Friday, August 6, 2010

Fresh Voice: Linda Grimes!

"we do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit." - E.E. Cummings

Welcome to the latest edition of Fresh Voices. We are delighted to share with you the voice of Linda Grimes!

What is your ultimate writing goal?
To have someone pass me on the street, do a double take, and say, "Hey, I know you—your books always make me laugh." Bonus points if it's not my mom.

Why do you write?
Here's where I should wax poetic about my love of the written word, and how I've lived and breathed literature since I was a tot, right? Which is true, of course, but that's the reason I read. I write mainly because I can't sing, and I'd go crazy without a creative outlet.

Also, I can't draw, paint, or sculpt, except metaphorically with my words. So, really, I had no choice. It was write or go crazy. (My family might argue the "or" in the preceding sentence should be "and." I'm forced to concede they might have a point.)

Your writing is witty and fun. Have you worked to achieve that voice or is it just a natural style for you?
Thanks! Being a smartass comes naturally to me, but I've worked to hone my delivery. Growing up with three brothers helped. We weren't allowed to beat each other up, so we had to learn to "use our words." Eventually it got to the point where my brothers would all say, "Please, just hit me!" whenever I opened my mouth, but by then I'd realized words were a lot more fun than physical violence.

Who are your favorite authors and why do you like them?
Gaah. That is probably the most difficult question for a writer to answer. There are so many! How about a sampling?

Diana Gabaldon (author of the Outlander series) is a perennial favorite. Her books are the most flavorful genre stew you can imagine—romance, historical, sci-fi, fantasy…you name it, it's in there. All seasoned with enough tragedy, humor, love, and derring-do to keep you reading, whatever your literary taste.

Harlan Coben—all his books, but especially his Myron Bolitar series. Pure mystery mastery. Plus, I have a crush on Win, Myron's semi-psychopathic sidekick.

Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series keeps me hungry for more. Harry Dresden is a smartass's smartass, and a wizard to boot. What's not to love?

Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series is always a treat to read. There's a surprise for me in every book—I like that.

There are tons more, but I'd better stop before I put a strain on your bandwidth.

What most attracts you to the life of a writer?The POWER. Bwah-ha-hah! I may not be able to control every aspect of my real life, but gosh darn it, in my books what I say goes. Frankly, it can be addictive. If I had that kind of power at my fingertips in actuality, I'd be a despotic monster. But mostly benign. Or maybe not. No telling how that kind of power might warp me.

If you couldn't be a writer but knew you were guaranteed success at different career, what would you choose?
Other than singer, you mean? Since that one's been ruled out by my *ahem* singular lack of musical ability. Let's see…I've outgrown "jockey" in both height and inclination. Though I do still love horses.

Hmmm. Maybe a tabloid journalist. Or is that cheating, since it's still writing? Wait, I know! A tabloid television reporter. That way I could still tell outrageous stories about strange characters.

Or I could just go back to being an actress. Since I'd be guaranteed success, I wouldn't have to stress the auditions.

If you had to describe your writing in one word, what would that word be?
Popcorn. Light, fluffy, and a little salty. Snack food for the brain.

Does that sound self-deprecating? I don't mean to be. Popping up the perfect batch without burning it, or leaving behind too many "old maids" (the unpopped kernels), is harder than you'd think, so I'm really not exhibiting low self esteem by making the comparison. Plus, everyone needs a little indulgence in life—it's healthy. When you think of it that way, it's downright humanitarian of me to write the fluffy stuff.

What's the best writing advice you've ever gotten?
Diana Gabaldon's stock reply springs to mind: 1. Read. 2. Write. 3. Don't stop. (Which is remarkably concise advice, given the length of her novels.) The "don't stop" is the most important part. Because as long as you keep going, you will get better.

Linda Grimes is an ex-actress who also used to teach high school English. Now she channels her love of words and drama into writing escapist ("popcorn") fiction. She grew up in Texas, and currently resides in Virginia with her husband, AKA the theater god, whom she snagged after he saw her rousing rendition of "If You Wanna Catch a Fish You Gotta Wiggle Your Bait" at the now defunct Melodrama Theater. The fishnet stockings apparently helped camouflage her awful singing.

You can find her on Twitter (@linda_grimes) and her blog Visiting Reality. If you'd like to sample the popcorn, check out an excerpt of her writing.


  1. Can Linda get any more awesome? Great posting on a supernaturally cool cat!

  2. Great interview!

    And Linda, I share your love of Gabaldon. At least once a week, I find myself sighing, "oh, Jamie."


  3. Aw, thanks, guys! Y'all are awesome. :)

    Patty, you can't have my shirt. I'd be embarrassed to be in that picture wearing only my bra.

    Tawna -- Sighing with you over Jamie. He's another one of my literary crushes.