Episode 78: Writing Pace, with Nicole Burnham

Nicole Burnham is the RITA award-winning author of more than 20 novels, including the popular Royal Scandals series. Her stories center on family and romance, whether they’re set in small-town America or centuries-old palaces, and are populated by characters who work to make the world a better place.

As an army brat, Nicole grew up moving around the world. She graduated from an American high school in Mannheim, Germany, then completed her BA in Political Science at Colorado State University and her JD/MA at the University of Michigan.

Nicole and her family live in Boston. She spends as much time as possible at Fenway Park and travels abroad whenever she can score cheap airfare. If she isn’t writing, she’s likely hiking or trail running.

Host Patricia McLinn talks with Nicole about writing pace and the pre-planning and development of characters for serial writing.

In Nicole’s words: “I had that book in my head for a very long time. And so I had worked through an awful lot of … not just the plot but who the characters were in advance.” [25:00]

You can find Nicole at:

Her website

Facebook

Instagram and

Twitter

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Episode 77: Discovery Writing, a Continuation, with Patricia McLinn

In late May, host Patricia McLinn was a guest on fellow independent author Joanna Penn’s The Creative Penn podcast. Joanna writes nonfiction for authors and is an award-nominated, bestselling thriller author as J.F. Penn. She’s also an award-winning podcaster and creative entrepreneur.

In the Creative Penn podcast “Discovery Writing And Sustaining A Long-Term Writing Career With Patricia McLinn,” they discussed discovery writing (a.k.a. pantsing), how to write a novel with structure if you don’t plot in advance, and building a writing career for the long-term. In this Authors Love Readers “Continuation” episode, Patricia reflects on her interview with Joanna about the current trends and the future of the publishing industry, shares more tips for writers, and talks about why she wrote Survival Kit for Writers Who Don’t Write Right.

In Patricia’s words: “I wanted to write the book to encourage writers who don’t write ‘right’ to respect their process, test it against reality, but not to throw it away. You’re given this ability (at least this is the way I feel). I’ve been given this ability and this is the way the stories come to me and I am not going to turn my back on that. I’m not going to refuse those gifts.” [39:15]

For a full Authors Love Readers interview with Patricia and Joanna, check out Episode 54: You Have to First Be a Reader, with J.F. Penn.

You can find Patricia at her:

Website

Facebook

or

Twitter

And: Patricia’s Word Watch page

You can also go to Joanna Penn’s The Creative Penn podcast site, which includes both the original podcast interview with Patricia and a transcript of the show.

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Episode 7: Tools of the Trade, with Linda Cardillo

Host Patricia McLinn talks with Linda Cardillo about Linda’s writing process, favorite settings, and love of characters.

You can find Linda on:

*her website, and

*Twitter.

Thanks to DialogMusik for the instrumentals that accompany this podcast.

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Transcript: Authors Love Readers with Linda Cardillo

Patricia McLinn [00:00] Hi. Welcome to this week’s Authors Love Readers podcast, where we delve into the stories behind the stories. We’re asking authors questions. Some of them fun, some of them serious, and from their answers, you’re going to learn things you never knew about the people who write the stories you love. My name is Patricia McLinn. I’m your host and designated question asker. Now let’s start the show.

Patricia McLinn [00:42] I welcome you to this edition of Authors Love Readers. Today my guest is Linda Cardillo, and this is interesting because a lot of the people I’ve been interviewing I’ve known for a long time. Forever basically. I haven’t known Linda as long, and we know each other more as readers in a lot of ways than writers, because we are both part of a book discussion group that’s all authors, which means we’re really cranky readers. I’m a cranky reader. Um, and so I come, I come to this discussion with Linda from a little different direction. Would you agree, Linda?

Linda Cardillo [01:25] Absolutely.

Patricia McLinn [01:28] Do you find sometimes that you try to predict who’s going to react what way to a book?

Linda Cardillo [01:34] I think I try to be more flexible about how I approach books, but I know that there are some, um, and, and part of it is I think I am in such awe of their critical abilities and what they know about writing books and how they bring that to the reading of books.

Patricia McLinn [01:51] I find I’m not particularly great at predicting who will like or not like a book. I’m not even always good about predicting myself. Um, and I think some of it is, we’re starting here on a discussion about reading, but I do think some of it is because my, my theory is that all reading is interactive. And so at least as much as the author puts in the reader is determining what is taken out of the reading. So a lot of it has to do with my mood and my, you know, what I need to be reading at that point. And sometimes the book that’s chosen answers that need, and sometimes it doesn’t.

