From an early age, Linda Joy Singleton, has shown the self discipline and dedication necessary to become an accomplished writer. She is one of the more prolific authors in this series having written over 35 books.
Bonnie Ferrante: Welcome, Linda. You have at least 30 books in English listed on Amazon, plus many in French as well. Exactly how many do you have? To what do you owe your productivity?
Singleton: I have over 40 published books. Because two are double books (Twin Spin e-books), an exact number is difficult. French Canadian reprints were made of The Seer, Regeneration, Strange Encounters, and Dead Girl Walking (17 books). The first two The Seer series were also translated in Chinese and they look very cool. Also Dead Girl is in Indonesian (although I’ve never seen them except online).
Ferrante: Already in 2016 you have released Kelsey the Spy (The Curious Cat Spy Club) and will release Memory Girl in September and The Secret of the Shadow Bandit (The Curious Cat Spy Club) in October. Do you work on more than one book at a time?
Singleton: Except for an occasional picture book, I only write one book at a time. It takes me about 6 months to write a novel. I write almost every morning until it’s time to exercise and have lunch.
Ferrante: In The Curious Cat Spy Club you have a character who may or may not have Asbergers syndrome. Why did you choose to make a major character who struggles with social interaction?
Singleton: I was inspired by Sheldon from Big Bang Theory. I enjoy Leo a lot; writing his dialogue is especially fun since he looks at the world in a more logical way than my other characters. I really love his intelligence and creativity, too. In a future book, he’ll have some romance.
Ferrante: This book also deals with animal abuse and abandonment. Why did you choose these topics?
Singleton: When I made the decision to have my characters solve mysteries about animals it was a natural progression to have plots dealing with animal cruelty. I feel strongly about the responsible care of animals, and members of my family volunteer for the local animal shelter. For the book I’m writing now (Curious Cat Spy Club #5) I took an animal control officer out to lunch to ask him research questions. I learned a lot! I like to think that by having plots where kids help animals and do volunteer work that my readers may be inspired to volunteer to help animals, too.
Ferrante: You write picture books, middle grade, and young adult fiction. Which do you find most challenging? Do you approach them differently?
Singleton: Picture books are the hardest to write because, like a novel, they have vivid characters, compelling plots and layers of story yet all this must be conveyed in usually under 400 words. The last two picture books I sold (A Cat is Better and Lucy Loves Goosey) each have less than 200 words. With my novels, I write almost every day for 4-5 hours. But with a picture book I can’t plan my writing; instead I wait until an idea inspires me.
Ferrante: Do your books have a message or are they pure escapism?
Singleton: Both! Escapism with underlying messages of kindness, acceptance and friendship. Young readers learn more by example than being told what to do.
Ferrante: Your books are fantasy, science fiction, and mystery. Correct? What kinds of books do you read?
Singleton: I love all kinds of books but my favorite genres are fantasy, magic realism and mystery. I love when an ordinary character suddenly is thrust into a puzzling situation, and if there’s some magic that’s even better. I love books by Eva Ibottson, J.K. Rowling, Kate Morton, Ingrid Law, Bruce Coville, Marissa Meyer, Marcia Muller, and Marcus Zusak.
Ferrante: Is there anything else you like to share with us?
Singleton: There’s lots more info on my website including writing advice for new writers, advice on attending conferences and personal photos. There are also a few free short stories. www.LindaJoySingleton.com
Ferrante: If you could invent a pair of glasses that would allow you to see abstract things, (e.g. the motives behind someone’s actions,) what would you want to see most of all?
Singleton: I’d like to see images from scenes of the past like time travel vision. Recently I went camping to a campground I used to enjoy as a child, and as I looked around I felt like my memories of all the fun I’d had here were ghosts of my own past.
Ferrante: Thinking back to all the great TV series finales that you have seen over the years, which show do you believe had the best final episode?
Singleton: Hard to say since I mostly watch reality shows like Survivor and Big Brother, and also comedies like Big Bang Theory which haven’t ended yet. Oh, I did like the ending of Downton Abbey. I prefer finales where everyone was happy and having weddings or babies. I long for happily ever afters.
Ferrante: If you could add one month to the calendar year, inserting it between two existing months, where would you put the extra 30 days?
Singleton: Probably April and May since Spring has great weather and a sense of new beginnings like the opening of a book rather than the chill of a winter ending.
Ferrante: I’ve enjoyed reading The Curious Cat Spy Club. It will be interviewed on my blog December 2. Thank you, Linda, for taking the time to answer my questions. Good luck with all your endeavors.
Click on the cover to buy one of Linda Joy Singleton’s books.
Note: the three random questions are from “Chat Pack – Fun Questions to Spark Conversations”.