Thursday, December 5, 2013

Well, not a tale, exactly. An interview. And not an interview, exactly, but two for the price of one, because this is our lucky day! That's right, two:  C. L. Ragsdale and Linda P. Kozar have each dropped in to answer a few questions for us.

California native C. L. Ragsdale writes Christian mysteries. Tell us, Cindy: have you always wanted to be an author?

Well according to my mother, before I could even read I would take my sibling’s comic books under the kitchen table and make up my own stories to go with the pictures. I even remember that Spiderman scared me and thought he was the bad guy. So I guess I always wanted to be an author.

Have you ever had a funny experience connected with being an author?

My narrative tends to be dialog driven. So when I’m working out a section of the story I tend to verbalize because it is dialog. I do it a lot when I’m driving as it’s pretty private, or at least I imagine it to be. Since I have gotten some very odd looks from fellow motorists, I should probably rethink that notion.

Writing is a sedentary occupation. What do you do for exercise?

I walk, or as I refer to it: Running-lite.

Do you like to listen to music when you write?
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No! I like music, but I am inundated with elevator music at my day job all day. I’m over it by the time I get home and start writing.

Your day job, you say? So you don't write full time?

I have a full-time job as well for which I am very grateful. I am artist, but I also like to eat and have a roof over my head. Of course I’m primarily a writer at my job as well. I write for work, I work for fun. Sometimes I think I am seriously demented.

What does your family think about your being a writer?

Oh, they love it. Some of them actually read my stuff and are fans. Others are just glad they have an excuse for their crazy relative. “Oh, she’s a writer,” as if that explains everything.

Actually, that explains a lot! So are you a plotter, a pantser, or a combination?

A pantser, although I have tried outlines because other people say I should because it’s so efficient, and it is. However, because my stories never turn out the way I first envision them an outline seems kind of a waste so I stopped doing it.

Our co-guest, multi-published author Linda P. Kozar, is represented by Wendy Lawton with Books & Such Literary Agency. How about you, Linda? Plotter or pantser?

I “pants” it for the first 20,000 words, then plot the rest. My characters tell me where I’m going. And that’s totally not creepy.
No, of course it isn't, not at all!

Do you have any rituals you like to go through before you start writing, such as make yourself a cup of coffee or tea? Do calisthenics to get the blood flowing? Lock yourself in a room and warn your family not to disturb you upon pain of death? Read something inspiring? Pray?

Pray! I absolutely have to pray to get a word down on the page. Also, I write in absolute silence. Music would totally distract me. But the temptation to peruse Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter, or check messages and emails is my greatest nemesis.

C. L. jumps in here to say: Between my job, writing and the rest of my life I do not have time for rituals. Other than running a daily virus scan on my computer before I start. But that could just be paranoia.

Okay, paranoia is totally cool. While I've got you both here, how do you get your best ideas?

C.L.: Usually from another story plot that didn’t work out. True story on how I came up with The Reboot Files. I was writing a totally different story I had entitled Nabal’s Gold. It was a suspense story involving a lost treasure. I wrote about a third of it, but I really didn’t like anything about it. I didn’t like the storyline, the characters, nothing. Which is a problem. So in trying to make the story work I added a character called Irene. After writing a little bit more I discovered the only thing I liked about the story was Irene. So I took her, dropped everything else, drew on my childhood passion for old Scooby Doo cartoons, and out came “The Mystery of Hurtleberry House.” That’s why I make note of these random thoughts. There’s usually a story plot in there somewhere.

Linda: The checkout line at the grocery store is fodder for countless ideas. Also, whenever I shop at
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Wal-Mart, I come home radiant. I’d say the very best ideas and characters come from watching and listening to real people.

What do you each love about being a writer, and what do you like the least?

C. L.: I love making things up for my own little worlds that I’ve created.  It’s just so much fun. What I hate is the fact that my brain never shuts up! There’s always a new story waiting to get out. I just can’t convince them to line up and take their turn.

Linda: I love the freedom to create characters and settings, to write beautiful words and to accomplish what God has called me to do. The least favorite aspect of writing isn’t writing at all—it’s marketing my books. The truth is, most authors would rather be writing. 

What do you do to get past writer’s block?

C. L.: I just keep writing. It’s probably not going to end up in the story, but at least I feel productive until inspiration strikes to get me out of the slump.

Linda: Writer’s block usually means there’s a problem with the plot. My solution is to skip ahead. Sometimes, I’ll start writing from the middle and work my way forward or back. Or, I will skip to the end if I already have an idea in mind for the conclusion, and work my way back to whereever I left off. The technique really works for me. I’m not saying it will work for anyone else, but I’ve found it helpful.

What fun fact would you like your readers to know about you?

C.L.: I collect Penny-press pennies. You know the kind you put in a machine so it squashes an image on a penny. I do not travel a lot, but I have friends who do and they always bring me pennies. Did you know there’s a penny-press for Mount St. Helen’s in Washington? Well now you do.

Linda: There are actually ten things I would like readers to know about me and they are listed on my website. Please visit, read ‘em and tell me ten things about you on my Facebook page!
“Ten Things You Never Wanted to Know About Me” (Home Page-scroll to bottom)

Thank you, ladies, for taking the time to visit with us today. It's been fun!


  1. Lovely interview with two lovely authors - I enjoyed it!

  2. Thanks for having us on The Borrowed Book!


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