Linda Cardillo [02:35] What I find certainly with the books, um, that we’ve been reading are almost all of them are books I might never have discovered by myself. And yeah, it really is. It’s really expanded, um, sort of my repertoire and my willingness to dip into something that, you know, I would have ignored in the past. And sometimes it’s very surprising.

Patricia McLinn [02:57] Absolutely. And discovered authors I would never have discovered on my own because I’ve gone on and read some additional books by, um, authors and that not necessarily that I adored the first book, but there was something in the voice. Um, possibly the worldview that or character that really caught me. Um, and I kept going.

Linda Cardillo [03:21] I agree. Yeah. Yeah, I’ve done that. Yeah. It wasn’t so much that I loved the first book, but there was something very compelling that pulled me and wanted me to find out more.

Patricia McLinn [02:33] Well, and as I said, you know what, it’s probably what I said at the beginning that, that book, that author, that voice, um, answered what I needed at that point. So I kept going back to that. Yeah. I wish I wish there were a better way to do that match, you know, the reader is looking for this sort of experience. This book will have it, but I don’t, I think our discovery mechanisms now are really clunky, really, really clunky. I hope, um, I hope this is someplace where technology can help us over the next decade or so. Um, but that’s my pie in the sky, so…

Claustrophobic, purple, The English Patient, Far from the Madding Crowd, and Endeavour

Patricia McLinn [04:17] Okay, let’s ask, let’s ask Linda some questions. Um, oh, we’ll start off with a hard one. Do you have any strong fears, and have you ever used them in a book?

Linda Cardillo [04:26] Okay. Yes, I do have one strong fear, I’m claustrophobic. Um, I discovered it, this is going back, it was not until I was in my twenties. And I was, um, traveling, uh, in the Black Forest with a couple friends. We were hiking. And we stayed in this hut, um, overnight, that was actually quite large. It was like sort of a dormitory and it had these sort of stacked wooden bunks. And I wound up with the bunk at the top that was very close and I did not sleep all night. It was just, it was so, um, really, uh, I just felt like I was being smothered almost. Um, and so ever since then, I’ve been very careful about small enclosed spaces, particularly over my head, you know.

Once I had to, um, my husband and I were, um, sailing on a schooner and we were, um, bringing a schooner under sail from, uh, Providence, Rhode Island to New Bedford. It was a boat that he had brought across the Atlantic. And the bunk was just like this, that I had in the Black Forest. Um, and I had to I, I sort of pushed myself to the edge of it and kept the curtain open so my head was out of the bunk because I could not, I just could not abide being in very tight space, but what’s interesting, you know, with your question, I’ve never used that in a book. And I think now, I will.

Patricia McLinn [05:53] Well, the first thing that occurs to me is in a former life, you were buried alive. Got to be, Linda.

Linda Cardillo [05:59] Yeah.

Patricia McLinn [06:00] Ooh. Okay. I, uh, let’s go more cheerful. Uh, favorite color and why?

Linda Cardillo [06:06] My favorite color is purple, absolutely. Purple, I’m wearing it. Um, I was trying to think back and it goes back, I think to, um, when I was a teenager and, um, my sister and I shared a bedroom and it had my parents’ old furniture in it. Um, and we were getting new furniture and my mother said to us, You can decorate the room however you want. And the furniture was this sort of white, you know, sort of those little fancy pastel flowers printed on it, black bedspread and purple and orange cushions, like pillows put on the bed. And it was my first sort of statement, um, kind of separating me from my mother’s, um, sense of, of style, but that color purple just spoke to me in certain ways that, um, it was very bold and it was not, it was not at all a pastel.

Patricia McLinn [07:00] Well, I find it fascinating that you had orange cushions on it, because this is one of my theories is that most people who like purple don’t like orange and vice versa. So my next question, Linda, is what three movies would you take with you to a desert Island, a desert Island that has some strange ability to show movies?

Linda Cardillo [07:22] The English Patient. Far from the Madding Crowd, and every single episode of all five seasons of Endeavour. That’s little bit of cheating, but it’s my commitment.

Patricia McLinn [07:36] It is cheating, but creative cheating, but I like that. Okay. Um, most writers have a bad habit word when they’re writing. Uh, I’ve already confessed just and really are probably top on my list. What’s yours?

Linda Cardillo [07:51] Um, just was also one of them. Um, got, only as, um, I, I actually did a, um, a search on a couple of my manuscripts and I found like, you know, 250 instances, sometimes two and three on a page.

