Multi-published author Linda J. White recently stopped by my blog to share some about her writing life and her latest romantic suspense, Winter Flight.
Why did you start writing romantic suspense novels?
I actually started out writing straight suspense. My husband made video training films for the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. I had the idea for a story, and Larry encouraged me to write it. He connected me with a bunch of agents and instructors at the academy, who taught me all kinds of things about the FBI. My first books, written with my husband looking over my shoulder, were straight suspense, almost procedurals, because I was so focused on accuracy. Gradually, over time, I began incorporating more romance. Even so, my books are not typical romantic suspense stories. They’re stronger on the suspense side.
Where do you get the inspiration for your plots?
I was the assistant editorial page editor at a daily newspaper for over a decade. So keeping my nose in the news was a requirement, and I found many plot ideas there. For example, in the Fredericksburg, Virginia, area, there was a series of murders of young women committed by someone dubbed “The Route 29 Stalker.” I got a lot of ideas out of those news stories. The Beltway Sniper case in 2002 gave me a whole book plot. Other ideas have come from subject matter experts: FBI agents, search-and-rescue volunteers, and police officers.
How do you pick the location/setting of your romantic suspense novels?
All of my books are set in the Mid-Atlantic region. I’ve lived here all my life (except for three years in LA). I understand the flora, the fauna, the weather, and generally the culture of this area. One of my books, Seeds of Evidence, is set in Chincoteague, Virginia, where my grandparents lived when I was a kid. I remember telling a friend, “I don’t care if this books sells or not. I want to evoke this place!” The book did sell. It was traditionally published in 2013 and is still selling today.
What is absolutely essential for you to write?
First of all, prayer. I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide my writing and keep me in the truth. Having done that, I open my laptop. I usually need to write in the morning when I’m freshest. I need coffee (black), as well as freedom from distractions (like Facebook and email). I turn on the soundtracks of two of my favorite films: “Pride and Prejudice” and “Sense and Sensibility.” Something about that music lures the Muse out of hiding and off I go. I write for three or four hours, and then turn to other work. I may go back later and edit, depending on my schedule.
Linda J. White writes FBI and K-9 search and rescue thrillers. Her late husband, Larry, was a video producer/director at the FBI Academy for nearly 30 years. Her 2013 book, Seeds of Evidence won a HOLT Medallion. A former assistant editorial page editor for a daily newspaper, Linda now lives in Yorktown, Virginia, near three of her five grandchildren.
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After two years of pandemic, people are touchy. Violence is everywhere. Fear and anxiety run wild. Jess has a scary encounter with a man in the woods and then a blow-up that threatens her closest friendships. Her husband, FBI Agent Scott Cooper, investigates a school shooting he thinks might be the start of a bigger terrorism campaign.
A lead in that case takes Scott and Jess to the mountains of western Virginia as a snowstorm moves in. While there, a school bus disappears. The driver is found dead by the road, but where is the bus and, more importantly, the kids?
Jess and Scott, along with Jess’s dog Luke, join the sheriff in the hunt. The elderly Miss Etta provides a clue but is she reliable? Scott’s intelligence, Jess’s grit, and Nate’s wisdom all must come into play to save the kids. In the end, Nate’s comment that “People ain’t always what they seem,” proves dead accurate.