Linda L. Thomsen
Updated: Aug 31, 2019
Today in the Writer's Corner, we meet Linda L. Thomsen.
Amanda: Hi Linda. Welcome to the Writer’s Corner where writer’s gather from all parts of the globe and discuss how exactly it is to put words on a page.
Linda: Hiya and thank you so much for having me. I’ve been looking forward to this so I hope your readers will enjoy it.
Amanda: Is there a special secret that you’re hiding about the writing process, you’d like to get off your chest today?
Linda: Yeah, how about the secrets of ‘perseverance’ and not taking yourself (and you work) too seriously? I mean that in the nicest possible way, but if anyone had dropped a warning that writing was going to turn into this epic undertaking, I might just have thrown in the towel before I’d even started. Of course, my point is that you really have to just keep at it, and when you think you cannot edit and re-write another word, then be prepared to it all one more time – but no one tells you that.
Amanda: I totally understand that. It's like it's very own obsession that we've created ourselves! So that brings me to a day in the life of Linda. Where about are you in the world and what does a day of writing look like for you?
Linda: I’m in the UK, in the north of England not far from Sherwood Forest. I have lived there for ages now with my husband, two kids, two cats and one dog. A writing day for me is a little less structured these days than it used to be. I began this journey as a very focussed person, but since publishing and needing to do all the additional things that go with the trade of an indie author, I seem to be spending at least half the time networking, promotion, checking out podcasts and researching good practice/how to things.
I work from home so I can pretty much play the day as I want, but I do seem to do a lot of ‘sweet nothings’ up to or into the early afternoon, and then – if time allows – I’ll crack on working on my WIP. That may well carry on in the evening as well. I seem to be more focussed at night.
Amanda: I really think that's the norm for indie authors... it's like you've described my writing day. I was reading your bio on your website and you describe yourself as a closet-philosopher… love it! But I have to ask, why the closet?
Linda: LOL… I kinda forgot I wrote that. Well, simply because I tend to think a lot about many odd things and those thoughts could often be classed as philosophical in nature as I like to turn ideas and perceived facts inside out and upside down. But though I occasionally enjoy a deep conversation with a friend, I would never naturally start anything like that with people ‘in the know’. I have never studied philosophy, or read any of the major works, so I’d probably make a fool of myself – hence the ‘closet’ nametag.
Amanda: One of your amazing creations is The Vault. For those at home who don’t know what I’m talking about, Linda has created an extensive glossary which you, Linda, call “nuggets of information” and “the Treasury of Truth and Intelligence.” It’s amazing! And I suggest everyone check it out. So Linda, how did The Vault begin? Is there a story behind that?
Linda: The Vault is basically the equivalent of what most other fantasy authors tag as their ‘glossary/information’ in the front/back of their fantasy books. In my vault, I have created a go-to glossary and information list for readers to visit at their leisure – and it’s basically the watered-down version of my own notes that I have kept to stay on track of things and remember what’s what, so to speak. The difference with the Vault is simply that I did not want to clog up my books with pages and pages of references (Because my world is big, with 9 realms and loads of characters and made-up terms, so there’d be a lot!). Calling it the vault just signified that it’s where I keep all my nuggets of information and that it’s located in one place only, so you’ll have to come visit because it would not be found elsewhere.
Amanda: Seriously, that's amazing and totally inspiring for those writing epic fantasy or juggling a multiverse. Let’s talk about The Missing Shield. Tell us anything and everything.
Linda: He he…how much time have you got? I love talking about my books, but I do nothing simple so there’s a lot to talk about, however, essentially The Missing Shield centres around two women.
There’s Iambre (the sole heiress and princess of the Realm known as Ostravah). She’s your slightly typical princess character, but her role is to grow and learn. She’s got flaws aplenty but they both redeem and characterise her. The other woman is Solancei (dedicated sworn life-shield of Princess Iambre, martial arts expert and all-round a bit of a snarky, kick-ass character but with hidden vulnerable depths). The two are cousins and Solancei is also Iambre’s handmaiden. Whilst travelling the Realm of Ostravah (Which is made up of 15 provinces, by-the-by) in celebration of xxx (spoiler, so cannot mention), they stop in Zanzier – a backwards, very obnoxious town where things begin to go wrong. Solancei is asked by her mentor to attend an illegal duel for training, but then suddenly disappears.
It leaves Iambre alone and full of questions amidst a nest of ‘vipers’ where trust is suddenly a sought after commodity. Diplomatic complications and appearances aside, now the hunt is on to locate her ‘missing Shield’, but the deeper the search the harder the-dead-ends. Worried for her friend, the events eventually draw Iambre into the middle of the madness, only for her to realised she’s in too deep as the mystery and betrayal grow.
Whilst this goes on - meanwhile, there is also a shady noble bent on returning the realm to what he claims to be ‘its former glory’ and he makes plans to usurp the throne and ruling senate in the process. The interesting fact about this is that he’s kind of in the right, but a few centuries too late. Yet he might just get away with it because everyone looks up to him. In short, he’s a respected person, whom even the King trusts.