Patricia McLinn [08:08] We all have them. So do you have a childhood book that addicted you to stories?

Linda Cardillo [08:15] The Secret Garden.

Patricia McLinn [08:17] Oh, that’s wonderful. I wonder if that, I noticed your, your movie picks have a definite, uh, English bent. And I wonder if The Secret Garden started you along that road.

Linda Cardillo [08:30] Very well might have, you know, and I think that it’s such, um, such a departure from the life that I was living, and really sort of took me out of this sort of urban Italian neighborhood that I lived in and was very enlarging of my world, when I read it for the first time.

Chappaquiddick Island, Ideas from Italian family dinners

Patricia McLinn [08:55] Well, this sort of touches on a, um, question that came from a reader. And I will, her question was, Where do your stories come from? I know one author who dreams her stories. Another has a character suddenly taking up residence in her head. So how are your beautiful stories born?

Linda Cardillo [09:19] Um, certainly I think, uh, a lot of the ideas for my stories come out of people I have encountered or, um, the stories that I’ve heard from them. Um, certainly the two Italian books are based on conversations around the dinner table and memory of, um, the memories of my aunts, for example, but other, uh, other sources, yes, it doesn’t last, you know, I still have a lot of work to do, but just at the beginning there, that voice is what gets me started.

Patricia McLinn [09:56] And is that, is that necessarily at the beginning of the book or is just the beginning of your process?

Linda Cardillo [10:01] It’s both. I mean, in some instances, it’s the beginning of the book. Um, but quite often, but I find is, and I’m finding it more and more as I write more books. Um, that quite often, those first words that I hear and that I put down on paper are not going to be the first words of the book.

Patricia McLinn [10:22] But at some core, at some vision of who the character is—

Linda Cardillo [10:25] Exactly. Exactly.

Patricia McLinn [10:28] —at least for me. Yeah. And whatever comes in that first part, it can never change. Other things about the character, uh, might change or get explored or shifted. But those first moments are in stone that that’s who they are. Yeah.

I was at, went to lunch earlier this week with a fellow, um, author. And I, first of all, I was really surprised that she gave me the choice of where to sit, um, because I find most authors, um, have a particular place they want to sit. And then I was really torn because I could tell one seat was gonna let me see the, the whole restaurant, but the other seat was going to be a better eavesdropping spot.

And, and in a way, this is research, listening to people and, and how people interact and, um, and the, the rhythm of dialogue and, and how, how that all comes together. Um, but more formal research. How do you feel about that? Do you do love it? Do you dread it? At what point in the book do you do it?

Linda Cardillo [11:39] I actually love it. Um, and sometimes I get myself a little bit too tangled up in it. I’m—

Patricia McLinn [11:50] Never happy.

Linda Cardillo [11:51] I, um, I just finished, uh, I’ve sort of an amusing story to tell about research. And I do, I mean, I do do a lot of book research, you know, as sort of, um, in librarians love me, and I, the research librarian in my local library just loves to see me walk in, cause she knows she’s going to help with my next book. But, um, so, but I was, um, I just finished a trilogy that is set on the Chappaquiddick Island, which is off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard.

And, um, the book was almost all written, but there were like little pieces of things that I needed, I wanted to be accurate about, because it’s, it, it’s, the book started in the 1940s with, but there were, there are still people around who remember things and would say, you know how sometimes people get really upset if you get even something very small in a detail wrong.

Linda Cardillo [12:36] So I spent the day, um, on the island and I, I, um, headed to the historical society to use their library. And, um, a man was there and really happy to help me. And he had pulled out like bound copies of the newspapers. And I said to him, I have one, I, there’s a scene, there’s a sort of bar brawl, um, and I need the name of a bar in Edgartown. And he said, Oh, you can’t say it’s in on Edgartown. It was dry in the 19th century. And which would have been a huge, you know, just really huge mistake. So he said, let me see if I can help you. And he went to his computer, he said, You know, we, we did some oral histories and we recorded, and sure enough, within the hour he had dug up an oral history of some guy reminiscing about a bar in Oak Bluffs and gave me the name of the bar. And it was still in existence.

Patricia McLinn [13:31] I had, um, I was researching, um, for the, probably for my, um, historical widow woman, but about the West. And I have more ideas for historicals. I just haven’t, I have a couple out, but I haven’t gotten to the, the other ones, but yeah, I got this great gift from a national park service librarian. Um, I think it’s the Museum of the West in St. Louis and, uh, was talking about trying to find out something very specific. And he said to me, the benefit you have of writing fiction is you don’t have to write what did happen. You only have to write what could have happened.

