Today I’m delighted to introduce Linda Watkins, a talented writer, fellow animal lover and a charitable and supportive woman. Not only has she gained critical acclaim for her writing, she has founded a charitable trust, The Raison d’Etre Fund for Dogs: Dedicated to Rescue and Research to which she donates the net profits of her books. Here’s the link to the FB page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Raison-dEtre-Fund-for-Dogs/1414651688816745.
The books are on special offer 6/19/15 through to 23rd. The price will be reduced from $2.99 US to $0.99 US. The deal will be in effect for the US, Canada, Great Britain and India. Prices in countries other than the US will be reduced accordingly. Since the book is available on sites other than Amazon, Linda will be reducing prices all during the week.
“Mateguas Island” is the story of Bill and Karen Andersen who are struggling to keep their marriage from falling apart. They have 8-year-old twin daughters who they both love desperately, but do they still love each other? That is one of the main questions in this novel as Ms. Watkins transports this fragile family to a small island where the only access is by boat. Throw into the mix Native American Indian legends, a strange box full of magic, and an island femme fatale and you have a recipe for disaster!
Tension slowly builds as we watch the Andersens try to deal with the anguishing reality of their lives and the ever-encroaching magic that surrounds them. The horror in this story is real – coming from both inside and outside the family structure. The characters – flawed and not always entirely likable – are complex and realistic and sometimes, despite yourself, you will find you are rooting for them to survive.
If you are a fan of the occult and old fashioned horror that does not need to rely on blood and gore to raise the hair on the back of your neck, then you will love Mateguas Island. I know I did and I can’t want for the sequel!
Here is my interview with Linda:
Tell us a little about yourself as writer and as person.
As a person, I’m a retired single lady who lives with three special needs dogs (one blind, one diabetic, and the 3rd, arthritic). I’m active and enjoy lots of outdoor activities – hiking, gardening, etc. I currently reside in Western Michigan, but the dogs and I have lived all over the country, from small acreage in Central Oregon to an island off the coast of Maine.
As a writer, I guess you could call me a “pantser”. By that I mean, I don’t do outlines, use post-its, or make any kind of timelines or notes. I compose scenes and dialogue in my head, usually very late at night, and then, when the spirit moves me, regurgitate them back into the computer. I try to write every day, but often life gets in the way – usually having to do with one of the dogs’ many medical needs.
Tell us about your writing history. When was the first time you decided to write and when was the first time you did?
I’ve been writing in one way or another pretty much all my life. When we were quite young, my first experience with creative writing was with my older sister. We used to write satirical plays based on popular television shows of the time and then record them on my father’s old reel-to-reel tape recorder (bet a lot of people today have never seen one of those!). As I grew up, my writing was, of necessity, focused on school and then work. I used to write sorority skits in college, too. Always writing one thing or another! In my position as a Senior Clinical Financial Analyst at Stanford University School of Medicine, I wrote business plans and ‘long’ forms. However, in my spare time, I often penned poems and songs, just for myself, family, and friends. About fifteen years ago, I wrote a children’s book called THE ELEPHANTS’ SONG. I have a friend who’s an artist and we hope to someday (when our schedule’s allow) to collaborate to produce a picture book.
While I’ve always had stories running around in my head, I didn’t actually attempt to write a full-length novel until I wrote MATEGUAS ISLAND about four years ago.
Did anyone influence you / encourage you to become a writer?
Yes, my older sister, Susan, who has always been the “writer” in our family. One day when cleaning out my desk, I came upon a short, whimsical, story that I had written years before for my father’s birthday. It brought back memories so I scanned it into the computer and sent Susan a copy. Not long after, she replied with something like this: “And I think I’m the writer in the family!” I took this for encouragement and, not long after, began writing MATEGUAS ISLAND
When did you decide to write in your chosen genre(s)?
Horror has always been my genre of choice. However, the ‘horror’ I’m drawn to is not the ‘in your face’ blood, guts, and gore horror of so many books and movies today. The ‘horror’ I enjoy is quiet or soft horror, as evinced by Shirley Jackson’s THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE and WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE and Henry James’ THE TURN OF THE SCREW. Thus, it was natural for me to turn to this genre for my first novel.
Tell us about the concept behind your books. How did you get the idea?
At the time I wrote MATEGUAS ISLAND, I lived on an unconnected island off the coast of Maine. By ‘unconnected’ I mean there was no bridge or access to the island other than by private boat or ferry. The island was about five miles long and two miles wide and home to approximately 350 residents year-round. Because of the sense of isolation living in this type of environment can engender, and since I was writing ‘horror’, I used a similar location for my fictional island, Mateguas.
The story was originally going to be one of those ‘house’ novels – i.e., there’s something evil lurking in the walls, etc. However, once I started writing, the characters took over and told their own story, which ended up to be something quite different!
Outside of writing, my life is now revolves around my animals. They require frequent vet visits and special care. As they are all on the downsides of their lives, I try to make they existence as much fun as possible. Throughout the years I have been blessed with their presence, they have given me much joy and love. Now it is time for me to give back.
What makes you laugh?
Lots’ of things – my blind dog trying to chase a squirrel!
Who would you like to invite for dinner?
Stephen King, of course, and Peter Straub – two of my favourite authors – and Garth Stein (The Art of Racing in the Rain) and Bill Bryson (A Walk in the Woods).
What song would you pick to go with your book?
I suppose something moody and creepy, or maybe “Girls Just Want To Have Fun”? LOL!
What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on the third full-length novel in the MATEGUAS series, entitled GHOSTS OF MATEGUAS. I believe this book will bring the MATEGUAS saga to an end. I hope to complete it and publish by the end of 2015.
Is there anything you would like us to know about yourself and your books?
Yes. All net proceeds from my books will be donated to my charitable trust, The Raison d’Etre Fund for Dogs: Dedicated to Rescue and Research. With this fund, I try to support cutting-edge medical research (through The Morris Animal Foundation) and grass-roots rescue programs throughout the country (examples, Bad Rap, Fences for Fido, Humane Society of Central Oregon, Coastal Humane Society, etc.).
In print at B&N, http://bit.ly/mateguas-bn
On Nook, http://bit.ly/mateguas-nook
On iBooks, http://bit.ly/mateguas-iBooks
Born in Norwich, Connecticut, Linda Watkins’ family moved to Michigan when she was a child. After graduation from college (Carnegie-Mellon University ’70), she relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area where she lived most of her adult life. A Senior Clinical Financial Analyst at Stanford University School of Medicine, Linda was always writing. At work, she created ‘long forms’ and business plans; at home, she wrote whimsical stories, poems and songs for the delight of her friends and family. In 2006, retired, she moved to Chebeague Island, Maine where she wrote her first novel, MATEGUAS ISLAND.
Today, she resides in Western Michigan with her three rescue dogs (Splatter, Spudley and Jasper) . She is actively at work on the third full-length novel in the MATEGUAS ISLAND SERIES that she hopes to have ready for publication in late 2015.
Social Media Links:
Novel Website: http:mateguasisland.com
Amazon Author Page: