What has been your most rewarding moment as an author?
When I wrote my first two books, which were resource guides that provided insights for tackling the highly competitive process of acceptance into Chicago high schools, families would wait in line after my presentations to ask me questions. They would tell me how much they appreciated having one source of information and how it helped their families. That made me realize that all my intensive research was important and of real value to others.
If you could offer one piece of writing advice to a novice author, what would it be?
As the famous Nike ad stated “Just do it!” Stop procrastinating, create a plan for yourself, put it in writing and share your intentions, so you’re accountable. I decided to start by blogging. It gave me the discipline and confidence I needed to go forward. My goals were to be a columnist and a journalist and little by little move up to writing for publications with larger circulations. One by one, I achieved them. Now, I have to work on my next set of goals!
What have been some of the biggest helps for developing your writing skills? Written resources, classes or conferences, fellow writers you’ve learned from or have mentored you, other?
I take a class or do research in order to learn something new. When I moved to Georgetown and joined the San Gabriel Writers’ League, a couple of members took me under their wing and gave me that little push I needed. Sometimes I’m not sure if the monthly League speakers’ topics will be of interest to me, but I have to admit I always learn something new. Having a positive attitude goes a long way in steering you towards your objectives. When I look back, it’s uncanny how opportunities just seem to have appeared out of the blue.
How often do you write, and do you have a strict routine and writing plan?
Most days I try to set some time aside. I’m either writing, researching, interviewing or reviewing stories. Before I interview someone, I consider every angle that the piece could take and always try to think of a few questions that will add something humorous or out of the ordinary to the story. I delight in the instant gratification that being a journalist gives me. I thoroughly enjoy the writing process and the time alone, just me and my musings.
What’s the best piece of writing-related advice that you’ve received?
An old friend of mine, an English professor, and my first muse, told me years ago that I had a gift for telling stories. She encouraged me to utilize that natural ability by taking the time to keep writing things down and in time I would see my talent develop. I remember, shyly, leaving her some of my writing to critique by her front door and her returning it to me, always with positive constructive comments. That really spurred me on.
What kind of books do you enjoy reading and how often do you read?
I am a very slow reader and need absolute silence in order to concentrate. I am trying to read more and have started to set aside some time every day. I find myself getting involved with one author or one genre- lately, it’s been historical fiction- and will stick with it until something else strikes my fancy. I am always in awe of the power of words and sometimes will stop to write down a phrase that just captures me.
Winning the laptop that she required to start her writing career was just the sign that Linda A. Thornton needed to retire early from corporate life. In her lifestyle blog, amoxiegirl.com, she uses positive thinking and a sense of humor to inspire others to “use what you have to get what you want.” A wife, mother and author, Thornton also writes a column for Sun Rays magazine and her stories are featured in publications such as the Williamson County Sun and Georgetown View.