Inky Interview: Pennsylvanian Native Author Linda M. Crate

Tell us about your journey towards becoming an author.

I have been writing since I was a child. I didn’t keep up with it regularly, but it was something to do. I have always loved stories and writing. I love how the same words in a different way can tell a completely different tale. I regularly began writing when I was about thirteen years old. I wrote, wrote, and wrote. I didn’t have any other writers in my family, so I wasn’t sure how to approach getting my work published. There’s probably some of my early stuff up on which seemed rather popular when I was a kid. I took about a five year hiatus from my writing because I thought it and myself were rubbish. It wasn’t until 2011 that I started getting work published. Some of my first poems and short stories didn’t even receive a response. They were just ignored by the editors I sent them to, and that was a bit disheartening. But I knew writing was one of my talents and my strengths, so I looked for a way to improve my writing, and ways to improve myself.

What is it you love about poetry?

Poetry is short, succinct, and yet very powerful and distinct. Every poet writes differently, but their experiences are sometimes very easy to relate to. I think my favourite poems are the short ones that pack a punch, that hit you hard in the gut, no matter the topic.

You also write short stories. How do you approach writing a short story? Do you plan it first, or just see what happens as you write?

I usually brainstorm for a while. Then I get to writing the story. The story usually changes from what I thought it would be in the beginning because characters and plots aren’t always predictable. Every twist and turn is thrilling and teaches me something new about the world and myself.

What do you care about? What themes keep cropping up in your writing?

This is a loaded question. There is a lot of things that I care about. Themes that crop up in my writing often are self-worth and finding oneself, not giving up, of finding oneself, how bullying, whilst painful, has strengthened me, how women are not objects of sexual gratification but rather spiritual and divine creatures full of power and magic, social justice, ecological concerns, nature, slice of life vignettes, etc. There are many things that I write about. Some profound and some just confessional.

How do you think technology is affecting humans in today’s society?

In some ways I think technology is great. It helps connect me with other writers, poets, and readers who may not find my work otherwise, which is wonderful. It’s a platform in which I can engage with people with my writing and connect, which is always an amazing feeling. I have had a few people tell me that my work changed their life and that’s really meant a lot to me. However, on the flip side of that, I do see a disconnect with reality. I see people measuring their worth in how many likes or comments they get on posts and pictures, and that’s really rather dismaying. I see people become glazed eyed zombies addicted to their phones and ignoring the beauty and bounty of nature, and those who love them. I really think for every pro there is a con to everything. Technology needs to be wielded wisely. It can be a waste of time if used improperly.

Describe a typical day in your life.

Well, typically on days I work, I sit down on the computer and get to the grindstone of writing. I like to push myself to get as much accomplished as I can before work. On a day off my writing is sometimes more sporadic. It depends on if I am visiting with friends and family, or if the day is one that I get to myself. If it is one that I get to myself then sometimes I rest a lot to recover my strength. My night job is sometimes rather exhausting because I deal with a lot of people and I am an introvert by nature. So rest is sometimes necessary so I can heal up and have enough strength and focus to put out my best writing.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?

Money. I would do away with it completely. It disgusts me how greedy and cruel people are. How stingy people can be. How some people would rather poor people starve and die rather than to help them. Those with much always forget that they can be on the other side of the coin. They might not always be facing heads up when they land. I think it is important to give and help others as you can. Even if it means giving someone some of your time. Listening to someone can make a world of difference in their lives. I just think money, like power, can corrupt souls. I tire of the greed of men, and what said greed causes them to do to people who they should be loving, instead of swindling.

Who inspires you and why?

Non-famous people include my grandmother because she always encourages me to keep going no matter how hard it gets. Similarly, my best friend Alicia, who has epilepsy, has shown me the meaning of strength, and sometimes even when I backslide and doubt myself she is there cheering me on. My mother encourages me to be a better person and to keep going because I don’t want to quit this journey of my writing. It means a lot to me, and it is something that I love to do. One day I would like for it to be my full time job, but I’m just not at that point right now. Famous people include J.K. Rowling because I find her story inspiring. As a woman who has also has dealt with bouts of depression in my life, it is wonderful to see someone from such a humble beginning rise to such fame and fortune, especially considering all the money she gives away to charity and to help others. I feel that is wonderful that she gives back after all she’s been given. I also find Anne Rice rather inspiring because despite the fact that she grows older, she does not let that stop her writing her books and living her life. Not to mention her Vampire Chronicles are getting a television equivalent now after all these years, and she keeps pushing upward and onward. I love that she soldiers on no matter what life hands her. I cannot imagine how painful it was for her to lose her daughter and her husband, but she doesn’t let it slow her down.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t worry what people think. You are enough as you are, because you are one of a kind. Your power is that you are you. You are full of worth, even if some people will never see it. Never give up on the pursuit of the things that set your heart on fire no matter what anyone tells you because you are stronger and more powerful than they’ll ever think. Dreams are not only necessary, but can be fought for and sought for, and they should be.

Have you been on a literary pilgrimage?

Yes, I’ve been writing for many years. Over the years I have learned and honed my skills so that my writing is more effective and reaches audiences better. I have learned some of the things that don’t work and those that do in my own writing and my own voice. I’ve received rejections that have made me cry and press on, and acceptances always make me excited. Because one editor may not see value in my words, but another may love what I sent them. Writing is a subjective business, I’ve learned, and so I soldier on. Rejections sting no matter how nice or polite they are, but I remind myself they are not the end, and I persevere despite all the odds.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Buy other writers’ works when and where you can, love reading as much as you do writing, never give up, always go ahead with ideas no matter how weird or strange they are because even if you end up scrapping them, at least you can say you were brave enough to see where they were going Always be brave and kind, learn from your failures and strengthen your writing from what editors tell you, don’t be too proud and self-assured that you cannot take good advice when it’s given to you – no one wants to be reminded of their faults, but we all have them, and never let rejections turn you away from your craft. I won’t tell you not to take it personally, like everyone else does, because honestly every single rejection wounds me, but don’t let a rejection cut you up so badly that you leave behind what you’ve worked so hard to create. Be willing to take a chance on yourself.

What are you reading at the moment?

I don’t always have much opportunity to read as I did when I was younger, what with my work schedule and all, but the last thing I read was Isabelle Kenyon’s book of poetry This Is Not A Spectacle which is an interesting book full of different observations that tie together with a corresponding theme. It was really well executed and enjoyable.

What is next for you? What plans have you got?

We’ll see what the future holds. I hope lots of more publications, naturally. I’m planning on publishing more books of poetry, publishing my novels, getting more short stories out in the world. I would like to get a collection of short stories together and published, too, at some point. I plan on getting more personal articles out there, too, because I have found a fondness of sharing my self to the world in a vulnerable way that can help others. I plan on being a part of more anthologies, and taking more chances on myself and my writing. I plan on submitting to places that scared me off before, for whatever reason. I plan on becoming a better person and a better writer, and seeing where this journey takes me.

Linda on Facebook


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