On this first interview of 2023, I have the privilege of introducing you to a new to me Mystery/Suspense author, Linda J. White. Linda has offered a paperback or ebook copy of All That I Dread as a giveaway. Be sure to comment below by January 10 for your chance to win! (US residents only)
Welcome, Linda! Let’s start off with learning a little about you and your family.
I’m a mom of three grown kids and a grandmother to five little ones. My husband died in 2017. We’d been married forty-seven years. For most of that time, we lived near Quantico, Virginia—Larry was a video producer/director at the FBI Academy, while I worked as an editorial writer and columnist at a daily newspaper. A couple of years ago, I moved to Yorktown, Virginia to be near one of my daughters and her family. I love all the history around here, and am very active in the church where my son-in-law is a pastor.
I’m so sorry about your husband, but thankful you found a new home near family. You live just over the bridge from me down here in South Hampton Roads, so we’re neighbors. I’d love to hear about how and when you started writing.
I was a stay-at-home mom for many years. When my youngest went to kindergarten I prayed that God would show me what to do with the rest of my life. Part-time professional jobs were non-existent and I wasn’t ready for full-time work. I knew I was a pretty good writer so I started trying to write articles for publication. I had a little success at that before I turned to writing novels. I eventually also worked for a daily newspaper.
So, you’ve been at this for quite a long time. That’s great. What genre do you write and what inspired you to write that particular genre?
I write mystery/suspense. Back then I was reading Grisham and Clancy and Patricia Cornwell and people like that. They all have a worldview or a philosophy woven into their books, and I wondered, “Where are the Christians? Why have they abandoned the marketplace of ideas?” I knew a lot of Christian FBI agents and that, combined with the access I had to FBI procedures, made mystery/suspense a natural for me.
I love that you saw something spiritual missing in the books you read and wanted to fill that gap. How do you incorporate Christ and hope into your writing?
We live in a broken world. We all bump into that truth—repeatedly—and we struggle with questions like “Where is God?” and “Why is this happening to me?” I put my characters in those situations and make them wrestle with Him. Eventually, some of them see the truth that He is sovereign, He is good, and we can trust Him, even in the midst of difficult, painful situations. Christ is our hope!
Amen! What is your current novel’s setting? Is it a real location or fictional? Tell us about it.
All That I Dread is the first book in my K-9 search & rescue series. It’s set in the foothills of the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains, around Charlottesville and Madison County. My husband and I lived near there for many years. It’s a beautiful area, full of farm fields and woods and scenic hikes, with some suburbs and towns mixed in.
The Blue Ridge Mountains are gorgeous. A perfect setting for a suspense story. Share with us the premise of All That I Dread.
Fresh from a traumatic incident, former police detective Jessica Chamberlain begins volunteering as a search-and-rescue dog handler. The training director, Nate, a war vet with wounds of his own, can tell two things: Luke, her rowdy German shepherd, is a natural, and Jess has hidden trauma. On their first SAR test, Luke discovers the body of an actual murder victim in the woods, triggering Jess’s PTSD. Now, can she overcome it and help find the murderer?
Your book sounds like one I’d enjoy reading. Which character in All That I Dread was easiest for you to write and why? Which character presented the biggest challenge?
Although I wrote my first six books in third person, I decided to write this one in first person. That made it easy to slide into deep point of view, making Jessica’s character highly authentic and grabbing readers with the emotional and spiritual struggles she was having. I loved writing Jess so much when Dread was finished I just kept going. I’m currently working on the fifth book in the series.
Nathan Tanner was a challenge. He’s from far western Virginia, up in the hills, and he’s a high-school graduate with a hick accent. But he is the Sage in the story, the wise man who comes across as uneducated. I wanted to use dialect to differentiate him from the more educated characters. I used words and expressions I’d heard around our own country home, dialect from movies set in the hills, and I even read Hillbilly Elegy to get ideas. Some people think I nailed it, and others don’t. I just write Nate the way I “hear” him in my head. Most of my readers love him.
Has a reader ever blessed your socks off? How?
Readers tell me my stories encourage their faith. I love that. I had emails from a woman in South Africa who lives on a macadamia nut farm far from town. She and her husband couldn’t go to church during COVID and she said my books helped her stay close to Jesus. Another, a missionary in Peru, wrote something similar. My purpose is to move people closer to Christ, whether they’re Christians being encouraged in their faith or nonbelievers being introduced to it. So when I get feedback like that, it blesses me.
Wonderful words of encouragement every Christian author longs to hear! Thanks so much for sharing on the blog today, Linda. I look forward to reading your work. May the Lord bless you as you continue bringing light into the world through your stories.
Join the conversation. Are you a mystery/suspense fan? Have you ever visited the Blue Ridge Mountains or read a novel set there? Do you enjoy FBI and/or K-9 Search & Rescue stories?
Be sure to comment below by January 10 for a chance to win a paperback or ebook copy of All That I Dread. (US residents only)
All That I Dread by Linda J. White
Click the book cover for purchase link
Jessica Chamberlain and her German shepherd, Luke, volunteer with the Battlefield Search and Rescue group in Virginia. Called out to help an FBI team investigating a series of abductions, Jess discovers she’s not finished with the past she thought she’d escaped.
Linda J. White writes FBI thrillers from her home in rural Virginia. Her husband, Larry, was a video producer-director at the FBI Academy for over twenty-seven years. Linda’s books have won the HOLT Medallion, HOLT Award of Merit, and have twice been finalists for the RWA National Readers Choice Award. Mother of three grown children, Linda is also a nationally award-winning journalist, a Bible study teacher, and a speaker. When she’s not writing, she can be found playing with her Sheltie, reading a book, or dreaming of the beach.
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If you missed my post last week about my top reads for 2022, you can find it here.