However, beyond all these layers of intrigue lies one crucial event that’s about to throw not only Ostravah, but all the 8 other realms, into chaos – that is, unless the fall of the veils that protect all life can be prevented. To this end, an ancient council of sworn Guardians move to do everything in their power to preserve the equilibrium, yet an old betrayal has left everything they know upside-down and time is running short.
If the mad gods are allowed to return, chaos will rule – and with them their demon creations who thrive on, and crave, life and magic.
As the book/s progress the plots and action grow deeper, and though it may not seem like it, all the lines will eventually draw together (and all will be revealed… well sort of.)
Amanda: I'm hooked! Reaching for my copy right now. I can literally hear the excitement in you voice as you describe your story. At what point in your life did you want to be a writer? Was there a defined moment where you said, right, that’s it, I have to write? Tell us about that.
Linda: I have always written stuff, I suppose. It started out as character development and fan-fic type stories co-written with my friends when we were kids, and young teenagers. Then it petered out because (unlike these days) when I was of an age where I might have thought to take the pursuit further, no-one was ever encouraged to pursue the impossible dream of becoming an author. Years later, after our daughter was born, the urge to write returned though, and here we are. You could say she unlocked my muse.
Amanda: What did you spend your first pay check on?
Linda: A bottle of wine. Seriously. I might enjoy this but it doesn’t pay the bills so I get why there’s not much encouragement from the people who just want you to earn a living.
Amanda: Have you ever based a character on someone you know? Did you ever tell them?
Linda: I might have, but I couldn’t possibly kiss and tell, lol. ;-)
Amanda: Haha. That's the tag line right there! What did you edit out of The Missing Shield?
Linda: A lot of repeated stuff, and a lot of character descriptions.
Amanda: Fair enough. It's a good thing to edit out. What was the hardest scene you wrote? Can you tell us about your process of overcoming why it was hard, how did you get through it, and what does it feel like to overcome such a hurdle?
Linda: A few scenes have proven harder than expected, but mostly because I get so embedded in particulars that I sometimes don’t know when to quit. I’d say that over all, the hardest thing has been to stay true to my adopted style and the extensive world-building. My writing it’s quite wordy, and slightly flouncy to read. Keeping that rolling was a challenge, because there were times when I really just wanted to write things like ‘he was annoyed’, instead of ‘emitting an aura of sudden danger as his brow drew low and his scowl darkened, blah blah…’lol.
Also, not everyone likes this particular style of mine and I have often been in two minds whether to just simplify everything. However, I wanted to do something a little unusual, and I wanted to explore the characters and the visual impact of the words, so I eventually began to think of the whole thing as slightly ‘concept’ and that helped to. Once you commit to something, everything becomes easier and that’s always a great feeling.
Amanda: Do you believe in writer’s block? Have you ever experienced it yourself?
Linda: It is a thing, I believe - but I personally tend to have too much going on in my head to really suffer from this.
Amanda: What are you reading right now?
Linda: Right now I am reading three books: 1. Palace of the Twelve Pillars by Christina Weigand 2. Journey to Osm by Sybrina Durant and 3. Voices in my Head by Cindy J Smith.
Amanda: Who influences you as a writer?
Linda: Other writers! I am really loving old school authors like Janny Wurts, Raymond E Feist, Tolkien, Robin Hobb. But I also love George R. R. Martin, Benard Cornwell & Steven Erikson. And those are just the fantasy authors, lol…
Amanda: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Linda: It’s a long hard slug, but if you enjoy it please do not give up. Also do not expect everything to happen at once – there’s so many aspects of being an author that I never considered to begin with, but don’t let that stop you from giving it a go. Also, if you are completely new to this, I know you can save a lot of time and energy by attending a writing course or two – it need not be more than college level but it’ll give you the basics and a good foundation from which to work and grow. Of course, if you want to do it the hard way and go it alone (like silly me) you can absolutely do so, but in hindsight I wish I’d have done a couple of courses. I just know that would have shaved off much exploring and tinkering, had I done so.
Amanda: Do you have any advice for readers?
Linda: Please don’t be scared to try something new or different. And please give indie authors a try. I know some are not great, but there are plenty of others who are awesome writers and who will bend over backwards to deliver a polished professional product to their readers. Never be afraid of contacting an author with your feedback, either– providing you do so in a respectful, constructive manner, of course.
Amanda: Have you hidden anything in The Missing Shield? Is there a secret message or a hidden code? Why did you want to hide it?
Linda: Hmmm… excellent question. I’m a bit fond of song titles or lyrics, so if you think some phrases or chapters sound a bit like that, you might just be on to something. Other than that, I don’t think that there’s anything hidden, as such. Of course, there’s plenty of mystery and much is foreshadowed or referred to in a veiled manner that might not make sense till later, but hopefully you might be able to recognise why something was explained or described in a particular way in one place when something comes full circle later on in the story.
Amanda: Thank you so much for coming along today. It’s been a wonderful chat. Where can we find you?
Linda: Oh no, thank you so much! It’s been a blast! I love interviews and sharing aspects of myself and my work. I am pretty much everywhere, so feel free to drop by and say hi any time. If you’d like to sign up for my newsletter – where there’s always good offers, guest author, chit-chat and more – you can do so from the first page of my website. https://www.llthomsen.com
Thank you for this time. Take care and stay safe!