And I thought, Yeah! Yeah, that’s exactly it. So you want to avoid the things that couldn’t have happened or you just, like you talked about the readers are going to, um, and, and certainly I, as a cranky reader, are going to be thrown out of the book and go, Wait a minute. Like, I, I read this romance once where they had the, um, Kentucky Derby on the wrong day and I was like, Forget it, I’m not reading you. I can’t trust you. So, um, so you don’t want to do that ever if at all possible, but we don’t also have to say, as long as we’re writing fiction, what precisely did happen. Um, I thought that was a great gift.

Linda Cardillo [15:04] And that’s, you know, it’s very interesting because I’m, the book that I am, um, writing you know, it is actually, it’s about a real person. Um, but I recognize, and this was a fairly recent recognition over the summer. I mean, I’ve been working on this book for years and I’m finally, I had finally gotten my, gotten it together and gotten it to my editor and I got the, you know, the multi-page single-spaced, uh, memo, uh, back from her.

And I recognized this, I have some insight that I am not writing an, uh, um, a biography. Um, and I’m not even writing the life of, I am writing about some, you know, this whole experience with this woman, um, that inform who she is, but I don’t have to be, you know, sort of starting at the beginning and working my way linearly and also being able to, particularly in, you know, there’s not, um, not always everything available in terms of what happens in someone, in someone’s life. And you can, as a writer of fiction, I can use those, those empty spaces and put in there, you know, what I imagined could have happened, not, and I’m not bound to what did actually happen.

Patricia McLinn [16:19] Uh, I also, I found a book that was, um, privately published. And it was the account of a woman who had gone on this Western trail in the eighteen, late 1860s, I think. Um, and it was fabulous, and this was another great gift. Not only for, for her accounts of what happened, but it had both her diary and copies of her letters home. And the wonderful thing that I found is in her diary, she was much looser. And, and so that, that aspect of humanity and the, and the reminder that, um, you know, she sorta cleaned up her reactions to some things where, you know, some, somebody that she maybe didn’t like particularly had something happen to her in the diary. And it’s like, She deserved it, serves her right. And in the letter, like what a shame. And I thought, Oh, this is, you know, this is a person. This is, you know, so human, uh, and, um, that was another gift for me and in research and reading things that people have written and trying to get a view into who they are from what they’ve written. Um, and sometimes they’re cleaning it up.

Routines and disciplines in writing

Patricia McLinn [17:47] So, okay. Do you have a writing routine?

Linda Cardillo [17:54] I do. Um—

Patricia McLinn [17:55] I knew you would.

Linda Cardillo [17:58] Um, I am disciplined but—

Patricia McLinn [18:00] You are disciplined.

Linda Cardillo [18:01] I was not disciplined when I, you know, when I first started out, um. I’m very particular. Until I was five, my family lived in an apartment over, um, the office of my, um, where my father worked. It was, uh, his uncle’s construction company and Father was the general manager. And at night, sometimes he would have to go down downstairs to the office to do some work and he would let me go with him. And there was this big metal cabinet in his office, and inside that metal cabinet were all the office supplies. And he would allow me to take out a ruled pad and a pencil. And I used to draw pictures before I was able to write. And then I would, you know, when I first started writing it, I would only write on those yellow pads.

Linda Cardillo [18:51] And I think now that I really understand that was sort of where that comes from. It’s, it’s so interesting the, how we become attached to tools and we see those tools as sort of helping the, the process. And the other thing that I do that in terms of my process, which is absolutely key for me, is I have this little electronic timer that I set for 20 minutes. And I, um, as soon as I put the timer on, I turn it so I can’t see the minutes ticking away, but I’ve trained myself when the timer is on. That’s all I do is write. And I generally, um, we’ll do three 20 minute sessions and then I get given myself a break and just sort of barreling through any kind of block that I might have, or, you know, inability to get started. And it works like a charm.

Patricia McLinn [19:44] And you don’t have any hand problems with doing that much by hand?

Linda Cardillo [19:47] I don’t. I mean, I do, you know, I do sort of at, when I do those 60 min— After the 60 minutes, I sorta, you know, flex my fingers a little bit. Um, but I haven’t so far knock on wood right here on my desk. Um, that’s not been an issue. One of the things I’m trying out right now though, is a standing desk. Um, you know, ’cause there’s lots of issues about, particularly for people like us who sit at desks for a long time. Um, so I’m, uh, I’m really just like a week—

Patricia McLinn [20:18] Yes.

