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Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Linda+Pirtle%2C+Author&ref=nb_sb_noss
Linda Pirtle is a retired educator who taught the art of writing and understanding literature for years as an English teacher at St. John High School, Lancaster High School, and Ennis High School as well as Business Communications at Navarro College in Waxahachie, Texas. She also served as principal of Ennis High School and Program Director/Grant Writer for Ennis Independent School District.
Linda is a member of several professional writing associations – East Texas Writers’ Guild; Silver Leos (Texas A&M, Commerce); Holly Lake Book Club; and Keller Writers’ Association. As a public speaker, Linda talks about writing techniques and works with beginning authors. She served as President of the East Texas Writer’s Guild. Linda is a beta reader for her author friends whose works include a variety of genres – historical fiction, nonfiction, fantasy, mystery, romance – all of which are presently in the marketplace.
She and her husband Caleb Pirtle III are devoted to connecting readers with today’s growing population of authors throughout the world. They post blogs and promote Indie authors in their monthly newsletter and on their website calebandlindapirtle.com.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? What/who inspired you to publish your first book?
Reading, reading, reading. I’ve loved good stories my whole life which is the reason I have a B.A. in English. As a high school English teacher, I taught students how to write various types of essays: expository, descriptive, narrative, and persuasive. Toward the end of my career in education, I wrote grants for the school district. Grant writing is a very technical genre, nothing like creating a story that spans more than two hundred pages.
Retirement brought an interesting phase in my life. Caleb and I moved to a small gated community in East Texas where I planned to enjoy its peace and quiet as well as its twenty-seven hole golf course between our travels. I learned that one can play only so many fairways. One day, I suggested that Caleb write about the interesting people he met during his tenure at Southern Living Magazine. That idea grew and took a left turn. We established Venture Galleries LLC, our website designed to help Indie authors promote their books. We also published books for a diverse group of authors.
Credit must be given to my author husband, Caleb Pirtle III, who dared me to write a novel. He did so after hearing me criticize a manuscript that I was editing and formatting. Well. . . a dare is a dare. It prompted my first cozy mystery: Book one of the Games We Play Series: The Mah Jongg Murders. The rest is history.
How much of your books are realistic? Are the experiences based on someone you know, or are they events in your real life?
My close friends/readers have been known to compare me with Lillian Prestridge, the protagonist in the series, especially since she is a retired educator who lives in an East Texas gated community. Of course, I assure them that Linda is not nosey, bossy or compulsively independent. So far, they don’t believe me.
Most of the events are fictional; however, I have taken artistic license and reworked some real events. For instance, in one of my books a couple of men robbed a convenience store. When their getaway car stalled, they loaded the loot on the back of a donkey (also stolen). As is the nature of a donkey, he neither took a liking to the men nor the weight of unfamiliar objects on his back, so he wouldn’t budge an inch. I took this scene from a newspaper article and embellished it with Lillian’s stern reaction to the men who were beating the animal. I guess I’ll have to agree with my friends because, like Lillian, I cannot tolerate animal abuse.
What is your current project? Will you share a little of it with us – kind of a sneak peek?
One of the characters I introduced in Tarot Terrors, Book Three of the series just won’t go away. Her name is Sammie Nightingale, a young Navajo woman, whose personality very much reflects that of Lillian. Sammie believes in justice and pairs up with Lillian in Book Four: Scrabbled Secrets. The two women are on a mission to rescue Sammie’s Aunt Sophia. Lillian has an issue with Sophia, a mysterious tarot card reader. Should she trust her? Because of her fondness for Sammie, Lillian decides to put away her doubts about the beloved aunt. Along with Sammie, she drives her motorhome all the way to Canada. The two women have some close calls about which I won’t elaborate. Hopefully, your readers will look up my books on Amazon.
What do you do in the ‘real world’ when you’re not writing?
I’m continuously surprised how busy “retirement” really is. Besides reading and writing, working Sudoku and crossword puzzles, I spend as much time as I possibly can with my two grandchildren. Believe me, grandchildren have a way of making the days begin and end in warp speed mode. One or the other will call me each afternoon to facetime and read one of their “chapter” books. Caleb and I are blessed to live in a beautiful neighborhood with walking trails and several ponds. My one mile walk in the morning gives me time to commune with God and to appreciate the beauty of His creation. I love the sounds of turtles plopping into the water as I walk by a pond, feeding the ducks, listening to the chirps of the birds, and hanging onto the leash of my Standard Poodle named Piper. She thinks she’s a hunting dog. I’ve explained to her that she does not have to chase the ducks, but she ignores that logic.
What are the challenges in writing your books? (Ex: logistical, research, literary, psychological, etc.)
Time to write. Wednesday is the day of the week I devote to writing. Does that mean that I have the opportunity to sequester in my office to put words on paper? No. Life gets in the way. There are telephone calls to make, meals to cook, laundry to do. . . well, you get the picture. During the past three months, I have helped friends get settled into their new home. There are still boxes galore to unpack, paintings to hang, etc.
Are there any quotes or verses you find inspiring? What are they and why?
Time is important to me. Sometimes, I take on too many responsibilities, so when I feel stressed, I open my Bible to Ecclesiastes and read Chapter 3, Verses 1- 8. In fact, I ended The Mah Jongg Murders with a partial quote from those verses. A time for everything is an idea that weaves its way through all four of my novels.
Tell us a little about yourself. Perhaps something that a lot of people do not know?
Very few people know that as a teenager I played an accordion. Shh, don’t tell anyone.
