After playing bad cop for two years, award-winning author Linda Kay Silva found her passion in teaching. She started writing as a disgruntled reader, looking for more than the standard coming out fare. That’s why she’s created bad-ass lesbian heroine after bad-ass lesbian herione.
Silva’s best advice for aspiring writers: Write. Don’t find the time, make the time. We’re grateful that she made the time to answer our questions on her way to Palm Springs.
Enjoy an excerpt from Silva’s latest book, “Demon Hunter.”
How did you get started writing?
I’ve always loved words, but I started writing seriously when I threw a famous lesbian writer’s book against the wall because I was so tired of the same drivel, the same tired coming out story. I decided I could do better, so I did. I got rejected over and over again, but I kept plugging away. I believe in myself. I do not suffer false humility. I knew I could write. I knew I needed to be dedicated to it. It paid off, as I have had four publishers at different times in my life.
When I left Bella for a better paycheck (you’d crap if you knew how little money your favorite lesbian authors really make), Isabella at Sapphire contacted me. She said, “We’re new, but I think we can grow with your help.”
I saw sincerity and integrity in her and signed immediately. I’ve never had more freedom or more support, and the best part is, we really are a family. We like each other. We party together. We Skype. It’s wonderful. Being a writer is a solitary endeavor, so to have sisters who are so loving and supportive, is a wonderful addition to our lives. Sapphore is a comer. We are doing a lot of things right.
Prior to being an author (or concurrent with it), what did you do for a living? How has it informed your work?
I was a shitty cop for about 2 years, but that experience gave me the irascible Delta Stevens. Delta is the cop I never could be. It’s a hard job and those who can do it well are priceless. I wasn’t that good.
Then I found my calling and became a teacher, then a professor. I am a literature professor who teaches British, world and American literature, modern epic fantasy, African literature, women’s lit and Asian literature. I love my job and I hope to teach until I no longer breathe. Obviously, reading all of those books has had an enormous impact on me.
What writers inspire you and why?
I grew up reading the Clives Clive Cussler and Clive Barker. I love the way their stories are never linear. They are complex. I am complex. Women are complex. We need more than a girl-meets-girl story. I read smart writers and, in turn, I try to give my readers a smart read as well. I make no bones about it, I am an intellectual snob. I abhor idiocy, stupidity and pablum. Make readers expand their universe, test the boundaries of what they think they know. To question what is and what could be. That’s what I want from my writers and what I try to give to my readers. I want to crawl under their skin and help change their lives. That’s who I am and why I exist in this world. I am an agent of change. It is what I have been doing as a teacher for 30 years and I have hundreds of students on my FB who will attest to that.
If we woke up every morning saying, “I wonder who’s life I am going to touch today,” we could change the world. I mentor middle school writers, GCLS writers and I rescue reptiles. Every day, we get the opportunity to make positive changes in the world around us. It’s why I write. I know that I touch lives. It’s the greatest feeling in the world. Yvonne Heldt is a writer who won Debut Author at GCLS last year. She emailed me several years ago to tell me that my Echo series resonated with her because she has had paranormal experiences. I suggested she write her story. She did. She won. We’re pals. She is supportive and loving plus I got a good friend out of it. How cool is that?
What are your favorite books and why?
“Fried Green Tomatoes” by Fannie Flagg(“You’re nothin’ but a bee charmer, Iggy Threadgood.”)
“Anything” by Elizabeth Peters (Her heroine is lovely.)
But the ONLY book I’ve read more than once is “Six of One” by Rita Mae Brown. When Celeste Chalfonte tears her lover’s blouse off in a heat of passion, Ramelle wakes up to find a dozen different colored blouses on the bed to make up for it. If that’s not southern manners, I don’t know what is. Perfectly romantic. I wish Rita Mae would get back to that kind of writing and end her obsession with cats. LOL. I miss her.
If you could have a dinner party with anyone, living or dead, who would you invite?
Queen Elizabeth I
Hildegarde Von Bingen
Katherine De Medici
That would make for a fun crowd.
What’s your writing process like?
I am a rare breed. I write long hand with a fountain pen on binder paper. That way, I am not reliant on batteries or energy, and since I travel so much (I am on my way to Palm Springs as I write this), I can do it anywhere. I write every day, usually in the mornings so that my writing gets my best energy, but I write all throughout the day and night. I think young writers, or those who are seriously wanting to publish, need to make it a priority. When people ask me, “How do you find the time to write, since you work two full-time jobs, mentor, play tennis and ride the Harley?” My answer is simple. I do not find the time. I make the time. Big difference. If you truly want to write, make the time. Otherwise, build a birdhouse.
What’s next for you?
I’ve just started a kick ass-series about a reluctant demon hunter whose lover is a ghost. I am bringing out the Delta Stevens series again and I have a couple of standalones I want to publish. I am definitely a series writer, but I have a few standalones I think are good reads and show a side of me few get to see.
See, I have this Harley riding, demon slaying, zombie killing badder-than-bad ass image to uphold, but the truth of the matter is I am a peace-loving Druid who rarely raises her voice, who likes tranquility over chaos and whose favorite thing is to sit by my pond and just be. Few know or even get to see that side of me, but it’s there. Buried beneath leathers and a hard candy shell.
How has your writing evolved over time?
Oh my, sometimes it is hard to read the earlier stuff. I have become much better at planting seeds for my series. I plan better. I am more descriptive and I can pace a character’s growth better. As I have grown and changed, so have they.
WORKS BY LINDA KAY SILVA
The Demon Hunter Series
– Demon Hunter
Man Eaters Series
– Man Eaters
– The Horde
– Mob Rule
Echo Branson Paranormal Series
– Echo’s Revenge
– Magical Echo
– Frozen Echo
– When an Echo Returns (Golden Literary Award Winner)
– More than an Echo (Golden Literary Award Winner)
Time Travel Series
– In the Nick of Time
– Just Killing Time (Golden Literary Award Winner)
– Third Time’s a Charm
– Second Time Around
– Across Time
Delta Stevens Police Series
– Storm Rising
– Tropical Storm
– Storm Front
– Weathering the Storm
– Storm Shelter
– Taken by Storm (Nominated for a Lambda Literary Award)
– Tory’s Tuesday