Linda Cardillo [20:19] —into having a standing desk. In fact, I’m standing right now cause I’ve, haven’t tried writing by hand yet. Um, standing because I’m not at that phase right now, I’m in the revision phase. So I’m working on the computer, but, um, it’s um—

Patricia McLinn [20:32] Okay. I have multiple questions off of this. So, so you hand, you hand write the whole first draft?

Linda Cardillo [20:37] And then I, and then I type it into computer.

Patricia McLinn [20:44] Ah. And then, then will you revise it again?

Linda Cardillo [20:48] Oh, yes. I probably, I would say most of my books go through at least four revisions. One of them went through five. Yeah.

Patricia McLinn [21:00] And are most of them from the beginning all the way through to the end or, um, do you dive in and do an area and then maybe pull back out? And then—

Linda Cardillo [21:10] I have, I’ve written both ways. Um, sometimes, sometimes I will particularly, I think if I’m feeling sort of stuck, um, I will write a chapter that I know, you know, that’s a little, you know, maybe easier to get into. Um, and then, and then go back. I really did have to dig for it. Yeah. Yeah.

Patricia McLinn [21:36] Okay. I will also say the first time I wrote a trilogy, I, I thought I’d written a standalone book, and a friend read it and said, Well, you know, this is the middle book of a trilogy, don’t you? And I said, You can’t fool me, a trilogy has to have three books and there’s only one book. So it can’t be a trilogy. And she said go back and look at it. And you have the prev—. You have all the, the pieces of the previous book are indicated in this one. And then you have to do this other character as third book.

And she was right. I was stunned at how much, um, my subconscious, I guess, had, had dropped in to that book and I wrote the first book very quickly. Um, so, uh, but I’m, I write out of sequence and not only within the book clearly, but I wrote a trilogy out of sequence and, and I’ve done it since then, too. Um, but, but the point being of how much is there that you may don’t realize on the top level of consciousness. And then when you go back and read it, it’s like, Ooh, look at that little gift. And Ooh, look at this. I got that too. And oh, there’s that.

Linda Cardillo [22:58] I thought I was writing a trilogy, but there is, there is something in that third book that I think probably could turn into a fourth book. And, um, I started playing with it this summer, and I was really excited about it. It was like, Wow, all right. You know, there is this, you know, I, this is one character who, who is fairly important for the second book, but it plays a relatively minor role in the third book. And I thought, Oh, it may be time to give her her own book, you know?

Patricia McLinn [23:33] And this, and this answers a question that I had from a reader who asked if, as authors, do we miss the characters once we finished a book? And do we think about them? Um, because the reader is saying, yes, she, she does. She thinks about the characters and when she’s really liked the book and once she closed it and then, you know, does it ever lead to additional books? So, boom, there you are. Ah, yep.

Linda Cardillo [24:04] Yeah. And I did. I, I, and I find particularly with trilogy, and I think because I had lived with these characters so long, um, that I really did miss them. And I missed this particular character, um, especially.

Patricia McLinn [24:16] Did, to go back for a second, talking about your, your lined, um, yellow pads and things. And I was thinking about tools. What’s the best money you’ve ever spent as a writer?

Linda Cardillo [24:32] Okay. Um, I was thinking about this and I, I think for me, it was, um, the, the first writer’s workshop. I only had one English speaking friend. All of my other friends were German. And I basically, you know, lived a German life, um, to bounce the ideas off and to say, can you read this and tell me what you think?

And, um, I, I knew I was, uh, I had to be in Boston one summer and I found this workshop because it was long before the internet. Um, but there was a New England workshop at Simmons college and I signed up and got accepted, um, and spent a week and, just immersing myself, um, and it was the first time that I got any validation as a writer, um, outside of my mother telling me, Oh, you, you know, that was beautiful. Um, and, and it was also my first sort of dive into understanding about discipline, writing as a discipline.

Patricia McLinn [25:48] Yeah. Well, that’s, that’s huge because I, I often think we, um, as writers, there’s sort of a, a sense, uh, at sometimes I refer to non-writers as civilians, um, that, that they, um, don’t as in many occupations, the people who are not in it don’t understand, um, don’t have that view of, of what you’re going through. And I think with writers, there’s also that, uh, way of thinking and way of looking at the world. So, uh, for me, the first conference was, Oh boy, there are other people weird like me, you know.

