Linda Whittington Hurst released 3 children’s books in September 2013. Saving Wild Thunder, The Seeing Eye Detectives:Case of the Disappearing Dog (Volume 1), and
Krick Street Kronicles are all available on Amazon.
She also has an e-book and an anthology on Amazon. The e-book is entitled, My Day in the Navy, and anthology entitled, Quills and Crossroads. There are even several used education books for sale by former customers for the home-school curriculum Linda wrote in the early 1990s entitled: The Classics, and The Treasure Box. Linda is in the process of putting a picture book, The Adventures of Red Feather: Wild Horse of Corolla, on Amazon. It is also available through the Corolla Wild Horse Fund and can be found at www.corollawildhorses.com. She has a “How to” book that is available in the McNeese Book Store and will soon be available on Amazon entitled, Making Connections for Life-long Learning: How to write a thematic unit that works! It was originally developed for home school moms who wanted to design their own creative curriculum, but didn’t know where to begin. She currently uses it in her college level methods courses to teach pre-service teachers how to create a thematic unit that is both fun for the students and an effective teaching tool.
Linda is in the process of revising her elementary thematic curriculum entitled, The Classics. It is her plan to re-publish these literature-based units beginning with The Witch of Blackbird Pond, by the end of next summer. Two more units, which would make a total of twelve, are in the works. Revising them is a mammoth task since they were originally written on a typewriter, but it is also exciting! Linda loves children and enjoys getting them “hooked” on reading and writing!
Facebook: Linda Kay Whittington Hurst)
INTERVIEW (October 2013)
1) I see you are working on a MS – please tell me a little about it – Title, genre, how you got the idea etc. I am currently working on several manuscripts. First, I am writing a sequel to my first picture book, The Adventures of Red Feather: Wild Horse of Corolla. It is entitled, Red Feather Goes to School. Red Feather’s trainer, Steve Edwards, uses the principles of Natural Horsemanship to train all of the rescued wild horses at his farm. As a part of his program, Steve also teaches youngsters how to train these horses. It is very inspirational to see the children working with these animals. I wanted to show a contrast between children going to school and a horse being “schooled”.
Second, I am working on a “cozy” murder mystery. I got the idea when I was a real estate broker in Dallas. It is not my usual genre, so I feel like I am learning as I write. At this point, it is more research and development than manuscript.
I am also in the process of revising a couple of previously published products: a college textbook and an elementary curriculum.
2) What authors do you admire? My favorite children’s authors are Bill Martin, Jr., and Marguerite Henry. I met Marguerite Henry when I was ten years old. She made an indelible impression on my heart! Bill Martin, Jr. became my hero when I was a doctoral student at Texas A&M University-Commerce. His love for children and books was infectious! My favorite adult author is Mary Higgins Clark. Her mysteries keep me turning the pages, no matter which of her books I read!
3) What music, places, people inspire you? Music: I love the BeeGees, the Eagles, and Michael Buble. Places that inspire me? The Outer Banks of North Carolina have captured my heart and my imagination. Lake Tahoe isn’t bad either!
4) How long did it take you to write your current MS? The Adventures of Red Feather: Wild Horse of Corolla – From my first visit to Corolla where I met the real Red Feather and researched his story, until I submitted the manuscript to the publisher took around 9 months.
The Seeing Eye Detectives: Case of the Disappearing Dog – This manuscript came together very quickly. My best friend and I collaborated on it while I held “Open House” (At the time I was a real estate broker). From start to finish, it took around three months.
Krick Street Kronicles – This book was written in stages—a chapter here, a chapter there—specifically for my family reunion, so it took approximately four years.
Saving Wild Thunder – I started this manuscript in 1999. It evolved over the years from a semi-autobiographical story into a novel. It grew into a book with over thirty-five chapters and nearly 500 pages. Obviously, I had to take the scissors out and cut it significantly. This was the most difficult book I have ever written, but it taught me so much about the craft that I’m glad I took my time with it!
5) Are you part of a critique group or writer’s guild? Yes! I have been a member of SCBWI since 1999. I participated in a wonderful online critique group for years. When I moved to Lake Charles, my work load increased to the point I had to place my writing on the back burner for a while. Last year I joined the Bayou Writers Group at their annual conference. Recently, I have started participating in their Thursday Critique Group that meets at a coffee house in downtown Lake Charles. I realize the importance of belonging to a critique group. This is where I grow as a writer and my stories have a chance to get better with every critique session!
6) Have you ever attended a writer’s conference? I attend as many writer’s conferences as I can! I regularly attend the
SCBWI annual conferences in Dallas and Houston, and have even traveled to Disney World for the Florida SCBWI conference. Since moving to Lake Charles, I have been to all of the Bayou Writer’s Conferences and have worked diligently to bring successful writers to my university, including Michael Sampson, Erin Gruwell and Jerry Pallotta.
7) When working on your current MS did you complete an outline first or did you just start writing? This question is similar to “Which came first—the chicken or the egg!” In my case, I wrote all of my books without an outline, with the exception of The Seeing Eye Detectives: Case of the Disappearing Dog. Writing without an outline allows my imagination to take control and the story flows, often surprising me! However, not using an outline can also slow down the process. I sometimes find myself going off on tangents that may or may not be good for me or my story. On the one occasion when I employed an outline, the writing went much faster—and the revisions took less time. I am currently working on an outline for a new novel. We will have to wait and see if my muse is impressed!
8) What is your writing process like? Certain hours that you find more productive, a routine, a set amount of time or a number of pages you make yourself write every day etc. Because I work full-time, I do not have a specific schedule. When I first began writing, I worked at my craft every day (five days a week). At that time, I was a full time housewife. Later, I became a real estate agent and discovered my time was often not my own. I found that I could often get a great deal of writing done during a slow open house. (Of course, I did not really want an open house to be slow!!!) When the real estate market crashed, I returned to my education background and took a position at a state university. College schedules are very different from public school schedules. I found that I had time to write once again! Not only did I have time, I was encouraged to do so for promotions and advances in my career.
My free time often came, however, after a hard day—which hampered my ability to write. Recently, I have tried to reserve one day per week to dedicate to writing. I work best in the morning, but I have discovered the value of an afternoon nap for revitalizing myself and giving me the energy to continue working on my manuscripts. I treasure this one day—and have tried very hard to maintain it. I do not have a set number of pages or words that I strive to achieve. Instead, I write as long as I can—then I go for a walk, read a book, or run up to the local bookstore/coffee shop for inspiration. Usually, I can return to my writing after being refreshed and reinvigorated!
9) The last book you finished in a single sitting? I am assuming that you mean the last book I read in a single sitting! I love to drown myself in historical fiction. Recently, I read a book by Nell W. Wechter, entitled, Betsy Dowdy’s Ride. I was so mesmerized I couldn’t put it down! Unfortunately, it is out of print and can only be purchased used.
10) Favorite book from childhood? In fifth grade, I checked out a book by Marguerite Henry, called Misty of Chincoteague. I
have to say that this book had a huge effect on my life. Not only did I convince my mother to take me to Chincoteague for an entire week, I also bid on a colt at the auction (without my mother’s knowledge), met Marguerite Henry in person and worshipped her as my literary hero from that point forward! In 1999, while on vacation, my husband and I returned to Chincoteague for a brief visit. Although Mrs. Henry died in 1997, memories of her inspired me to write a new story—my story—about this island, this event, and these horses—and how they changed my life. This was the beginning of my career as a children’s book author.