Exclusive Interview with
Linda Ashton Trott
When did you start writing?
I actually started writing during the first COVID shutdown. I had some ideas running through my head, and just sat down and started writing.
What makes writing your passion?
I want to find out what happens next. It's a surprise to me sometimes, in spite of 'planning' the story. My characters have a way of diverging and doing something else. :)
How long have you been writing?
Fiction? Three years. However, I've been a non-fictional writer of a number of disciplines for about 20 years. I used to develop courses and education for companies, and that requires a very specific set of writing skills. I also co-write articles with my journalist husband occasionally.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
Trepidation. I was terrified, excited, nervous. I didn't know what to expect. I was going the self-publish route, because the first time I shopped my manuscript around, it was a 'no' all around. An editor told me it was too long, so I had to correct that. At the end of that process, I decided to use Amazon as my vehicle of choice.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
Huh, that's a funny story. Much of the first book I've drawn on my own life's experiences. I've had some paranormal experiences --- you know things that happen and you just can't explain them. Subtle, but unusual nonetheless. They say to write what you know, so that's what I did; greatly exaggerated and embellished of course.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
Ah that would be the complete lack of advertising vehicles and lack of exposure a self-published author gets. In my mind it's not a 'career' unless it's paying for your life. And so far, it's not. I'm not a marketing person. So that end of it is frustrating, difficult to get a handle on, and very discouraging.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I walk away from the story, do something else. I don't get blocked as much as I run the course of the thought I had, and the next one hasn't arrived yet. The first draft of book one took me three weeks to write 180,000 words. It fell out of me. Since then, it's happened much the same way. But now, I'm planning the stories more. With a series, you need to keep all the facts, characters, and events straight from book one on.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
I consider myself a new author ... even though I've got eight books finished. What keeps me going? My husband. He believes in me, more than I believe in myself. Advice: write your own stories and find someone who believes in you. There is so much negative crap out there, it is not difficult to listen to it. Don't.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
I don't know that I have any advice for my younger self, except maybe not to get married that first time! :) I don't have any regrets in my life, not yet anyway.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
Yes, because I believe I can learn from them. The bad ones even have something to teach me. I consider what they say, ask myself if they have a point, and then try to correct that in the next one. Unfortunately, you cannot keep republishing the same book over and over again. There are always things we miss, always a typo not caught, always something out of sequence. The best I can do as a writer is listen to what people say, and see how I can improve.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
Elation. Especially, if the reader gives me 'why' they think it's good. You cannot please everyone. And my idea of something is not necessarily the same as someone else's idea of the same thing. So that's tough to do. It's like when you get an A+ in school but the teacher never told you what you did right. We all need to know what we did right as well as what we did wrong.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Yes. Many things. I've had amazing opportunities and some crazy things have happened. Why not use that?
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
Falon is based partially on me. Lora is based on my alter ego.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
Yes. I want my covers to convey something of the story. Even though my books have a lot of spicy scenes, I don't want the cover to be typical of that type of book. My stories are about how people relate to each other.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I try. I think chatting with readers could be very time consuming, especially if you're in the process of writing. Writing back and forth is more practical.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
I'll let you know when it happens! ha ha ha
Who is your favorite author? Why?
Ooooh, I have lots of favorites. Diana Gabaldon, because she is amazing at capturing the essence of a moment. Shayne Silvers because he can combine the most unlikely things super well, and always throws in some irreverent humor. JRR Tolkein for his world-building. He is unparalleled. IT Lucas because of her ability to write so many books. Anne Rice because she can write about a creepy thing and make you want to have it. Jean Auel for the way she made me rethink prehistory of man and writing a world she thought was true to it, in spite of the violence it had. That's just a few.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
I don't have that dream. I just want people to like my work enough to buy it. This is my third career, so my goals are no where near the same.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
I've asked this question of myself. I even attempted to rewrite one, but I didn't like the story as much, it felt false. I have struggled with the explicit sex, and the fact that it nearly puts my stories into the realm of erotica. However, that's the way they came out. There wasn't a goal to write that type of book, it was just the way the characters related to each other. So, I took one of my books and wrote it without explicit scenes. It was thin and it seemed wrong. It was a compromise to what the story was supposed to be, so I threw it out.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
Anyone who is successful on Amazon.
What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.
I've had a few of those reviews. My response was to delete or block the review. I once had a 4-star review with a comment that was so illiterate and mean-spirited, that it could only have been an AI troll. I blocked it because it's content was nonsense and wouldn't help anyone determine if they wanted to read my book.
What would you say to your readers?
Hi! I'm glad you liked my book. Please share it with other like-minded people! Oh, and next time, could you please purchase a copy? I get lots of ARC readers who are fans, but of course they get all their books free.
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
I'm Canadian, eh? Married, husband is a journalist. Two step-kids, grown up and moved away. We have four cats, now. We've rescued perhaps a couple of dozen and as many as seven at a time in our house. We also keep Japanese Koi, and much of our disposable income goes toward the pond. I've been a figure skater/coach, a teacher, an IT professional, a corporate educator, and a small business manufacturer.
What is your day job if you have one?
Semi-retired, working as editor for my husband.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
I like making rhinestone collars for the cats. We have Koi, and we do a lot of reading.
Did you have a happy childhood?
Very. My parents adopted me. I was very lucky. I had two older brothers, one is gone. They tried to give me everything and loved me very much.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
Nope. Just decided one day to put down on 'paper' the story that was buzzing around my head.
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
Oh my, that's a dangerous topic! Briefly, I don't think children are getting an education that lets them be adults. They learn nothing of life, and few skills that prepare them for that life. In my parents time, there were at least skills taught for cooking and sewing and woodworking, or shop. Most of the schools no longer have those. There is too much focus on 'university' or 'college' and not enough focus on skills and knowledge.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
I would wish for a solution to homelessness. I would wish for an end to hunger. And I would wish for and end to hate in the world.
What is your favorite music?
I love nearly everything. Instrumental, classical, pop, rap, dance, western, jazz, blues, and Spanish guitar. Some of my favorites are Downchild Blues Band, Céline Dion, David Arkenstone, Billy Joel
Share a secret with us 🙂
I had a paranormal experience with a man I could not explain.