I love it when the great authors are local to me!!! Though Linda White lives in Virginia (a little south), I met her at a book signing this past year at Books-A-Million, right here in Hanover, Maryland. So of course I hounded her for an interview :o). And she graciously accepted.
So, Linda, tell us a little about yourself.
First of all, thanks for having me on your blog! I live in rural Virginia with my husband, Larry, two cats and a Sheltie named Keira. We have three grown children and two grandchildren. Larry worked as a video producer/director at the FBI Academy for over 27 years. Suffice it to say, I’ve got a built-in resource for information! I’ve had careers in government and journalism but I was a mom at home when I began writing fiction. I love Jesus, my family, dogs, and books, and I try to keep them in that order.
Note to aspiring authors: Marry good resource people.
Tell us three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
a. I stayed home with my kids for 24 years—and re-entered the workforce after age 50. Yes, it can be done.
b. I taught co-ed adult Bible studies for a decade with a door-kicking FBI agent. We were the odd couple but the partnership worked. (Hmmmm. More resources)
c. I come from an old Washington D.C. family. My grandfather replaced the windows in the Washington Monument—from the outside!
Um … <Connie swallows past the heart beating in her throat> Yikes!
Were you an avid reader as a child? What did you read?
My mother would say I was her “dreamy” child—always lost in books. I read all of the Albert Payson Terhune books about collies, Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and all the Walter Farley books about horses: “The Black Stallion” and so on. I read anything I could get my hands on!
What is the quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?
As a high school senior prank, a bunch of us checked out books from the school library over a number of days. Then we returned them all on the same day. The returns desk was piled high! Suffice it to say, the grouchy librarian was not our favorite person—and after that, I’m sure we weren’t her favorite class! Sorry, librarians!
Why does it not surprise me it had something to do with a library?
What is your favorite genre to read?
It should be no surprise that in fiction I read mostly mystery suspense—including Grisham, Clancy, Cornwell, Michael Connelly, and James Lee Burke, in addition to Irene Hannon, Sibella Giorello, and others in the CBA market. It might be a surprise, however, to discover I spend most of my time reading non-fiction: John Piper, Ravi Zacharias, C. S. Lewis, D. A. Carson, and others of their tribe.
“Words of Conviction” from Abingdon Press is available for pre-order now. First, FBI Special Agent Mackenzie Graham arrests Senator Bruce Grable for influence peddling, then she becomes his best hope for finding his kidnapped five-year-old daughter Zoe alive. Why? Because Kenzie is a forensic psycholinguist. She studies the words criminals use for clues to their psychological makeup and their identity.
Kenzie is based on my good friend Dr. Sharon Smith, who was the Bureau’s only expert in that field. She’s now retired, and was gracious enough to help me make “Words of Conviction” an authentic read.
Ooooo, that’s unique.
What inspired you to write this particular book?
I was sitting with Sharon watching a political candidate on TV deny having an affair with a particular woman. He seemed so sincere to me! But Sharon kept pointing out deception in his speech—words he used and answers he gave that indicated he was lying. Weeks later, her analysis proved to be true. Clearly, psycholinguistics would be a great plot device, I thought! And I was right.
What are your favorite themes to write about?
I like to write about the big issues: Where is God when X happens? What is my purpose? Can I trust God? What is truth? Where is love? How do I integrate my faith with my life? How can I live through this suffering?
I think we all struggle with these issues throughout our lives, whether we admit it or not. And on our deathbeds, I can assure you those thoughts will predominate!
If I can create characters who struggle with those big issues realistically, and engage the reader in thinking about them, then I have succeeded.
How many books do you have published and where can they be found?
I have three books out now. They’re all FBI thrillers. “Bloody Point” is out of print, but I’ve just released it as a Kindle book! So you can find it on Amazon. “Seeds of Evidence” came out last year: A young FBI agent finds a little boy’s body on the beach and uses plant DNA evidence to track his killer. It’s set in one of my favorite places, Chincoteague Island, Virginia, where my grandmother lived. The book and its ebook twin is available at all the usual online sources, as is “Words of Conviction”.
Great. What are you working on right now?
Most people remember the 2002 D.C. Sniper case. I lived through it: The shootings began in my parents’ neighborhood and moved down to our area. I reported on them for my newspaper and also ASSIST News Service. It was a terrifying time. I’m taking that sniper case and transferring it to Norfolk, Virginia and adding some twists. Why? Because I want to explore the whole idea of an entire community gripped with fear. And where is God? Can we trust him when all hell breaks loose?
Wow. Yes, I remember that time too and how those of us in the D.C. area were told to shift back and forth, as we stood to gas-up our car, so as not to get shot. Frightening! Can’t wait to see what you do with that one.
Thanks, Linda, for stopping by.
Thanks again for the interview! And happy reading!
“Words of Conviction,” by Linda J. White
Abingdon Press, April 2014
When Zoe, the five-year-old daughter of a powerful senator, is abducted, the FBI brings in Special Agent Mackenzie Graham, a forensic psycholinguist, to analyze the written threats of the vengeful kidnapper. An expert at what she does, Kenzie probes criminal minds more accurately than she does her own heart.
Working alongside fellow FBI Agent John Crowfeather, Kenzie refuses to acknowledge her mysterious attraction to John, and continues to build walls she believes will protect her, not only from John, but from God as well. John is no fan of hers, either, but they have little time to dwell on it as the case grows more dangerous.
The race is on to save Zoe. Can Kenzie and John rescue the girl before it’s too late? Or will their misguided convictions cost a little girl her life?
Linda J. White writes FBI thrillers from her home in rural Virginia. Her husband of 43 years, Larry, was a video producer/director at the FBI Academy for over 27 years. Mother of three grown children, Linda is also a national-award winning journalist and a women’s ministry speaker. She loves Jesus, her family, dogs and books in that order. She’s a member of National Press Women, American Christian Fiction Writers, and other professional groups. When she’s not writing, she can be found playing with Keira, her Sheltie, reading a book, or dreaming of the beach.
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