Author, Author! — Linda Thompson

3 Dec

I was introduced to Linda Thompson‘s writing last year when I read The Plum Blooms in Winter. Wow, was I blown away by this excellent WWII-era novel that has two protagonists — a US airman and a Japanese young woman. Set in China and Japan during and after the war, the novel was moving and insightful. It is definitely a must-read. Linda’s sequel The Mulberry Leaf Whispers releases this month, and I cannot wait to read it! Linda joins us today to take us on her writing journey. Thanks, Linda!

By The Book — Many authors say that they have always been a writer — making up stories as a child. When did you first become a writer?

Linda — I have always been a reader, and as a marketing professional in technology, I wrote a great deal — of technical literature. But my fiction writing journey has been a bit backwards as compared with many other authors I know. I didn’t decide to write, then go looking for the story. The story found me and begged me to write it! 

My husband, an avid military history buff, handed me a history book one day. He had it open to the true story that ultimately inspired my debut novel, The Plum Blooms in Winter. 

There needs to be a book about that. I knew that instantly. But there was a lot of time and prayer involved before I concluded the Lord was calling me to write that book. And honestly, I had no idea what would be involved! If I’d known, I’m not sure I would have ventured it.

BTB — Was there a special someone, such as a teacher, parent, or other relative, who encouraged you to pursue writing?

Linda — My parents taught me to love reading, and to appreciate the magic and the beauty in the right words. My husband is a big reader and has been a wonderful supporter of my author journey. My kids are proud of me and have cheerfully put up with a certain degree of healthy neglect! But I’m sure I would have foundered if I hadn’t found a wonderful online fiction writing course, which led me to an awesome coach / mentor and a strong critique group. Writers really need each other! 

BTB — Why did you choose the historical fiction genre?

Linda — Easy enough — it’s what I’ve loved to read as long as I can remember. I’ve always relished a book that picked me up and carried me off to a world I couldn’t visit on my own. So my reading has always leaned toward either historical novels or fantasy. And when I started writing, I was more confident that I could research a compelling world than that I could invent one, so . . . historical won out over fantasy.

BTB — Were there any obstacles you faced in your journey to publication?

Linda — I have the same story every published author does of stacks of rejections. You have to put your thick skin on for this journey. What pulled me through was believing that the Lord had called me on this path, and that the story He’d given me was worth telling. No matter how many rewrites it took to tell it well!

My biggest challenge right now is that I’m not a fast writer. I tend to really auger into the research because I want to get the details right, and I want to look at the issues from multiple perspectives to examine some of the real-world complexities of the history. I spent seven years writing my first novel, and three years writing my second. The expectation that authors will bring out a new novel each year, while simultaneously serving as their own marketing departments, graphic artists, and website admins has just about pulled me under!

BTB — What types of research do you pursue? Books, on-site visits, etc.

Linda — Yes, lots of books. I often find myself ordering used books that are out of print, because the topics I need to explore can be pretty far off the beaten path! I have done some site visits and interviews as well. Those were very impactful.

I sure wish a research trip to Japan fit in my budget! I spent some time there in my corporate life but I haven’t visited the specific regions I write about. I would love to visit Kyushu, the island where a big portion of The Mulberry Leaf Whispers is set. It looks fascinating!

I’m sure Google is every historical author’s bread and butter today. You can find an incredible wealth of resources if you’re a determined “Google-ista.” For Mulberry, one of the most rewarding research experiences I had was when I worked on a scene set in 1948 Havana. With Google maps, you can virtually walk the streets of a place. And since, sadly, Havana hasn’t changed much since Castro, I was really able to use Google maps to put myself in the scene! Another place I’d love to visit! Now there’s an occupational hazard. 😊 

 BTB — What does a typical writing day look like? Are you structured or informal in your writing schedule?

Linda — I’ve always been an early riser, but my precise schedule varies based on the season. I’m a devoted afficionado of dawn and dusk, so I usually take some time for Bible study and prayer during the hour before sunrise. This time of year, I’m typically at my desk well before 5:30 a.m., with a break at dawn. 

I am a firm believer in the power of a nap!

My author-ing days are pretty long. Honestly, I worked hard in the corporate world, but I find I working even harder as an underpaid author!

BTB — How long does it usually take to craft your books? (from outlines/first drafts to final edits)

Linda — LOL. I haven’t arrived at a “usually” yet. At least I hope not — I hope three years isn’t going to be “my usual.”

