Today I am really thrilled to have my good friend and fellow
crime/suspense author Linda Huber on my blog. I first met Linda almost two
years ago when our debut novels (Linda’s The Paradise Trees and my In Too Deep)
were published by Legend Press within a few weeks of each other. We were ‘thrown
together’ to do some readings in Edinburgh – and luckily, we really clicked and
were able to share a lot of ‘new author’ joy and angst. We’ve stayed in regular
touch ever since, doing more joint events in Edinburgh and Glasgow in 2014 when
our two second novels (Linda’s The Cold Cold Sea and my This Little Piggy) were
again published in quick succession. I’m
really proud to have Linda here today talking about her third novel, The Attic Room, which is still warm from being so newly published.
Q: Hi Linda! It’s
fantastic to have you here. I know that anyone who’s read The Paradise Trees
and The Cold Cold Sea will be anxious to get their hands on The Attic Room.
What can you tell us about it?
A: Like the other two it’s a psychological thriller. It begins on the lovely Isle of Arran in Scotland, where Nina has spent most of her life. Then one day the phone rings, and everything changes… As well as on Arran, the book is located in Bedfordshire and Edinburgh, places I’ve visited many times.
Q: I’m sorry to ask the obvious question – but how did you
come up with the idea for the plot?
A: The original idea has been edited out of the book! I wanted to write a novel about a family living with Huntington’s Disease and all its implications. However, the action around Nina’s search for her family and her identity became so intense that my editor felt that the Huntington’s sections would be better off in a book of their own, so out they came. I’m working on that one now.
Q: Every book is different as you are writing it. What
differences did you notice writing this one?
A: The main setting, in the old, neglected house, made a much darker backdrop to working on this book. I wasn’t imagining my characters in the woods, sunlight flickering through the trees, or on a beautiful Cornish beach. This time, my characters were moving around in a dark, scary place. I was always glad when someone went back to the island for a chapter!
Q: Were there any problems as you wrote this one?
A: I get into terrible pickles with character’s names. You’d think there was a shortage of names out there… Shortly before I sent The Attic Room to be formatted, I realised that one of the main characters had the same name as a minor character in The Cold Cold Sea – Colin. (I already have Jenny in The Paradise Trees and Jennifer in The Cold Cold Sea, aargh!) So I changed The Attic Room’s Colin to Paul, and sent it off. And then I realised I had a Paul in another book which is almost ready to go, so I had to change this one to Owen…
Q: You live in Switzerland, even though you are originally
from Glasgow and your books so far have been set around the UK. Does being a
British writer abroad make any difference to your experience?
A: It means I can’t attend as many book events in the UK – festivals, book signings, special events etc. Fortunately nowadays there’s also the possibility to do more online. The important thing for me is to have my books out there, and to have some kind of contact with the people who buy them. That contact is mainly on Twitter, or Facebook, and I’m glad to have them both.
(Below: Lake Constance and the castle in Arbon where Linda teaches!)
Q: You’ve popped up on a few writers’ blogs recently. Do you
enjoy blogging? Do you find being in touch with other writers is helpful?
A: I do enjoy blogging. Mine isn’t a very ‘writerly’ blog – I don’t feel I’m in a position to tell other people how to write books, though I do share my experience of the whole crazy process as I see it! I also blog about life in Switzerland, life as a single parent with two student sons, life in general. And I certainly get a lot of support from other writers/bloggers – and that’s a great feeling for me as a newish and expat writer.
Q: I know you are planning a productive year as there is
another book already a long way towards being completed. Can you let us in on
any secrets about it?
A: I have two in the end stages and at the moment I don’t know which will be out first. Chosen Child is about a couple who want to adopt a little girl, but something goes horribly wrong… Counting Out His Money introduces a woman who unearths a scam in a hospital, and ends up – but maybe I shouldn’t say where she ends up! That one is with my editor now, so afterwards we’ll decide the best way forward.
Linda Huber grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, where she trained
as a physiotherapist. She spent the next ten years working with neurological
patients and handicapped children, firstly in Glasgow and then in Switzerland.
Linda now lives in Arbon, Switzerland, where she works as a language teacher in a medieval castle on the banks of Lake Constance.
Her three psychological thrillers are The Paradise Trees (2013), The Cold Cold Sea (2014), and The Attic Room.