On Fridays right here, writers talk about their books, their process, where they’ve been, and where they’re going. Today Linda Sands joins us to celebrate the launch of her novel, 3 WOMEN WALK INTO A BAR, a Kindle Scout winner published by Kindle Press.
It might sound like a joke, but there's nothing funny about three beautiful women murdered in an Irish pub in Syracuse. The cops think it's an open and shut case, pointing the finger at the dead guy with the gun, bar owner James John Smith. But when a mother of one of the victims hires her lover, Bill "Free Willy" Tedesco, an ex-stripper and karaoke star turned PI to investigate, the secrets of the dead surface, and the question of who pulled the trigger becomes more important than why.
- What were the most challenging aspects of writing this book, and what came easily?
The most challenging thing for me writing-wise is to stay on task. I gave myself a break with 3 WOMEN WALK INTO A BAR by approaching the book as a series of short stories, allowing my brain to stay in "lost" mode more frequently. I could also move the pieces of the book around and play with chapter headings. I really liked that part. All of these independent character identity searches gave me the freedom to eavesdrop and speak to strangers/steal their stories. What could be more fun than that?
- Tell us about your main characters and what drives them.
I have a problem with this question. If I tell a reader what I think they should be "getting" from a character, I feel as though I'm boxing in their experience, asserting right or wrong to an opinion. Reading should be personal. The interpretation of characters should be based on one's life experiences, one's personal connections. These opinions or feelings will morph over time for each reader. I hope that readers find at least one character to identify with and one to disagree with.
- Can you describe your journey to publication: the torment and elation, the times none of it made any sense, the moments when it all came together?
Oh man. It's been a long, hard road, and I'm not there yet. I started this journey writing picture books. The bottom dropped out of that industry and the doors were shut to anyone but celebrities for a great many years. Yet I'm still in love with the idea of melding multimedia and words. If I was born twenty years later, I might have been a graphic novelist or an innovative screenwriter and producer. But as life would have it, I fell into writing essays and short stories. I told myself I needed to publish ten pieces before I was ready to try anything longer, like a novel. By the time I was living in house number nine, I had the beginnings of a book that became SIMPLE INTENT (sold to an international publisher who admired my short stories).
In the initial query period of SIMPLE INTENT—when you're sad and worried and over thinking everything—I started writing another book, to keep me busy. This one earned me an agent, when I went to a thriller conference and pitched Southern Gothic historical fiction. (What was I thinking?) When it didn't find a home amongst NYC big publishing houses, but was very, very, very, well received, I was encouraged, to the point of rewriting it...a few times. Eventually, I took the book back and self published it as NOT WAVING, DROWNING.
There is still industry interest in the book, and my agent, who still believes in it, has asked to pitch it again. In the middle of the novel writing, I kept up with short stories and essays, even founded a literary magazine that helped new writers earn publishing credits and win contests. A few years later, in house number eleven while writing 3 WOMEN WALK INTO A BAR, I started a writing retreat to bring opportunity to eager writers.
3 WOMEN WALK INTO A BAR made the rounds in NYC without any takers during the huge publishing industry merger/s. By the time the dust settled, leaving us scratching our heads as to who had landed where, I saw an ad for Kindle Scout and approached my agent for advice. He said, "It couldn't hurt."
I'll tell you, it was hard to not take that nomination period personally. Every time I saw 3WWIAB fall off the Hot and Trending list, I felt like that teenaged girl getting dumped by the football captain. Good thing was, I had one and half books under my belt and ideas for three more. Take that, football captain.
I am so excited for 3WWIAB and the ride we are about to take. The Kindle Press folks have been fantastic to work with. I have never received edits and feedback as wonderful. The biggest pluses? Meeting a bevy of awesome writers and readers has been amazing!
- You get to the end of your life, and there to escort you through the tunnel to the light beyond and show you around is a philosopher / author / artist / scientist / celebrity you've always revered. Who is it, and why him/her?
There's not a human, dead or alive that I revere, so I'd have to say, I'd like to be met by my spiritual guides. I've been told by psychic healers that I have four guides; two are masters. This is apparently very unusual. As a Christian girl who loves science and believes at the core we are all masses of energy with predetermined destinies, I'd love to understand those glorious, magical life moments and the freaky "whew" ones. Whoever meets me at the tunnel...be ready for a bunch of questions.
- Tell us about your other books, past or in the pipeline.
Some I've mentioned above. We are shopping book one in the Cargo series in NYC right now called GRAND THEFT CARGO, which introduces tenacious trucker Jojo Boudreaux, who has the mouth and muscles of a sailor and the heart of a truck driver.
GRAND THEFT CARGO deals with pharmaceutical cargo theft, while book two, PRECIOUS CARGO deals with statewide sex trafficking. Writing about issues like this and featuring an unusually strong female character, we're having trouble finding an editor ready to break out of traditional constraints. Hopefully the new campaigns like #readdifferent will open some paths for the books, as there are three more outlined.
I can't speak specifically to the ideas in the works-in-progress, as that would be like a pregnant woman telling someone the name she's chosen for her unborn child, only to see them wince and say, "Really?"
I'll put the finishing touches on PRECIOUS CARGO, then start an unnamed New Adult book that will read like a rom-com, with dogs!
JULY 1- AUGUST 1 Promotion
Read and review Linda's book, 3 WOMEN WALK INTO A BAR and be eligible to win a bag of bar/book themed swag.
Check out her post on her blog for more details.
Linda Sands is the author of the Southern Gothic novel and Kirkus Star recipient NOT WAVING, DROWNING, the internationally published legal thriller SIMPLE INTENT, and a multitude of award-winning short stories and essays published in magazines, newspapers, and anthologies around the globe. Her newest book, a noir-ish mystery, 3 WOMEN WALK INTO A BAR was selected for publication by readers in the Kindle Scout program and picked up for print by Down & Out Books.
Linda is represented by the HSG Agency and lives in the suburbs of Atlanta with her husband, two kids, fast cars, and furry things.
We'd love to hear from you, so feel free to connect with Linda right here.