Friday, August 29, 2014

Interview with Science Fiction Author Linda Thackeray

Welcome to Up Around the Corner, Linda. Could you tell us a little about yourself and your writing? 

Well, I’m a manager who works at a publishing company a stone’s throw from the Sydney Opera House in Australia but I live on the coast in a suburb called Woy Woy, which apparently means ‘big lagoon’ with my one cat, Newt. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember and have never really stopped, although I haven’t written seriously for at least a decade. I had an epiphany moment a few months ago that made me decide to take it up again and now I’m dusting off all the work that I’ve let languished to take stab at e-publishing.

Although the answer may be as straight forward as something along the lines of, “The publisher where I work doesn’t publish science fiction, which is what I write,” why did you decide to self-publish as opposed to seeking to find a publisher for your work, especially the one you work for?

Well, I work for a publishing company specializing in Australian Standards so they don’t do fiction at all. I chose to self-publish because it seemed a lot less painful than attempting to go through a mainstream publisher. I attempted to publish The Guardian that way many years ago and was disappointed.

Can you tell us a little about The Guardian and what you did to prepare it (and yourself) for self-publication?

The story itself is about Peter, who starts off living a very idyllic and simplistic existence sheltered from the Citadel by his Uncle Cy who has some very big plans for his future. However, Cy’s premature deaths forces Peter to leave home where he discovers how terrible a galaxy run by the Citadel can be.

Peter meets Marc who is not sheltered at all and has experienced the worst aspect of the Citadel, leaving him emotionally disconnected. Despite their differences, their growing friendship helps them survive together as new people enter their lives. However, when Peter’s true destiny unfolds and his humanity begins to slip away, it is Marc who reminds Peter what it is like to be human. It is written in the vein of Star Wars as Peter meets the people who will eventually become the foundation of the force he creates to fight the Citadel.

I wrote this story a decade ago and it has been more or less sitting around on a shelf for all that time. Recently, I dusted it off after hearing good things about self-publishing and also because I wanted a book to use in order to explore the self-publishing world. In going forward, I’m taking advantage of the tools out there, such as formatting, editing and producing good book covers, so it’s been the platform on which I’m discovering this new world.

Who is one ‘traditionally’ published author that you enjoy reading and who is one self-published author that you enjoy reading? How did you discover each and what draws you to their works?
My biggest influence is Stephen King.

In his book IT, one of his characters asks ‘Why can’t a story be just as story?’ when confronted by a teacher who wanted to know what point he was trying to make with a short story that was written. That question has resonated with me because sometimes a story just wants to be told, there isn’t any particular point to it. Furthermore, while I don’t always agree with the pacing of his books, his characterization is standout. You care about the characters in King’s books and that what I’ve strived for in my writings.

I have just started reading books by self-published authors and I have to say my favorite at present is Paul Leone, who penned Mysterious Albion. It’s a vampire story but, after the glut of vampire material, thanks to Stephanie Meyer, that seemed to skew more towards sycophantic teenager girls and vampires who want to date, it’s nice to read something in the vein of Bram Stoker. The author has some religious leanings but he maintains a nice balance by not letting it turn the book into something preachy.

As a line from Stephen King’s IT has stuck with you, is there a line in one of your writings that really echoes with you, or you one think readers might appreciate?

It’s hard to pick one line from my writings but I think if there is one thing my readers might appreciate from my books is the depiction of friendship between characters, demonstrating that you don’t have to be a blood relation to be a part of a family. Good friendships can get you through the worst of things if you have people in your life that support and believe in you. I explore this theme in The Guardian and also in my upcoming book, Queen of Carleon.

What do you do, Linda, to recharge your “writing batteries”?

For me, the movie that sparked my interest in fantasy and science fiction was Star Wars. I was seven years old when I saw the film and that movie filled me with such a sense of wonder that I wanted to read more about it. When I couldn’t find anything else to satisfy, I started to write my own stories. Whenever I feel blocked, I’ll watch that movie or read a book that engenders the same feeling. I’ll reread IT, Dune, or Mists of Avalon to be reminded of what good story telling is like and it usually serves to get the creative juices flowing again.

What do your family, friends and co-workers think of your writing career, if they even know of it?

I have to admit I’ve kept the writing very private. My family knew I wrote but I’ve never volunteered anything for them to read. My co-workers knew I could write but once again I kept that to myself. It has always been my ‘thing’ although I do have one or two friends that read my work. To tell the truth, the people who knew of my writing were mostly online friends. However, my parents are supportive of the writing even if they don’t have any particular interest in science fiction and now that I’ve outed myself, my co-workers are similarly encouraging.

What can readers expect next from you and where do you see your writing career seven years from now?

I am presently working on fantasy novel called the Queen of Carleon. I have published it through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing but have done very little promotion for it because I wanted a few readers to give me an opinion on the work while I had it professionally edited. This is the book that I’m putting professional resources into, i.e. book covers, editing and formatting. It will be a part of series of books based on stories I wrote about a decade ago during my whole Lord of the Rings craze. While I loved Tolkien’s work I wished we had a bit of perspective from a female point of view. So the Avalyne series will be very female centric though I don’t like to forget my male audience either.

Seven years from now, I hope to have enough of a presence to be able to write full-time. I don’t think I need to be massively successful, just enough so I can devote myself to doing something I love without worrying about a nine to five grind.

As we’re closing in on the end of the interview, Linda, is there anything you’d like to add or share with the readers of Up Around the Corner?

In dipping into the world of self-publishing, the biggest advice I can give to anyone starting out is to join groups like Authors Marketing Club and Goodreads. There’s loads of good advice from people who’ve done it all and that will save you a few months stumbling about in the dark. My final piece is that it is never too late to write that story that’s been rumbling around in your head for years. Chances are, someone, somewhere will appreciate it.

Thanks, Linda, for taking the time to participate in the interview.

For those interested, you can find out more about Linda’s works here:


  1. I love Linda's way to recharge. I do this too!

  2. I also let a novel sit on a shelf for a decade before getting it out and getting it published. It was a great experience.Best of luck to you, Linda!

  3. Thanks you Angie :) I'm on book four now so we'll see how we go.

  4. Great interview. Love the recharge question/answer. On vampires - the glitter thing was over the top and an embarrassment to vampires everywhere. LOL, my opinion, of course.