But for you where you had where somewhere where it wasn’t your native language and then to come into, uh, so you’re, you’re coming back into English and then coming back into sort of your native language as a writer, that must have been such an immersion. Has your routine, has your writing routine changed over the years? Has it being, getting published, changed anything about your writing?

Linda Cardillo [26:56] I think that the discipline issue and writing to deadline, um, you know, before you get published, your deadlines are sort of your own and internal. Um, and then suddenly you have external deadlines, which for me were very motivating. Um, Um, but, uh, I, I guess I’m, you know, I’m a very driven person.

And I think back when I was writing the first book and, um, my, my kids are small and my husband would sometimes take Fridays off to give me a full day. Um, I knew I had eight hours. And my goal was always by the time I left at five o’clock was to have eight pages written. Um, and I, I try to remember that hunger sometimes when I’m sitting down at my desk, or now standing at my desk, um, to, um, you know, not to get too complacent.

I guess is the key that I think, I certainly have learned an enormous amount about, about discipline, but the other thing I’ve learned, I do feel like every book, with every book I have learned more and I’ve gotten to be a better writer and I’m a far better writer now than I was ten years ago. Um, and I think that I’ve always been open and I teach a lot of workshops and crafts, but I, um, I’m always discovering new things. I have a much stronger voice now than I did, much more confident in who I am as a writer. Um, But I also think that I have, um, a lot more about what makes good fiction since I’ve been writing myself.

Patricia McLinn [28:50] Sometimes the opinions don’t agree of what makes good fiction. Um, and that has been one of the great lessons, um, from the, from the group that you aren’t gonna please, everybody, you’re just not going to.

Linda Cardillo [29:02] That’s right.

Patricia McLinn [29:04] Um—

Linda Cardillo [29:05] It’s such a personal connection to the words that it’s, yeah.

Patricia McLinn [29:11] Yeah. So in their process, what, what’s the part that you liked the best and what’s the hardest part for you?

Linda Cardillo [29:18] Revision is the hardest part for me. And I think because I’m in the midst of a very challenging revision right now, it’s the hardest, it’s the hardest one I ever, ever had. And I’ve, you know, because I’m just completely restructuring the book and rethinking my original premise, which is like, you know, you just, you get this reaction from your editor and, and, um, these opinions. And I’m just like, Does she really want me to do all of that? You know? Um, and, uh, it’s there, I, I’ve, I’ve really felt overwhelmed by this sometimes. And I feel like I, I’m a person who likes to have a lot of structure, and I feel very unstructured in this revision.

Patricia McLinn [30:10] Yeah.

Linda Cardillo [30:11] And, and looking for ways to create, um, some kind of structure for me. And I’ve actually, just within the last couple of weeks, found a way to do that. And I’m feeling much more, you know, like, like I know, I know longer feel like I’m drowning and I’m sort of dog paddling now, um, through revision.

But, um, I would say, you know, sort of the, the best part for me is hearing characters speaking. For me it’s the character. And that’s what gets me the most joy and gets me fired up. Um, when I really feel like I understand who this character is, um, and I can, um, weave their story. That’s, that’s the exciting part.

Writing and its strong connection to food

Patricia McLinn [30:50] So did you always want to have, uh, have, do something that had to do with writing?

Linda Cardillo [30:55] Yes.

Patricia McLinn [30:56] Uh, uh, did you—

Linda Cardillo [30:57] Yeah, yeah. Always.

Patricia McLinn [30:58] Always.

Linda Cardillo [30:59] Um, probably from the time I was, you know, maybe eight or nine years old.

Patricia McLinn [31:07] But you also have a strong connection, well, we all do with food, but I was thinking of, um, uh, that you, you often, food plays a part in your stories. Did you ever think about doing other things with, with food or cooking?

Linda Cardillo [31:25] Yeah. Yeah. I, um, I had a dream to open a restaurant, um, which, you know, sort of got postponed, deferred, um, and when my, my editor said to me, You always have all this stuff about food in your books, have you ever thought about writing a book that really focuses on food? And that’s when I wrote Across the Table, which is about this family that had the restaurant. And I got to, you know, I sort of vicariously run a restaurant through my characters. Um, and, uh, if I, if I had not, if I had not become a novelist, I think probably that’s what I would have, would have done is open the restaurant. Yeah.

