Good afternoon Everyone! It is great to see you. Today author Linda Bates, author of ‘Everlusting Love’ has stopped by to chat with us. Her story has a dynamic complex main character and is full of twists. It will take you on a journey to exotic places of the world as well as into the depths of your imagination. Get set for a breath taking experience. Let’s give Linda a warm welcome.
‘Smile at the World and It Will Smile Back.’
Who is Linda Bates?
She’s an author of many books, some published, some ready for pubbing, and some are in the making.
I am a Yorkshire lass first, and a Brit second. Where I come from, you don’t have to ask why that is so. I did a great five day talk on BBC Radio called ‘Life Stories’ where I talked about my life and my writing. I found the process really interesting. I suppose I should put them on YouTube for the benefit of those who didn’t get to hear the recordings. I had a fascinating day with Kevin (Fernihough – pronounced Ferni-ho), he was really nice and easy to talk to, and I had a lovely chat with the producer there talking about his career and how he might see himself in five years’ time! We joked because he said he felt I was the interviewer, and he was the guest, but we got on so well, and was it was so relaxing, like a home from home, really, that everything came naturally. I am never ill at ease with people, I love them, and animals, of course, though I stress, I am not a vegetarian. Sorry, you guys, but I have so many food allergies and have a careful diet, that I can’t afford to purposefully cut out what I can, and meat is one of those products.
In your childhood, you did a lot of traveling. Can you share about your favorite places?
I am well-travelled, and so are my books, and if any of you have bought American Dream paperback from either of the outlets-there are 52 countries and I sell in Barnes & Noble, too, as well as in my beloved Cumbria, the local bookstore holds copies of American Dream, and will soon be stocking my latest full novel, Everlusting Love-there is a write-up on the back that will tell you from where I originate. I also have a blurb on my website for Everlusting Love that will give you all the information of where I have travelled since I have written of the places I have been, and know. New York is not one of them, though I would love someday to visit with my friends over there.
What is “Everlusting Love” about?
Everywhere I have ever been and everywhere I would love to go! Everywhere in the whole wide world! I just love the differing cultures of the world, and embrace them wherever I go. I enjoy people, I’ve said that (giggle) but I really must stress that it is for the people I write. I write the books I always wanted to read as a youngster. I started out reading so many westerns in my youth, I read every single one in the library where I lived. I then began thinking that most of them held a straight romance as a running thin line throughout the books, so I wanted to create a different character, a strong woman, with no axe to grind, but someone with grit and a bit of a personality about her, and I think I accomplished that back in the day when I wrote American Dream. I wanted to write about significant women on the periphery of society, and focus on bullying, so that is how Everlusting Love started out with the initial title Basop a lo Vampire – from my South African days. I was writing the last piece of the last chapter when I thought it was too limp a title, and people might not really get what the book was about, it was not all about a S. African vampire at all, even though Africa features in the book, so does a lot of places around the world in equal measure, but it WAS about people who find themselves on the periphery of society. Those of us who find we are marginalised because of one or two, or maybe more, aspects of our life that stands out from the rest of humankind, and I wanted to portray that as a positive aspect, pointing to those of us that might view the world differently.
What was the deciding factor for your book title?
The book title came from a song that was playing in my head Everlasting Love…you know the one…”open up your eyes, then you realise, here I stand with my…everlasting love…” and so forth. Well, I was singing that in my head whilst I was putting the final words to the book, and I thought the lyrics really epitomised my story, the tale of extremes, and of lust, so I just changed a little part of the title to make Everlusting Love, and Karissa was born!!
What traits were you looking for when you were creating the main characters?
Creating the main characters? I never created them, they were born, they lived within me the whole while I was growing up, and I already had them inside me, so I did not create them, rather I think they created me, and made a monster (Laughing).
Me: Take a few minutes to check out Linda’s book trailer video for ‘Everlusting Love.’
Have you received any awards or recognition for your work?