BTB — Can you tell us a little about what inspired your latest novel.

Linda — There is a key character in The Plum Blooms in Winter who goes dark for a number of years. So his “lost years” were crying to be explored, weren’t they? Also, I confess I was itching to try a “time slip” novel. The challenge of writing two stories, each compelling in their own right, that ultimately knit together in a way that makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts was something I felt eager to try my hand at. 

I’ve learned to expect God to show up when I’m writing. When I started The Mulberry Leaf Whispers, I didn’t know what would weave the two stories together. Three hundred years is a huge abyss of time to bridge! But just at the point where I was starting to despair as to whether my story concept would work, the Lord gave me the answer. That is the amazing aspect of writing for Him!

BTB — What do you want your readers to take away with them after finishing one of your novels?

You may have noticed that I don’t write about light topics! Although I hope my books are entertaining, entertainment is not my ultimate goal. My goal is to portray a BIG God, at work in a BIG way, seeking and saving and redeeming even through the darkest circumstances imaginable. I want my readers to come away heartened that no matter how dark the times, evil doesn’t win.

BTB — Readers always want to know what is next for an author. Do you have any works in progress you can share about?

At this point, I’m not sure. My first two novels were set in the 1940s in Asia. I love the time period and I’m contemplating a new series set in the 1940s in Israel. But now that I have an understanding of how big an investment a novel is, I’m really waiting on the Lord to speak to me. The author’s life is definitely not a retirement!


Thanks, Linda, for sharing with my readers!


Linda Thompson stepped back from a corporate career that spanned continents to write what she loves — stories of unstoppable faith. Her debut novel, The Plum Blooms in Winter, is an A.C.F.W. Genesis contest winner and a finalist for FOUR 2019 awards: a Carol Award, the Independent Book Award in two categories, and a Cascade Award. Linda writes from the sun-drenched Arizona desert, where she lives with her husband, a third-generation airline pilot who doubles as her Chief Military Research Officer, two mostly-grown-up kids, and a small platoon of housecats. When Linda isn’t writing, you’ll find her rollerblading — yes, that does make her a throwback — taking in a majestic desert moonrise, or dreaming of an upcoming trip. She and her husband recently returned from tours of Israel, Jordan, and Wales.


The Plum Blooms in Winter

A Prostitute Seeks Her Revenge

In 1942, Miyako Matsuura cradled her little brother as he died on the sidewalk, a victim of the first U.S. bombing raid on Japan. By 1948, the war has reduced her to a street-hardened prostitute consumed by her shame.

A WWII Hero Finds His True Mission

Dave Delham makes military aviation history piloting a B-25 in the audacious Doolittle Raid. Forced to bail out over occupied China, he and his crew are captured by the Japanese and survive a harrowing P.O.W. ordeal.

In 1948, he returns to Japan as a Christian missionary, determined to showcase Christ’s forgiveness. Convinced that Delham was responsible for the bomb that snuffed out her brother’s life, Miyako resolves to restore her honor by avenging him — even if it costs her own life. But the huntress soon becomes hunted in Osaka’s treacherous underworld. Miyako must outmaneuver a ruthless brothel owner, outwit gangs with competing plans to profit by her, and overcome betrayal by family and friends — only to confront a decision that will change everything.


The Mulberry Leaf Whispers

1587. Bartered off in a peace agreement to the ancient enemies of her illustrious house, is Sono a war prize, a hostage, or a bride? One hope sustains her. If she can provide an heir to the dashing husband she just met, she’ll ensure decades of peace for the beloved family she was forced to leave behind. But when a dark secret threatens her desperate bid to purchase their security, she must rise to a battle she never dreamed she’d fight.

1942. Akira Matsuura’s naval vessel explodes under enemy fire. Everything he has lived for disappears in flames with it. His command, his crew, his future — all lost. Worse, his honor is eternally decimated. A prisoner’s life is of value to no one. Least of all to himself. But a stunning twist reveals his family’s secret shame. Can a long-buried truth provide the vital spark that reignites his will to live?

Thrill to two poignant journeys of courage, duty, and sacrifice, deftly woven through the centuries to inspire with dynamic faith that conquers despair.



2 Responses to “Author, Author! — Linda Thompson”

  1. Linda Thompson December 3, 2020 at 12:49 pm #

    Beckie, thank you so much for this fun interview!! It was such a joy to chat with you! 🙂

    • rbclibrary December 3, 2020 at 7:10 pm #

      Glad we could connect!

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