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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Death by Novel With GCC Member: Linda Gerber

I love a good mystery. I’m even writing one, which makes me even more excited to host fellow GCC member Linda Gerber. Her “Death by” series is tons of fun, action packed, and filled with to-die-for settings (Paris, anyone?).

So if you enjoyed the first two installments in her young adult series—Death by Bikini and Death by Latte—then you’ll love her latest book DEATH BY DENIM, which debuts next month through Penguin Books for Young Readers.

As always, here’s a little bit about her book to get you hooked:

Aphra Connolly is being chased by some very dangerous people. She knows her survival depends upon staying far away from love interest Seth, and listening to her mom’s lectures on the finer points of anonymity and survival. But how is a girl supposed to live under the radar and not think about her boyfriend when she’s in Paris—the most romantic city in the world? When her mom’s contact in Paris is found floating in the Seine with a deadly message stuffed in his mouth, Aphra realizes that she will never be able to stop running unless she confronts the situation head-on. Sneaking away from her mom, Aphra tracks down the criminal mastermind in Italy, only to unwittingly reveal Seth’s location. And her mistake has just put them both in mortal danger. . . .

Here’s what Linda had to say:

Q: In AMOR AND SUMMER SECRETS, Mariana discovers a hidden family secret. Are you a good secret keeper?

Linda: I stink at keeping my own secrets – the urge to tell becomes like an obsession until I confide in someone. But I don’t tell other people’s secrets—I unintentionally made that mistake before and hurt someone I cared about, so now I know the value of confidence.

Q: What is the favorite place you ever traveled to, and what was the coolest thing you saw/did there?

Linda:
I love to travel, too! One of the benefits of living overseas is that we got to travel a lot. We saw so many amazing places that I could never choose one favorite. I absolutely loved exploring Japan while we lived there because it helped me connect to my new home. Kyoto was probably my favorite city there because – to me – it represents the history and culture of Japan. Another sentimental trip for me was going to China with my parents and climbing the Great Wall with my dad, who is blind. And another was going to Scotland for the first time because my family hails from the Clan Colquhoun and it was like discovering a part of myself.

Q: I often tell the story of how a psychic once predicted that I would go on to write children’s books. Have you ever visited a psychic?

Linda:
I’ve never been to an “official” psychic, but I used to drive past a psychic’s home every day when I lived in Pasadena. Does that count? I’ve had dreams on my own about things that subsequently happened, though, so the whole concept of precognition fascinates me. In fact, I'm just gearing up to work on the revisions for my YA paranormal (out next year) about trance-writing sisters.

Oooh, trance writing. I’ll have to learn more about that!


Q: My character Mariana spends her summer in Puerto Rico connecting with her father’s heritage. Have you ever researched your family tree?

Linda: Genealogy is really big in my family. We’ve traced our ancestors back hundreds of years. As I mentioned before, one line is from Scotland and in our records, Campsie Parish is mentioned again and again. So, when my husband and I visited Scotland last year, we attempted to find Campsie so I could take some pictures and maybe rub a few gravestones – but the navigation system in the rental car didn’t recognize the location. As we were out exploring, we were really excited to find signs directing us to ‘Campsie Glen’ and we thought we were onto something. We followed the signs, driving an hour out of our way to find… a new subdivision going up named Campsie Glen. When we continued north and into the Highlands, though, the connection I felt there more than made up for the disappointment of not finding the real Campsie.

Q: Where were you when you found out that your book was going to be published?

Linda:
I was still living in Japan when this series sold. I had already done two books with Puffin, SASS, NOW AND SEN and SASS, THE FINNISH LINE so I hoped they would be interested in working with me again. I was thrilled when they not only bought the book I had submitted, which became DEATH BY BIKINI, but contracted for three books in a series. The actual receiving of the news, though, was kind of anticlimactic. No exciting call. My (previous) agent emailed the good news to me. And, at the time I found it in my inbox, my husband was away on a business trip, my kids were at school, and it was like three in the morning in the States where my crit partners lived, so I didn’t have anyone around to squeal to. I smiled at my computer screen a lot, though.

Thank you, Linda! Now, everyone go out and buy books, lots and lots of books!

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