Are you a planner or a pantser when it comes to writing? (Planner – outline; Pantser – sit down and write)
I have a binder divided into the following sections:
a. For each character who will make a debut in my story, I develop a physical, emotional description along with a list of each character’s preferences and dislikes;
b. Each character’s goals, especially that of the protagonist;
c. How each character will grow and what he/she will learn about themselves;
d. Research different regions of the country to be able to describe the setting and any special festivals occurring in the area; and
By the time I’ve completed this process, I am able to write a sketchy two-to-three sentence synopsis about the conflicts within the story.
e. A complete outline of each chapter. Note: the outline is subject to change.
If there was anything you could change regarding your publishing experience, what would it be and why? Also, do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Writing cozy mysteries has been a pleasant experience, one I hope to continue for the rest of my life. I wouldn’t change anything about the experience. Because of my publishing experience, I have been blessed to meet some wonderful people – both readers and other authors.
Find time to (do a better job than I) write. Read, read, read. Analyze what you read. What makes a story interesting to you? Then, develop your own voice and take a risk. Put your thoughts on paper. Be patient with yourself. Successful writers have spent years becoming an overnight best selling author.
Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Whether you are a novice or a veteran published author, don’t give up on your dreams.
Enjoy what you do, enjoy your life. . . . and remember: this ain’t no dress rehearsal.*
*Ain’t that good grammar for an English teacher?
Thank you CJ for interviewing me and thank you, CJ’s fans, for taking time to read my comments.
Five-Star Reader’s Favorite; Nominated Best Female Author in Texas
Lillian Prestridge and her husband Bill are introduced to Eli, a standard Poodle when he leads them to the scene of a heinous murder in their normally quiet, gated community in the heart of East Texas. Lillian lends her investigative instincts to her son Jake, County Sheriff, and his best friend, Grant Perryman, Chief of Security at Leisure Lake as they try to solve not one murder, but two, in the first of Linda Pirtle’s Christian novels: The Mah Jongg Murders.
BEST OF TEXAS BOOK AWARD WINNER for Cozy Mystery!
In Book One of The Games We Play Series: The Mah Jongg Murders, Lillian Prestridge, an amateur sleuth, depends on her pragmatic logic and woman’s intuition to solve four murders at Leisure Lake, a small gated community deep in the heart of East Texas where Lillian lives with her husband Bill. The murder of Lillian’s Mah Jongg partner, prompts Lillian to seek refuge in a new environment. Leisure Lake is no longer the retirement community she wanted.
Bill knows his wife likes to travel. He also knows she won’t leave her white Standard Poodle named Eli behind, so for their fiftieth anniversary, he surprises Lillian with a brown and tan Forester RV. In late August, they drive away from Leisure Lake in their new RV and plan to visit Caddo Lake and nearby historic Jefferson, Texas. Lillian looks forward to a peaceful vacation, one not involving any kind of death. Fate, though, does honor her desire.
The Caddo camp director invites Lillian and Bill to the Friday night domino games held at the camp’s Pavilion. Lillian sees the camp’s maintenance man. He reminds her of someone. But who?
During a break in the domino games, a loud explosion is heard. Thus, begins a string of murders, mysterious curses with an attached domino, and attempts on the lives of other campers. Lillian is determined to answer the following questions:
Who is the person or persons leaving dominoes and notes on the bodies of one victim after the next? Everyone is a suspect.
Does the explosion have any connection to the game of dominoes or with the murders or attempted murders? Lillian must connect the dots.
And puts them together, she does.
*BEST OF TEXAS BOOK AWARD WINNER FOR COZY MYSTERY*
In a crowded Santa Fe Plaza, Lillian meets an elderly Navajo chieftain whose booth displays the most brilliant silver/turquoise jewelry she has ever seen. She suddenly hears a commotion and turns to see tourists running frantically. What’s wrong? When she looks back to the chieftain, he has vanished, but lying on the table is a small box addressed to “Miss Curiosity.”
How did he know the nickname her husband gave her?
Her old college friend Simon Townsend, a government agent, has surreptitiously slipped an object to her husband, and now Bill lies dead on the sidewalk. It’s the beginning of one tragic moment after another. Warnings. Threats. Kidnapping. And death.
Lillian does not believe in coincidences or predictions. But with the help of her standard poodle, Eli, and her son, Grant, an FBI agent, Lillian begins her own quest and faces the biggest challenge of her life: Bringing to justice those responsible for the death of her beloved Bill.
Award-winning Cozy Mystery author, Linda Pirtle introduces three new characters in Tarot Terrors: Madame Sophia, who reads tarot cards and predicts Lillian will find Bill’s killer in Pagosa Springs, Colorado; Sammie Nightingale, a young red-haired Navajo woman who has just completed a vision quest; and Sammie’s Uncle Jack Darling O’Toole, who runs the Pagosa Springs Trading Post. Who’s guilty? Who’s innocent? And what secrets do they have to hide?
Lillian Prestridge and Sammie Nightingale travel in Lillian’s new motorhome to Canada to rescue Sammie’s Aunt Sophia and bring her home. As always, Lillian’s sons worry about her safety. They devise a creative scheme which allows them to keep up with her on her journey. And, of course, Lillian discovers their sabotage, giving her opportunities to create witty scenes for their benefit.
All too soon on their journey north, Lillian learns that a well-intentioned mission of mercy can become a dangerous escapade. Whom can she and Sammie trust?
Can they trust the semi-truck driver who gives advice about where to spend the night and keeps showing up where they travel? Is he stalking them or is he a true Southern Gentleman?
Can they feel safe putting their lives in the hands of the lead councilman of a Canadian Indian Reserve whose agents are assigned to drive them home via the Native-American Underground Railroad?
Who else is familiar with the route of the Underground Railroad?
Their journey presents one hazard after another – vandalism to Lillian’s new motorhome, kidnapping, gunshots, murder, wrestling with an old enemy of Sophia, not to mention a blinding blizzard and icy highways.
Caleb Pirtle III