Interview: Theresa Linden about 'Chasing Liberty'

Liberty 554-062466-84 of Aldonia lives in a responsible society that cares for the earth and everyone on it. They have learned to balance resource consumption with replacement initiatives, unavoidable pollution with clean-environment efforts. Science ensures that every baby born is healthy. The government ensures that every baby born is needed. All are cared for, taught, and given a specific duty to perform, their unique contribution to society. Why is Liberty so unsatisfied?

In less than two weeks, Liberty must begin her vocation. Every girl in Aldonia wishes she had Liberty's vocation. Liberty would rather flee from Aldonia and live on her own, independent of the all-controlling government, the Regimen Custodia Terra. The high electrical Boundary Fence crushes any thought of escape. The ID implant imbedded in her hand makes it impossible to hide. She has no choice but to submit. Liberty is slated to be a Breeder.

As vocation day draws near, a man with an obsession for Liberty attacks her and injects her with a drug. She’s about to lose consciousness when someone comes to her rescue, a man in a mottled cape and dark glasses. She wakes in an underground facility where people watch over Aldonia with an array of monitors and surveillance equipment. These people are full of secrets, but she discovers one thing: they rescue a man scheduled for re-education. They rescued him. They can rescue her.

After reading this blurb, I wanted to know about author Theresa Linden. Luckily she had the time and the willing to answer my questions and the result was a very interesting interview:

-When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I began writing in grade school. My sister and I co-authored stories using characters we stole from TV shows, movies and from our imagination. We took turns writing chapters. One would begin the story and leave it at a cliffhanger. The other would take it from there, write their way out of the cliffhanger and leave it at another cliffhanger. We had a blast!
-However, I didn’t consider myself a writer until, as a young adult, I actually made a commitment to write full-length novel from beginning to end. Even after I did that—and I wrote several—I didn’t tell anyone that I liked to write, except for my husband and a few close friends. It wasn’t until I got published that I felt comfortable letting people know I was a writer.
-What inspires you to write your books?
Although Chasing Liberty is my first published book, I have written several other books. I find the richness and mystery in life a source of inspiration. I look for the meaning behind the good and bad that happens in real life. The important moments in life aren’t often neat and tidy, where something eventful begins and works its way to completion, revealing its mysteries or a message. But an author can take the events that happen in life, ponder them, and bring out the mystery through their writing. That is what I like to try to do when I write.
-Do you have a specific writing style?
I try to write a plot-driven story with a close point of view, whether using first or third person. I love to get into a character’s head and convey his or her thoughts and feelings through everything they experience. I even try to show the setting and environment in ways that convey the mood or feelings of the point of view character, though I like to keep the descriptions tight and keep the story moving. For example, in the opening page of Chasing Liberty, Liberty describes the room in which she sits: She [the psychiatric technician] sat across from me at a square table in a dimly lit, pale gray room the size of a closet, the blandness of it all a precursor to my future.
-What is your writing routine?
I homeschool my three boys, so my writing time during the school year is limited, but I am very committed to it. I try to wake before everyone else so I have a little time to write. Then I make use of the time after everyone has settled down for the evening. I do most of my writing over summer break, rising early and staying up late, writing between meals and housework and family time. It’s a challenge, but I love it!
-Favorite books and favorite authors?
It’s hard to pick favorites because I love books, and I read a variety of genres.
In the area of high-fantasy, I love the classics: J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and C.S. Lewis’s series The Chronicles of Narnia. I enjoy the symbolic aspects of these works almost as much as the fantastic worlds and characters they present.
In the area of historical fiction, I have read the majority of Louis de Wohl’s stories about saints and biblical heroes. I love the Westerns of Louis L’Amour, especially the Sackett series, which follows a fictional American family through the early years of our country. I could read these books over and over.
I also enjoy contemporary author Dean Koontz who writes suspense thrillers, often with bizarre endings. I just finished reading one of his latest, Innocence, and I especially enjoy his Odd Thomas series and his books with elements of humor. Ever since I wrote Chasing Liberty, I have been eating up all things dystopian. I also appreciate little-known books and authors and recently enjoyed reading Lost, a historical fiction by Jacqueline Davies.
-What challenges do you have to face as an author?
I face both internal and external challenges. I am glad that I belong to a local writers’ group and an online writers’ group because I now realize that I am not alone in the rollercoaster of emotions that I face as a writer. Some days I feel down on my writing abilities and wonder why I bother. I’m done. It’s a waste of time. I’m never writing again. Then other days, I feel elated. I love writing and can’t stop myself from doing it. The story ideas race through my mind all day, every day, even keeping me awake at night, dying to get out.  
Externally, I suppose the biggest challenge is time. As a wife, mother and homeschooling mom of three boys— including one with autism—there is never enough time to write. I get most of my writing accomplished over summer break.
-Do you have any advice for other writers?
My advice to other writers is to keep at it. Writing is our unique way to express ideas and work through thoughts. We create worlds and characters that remain with us, becoming a part of us. As a writer friend of mine says, writing can be cathartic. So if you have the desire to write, then you must write!
I also suggest finding ways to improve. We write because we are compelled to write, but we must also strive to develop our skills. This is a life-long task, but it should be done gradually so as not to lead to discouragement. There are many great books on writing, for example: On Writing by Stephen King and How to Write a Damn Good Novel by James N. Frey. There are also online writers’ groups and critique groups that have much to offer. I learn so much from the writers, new and experienced, at Catholic Writers Guild and the online group Critique Circle. It also helps to join local groups. Nothing beats meeting face to face with fellow writers and making friendships that can get you through the tough times every writer confronts.

Author bio

Theresa resides with her husband and three boys in northeast Ohio. She was born in California and moved every three years (her father was in the Coast Guard). This probably accounts for her love of traveling and desire to see the world. Living by the ocean, under the palm trees in Guam and Hawaii, helped spur her imagination. She began writing illustrated short stories with her sister in grade school, borrowing characters from favorite movies and shows. Now, writing is her passion. Her favorite genres include Fantasy, Western, Contemporary, Supernatural and Futuristic. Other interests: painting with acrylic, drawing with ink, hiking, traveling and American History. Theresa is a member of the Catholic Writer's Guild, a local writers' group, and Critique Circle, an online critique group. She has an Associate's Degree in Electrical/Mechanical Drafting and a Catechetical Degree from Catholic Distance University.




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