My recognition for my work is with the readers, and the readers alone. If only one person reads my books, then I will have achieved my goal of reaching someone who needed to read my words, my work, and take it that they are never alone in the world. That is my main achievement, and that is how I view my writing. A story that people can relate to is reward enough. Of course, if people wish to bestow physical achievement awards upon me, then go ahead, knock yourself out, I will happily accept, but ideally, for me, it’s people who count.
If you were to write a biography, who would it be about and why?
I have approached an artist regarding his biography, and he has agreed. Because I have so many books I need to focus on at the moment, this project is a much larger and important factual book that needs my full, undivided attention, so I am waiting for the right moment to get his historical data written down in a way that appeals to his audience. I love his work, and his life is fascinating, so I don’t really want to wait too long…all I can say is watch this space, that book begs to be read, and has been half written already…
In your blog you mention “Being negative only makes the journey more difficult.” What does this mean to you?
I have a quote on my desk that goes something like this…’Being negative only makes the journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don’t have to sit on it!!’ This is the kind of humour that makes people sit up and take notice, so it appealed to me on all sorts of levels. It’s ironic that the gifts we have been given are locked away and not utilised until we get a burr up our saddle. I took over thirty years to decide that my writing was good enough, that I was good enough. American Dream, for instance, was written so far back in my life, and then shelved because I simply felt too insignificant. But one day two years ago or more, I shared a short story privately with a Director/Producer/Writer and she placed it not only on her film company page, but it turned up on all her pages, and on FB – the feedback was phenomenal! I got around 50 replies in the first hour, and thousands just in one week, telling me how they had enjoyed my story and asking me what else I had written. At the time, when I only had about a handful of friends on Facebook, and no website to call my own, I was really affected by that positive charge, and from that moment came the inspiration to edit and get American Dream out there, along with the start of Everlusting Love. Ironically, it was this kind of loving gesture from, yes you’ve guessed it, Nicole Conn (Perfect Ending, etc.), and Barbara Niven’s inspirational video that shoved that cactus where it belonged by telling me point-blank that ‘I was enough’. I deserved to be counted! And so do you!!
Can you share with us a bit about your love of poetry?
I started writing poetry at the tender age of ten! I was writing poetry on all kinds of subjects. I read some out to my family on one occasion, but it didn’t go down too well. I really wrote about taboo subjects, too, that I did not read out to anyone. They were my deepest moments. I could find no other outlet at the time for my feelings of a coming of age lesbian, preferring to hide rather than be bold.
I had parents, and I am sure many of you can relate to this, who had a mind-set about such things, and although they were tolerant on the outside, their beliefs were stuck in the Victorian British stiff upper lip of children, especially girls, were seen and not heard! I was amusing, but I was discouraged from expressing a voice, since they felt sure once I had grown up, all I would do was get married and have lots of babies. I knew from the age of nine, I think, that I was not going to have children at all, but try telling a determined parent that. I laugh now, but then it was infuriating. I was stuck in their world, hence it took me such a long time to find my voice, let alone relinquish the hold of twenty-seven years of straight talk. I did, and I never looked back!
So poetry is not something I am overly fond of, yet it was my beginnings to expressing myself, that I really enjoyed, if for myself, it was very private, very pleasing to me at the time. I have written poetry in my latest creation ‘Everlusting Love’, a book I so enjoyed writing. I love the characters, even though they can be hurtful to each other. We are all flawed, we are none of us perfect, and that is what I find fascinating about human nature. We are multi-facetted, multi-dimensional. I am not a pigeon-hole, I am a human. That is why I chose Karissa as one of my main protagonists in this very complex, compelling tale. Simply, she is not a human, yet she was once, and it is this that she explores in every aspect of her relationships with people. I love her because she will bare all, and be damned!! She’s a survivor, thousands of years old, she wanders into relationships whilst on the periphery of society. I wrote about that because it is close to my heart. I wrote about women close and beyond the edge of a world that seems to tip ever so slightly to the borders of our very own psyche. Karissa, Victoria and even Jane, find it difficult to keep from revealing themselves, and this, quite frankly, pushed my buttons. They are essentially women who seem plucky, determined and feisty on the face of it, yet are ruled by their own spheres of perception, but they are not afraid to examine that. Someone recently said to me that there are a lot of descriptive, inventive paragraphs that seem to exude poetry in their symmetry, and I have to agree with them, because I have this innate need to bring all the reader’s senses into play when describing my scenes.
