Linda S. Prather

As a reader who follows specific authors, and loves their characters I’ve often wondered what would my readers like to know about me?  It was easier with my published book as I met many of those readers and spent time talking with them, answering their questions, and getting to know them.  I actually made several wonderful friendships through those endeavors and we still stay in touch by email.  EBook sales are substantially different in that I rarely, if ever, meet my readers now.  And I miss that.  I miss that one-on-one contact of discussing writing, characters and life in general.


One of the most often questions asked is:  are any of my characters a part of my own persona.  Well, yes, many of them are.  Let’s take a look at Sacred Secrets, the prequel to The Gifts.


 I believe we all have a dark and a light side.  Thus Gavin McAllister a/ka/ Jacody Ives.  Gavin, the “good” personality, and Jacody the “not quite so good” personality.  The deeper, darker, more angry personality.  In Sacred Secrets, I explore the trauma behind the split and the creation of Jacody Ives.  So, yes, I feel a definite connection with both Gavin and Jacody.


 Clover is a young girl who reads tarot cards, auras and believes everyone is psychic.  I too believe everyone is psychic, and many of my own characteristics are a part of Clover’s personality.


Katie has lived the majority of her life on “death row”.  Knowing that without a heart transplant she would die.  I too was told early in life that without a pancreas transplant my days were numbered.  After being placed on the transplant list my doctors discovered that I was allergic to the medications I would need for the operation.  The surgery itself would kill me.  So I know what it’s like to “be on death row”.  And my short time on the transplant list is responsible for my interest in cellular memory.


Billy Dawson, the Dream Weaver.  An interesting character.  Torn between what he believes to be right, and his obligations.  Don’t we all feel that same soul searching crisis throughout life?


Miss Charity, my own deep scars and wounds.  Which, I hope you’ll forgive me I prefer not to share.


Those are just a few of my favorite characters in Sacred Secrets, which I believe are a part of my own persona.


As Sacred Secrets is the prequel to The Gifts, I did sort of a Star Wars on myself.  In The Gifts Gavin and Jacody are no longer totally separate.  They function as one, although not totally one.


Sarah, the town Sheriff, like Gavin has what her grandmother called “The Gift”.  To Sarah it has always been more of a curse.  Like Gavin, she dreams things.  Things that happen.  And therein lays her frustration.  There’s no way she can ever know if what she dreamed is real until it happens, and then it’s too late to do anything about it.  What kind of gift is that?


Nikki, Sarah’s five year old daughter reminds me of myself at her age.  Yes, even then I was a little weird in the fact that I sometimes saw things or dreamed things that later I found out really happened.


I would love to believe that I have many of Millie’s charming characteristics.  I know I have her propensity to feel that trust is essential in a relationship, and that without that trust nothing else matters.


When I started writing The Jacody Ives Mysteries I knew I wanted to write traditional mysteries to keep the reader guessing until the very end.  I’ve been told many times that I accomplished this with The Gifts.  The jury is still out on Sacred Secrets and I’ll have to wait for reader’s reviews to know if the twist at the end was enough.  I will have to say it shocked me, as many times my characters go off in directions I had no idea they were going to take.


So now you know a little more about me, and my characters. 


Linda, Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?


The one question that is always the most difficult for me.  How much do you tell without being boring?  I’m currently 55 years old.  I have two wonderful sons and three beautiful grandchildren.  I work as a professional court reporter and started my career doing criminal work in the courtroom.  This was a real eye opening experience to me of our judicial system, as well as criminal law.


I was the youngest of six children, and we grew up quite poor.  Books, both fiction and non-fiction were my mentors.  They allowed me to travel to other places, see the world and use my imagination to envision a better life for myself.  I’m a strong supporter of education, and even stronger supporter of libraries.  Without libraries my life would truly have been rather miserable.  Books can at times be the only friend a child has.  A friend that allows that child to escape from the reality of their existence and envision a different world.  A better world.


