Welcome Linda Kovic-Skow
author of French Illusions; and
French Illusions – Book 2 – Tours to Paris.
(There are links to both books at the end of this interview.)
Please tell us a little about yourself.
Originally from Seattle, I currently winter in Gilbert, Arizona and spend summers on a boat in the Pacific Northwest Waters of Washington and British Columbia. I’ve been married for 30 years and I have two daughters. I am an enthusiastic traveler, but I also enjoy hiking, boating, reading, gardening and socializing with friends.
What first inspired you to write?
In 2007 after my husband and I dropped our youngest daughter off at college, I went through a sort of mid-life crisis. I missed being a mom and I wondered how I would fill the void. Something was missing—but what? This prompted me to review what I like to call my “mid-life list.” This is similar to a “bucket list,” but instead of exploring things to do before you die, you refocus yourself, while you’re still relatively young, and figure out the things you want to do in your fifties. My list was short.
-Learn to play the piano.
-Travel to Africa to see the elephants.
-Travel to Tahiti and see the island of Bora Bora.
-Write a book.
At the time, I didn’t own a piano and, with two daughters in college, I couldn’t afford a trip to Africa or Tahiti, so I decided to hunt down my diary from my au pair adventure in France and compose a memoir. I’d told the story on numerous occasions, and the reaction from friends and family was often the same: You should write a book! Now, I finally had the time. It took me three years and countless hours to write the first book in the French Illusions Series, and a few more to write the second, but now I can scratch another item off my mid-life list.
In what genre(s) do you prefer to write?
Memoir, but I’d like to branch out and write a novel one day.
Are you working on another book?
There is nothing in the pipeline right now, but I have a few ideas for future books. Before my mother passed in August of 2014, I recorded four hours of her recounting her life story. She was born in the United States, but her parents took her back to Croatia as a young child, and the family endured enormous hardships during World War II. I think this would make a great historical novel. I’m also considering another memoir about my unusual childhood, something like “Growing up Linda.”
Your books have obviously required research. What do you consider the best resources?
I have to admit writing my memoir was a lot more complex than I initially imagined it would be. My diary offered a great outline of the events, but I had to create the dialog from memory and fill in hard-to-find data on the Loire Valley, the Loire River and the town of Tours from 1979. Internet searches produced most of the information and travel books supplied the rest.
Do you consider your book(s) convey messages to readers?
Set in the beautiful Loire Valley, my memoir will remind older readers what it was like to be young, adventurous and filled with dreams. Younger readers will relate to the difficult decisions women make as they transition into adulthood. My hope is that both of these groups will come away from my book realizing it’s not too late to create your own memories. Go out and explore the world. Life’s for living, after all.
What advice would you give to authors who are just starting out?
Hire a professional editor. I mean it. You can’t edit your own book. You won’t see the mistakes because you are too close to the writing. It will cost you a few hundred dollars for a line editor, a bit more if you need some in-depth editing, but it’s the best money you will ever spend. I cringe every time I read a negative review where the main complaint is editing. You want readers to judge you on the content of your story.
How do you go about marketing your books?
There are many good marketing websites available to authors, but Goodreads is at the top of my list. I have set up numerous giveaways and joined various Goodread’s groups to promote my memoir. Thousands of readers flock to this site daily and I believe it’s essential to have a strong presence there.
How important do you think reviews are? If you consider reviews important, how do you go about obtaining them for your books?
Reviews are essential, especially for self-published authors. There are hundreds of indie books coming on the market daily and reviews help readers feel confident about their choices. As an indie author, I worked hard to obtain my initial reviews. Just after I published my first book in the French Illusions Series, I participated in a blog tour. This resulted in some great reviews. I also sifted through dozens of Amazons top reviewers, emailed them and asked for honest reviews. Only a handful replied, but it was well worth the effort. Over time, as I promoted my books, offering them for sale on sites like BookBub, organic reviews slowly materialized.
While on the subject of reviews, I would add that no matter how well-edited and well-vetted your piece of work, some people will not like your story. There is nothing you can do about it. Once your book is published and you give away or sell a bunch of copies, you will eventually receive a negative review, and it will hurt your feelings. It never ceases to amaze me how people can be so cruel with reviews, but once you become an author, it’s a fact of life you must live with.
Please share with us links to where readers may obtain more information and insight into who you are.
N.B. Linda kindly provided the list of links most of which are self-explanatory. Nevertheless, explanatory comments have been added for clarity.
Linda’s personal website: http://lindakovicskow.com/
Interesting blog in which Linda shares experiences, thoughts, recipes etc.: http://lindakovicskow.com/blog/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lindakovicskowfanpage
Twitter account: https://twitter.com/LindaKovicSkow
Goodreads account: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23368537-french-illusions
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Linda-Kovic-Skow/e/B009PORWR6/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
Thank you Linda for sharing your journey, inspiration and experiences with us.
Click on the retail site of your choice to access the relevant book page.
If interested, you may read T. R.’s review here.