For instance, not giving too much away in the book, there is one place where Victoria discovers a shrivelling mass at the end of a deep, dark tunnel. The descriptive there conjures up the sight, smells, visual effects, taste of the place so palpably it has even me riveted to the spot every time, and my heart beats like an express caboose following the storyline through a grotesque collage of descriptive prose. That is my kind of poetry! I write; some poetise. I love the English language, and I revel in its many terms and twists. Don’t you?
What authors do you read? Who would you recommend?
I could recommend everyone read Dickens, especially his Bleak House, or the famous A Christmas Carol. It can be awkward in its composition with its long phraseology, sentences as long as your arm, but if you embrace the ingenuity of his work, and the way he used to publicise it, you can’t help admire the determined effort of a man who originated from out of a blacking factory! Both stories tells a lot about his drive, and his reasoning behind his writing. I admire an author who has a story to tell that matters in the scheme of things, he wrote to change the world’s perception on poverty and snobbery.
What is your favorite part of being an author?
I write because I need for people to feel they are not alone, that there is someone out there who can relate to their pain. I also like to break rules, and with Everlusting Love, as with American Dream in a way, I have broken the rules on how a novel, especially a lesfic novel, should be written. I follow no approved, tried-and-tested model. I write to innovate, reinvent, and question the art of writing today. I do not apologise for my intensity or my psychological questioning, invoking the reader to examine their own values whilst they are reading my book. I enjoyed every minute of getting to know my reader, getting under their skin with the wheedling determination of a dress-maker with a stitch picker!
What gets you into the zone?
I work differently than other authors, I know, and this uniqueness reflects in my work, I think. I don’t need silence. For instance, I wrote most of EL during a holiday by the sea, or I was in my front room with TV blaring, people chattering in the background, and a kitty pushing my nose for attention! I get my material from thing I hear, see, and understand. My characters are with me 24/7, so this means I get inspired any time. I can rise during the night, I can suddenly be in the car, out with friends, cooking, cleaning, or any chore that allows my mind to meander towards them, and bam! I am there, and in need a pencil, pen, paper (including toilet paper, laugh), in order to get down an idea, a palpable, plausible plot, a poem, a sentence, a clever piece of dialogue, whatever has just popped into my head to include in my current novel. I start at the beginning, I work my way through the novel, and I finish at the end. I do not deviate from that. I continue in a dogged, passionate way, until I am finished. I don’t plan it! I don’t go through chapters; I don’t follow a set model. I just write and write until I am done. I have the characters, the stage, the whole story in my head and I play it out scene by scene until it is over. I can’t do anything else. And when I write it is off the cuff. No pauses, no going over and over the paragraphs, or chapters, changing and re-changing them. I write from scratch, verbatim as it were, until the very end. I pause for food, and domestic chores, but mostly I write until I am done. I am driven. Some people don’t understand this. It can be quite disturbing, I guess, when you have someone continuously focussed on writing the whole time, but I am an excellent communicator, and intuitive, so allow for that side of me to surface occasionally. I say this last with tongue in cheek, of course, but I am aware of people’s feelings and those whom I love know I love them. Ask any of them, they will tell you how well they understand my need to write, my passion for writing, because they know how important it is to me, how intrinsic it is to my well-being. I need to write, I need to feel, I need to find ingenious ways of getting a reader’s attention so that I can make a difference to the literary world.
What is next for you?
Because of the recent floods in Cumbria, UK, I have had to shelve my latest project which is a collection of amusing cat stories, I call ‘Two Tuxedos and Five Peas on a Plate’. I will pick this up just as soon as I am able. Meantime, I am currently writing the sequel to ‘American Dream’ and of course the sequel to ‘Everlusting Love’. The sequel to EL, as I endearingly call it, is proving to be a most amusing turn of events centred around the beautiful, charismatic Karissa, but I am determined not to follow my own pattern from EL, so it will be a stand-alone book in itself. Any further books in the series, if I so choose it to be a series, will all enjoy their own style, their own taste, their own perceptions on Karissa, so that you eventually see by different perspectives just how complex one life can be. It’s called social inclusion. I am big on that!
