Author Name: Linda M. Strader
Title of Novel: Summers of Fire: A Memoir
Q1. How long have you been writing? And what was the first thing you can remember writing?
I started college late in life, 1986 at the age of 26, and in English 101 we had to write a short story. I wrote about my first fire-fighting experience working for the U.S. Forest Service, and the instructor loved it so much, he asked if he could keep a copy to show future students as an example. That inspired me, but college papers took away the creative side. In fact, I spent most of my career writing reports.
After losing my job in 2008, and not finding one to replace it, I started writing in 2010 as a way to earn a little money. I wrote for gardening websites and online magazines about desert landscaping and plants. One day, a friend suggested I write a book about my adventures as a fire-fighter. Although my first short story disappeared long ago, that suggestion stuck.
Q2. Did you always want to be a writer?
No I didn’t! I never dreamed I would go beyond writing gardening articles. I sure never thought I’d write a book. There are days when I am frustrated to the point I want to quit. The next morning, however, I’m right back at it.
Q3. How did you feel when you were writing this book?
My book stirred up many emotions for me. Both good and bad. Some days I’d cry over events that tore at my heart, or laugh at outrageous events. I learned a great deal about myself, analysed what I thought and felt so many years ago. It’s been a worthwhile and satisfying journey.
Q4. How long did it take to write?
Does editing ever end? Someone told me only after you publish. It’s been in process for three years now. Unfortunately, I queried too soon, and after many rejections took a long hard look at my story. It’s now completely revised, and I think I’m ready to re-query.
Q5. Do you have a special place where you go to write?
Being self-employed and living alone, I can write whenever and wherever I want. (It’s 3:00 a.m. as I write this.) I do write “in my head” when I’m exercising. When I walk I carry a digital voice recorder to capture thoughts; when I swim I just hope I can remember when I’m done!
Q6. When you begin writing, did you ever think you’d get to where you are now?
When I first started my story, I wrote it more for me, to document my adventures and hardships as one of the first women fire-fighters. Now the story is much more than that, filled with not only adventures and the challenges I faced, but it is also a story of overcoming adversity, and both finding, and losing, love. I think I have a worthwhile story to share, and will keep working toward publication.
Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us Linda, it’s been great getting to know you and you’re work. I wish you the best of luck in the future!