We’re doubling up this month with another Meet the Chapter Mates interview! This week we’re featuring Linda Thomas-Sundstrom, a paranormal romance writer who has a passion for health and travel.
You can find out more about her at her website, LindaThomas-Sundstrom.com
Tell us a little about yourself! Who are you? What do you write?
I’m a teacher by day and a writer by night (and also weekends, and breaks, and at red lights when I drive). I’m faculty in the Health, Nutrition and Exercise Science Departments areas at two colleges, and I have 28 romance and urban fantasy books and novellas out, to date, all but 4 of those traditionally published. I’m one of those people who knew early on what I wanted to do, and guess what? I’m doing both of those things = teaching and writing.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I wrote my first book at age 8, and still have it. It was a Leprechaun fantasy, illustrations and all. I kept writing, on and off, from then, but not seriously. After completing two full YA fantasy manuscripts later on (2002), I got my first agent, who got an offer for them from a the well-known Dungeons and Dragons folks…. and then the editor went on maternity leave and my project never got anywhere without her. Disheartened, I stopped writing for a while until a friend challenged me to write a romance novel in my favorite romance genre, which was Gothic. So, I took up that challenge, and lo-and-behold- sold that one. I then wrote a novella and sold it to Kensington Brava… got a new agent, and my career began.
What does RWASD mean to you?
Community. New friends. Examining the business of writing romance.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced on your journey to becoming a writer?
Trends may change, but I don’t. Follow your bliss stuff, I guess. I started writing paranormals (remember that leprechaun story?), and I still am writing them and selling them. (Okay, I did get an offer from the HQN Desire line, and wrote a straight contemp Christmas book for them). My biggest challenge in writing is having the time to get to all the projects I want to do. Truly, I must have a hundred or more ideas I want to write about.
What attracted you to the genre you write? Why does it speak to you?
My family told ghost stories by the fireplace. We had to make up our own, early on. We told ghost stories when we traveled around the west by car. It was no-brainer that I’d end up writing paranormals. I’ve been immersed in the supernatural since I was a small kid. I love everything about the worlds in which I write. And I see my family in them all, and feel them with me when I write those ideas down.
Where is the weirdest place or what is the weirdest thing that inspired an idea?
For a while, I was a private travel guide in Britain, in the summers. I did a lot of personal
research trips, and explored all of the projects on megalithic stone sites. I hung out with bonafide researchers with projects at Avebury, the Hurlers, and six other special stone circles, and wrote my first long novel by hand that pertains to those sites. That book will someday soon be published as a romance. Too bad Diana Gabaldon had beat me to it (wink).
Who’s a writer you would do backflips to meet and why?
J.R.R. Tolkien. The Lord of the Rings was my first real, true, book love. I read those books at least twelve times, starting in high school, joined the Mythopoeic Society to venerate his work. I ran a Tolkien conference, and taught a course in Tolkien at an L.A. college.
If you could go back 20 years ago, What advice would you give yourself?
Write more. Find the time. Be brave and go for it even earlier than I did.
Tell us about your latest novel!
I have a few projects out this year. My latest (April 2016) was from HQN Nocturne. “Immortal Redeemed” is a novel in my Blood Knight series about knights from Arthur’s Round Table who are still around today, in our century, continuing a quest. “Immortal Redeemed” is Galahad’s story (yep, that legendary guy). Now going by the name of Kellan Ladd, we find this sexy immortal coming to the states on a custom Harley, instead of a steed, in search of something important to him. Of course, the woman he meets will either hinder or help that quest. (Lucky woman). This book has garnered TOP PICK ratings from all of the review sites so far (I think those reviewers just want Kellan for themselves).
In July, “Half Wolf” releases from Nocturne. Human-wolf-Fae story set on a college campus . . . and the start of a Fae series for the future.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Kellan Ladd pushed the black custom Harley to eighty miles per hour on the open road, inhaling the wind, appreciating what might be his last moments on earth.
The purr of the bike’s engine was the only sound in the dark fall night. His next stop was already a dim glow on the horizon. Out here he could breathe and see the stars. Disturbing thoughts were traded for the intricacies of pure sensation.
He liked the pungent scent of damp greenery and the faint odor of engine oil. Those things mixed well with the fragrance of his signature black leather pants and jacket.
In fact, the back of his neck tingled in honor of those things. But the pleasure didn’t last. The dampness of the wind welcoming him to Seattle slipped beneath his collar to go head-to-head with the fiery burn of the intricate sigils carved into his shoulder blades…and the result wasn’t pretty.
The sizzling sound of heat versus cold was imaginary. Discomfort wasn’t. The marks on his back were as painful tonight as when he’d first received them. It was as if the scrolling tattoos were in on the secret part of his secret agenda. The temperature tug-of-war was a reminder he had never needed that after walking the surface of this planet for hundreds of years, he wasn’t like the people he’d meet in an hour.
Not even remotely like them.
Before you go, any advice to give to the new writers out there?
I’d give the same advice I would have given to myself, which is still relevant to me today: Write more. Find the time. Be brave and go for it. Write because you have to. Write because art is like necessary oxygen to your system. At the same time, heed today’s warnings. Don’t just “go for it” without being fully ready, crafted, edited, and aware of what it takes to have a career in this business. It’s a fabulous business, for sure! I’m in love with it! But take no no short-cuts to get there. Present your best, and then feel truly proud (and rightly so) of your accomplishments.