Tuesday, February 21, 2023


I want to thank Linda Watkins for taking the time for this interview!


USA Today bestselling author, Linda Watkins, who resides in Sedona, Arizona, is the author of the multi-award-winning Mateguas Island Series and the critically-acclaimed, award-winning, Kate Pomeroy Gothic Mystery Series. 

In addition to these novels, she has also penned the award-winning contemporary romance, Summer Girl, A Novel and three novellas (Sarah & Zoey, A Story About the Power of Unconditional LoveThe Night of the Sciurus, A Western Michigan Tale of Terror, and The Witches of Storm Island: Book I, The Turning), all of which have received excellent editorial and customer reviews. Tainted Wine is the second book in a new series (The Steve Daniels Mystery Series) set in the days following WWII. 

Linda is a voting member of the Horror Writers AssociationThe Authors Guild, The International Association of Crime Writers (N.A.) and The Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers. 

Passionate about animals (especially dogs), Linda volunteers with the local Humane Society and with Sedona Rescue, an animal rescue group.

When and how did you know you wanted to be a writer? 

I never really decided to be a writer. Over my lifetime, I’ve written mostly poems and songs for my own enjoyment. In 2011 I decided to try to write a novel. 

I’ve always had stories running around in my head, but never tried to put them on paper. At the time I started my first novel, I had a bad back and couldn’t sit on the computer for long periods of time. The invention of the iPad spurred me to write because I could do it anywhere and in almost any position.

Did you have any influencing writers growing up?

Stephen King, Dean Koontz, John Fowles, and, of course, Carolyn Keene, author of the Nancy Drew mysteries.

Are any of your characters based on people in real life?

Nope. All are products of my imagination.

Where do you draw your book inspirations from?

Little things. Mateguas came from my own situation - I lived on an island much like the one featured in the novel. 

The Kate Pomeroy Gothic Mystery Series came from an image of a body hanging from a ceiling fan in an old attic. 

Summer Girl was inspired by a book I’d read, although the subject matter was way different. I felt the author of the book, Abby Geni, painted pictures with her words and I wanted to do that. The result was Summer Girl. 

The Steve Daniels Mysteries came from my love of old 1940s/1950s noir movie mysteries.

Do you use have a basic outline when starting a new story or do you let the characters lead the way?

I block everything (well, all the main components) out in my head before I start writing so I know where I’m going. My characters may take detours along the way, but they’ll finally get to the end I envision.

When you are picturing the characters in your book, do you have a cheater photo for inspiration?

No, I don’t. I make them up in my head. I may use a movie star for inspiration, like in the case of Karen in Mateguas (Cate Blanchette).

Many people read as a form of escape and relaxation.  What is your favorite way to sit back and relax?

A glass of wine, a good book or TV show, with my dogs nearby.

Who are your favorite current authors to read?

Both Stephen King and Josh Malerman can keep me reading into the wee small hours of the night. 

What are your favorite books by others?

The Magus by John Fowles is my all-time favorite read. I’ve read it many times and, each time, come away with something new. 

I also loved Stephen King’s new book, Fairy Tale, and I was blown away by Winterset Hollow by Edward Durham.

Do the locations in the stories have any meaning to you?

Yes, most of my stories are located on fictional islands off the coast of Maine. Mateguas, Storm, and Cutter Islands are all products of my imagination, but they are, in some ways, much like the one I lived on for seven years.

Do you write in single or multiple POV?

Mostly multiple.

What do you find to be your best research tool?

My computer and Google.

Do you write under a pen name?  Also, do you write under more than one name?

Nope, I use my real name.

What genre do you write and why is this your preference?

Most of my novels are contemporary Gothic, either horror or mystery, because that is what I like to read. 

I also have a noir mystery series set in the latter stages of WWII and early 1950s. I started this series because I love all those old 40s and 50s noir movies. 

Summer Girl, a stand-alone novel, is a nostalgic love story, but contains a serious examination of the sexual abuse of a child.

Tell me something about yourself outside of writing.  Jobs, accomplishments, family, quirky trait...what led to you being you?

I worked as a financial analyst at Stanford University School of Medicine for twenty years. 

After retiring, I took a job part-time as an animal care attendant at a local no-kill shelter. 

After that, I moved from California to Oregon and spent most of my free time with my dogs or volunteering at the local Humane Society. 

I stayed in Oregon for 4 years, then moved to Chebeague Island, Maine with my dogs and lived there for 7 happy years. That’s where I started writing seriously. 

I then moved to Michigan for a brief 3 years, then on to Sedona, AZ where I reside now with my 2 rescue dogs. 

When I’m not writing, I can usually be found either at the Humane Society, where I volunteer as a dog walker, or on the computer, assisting our local animal rescue group with social media posts, etc. 

I am passionate about two things: dogs and my writing.

What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

Don’t stop reading. You need to read in order to write. 

Also, edit, edit, edit, and when you finish editing, have a professional editor look at your work. Don’t try to publish without that experienced set of eyes on your prose. 

Finally, expect criticism and don’t be hurt by it. Not everyone will like your writing or your vision. If you like it, then it’s okay!

How do you deal and process negative book reviews?

They hurt at first, but now that I’ve written 15 books, I pretty much ignore them. If I like what I’ve written, it’s enough for me.

What is the most difficult part of your writing process?

Starting. I tell myself I’m going to write today, but then will find something else to do. Once I start, I can get in the groove, but starting, that’s hard.

What do you need in your writer’s space to keep you focused?

Just good lighting and quiet.

What is your naughty indulgence as you are writing?

I write and then I read what I’ve written out loud. 

Once I has having some rooms painted and, while the painters worked, I was proofing one of my Mateguas novels. At first, as I read the story aloud, there was a lot of talking going on from the room being painted. But, as I went on, the noise from the painters diminished and I realized they were listening to my story. Of course, when I came to a racy part, I started whispering, not wanting them to hear!

If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose?  And why?

Stephen King, of course. He’s my favorite writer. 

I also enjoy his sense of humor on Twitter. I think it would be fabulous to spend a few hours with him.

What is your schedule like when you are writing?  Do you have a favorite writing snack or drink?

No, I usually don’t eat or drink when I’m writing. I’ll take breaks, have a sandwich or something, but not at my desk.

Do you listen to music when you write – what kind of music is your favorite?

Nope, I like quiet.

Have pets ever gotten in the way of your writing?


Chomps will see a coyote outside and go absolutely nuts. I have to get up and make sure he doesn’t jump the fence! 

My other dog, Chelsea, will want food or love. I always give one or the other.

What is your kryptonite as a writer?  What totally puts you off your game?

Worrying about other things, like my insurance denying a prescription I need; something broken that needs to be fixed. A package that I’m waiting for that never comes. Stuff like that. I’m a worry-wort.

Have you ever killed off a character that your readers loved?

Yeah, I have, but I’ve also brought them back to life! You can do that in horror writing!

How do you celebrate after typing THE END?

I glass of wine (or two!) and maybe a dance!


I hope you enjoyed this interview!

Check out all my interviews/reviews for Linda Watkins:

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1 comment:

  1. Love the part about the painters getting drawn into your story and the naughty part coming up.