Patricia McLinn [32:12] It seems to me a fair number of authors that I know have, um, a strong connection with food in those ways. Do, do you see anything, is that the creative process? Is that, is there a connection there?

Linda Cardillo [32:30] Well, I think there’s such a, you know, um, certainly there’s the, this, um, I think a very cultural thing, connection to food and food is I think, expressive of emotion and family and relationship. And there’s so many sort of things I tied up in food that I think relate. I think some of the most important scenes that I’ve written in my books, it plays around food.

Patricia McLinn [33:03] There’s that coming together of characters.

Linda Cardillo [33:06] Yes.

Patricia McLinn [33:07] Um, and, and there’s also the, I think the, um, the passing down of things from one generation to another, or, or to the one after that, over food, um, over the preparation, during the preparation of food over recipes, um, I say when I, when I was a kid and we would have come back from church on Sunday, and we’d sit around the table in the dining room and we would talk for hours. We would have a toaster that we had at the end of the table and we’d just keep making toast and talking for hours.

Um, and when, my siblings are older, so when they started having significant others from college, who’d come and spend time with us, they were a little, you know, What do you do on Sundays? And we were like, we make toast and talk. What do you mean what do we do?

Patricia McLinn [34:10] So I have some questions that came specifically from readers and then some on behalf of readers. So, um, let me ask you what one reader asked, What is your favorite place to write? So where do you take your, your lined narrow lined notebooks and why? And they want to know, does it have an inspirational view?

Linda Cardillo [34:30] One of the reasons I wrote this book on Chappaquiddick is because we spent our summer vacations on Chappaquiddick. It’s a very isolated place. The cabin where we stayed, the cottage had no electricity, so there was no TV, not even a radio. Um, and it was surrounded by water on three sides. So I could sit on the porch and for hours a day with my pad, and that’s where I wrote. Uh, and, uh, it still is, you know, sort of a place of, of just absolute peace and beauty.

Patricia McLinn [35:05] Oh, that’s a great place. And, and you would do far better there than I, because I need the plug. So this next question, uh, is, uh, especially for those authors who are traditionally published, um, When the cover art image doesn’t match the character description, a pet peeve of mine says this reader. How does it feel for the author?

Linda Cardillo [35:35] It feels ahhhh!

Patricia McLinn [35.40:] It feels such a way that we’d have to bleep out a lot. I wonder if more so for someone like you, who has background in art, um, uh, as opposed, you know, I always have opinions about it, but I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler. So I think that the difficult thing is it is about marketing, and yet it’s so, um, it’s such an emotional reaction, not only for the author, but clearly for the readers as well. As this reader is saying, they, they invest in the characters, they connect with the characters. They, they have envisioned who the character is. I always figure if the, if the cover is different from how I have envisioned the character, the cover’s wrong, you know, it’s just wrong. I gotta be right.

It’s so, um, so we have another wonderful question from a reader. Um, If you could write a book with any author alive or dead, who would you want to work with and why?

Linda Cardillo [36:40] I would say Margaret Atwood would be one of them.

Patricia McLinn [36:47] Yeah.

Linda Cardillo [36:48] Um, I read, I began reading her books when I was probably in my twenties. Um, and, uh, they were just very, very powerful for me as a young woman. Um, and helping me start seeing myself in a different light and helping you to become sort of just, you know, um, be brave, I guess, would be the word. To have more courage. And so I think too, and I think having courage as a writer, I think as I, as I get older and I’m more willing to take risks as a writer. What I saw in Margaret Atwood was someone who was not being careful at all. And I thought, Wow, I want to be like that.

Patricia McLinn [37:42] What a great compliment to her too. I think that’s, that’s wonderful. I love that. Somebody who has never read your work, which book would you recommend as a, as a kind of good entry spot for them to come into, into your writing and into your world?

Linda Cardillo [38:03] I would say that my first book, Dancing on Sunday Afternoons, which is the book that’s based on my grandparents’ love letters. And I have to, can I tell you an amusing story about it?

Patricia McLinn [38:17] Yes, absolutely.

Linda Cardillo [38:19] It has to do with, with marketing. Um, so I get this call from a newspaper reporter, and she said, I’ve just been assigned to do an article. Um, and I understand you’ve written two books. One is a Harlequin Romance and one is about the Lawrence mill strike. So I said, I think you’re mistaken, they’re both the same book. And she was like, sort of taken aback that Harlequin Romance could actually be about to something as important and serious as the Lawrence mill strike.

Patricia McLinn [38:53] You probably could have just ended it with, Is about something.