And there you have it! Lynn, you are a great person, with a big heart, and an excellent client base, I am very impressed with your credentials, very pleased to have been invited to ‘talk’ with you, and very happy to know you. I am honoured that you chose to feature me amongst such prestigious and hallowed company, and proud to count myself in as a literary figure of some standing with you.
For more exciting news about Linda, be sure to check out her links:
Linda’s Blog – Feel free to leave a comment.
I have included an excerpt from ‘Everlusting Love’. Enjoy!
I do not actually know what had made me do it. I was afraid of the dark. When I was young, very young, my brothers used to dress in white sheets and appear in my bedroom to frighten me. At four, five years old it had done the trick. They had mocked and laughed at their antics, as older siblings are wont to do, but it had left a lasting impression upon my memory. I was older now, of course, yet neither reason nor common sense engaged when I was presented with the darkness, night-time still held its horrors. And so here I was, in this solitary, silent place. I listened to that silence with a renewed belligerence.
I shouted out as loud as I could, “You don’t scare me anymore!”
There was no one there to hear my clattering, drunken scream. I was alone. The night was cold. I knew this because my warm breath showed on the midnight air as the moon peered from behind a mystic cloud. I was too drunk to feel it, of course, but I felt tremendous pain, nonetheless. Physical, tortuous, agonising, unrelenting guilty feelings had haunted me both night and day. Tonight was no different from any other, except that tonight I had chosen to share my grief with the frosty midnight sky, the earthy soil. The granite of my soul stung with excruciating concreteness. It hit me then, at that precise moment, in my stupor, that I wanted to be dead. I had been dead for some time. I had just been going through the motions of living. I had lost those whom were all-important to me. It had come as a great shock to me to lose them so quickly and so clinically clean as a click of the fingers would sometimes make a magic trick. Just as if I had clicked my fingers and then they were gone. It had all been as quick as that! I’m not going to encompass you with the grief, or the morbid details, suffice to say, that they were dead. I was not. The guilt? It should have been me; after all it was my car!
It was a cold night, as I have said; yet I could feel nothing of it. For days, weeks, months, years, I had felt nothing. Not one iota of what one should feel. I just felt pain, and I had reached an impasse.
Here I was. I was stood upon the old bandstand, in the middle of the lawn, in Alkincoats Park, screaming to no one but the frosty midnight stars. The bottle I had discarded lay at my feet now. Empty. I had had to accept that the bottle, like my whole life, was empty. Oh, I had coveted the bottle, as if it were my last friend. It was, of course, my only friend, now. I had nursed the empty receptacle since it ceased to give me its last droplet. People had long since been replaced by the fiery comforter. My last remnant of fiery liquid had dissolved into the bottomless pit of my consciousness, and had left me still feeling the pain: The interminable pain.
I cried. Real tears flowed cold and wet upon my cheeks and down onto my sick-soaked clothes. Time had rendered my apparel scraggy and dishevelled. Time was supposed to have been the great healer, but it wasn’t. Instead, time was too much of what I had.
I had cried real tears and felt the pain every tormented and tortured moment. Tonight nothing was different, except for the fact that I was usually in my decrepit pit of a bed, in a bed-sit. This time I had chosen to share my grief with the stars. I loved the frost, cold and clean against one’s skin, except, I could not remember when I had washed last. Oh, the beauty of a frosty night! The stars were so clear against the agate sky. I was not frightened. Nothing could scare me. I did not care anymore. I think that was why I was not scared; that, and the numbness of drink. At least it was good for something! Life was just too stupid, and I was so sick of it.
I looked down upon my clothes. My tattered coat hung where it touched. I spread my arms out wide to accentuate the unbefitting over-garment in the moonlight. I tittered to myself; I looked like a vampire! I noticed then that it was a full moon. The clouds were too widely dispersed to have an effect upon it. It looked at me and I looked at it. The bright and shining moon up there told me nothing.
