no plans to write one for each letter in the alphabet or even the months in a year.  :-)

6) Do you enjoy being an “indie” author?

Linda:  Yes, I do.  I enjoy the freedom of being able to publish without having to ask “permission.”  There are numerous authors who write quality works and are unable to find an agent who is enthusiastic about selling their manuscript or a publisher who is willing to take a look at their work.  Today, authors have new opportunities to self-publish print on demand and ebooks through Amazon, Createspace, Kindle, and Smashwords, and it is an exciting time.   

I’ve been self-publishing, which includes ebooks, for ten years now.  The opportunity for me began when the Authors Guild offered a back-in-print program and as a member of the Authors Guild (as Don was, too) I was able to put Don’s Joe Copp Private Eye Series and his Ashton Ford Psychic Detective Series in print as PODs and ebooks.  And then along came Kindle.  So I put the two series in Kindle as I did several additional books.  My web designer, Judy Bullard is my cover designer for POD and ebooks, and I format the books myself.   That all takes time away from writing but I feel it is worth it.

I have those novels and other books, fiction and nonfiction, also at Smashwords which distributes to the retailers for the Nook, iPad, Kobo, Diesel and others.  I love the up-to-the-minute royalty reports we get from Amazon’s Kindle, and the royalty rates we receive from Amazon and Smashwords.  Sure beats what any traditional publisher is paying for ebook rights.   

Over the last couple of years I did feel a little disturbed that these new opportunities seemed to be opposed by several author organizations, some successful authors, and apparently by agents and the big 6 NY publishers.  Many of those people put-down self-published works, calling them inferior and not of good quality.  Many agents are not interested in looking at manuscripts by authors who have self-published, and that is really too bad as they are missing out on some good books.  It appears a number of those authors who spoke out in opposition to what some of us were doing, are now very happy to be self-publishing their back lists and/or new books at Kindle and Smashwords.

Now I just smile, as a number of years ago I wrote articles about the pros and cons of self-publishing and ebooks and how it would soon be acceptable and common.  Nearly a decade later ebooks have arrived.  And they’re not going away,  whether they are read on a handheld device or on a computer monitor, and sales seem to be showing ebooks are now out-selling print books.    

I don’t believe print books are going away but there are definitely other choices for a reader as well as an author.      

7)  Do you have one or two other books you’d like to mention?

My historical novel, Corn Silk Days, Iowa, 1862 is my latest novel and is both in print and Kindle.  I love the book.  It’s based on the Civil War letters of my great-great grandfather, who served as a Union soldier.  It is the story of four generations of two families.  Other than staying true to his letters written to my great-great grandmother and the historical facts of the time, the story is fiction.  I loved writing it and am proud of it.    

The Dawning, my novel of mystery and suspense, has been published for some time now but the story of UFOs, government cover-up, and the paranormal, continues to be of interest to readers.

And for a change of pace, I just published at Kindle, Soul Expressions: Poetry Collection of Linda Pendleton and Don Pendleton.  I hope to have it in print before too long.

I have a number of non-fiction books and they can all be found on my website or at my Amazon author page. 

Brian, I want to thank you for this opportunity to do this interview. 
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my website, http://www.lindapendleton.com
Blog:  http://www.mydropsofink.blogspot.com
http://www.todancewithangels.com
http://www.donpendleton.com

Amazon Author Page 
http://www.amazon.com/Linda-Pendleton/e/B002LLB2N0/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_2

5 comments:

  1. Thanks again, Brian, for a great interview!

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  2. Looks like the publishing world is catching up with Linda.

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  3. Glad to see an interview with my favorite author, Linda Pendleton. Good interview. I'm excited to hear there is going to be another Catherine Winters book. I really enjoyed the first one. I also want to mention "Corn Silk Days", this was fascinating reading. I recommend it to everyone. Thanks

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  4. I really enjoyed the interview, Linda. I remember when you were moving forward with e-books and the like, way back when. Your instinct and foresight do not surprise me at all. How fun!!

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