How and why did you become a writer?


I’ve always been a voracious reader, and I have a vivid imagination.  When my children were little we would make up stories each night, adding a new chapter until they were satisfied the story was finished and then we would launch a new story.  After the boys were too old for me to tell them bedtime stories I started writing my own short stories, and eventually began a novel. My imagination was always coming up with scenarios, characters and events that I felt I had to write about, just to get them out of my head.  In the mid 90s I joined a writer’s group, and that was truly one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.  I finally felt at home.  A group of people exactly like me, living in our own little imaginary world with our own friends, enemies and accomplices.  It was through this group that I met my first publisher, and truly learned not just about the process of writing, editing, but also publishing, marketing and being an author.


Can you please tell us about your book 'Sacred Secrets, A Jacody Ives Mystery' and why you wrote it?


Sacred Secrets is the prequel to The Gifts, A Jacody Ives Mystery.  It wasn’t my intention to actually write a series when I wrote The Gifts, it just turned out that way.  After The Gifts was published I had request after request from readers who had purchased The Gifts for more of Jacody Ive’s story.  They were drawn to him, and wanted to know more about him.  The Gifts shows Gavin McAllister and Jacody Ives as two distinct personalities working together.  However, in Sacred Secrets the personality split is complete and Gavin has no clue that Jacody Ives exists, or that they face the threat of another personality starting to emerge.  A personality that threatens to change them into the very evil they seek to destroy.  Jacody Ives is faced with the challenge of meeting his destiny, finding a killer and saving the only person who has ever understood him.  To be successful he has to bridge the gap between himself and Gavin, heal the split, and overcome the evil growing inside them.


Like The Gifts, Sacred Secrets could easily be labeled a supernatural or paranormal mystery.  My writing is rather dark, but not morbid, and will never fall within the cozy mystery category.  I do love the twists and turns, plots and sub-plots that allow me to make a true mystery in the traditional sense by keeping the reader guessing all the way to the end.


When you write, do you always know where you are going, or do your characters lead you in their own directions?


I usually know where I want to go, but there are times when the characters totally take over and go off in a direction I wasn’t expecting.  It isn’t unusual for me to write a chapter and then sit back and say “wow, I didn’t see that coming” or “I would never have guessed that”. 


What books have most influenced your life most?


A really good question and one that’s very difficult to answer.  My writing life was influenced by “Old Yeller”.  I read and reread that book as a young girl until I’m sure the pages were tattered and worn.  The characters just came to life for me, and I felt every emotion they felt.  Knowing that I wanted to write, Old Yeller although not the genre I chose, was the type of book I wanted to write.  A book that readers could see, feel, hear and sense the characters and the story.  A book that made you laugh, cry and left you feeling complete at the end.  The ending wasn’t necessarily happy, but it was a real life ending.



What do you do to market your book on the internet?


Blogging, twittering, MySpace and Facebook are probably my most prevalent presences on the internet.  I use fReado’s Book Buzz, and I think that’s been very helpful.  Kindle Boards is another great source for talking with other authors, and readers of ebooks.  Book trailers on YouTube.  I’ve tried Google ads and Bing ads, but for an author, my study shows those aren’t really beneficial.



What do you do in your free time?


I rarely have any free “me” time.  I’m either working, writing, proofing, or being a grandmother to three very active grandchildren.  I do like to take a week off each year, rent a cabin and write.  This is my “me” vacation.  When I’m not writing, I’ll walk the nature trails and just enjoy being outside.


What's your next exciting project?


I’m currently working on a psychic thriller that I have totally fallen in love with.  I actually started this book several years ago, but I wasn’t really satisfied with the main character or where the book was going.  Recently I pulled this out of my archives and reread it.  I recognized immediately what had bothered me before, and the story took on new life and new direction.  I’m also working on the third and fourth Jacody Ives Mysteries, which hopefully will be released simultaneously.

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