Author name: Linda Maye Adams
Remembering Warriors is a commemorative Bundle – Why is it important to you to support these causes? The women veterans of wars are often entirely left out of the story. Worse, they don’t speak up. I was in a call for veteran’s stories (Red, White & True), and was shocked that I was one of only two women veterans in the entire book. We need our voices to be heard.
Do you have anyone you remember who was wounded or fought in war (either past or present)? I was one of the 40,000 women who served in the first Persian Gulf War, Desert Storm. But I had one friend who didn’t come home whole from there. It was hard afterward, watching as she self-destructed bit-by-bit. The Army taught us how to go to war, but not how to transition back to normal.
*Please tell us about your publications. I’m indie published. Since the bundle is military-themed, these are some of my publications that focus on the military.
GALCOM Universe series
- Crying Planet
- Lonely Planet
- Watcher Ghost (short story)
- Rogue God
Speculative Fiction Short Stories
- Devil Winds
- Monkey River
- New Robot Smell
- Rejected by Aliens
- Theater Ship
- Writer’s Guide to Military Culture
- Red, White & True
- Women at War: Stories and Poems – these include poetry written during Desert Storm.
What first prompted you to publish your work? I’ve written stories as long as I can remember. My uncle, Ernie Rydberg, was a writer during the pulp era, and into the 1970s. I would visit his house in San Diego and see The Writer on his coffee table. I loved writing stories and having the adventures in the stories, and I always wanted to publish them. Indie’s a wonderful opportunity to publish stories that the traditional publishers deem as too different.
What have you found the most challenging part of the process? For Soldier, Storyteller, it was figuring out how to tell this story in a way that was interesting to readers and not doing military babble or “exorcising demons.” I knew when I came back from Desert Storm that I had a story, but it took 25 years for me to figure out not only how to tell it, but what to tell. It wasn’t the story I thought 25 years ago, but answering a question that people always asked me: What was it like?
Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’? I’m a pantser. I’ve had people crossing their eyes when I describe my writing process. I don’t use beats or plan anything at all out. I don’t even know how the story will end beyond a vague “Good guys win” or “Blow up something.” I just get an idea and start writing, discovering the story much like a reader discovers the story when they turn the page. It’s a lot of fun following a rabbit hole and finding some really cool that makes the story.
What are your views on authors offering free books? Do you believe, as some do, that it demeans an author and his or her work? Free is too low of a standard, and writers are too eager for validation and accept a low standard. Years and years ago, I sent stories out to the non-paying markets. They were easier to get into, but at a cost. I did not realize I was subconsciously telling myself I wasn’t good enough to get paid for my writing. The result was that I never had the incentive to push my craft skills. Once I started thinking about getting paid professionally, my skills made huge leaps. I could see what a disservice I did to myself with free when I was invited to write for a non-paying military call from a literary magazine. They didn’t pay, of course. I had a look a sample story they had posted and immediately passed. I was already writing above what they were publishing. My time is important. Free doesn’t respect my time.
Sort these into order of importance:
This depends on the genre. If it’s science fiction or fantasy, the awesome world building is at the top of the list because that’s what the readers read for. If it’s a mystery, great characters come first. Technically perfect? Nowhere on my list. That might please an English teacher, but it doesn’t make for very interesting stories.
How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at? For Soldier, Storyteller, I had to research to fill in gaps. It was hard being a soldier during Desert Storm because we were cut off from the rest of the world! I did an event timeline of the war and looked up articles in the Tacoma Morning News Tribune about the day my unit left. I hadn’t remembered it had rained when I left until I saw an article about a storm. Probably the most shocking thing I found in my research was how close I was to the front line. We were always told 70 kilometers. In my head, I translated that was 70 miles. Nope. It was 43 miles. Oh, boy… I was very glad I didn’t know that at the time. It made me queasy 25 years later!
What’s the worst piece best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing?Outlining. I was a natural pantser; it was how I started writing. But I was trying to learn how to be a better writer, and I did not realize that most writing advice assumes outlining. I picked up so much outlining advice that I broke my writing.
In 2007, I was ready to give up writing novels because they came out so horribly broken that I didn’t even want to show them to other writers for help. The more broken my writing got, the more advice I read to try to fix what was happening, and the worse the problem got. I even tried outlining, and the problem got worse. Other writers were telling me I wasn’t outlining correctly. I despaired that I would ever be able to write novels. But I’d been a soldier and it was accomplish the mission.
So I tried writing classes that were popping up everywhere. I asked, “Are you pantser friendly?” and was told “Yes, we teach both outliners and pantsers.” Then I’d go to the class and the instructor wouldn’t know what to do with me and often treated me like I was stupid because I wasn’t getting with the program. Then I ran across Dean Wesley Smith’s site, and his workshops. I asked him if the workshops were pantser friendly, and he said that was how he wrote.
Whoa! Someone who wrote like me.
Tell us about your latest piece? After going to war, I’ve realized I like my adventures safely tucked into a work of fiction, not in real life. And I write like what I want to read, women having adventures. I currently am writing the third book in a science fiction series that uses my military background but puts a civilian in as the main character. She travels to different worlds to fix problems with ghosts. The character is still mystified about how the military works and why no one uses their first names. The book is called Cursed Planet.
What’s your next writing adventure? You mean I have to pick? I haven’t decided yet. I’m from Los Angeles and regularly saw brush fires every year, so I thought that might be a good fit for my ghost science fiction series. Or I could do an attack on a spaceship and play with how technology both works in unexpected ways and sometimes screws things up. I’m also thinking about a series set in Hollywood in the 1940s, with Jack Reacher as a woman character. So many fun ideas, so little time.
Is this the age of the e-book? Are bricks and mortar bookshops in decline? I think that the bookstores are going to have to fundamentally change how they sell books. Retail has not responded well to all the changes, judging from the number of big companies closing stories, like Macy’s and Sears. Their default was to expand in either more stores or more diverse products. Barnes and Noble sells gifts. Who makes a specific trip to B&N to buy Moleskines or puzzles? Retail needs to identify what experience they can offer that Amazon can’t, but everyone is still focusing on selling products and not an experience.
Linda Maye Adams was probably the least likely person to be in the Army—even the Army thought so! She was an enlisted soldier and served for twelve years and was one of the women who deployed to Desert Storm. But she’d much prefer her adventures to be in books. She is the author of the military-based GALCOM Universe series, including the novels Crying Planet and Lonely Planet. She’s also received three honorable mentions in the Writers of the Future contest and an honorable mention in Alfred Hitchcock Magazine’s contest. Linda is a native of Los Angeles, California, and currently lives in Northern Virginia. Find out more about Linda Maye Adams on her website at http://www.lindamayeadams.com.