by Marilyn Meredith
Linda Watanabe McFerrin, author of Dead Love, was kind enough to grant me an interview.
Dead Love is in the Fantasy/Horror Genre and was published by Stone Bridge Press .It can be found in bookstores everywhere, including Fresno’s Barnes & Noble and, of course, Amazon.
Marilyn: What is your connection to the Central Valley?
Linda: I’m of Japanese, Welsh and Italian heritage. I was raised in England, Japan and the U.S. As a travel writer, I traveled all over the world. I love the Central Valley. I was introduced to it first by my father, who spent his teens in California, and then through my husband who spent his childhood in Fresno. I have family in Fresno. I love the rural feel, the farms and orchards, although I think they are disappearing. I even love the Tule fog.
Marilyn: What an intriguing ethnic background. I didn’t think anyone loved the Tule fog, though it can be used to create a spooky mood. Linda, will you tell me a bit about your background, including when you first knew you wanted to be a writer?
Linda: I never really thought I’d be anything else, although I did briefly consider becoming a nuclear physicist, but I’m dreadful at math, and possibly an astronaut, but I’m spatially challenged. My grandfather was a Welsh journalist in Shanghai. My mother was a writer and translator. My uncle wrote for the San Francisco Examiner back in the day and was a U.S. war correspondent, and my aunt wrote scripts for a while in Hollywood. I have always lived in a world of books and I’ve been writing since I could pick up a pencil. That was my route to family approval. Good thing too, because I love it. I love to read, and I love working with new writers.
Marilyn: What was the inspiration for Dead Love?
Linda: Scary stories initially. My mother loved to tell them. Supernatural tales are a huge part of the Japanese culture. I was addicted to Poe by the time I was seven. Later, death overtook me in the form of my younger brother’s drowning when we were kids, my grandmother’s death, my dear friend’s suicide and, finally, the death of my infant daughter in the hospital. I was a kind of zombie, and the page was a safe place to work it out without driving everyone away.
Marilyn: I’m so sorry to hear about your tragic losses. From experience, I know writing can be extremely helpful with the grieving process. Changing the subject, what was your road to publication?
Linda: It was a zombie crawl. When I first started sending the novel out years ago, nobody cared about zombies. The manuscript went out to tons of agents and editors who scratched their heads and said, “Zombies? No one will want to read about zombies!”
Of course these were conservative, established New York agents and editors who had nothing to do with the punk or neo-goth movements, who didn’t even know it was happening. They had no idea that the Internet was going to blow-up their world, that their chic comfort was about to be shaken up, and that they would no longer be the purveyors of taste. They couldn’t imagine that their self-proclaimed sophistication might actually hinder their connection with the way literature and the arts were being transformed.
Marilyn: And of course now, zombies are the in-thing. Tell us a bit about your writing process, where, what time of day, organization, etc.
Linda: Actually, I’m writing all the time because I think of the process as multi-dimensional, rather than linear. It has to do with the way the unconscious mind works, magically, or so it seems. So the writing is going on all the time and when it finds its way onto the page—that’s just a printout. When I’m ready to do that, a cocktail napkin, a paper bag, anything will suffice.
That said—the best time for a printout is in the early a.m. I write every day and Erin, my near-zombie Dead Love protagonist, also blogs daily about zombie news on the Dead Love Book website. I recommend journalism of a personal nature. I believe in writing every day. It’s like exercise. If you don’t do it regularly, you can really get out of shape. After a while, it’s like eating. You MUST.
Marilyn: What kind of promotion are you doing?
Linda: For Dead Love we are going the traditional route in some ways; I’ve been on book tour. But what is exciting to me is what’s happening in the virtual world. Protagonist Erin and I love Facebook where we have lots of zombie-loving friends. We have a group called the ZIA (Zombie Intelligence Agency) that shares news on zombie matters.
Erin shares zombie-related videos and sites in her blog. Dead Love is being serialized on the Dead Love Book website as well. If anyone wants to sample the novel, all they have to do is go to the “Chapters” page. My mentor on all of this is Peter Lang, the absolutely brilliant social media strategist and CEO of Uhuru Network. He lives in the Central Valley and just happens to be my nephew. I’m so lucky in that!
Marilyn: What’s next for you?
Linda: Well, my characters really take on a life of their own and right now the ghoul, Clément, won’t leave me alone. I think he wants his own book.
To learn more about Linda visit her websites:
Watch for a review of Dead Love here on KRL in the near future and a chance to win a copy of the book.