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Linda Rucker Interview

Tell us a little about yourself-
Well, okay, but remember, you asked for it. LOL! I am a wannabe writer. No, really, even though I have two books published and several short stories and articles in both print and e-books, I am still just a wannabe. Why? Because I am what the industry refers to as (1. a newbie and (2. self-published or vanity published if you will. At least for my second book, "Dark Ridge". My first, "What the Heart Wants" was actually published by a so-called traditional, royalty paying publisher, but the jury came back, "not so" on that one. Without naming names I will simply say that my first publisher is the very same one that published the notorious "Atlanta Nights" and its initials are PA.
Having been burned by a couple of so called agents and one publisher, I was determined to get it right with my second book, and I did- sort of. I signed with an agent who was very good at her job, but, having been born without the patience gene, I was too anxious to wait eighteen months to three years before my book was on the shelves, so after much soul searching, I decided to fire my agent and go with Page Free for "Dark Ridge". Might have been the death knell for my book, and maybe even my career, but I have no regrets. The book is good, the cover is reflective of the contents and the experience with PF was pleasant. No complaints, so far.
So, while I am trying to promote sales and generate interest in "Dark Ridge", I am busy working on a couple of other projects, one that is especially near and dear to my heart. And what is it, you ask? I'd be delighted to tell you.
A fellow author and very dear friend, Michael Morris and I have created an organization for the education and prevention of HIV/AIDS. Our organization is called Just Say W.H.A.T. which stands for Writers Helping with AIDS Treatment. We are planning to compile several anthologies with stories written by people affected by HIV/AIDS, either through associations or being infected with the virus themselves. We will then offer these anthologies for sale on our website and all proceeds from the sale of these e-books will be donated to various HIV/AIDS Clinics where ever the need is greatest. I am very excited about the project and we have sent out our first call for submissions. The project has been well received by the Gay and Lesbian community and others affected by this virus and we are excited by the response we've gotten. People can check out our goals and submit their own stories if they visit our website at: http://www.freewebs.com/justsaywhat
Another pet project is a collaboration with another author and dear friend Marilyn Morris. She and I are working on a manuscript with hopes of interesting the folks at the Sci-fi Channel. Both of us are sci-fi fans and we love those B grade sci-fi flicks. This is a fun project, and we're hoping we can persuade the powers that be to take on our book and turn it into a movie. That would be great.
And last but not least, I am working on a couple of other books, but the going is slowed by my other involvement.
See, I told you you'd be sorry you asked.

When did you decide to become a writer?
I don't know if I ever made a conscious decision to become a writer. I just had a story in my head and one day sat down at the pc and started writing it. Before I knew it, "What the Heart Wants" was created. Some of it was taken from personal experience, some from others who were involved in the adoption triad. The story is unique, the characters believable, and I was terribly proud of it- until I held my copy in my hands. Then realization sat in and I had to wonder if I could ever become a writer. I made a lot of mistakes with "What the Heart Wants", mostly in style and formatting, pov, etc, but it was a learning experience for me and a wake up call. Just because a person has a story to tell, doesn't mean they have the ability to tell it well.
After "What the Heart Wants" was published, I was so disappointed in my total lack of knowledge of the business that I very nearly packed in my desire to become a writer and almost quit, but, I'm no quitter. I knew I had the talent to create a good story, I just needed to be educated in the how's of writing. So, with that thought in mind, I joined several online writing groups, took several writing workshops and I am still working on honing my skills and perfecting or finding my voice.

What was your first published work?
My very first published work was a short story I wrote for an English assignment when I was in the eighth grade. My teacher told us that we were to write a short story , between five hundred and a thousand words. We had a week to complete the assignment . The day we handed our finished assignment in, we were told that we would be reading the stories aloud and then the class would vote on who wrote the best story. The winner would then be entered into the school competition and from there go on to the county, state and finally the national competition.
The contest was being held by a national scholastic magazine, and the national winner would have his or her story printed in an upcoming issue of the magazine. And I won, all the way to the top. I was thrilled and I do believe that is when the writing bug bit me.
Sadly, though it was several years before I ever wrote another story, and when I did, it was for the anthology, "Forget Me Knots from the Front Porch".
So, I suppose technically speaking, "Forget Me Knots" was my second publication.

What is your dream as a writer?
Simply to write, to be accepted or at least acknowledged for my work. I don't care if I become a household name or make a fortune, I just want to be known as a 'writer.'

What writing avenues are you currently pursuing?
As I said, I am involved with Just Say W.H.A.T., and with the sci-fi book with Marilyn Morris. I also have a couple of books I am working on. I'm trying to promote "Dark Ridge", and it's not easy being an unknown, but since give up is not in my make-up, I keep plugging away.

Is there anything you wish you had been told earlier in your career?
Oh yeah! I wish someone had told me that it wasn't all that easy to break into the business. I wish someone had sat me down and told me that of the thousands of books published every year, the chances of mine being one of them were slim to none. I wish I'd been told that writing the book is only the beginning of the whole process and that getting signed by a big name agent or major house is less likely to happen than me winning the lottery.

What advice can you offer writers just breaking into a serious writing career?
Write what you know, and never, never give up. Join as many writing and critiquing groups as you can handle, take as many workshops as you can find and above all, listen to those who offer advice, use what you need and discard the rest.
Oh, and above all, find a way to develop a very thick skin, cause trust me, you'll need it.

Anything else you want our readers to know?
If anyone wants to know more about me or my work or read excerpts of my work, they can check out my website at: www.lindalrucker.com and they can visit my blog at: http://readingrucker.blogspot.com

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