“Look at me!” I shouted up at it. I expected nothing in return from the moon. After all, it is a dead planet. There is nobody there except perhaps the company of the odd astronaut or two every once in a while. Like me it was alone.
“Look at me!” I screamed belligerently once more.
And it was then that a purely soft sensuous whisper close to my ear said, “I’m looking!”
I spun round, anxious to catch the one who had spoken. Blackness! I spun a complete circle. I got dizzy and fell over. I peered into the blackness. The cold air encompassed me as a renewed soberness blinked consciously upon me. I think I spoke again. This time I did not shout, I know. But there was nothing.
“Just me and my bloody mind!” I said out loud.
“Oooh! You do have it bad.”
That voice again: A woman’s voice. It was educated, and mocking. I was confused, yet strangely I could tell in one instance that I was not alone, and this was not just my mind playing tricks on me.
I had heard voices in my head before: Those voices of my father, or brother, or my ex-lover, or all at once sometimes when things were really bad. Yet, this was different. I knew that this voice was not something I had strewn in my fuddled memory. The voice was real.
Again I looked about me. I even peered upwards, trying to locate the sound. There was nothing, or so it seemed.
I began to feel frightened. I gathered myself from the frosty ground, shivering either from the renewed sense of cold, or the prickling sensation one feels from plain fear. I staggered towards what I knew to be the exit from Alkincoats Park. I could see the distant street light at the bottom where the park gates were. I took comfort from the fact that it was only a few hundred yards away. As I weaved towards it I was suddenly stricken with panic, and I began to run.
The woman’s soft voice came at me from behind. “You can run all you like, I still have you!”
I turned to try to see who it was who was haunting me so. The hair on the back of my neck stood bolt upright, and I stumbled forward trying my best to reach the comfort of the distant light.
I never got there, to that lamp. It’s extraordinary how one faces fear. In a trice I had turned about. I was going to face my tormentor head on. I did.
“I don’t care.” I spoke to the air. “Have me then, if it’s what you want. I don’t care!”
And then she appeared. God, she was beautiful! She just appeared from out of the darkness. One minute I was alone, the next I was opposite such a picture of utter loveliness.
“You like what you see.” She whispered.
I was going to speak, but I found I could not. I was speechless. I could not move. This spectral sight had me riveted to the earth. It had its own light.
“This is how I appear to you, because I know how encapsulated by beauty you can be.”
She had said this so simply that it somehow did not sound corny or conceited. It was a statement of truth.
I cannot say how I knew, but I just knew somehow that she could read my thoughts, my dreams of yesteryear, my emotions and also my actions before I could even have acted upon them. She knew my past, my present and my future: All of it.
“And I accept it all.” She threw open her arms then. I was encompassed by her comforting, warm embrace without even understanding the process of how I had arrived there, head to her voluptuous breasts. I was not frightened, though somehow I felt that I ought to be. There was no reason in it. I could not feel anything but warmth for this woman.
I looked up into her face. I could perceive no wrinkles, and yet I had a sense that this stranger was older than I could ever imagine. One perfect brow arched.
“You are very astute. I can see that, now.” Her red lips shaped a smile. “But you do realise that I can’t kill you.”
Again, this last sentence was not a question, but a statement. I waited, wantonly impassive.
“You,” She said provocatively, “Are too beautiful for that.” She placed her cold finger on my trembling lips as she spoke. In an instant I knew that I would surrender unconditionally to anything she wished. She had the commanding air of one who is accustomed to giving orders, and for having those orders carried out. One whom would say jump and you would ask how high!
After that I could not tell you what happened until I awoke the next morning. And awake I did!
I want to thank Linda for stopping by to chat today. Her book, ‘Everlusting Love’ is available to download right now. Authors love reviews so please leave one when you are finished. Also feel free to leave a comment here. We’d love to hear how you liked it.
Until Next Time,
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Printed With Permission. 2015