Linda Cardillo [39:03] Right, right. Exactly, yes. We ended up having a very interesting conversation and she did, and she put in the article, you know how surprised she was to be doing something like that. And so about two weeks after the article came out, I get this email from the director of the Lawrence Historical Society, who had, um, she said she had, she had Google Alerts anytime the Lawrence mill strike was mentioned, and that my book had popped up and we had this long conversation and she wound up taking the book in the Lawrence Historical Society library. And the conversation that we have was how quite often, um, conveying history is so much more accessible when it’s in a novel, than in a historic, you know, a book of history about Lawrence mill strike, which some people might see as seen as sort of not something that they would want to understand. But—

Patricia McLinn [39:53] So sort of the other, the other side of that, um, where, what’s a good place for people to start reading your books. Is, do you have any of your books that you would consider, um, a hidden gem book? I like to say a book that, um, even your loyal readers might have overlooked to this point.

Linda Cardillo [40:17] Yeah, I, um, uh, so the, the book that set in, in Cold War Germany, I think is like the novella itself is called The Hand That Gives the Rose. Uh, and again, it’s one of those books that, so it takes a moment in history, um, and its impact on individual lives. The heroine is a young woman who takes over the management of her family’s vineyards, um, unexpectedly. It’s not what she had wanted to do, but her father has a stroke and her mother can’t handle the vineyard by herself.

Patricia McLinn [40:55] And where can readers find out more about these books and your other books and about you?

Linda Cardillo [41:01] There’s obviously my website, which is, lindacardillo.com

Patricia McLinn [41:05] And that’s C A R D I L L O.

Linda Cardillo [41:08] Mmhmm, yeah. Um, so there’s certainly lots of information about me and, and all of the books and you’ll find, there’s excerpts of all my books.

Patricia McLinn [41:17] Oh, great.

Linda Cardillo [41:18] Yeah. And there’s also recipes because food is so important to me. I actually did a cookbook a few years ago of my, based on my two Italian books. And so these little excerpts from the two Italian books and recipes of the foods that are mentioned in the books. You can get that on the website too, but, um, uh, and then, uh, of course, you know, all of my books are available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble and Apple.

Patricia McLinn [41:43] Before I hit you with the, with the kind of epilogue questions, uh, is there anything I should’ve asked you that I haven’t? That was always my favorite question as a journalist, got some great stuff. Not that I’m putting pressure on you or anything, Linda.

Linda Cardillo [41:58] You can ask me what I read for fun, and that’s—

Patricia McLinn [42:03] Oh, good. Let’s hear what you read for fun.

Linda Cardillo [42:06] I read, I read medieval mystery stories.

Patricia McLinn [42:11] Well, fun might not have been the right word, but I’ll have to look into those. Okay? Okay. So here we go with some rapid-fire, um, dog or cat?

Linda Cardillo [42:22] Dog.

Patricia McLinn [42:24] Tea or coffee?

Linda Cardillo [42:25] Tea.

Patricia McLinn [42:27] Cruise or backpacking?

Linda Cardillo [42:29] Backpacking.

Patricia McLinn [42:31] So, sailboat or motorboat?

Linda Cardillo [42:34] Sailboat.

Patricia McLinn [42:35] Best china or paper plates?

Linda Cardillo [42:38] Oh, best china.

Patricia McLinn [42:40]Ooh, okay. Mustard or ketchup?

Linda Cardillo [42:42] Mustard.

Patricia McLinn [42:44] Uh, leggings or sweats?

Linda Cardillo [42:47] Leggings.

Patricia McLinn [42:49] Toenail polish or bare toenails?

Linda Cardillo [42:52] Toenail polish.

Patricia McLinn [42:54] Cake or ice cream?

Linda Cardillo [42:56] Cake.

Patricia McLinn [42:57] And let’s wrap up with save the best for last or grab the best first?

Linda Cardillo [43:03] Save the best for last.

Patricia McLinn [43:06] Uh, this has been a lot of fun, Linda. Thank you so much. Really appreciate it and hope, um, all you listeners will come back next week for another edition of Authors Love Readers.

Patricia McLinn [43:26] That’s the show for this week. Hope you enjoyed it. And thank you for joining Authors Love Readers podcast. Remember, you can always find out more about our guest authors in the show notes, and you can find out more about me at www.patriciamclinn.com. You can also send in questions to be asked of future authors at podcast@authorslovereaders.com

Until next week. Wishing you lots of happy reading. Bye.

 

 

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