BookLife Talks with Linda P. Young
A sponsored Q&A with the author of '15 Minutes and Before 15 Minutes'
Where did this particular story idea come from?
It came out of a documentary I was watching on TV with my husband. Bingo: there it was. I had spent four months trying to figure out what I could write about in adult fiction that wasn’t already out there, while thinking no zombies, no vampires, no werewolves, no sci-fi, no love, and no hate. I consider what I came up with as unique. I am a children’s picture book author and have 13 children’s picture books written under my name. 15 Minutes started out as a short story, and it took me a month to come up with the plot for this alone. After it was published, people wanted to know how the characters became who they were. So, I wrote a follow-up on the characters, which became Before 15 Minutes. So now I’m publishing 15 Minutes and Before 15 Minutes in one book. I still recommend reading 15 Minutes first. The books have actually turned out to be a trilogy, with book three titled After 15 Minutes and the Sitlo Connection.
You’ve written many children’s books. How different was the process of writing your first adult book?
This story was much, much harder to write than any of my children’s picture books. When I write those books, I become a six-year-old and let my imagination simply go with it. Now, I’m writing about something most authors won’t write about. I needed to present the story in a way that the reader won’t actually figure out what’s going on until the middle of the story, and I’ve discovered that some readers don’t figure out what is going on until the end. I can tell you this: it is a story about a famous restaurateur who has retired and decided to get out of the big city and find a small town/village to open up a new, much smaller restaurant. After four years, the town is a ghost town and mere legend.
What kind of research did you do to make sure you were accurately portraying the restaurant business?When I was younger, I worked in a couple of restaurants. I also know someone who manages a restaurant and received some help from them. It’s fiction, so I took many liberties with the story.
What is the one thing you most want to tell booksellers, publishers, or agents about your book?
None of these stories are long. I had many people tell me that if a book’s pages are taller than two inches, they won’t buy it. Today, people are more interested in quick gratification, even if it is an author they like. So I wrote in a different style, shortened the story, and made it a quick read. I tried not to add what I call “fluff.” No difficult words you would have to look up in the dictionary. The book is an easy read and still has a shocking ending. You’ll finish it thinking, What is going on here?
What are you working on now?
I am working on several projects, including the third installment of the 15 Minutes trilogy. I am also working on another children’s picture book, a YA story, and a story about two young adult men and their alien friend who go on an adventure that takes them all over the United States. I am still working on the rebranding of my 10-book series about the hummingbird siblings, The Backyard Adventures of Anna and Andy Hummingbird.