Linda D. Vagnetti, author of The Adventures of Ralphy and the Awesome Trio
Excerpt of Interview with Linda D. Vagnetti:
ZHP: Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
LDV: I’ve lived in eleven different places growing up and went to ten different schools, which is why I forged no lasting friendships. I always wanted real friends, so that’s why I created characters who became friends for life.
ZHP: Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
LDV: Some of the first books I read were Gone with the Wind, and Hawaii. Sagas seemed to be like a friend because you could always look forward to continuing on with them. Then Hawaiiby Michener became my summer obsession when we had just moved again.
ZHP: What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
LDV: Each day, I deal with life’s ups and downs. When my children were small, life was all about caring for them. Now that they are grown, it’s still all about them! and the grandkids … and the kids at the school I teach from.
ZHP: When did you first start writing?
LDV: First, I started jotting things down for others-an aunt’s birthday or a boyfriends going away. I was a teenager and I was always writing a poem or short scenario for someone.
ZHP: What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
LDV: Hmm, I guess you could say that my greatest joy is when someone is affected by one of my pieces. If they like my characters, or they ask a question about the story itself.
ZHP: Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
LDV: The first real story I ever wrote was for a boyfriend. It was about a girl who saves him from going to Viet Nam by calling and saying she was pregnant and destitute except for him. It was real sappy, but in a good way.
ZHP: What advice would you give a new writer?
LDV: You either have the gift or not. Ideas and characters will pop up out of nowhere-so keep an eye out for them. If you can tell a good story orally, odds are you can write one too. Never push or force it. The best ideas come naturally.
ZHP: Do you use Social Media?
LDV: It’s a process-check back soon!
ZHP: When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
LDV: I adore working with children at the school and I enjoy coloring and golfing or just having actual conversations with friends. I have a passion for cooking, and people seem to enjoy my culinary creations.
ZHP: What do you read for pleasure?
LDV: Oh boy, do I love a good historical fiction, books about generations would be a close second. A clever mystery would take third.
ZHP: Who are your favorite authors?
LDV: Alice Hoffman, Karen White, Kate Morton, Adriana Trigiani to name a few. I love Controy’s Beach Music-I read it only one chapter at a time to savior it as long as I could.
ZHP: What are your three favorite books, and why?
LDV: November 22, 1963 by Stephen King-it took my by surprise, it’s about President Kennedy and time travel.
Conroy’s Beach Music-his family of characters are too real and awesome.
Karen White’s trilogy of Tradd Street-these books made me want to do nothing but stay in the story. Her characters interaction with the dead and the living was fascinating to watch evolve.
ZHP: What is your e-reading device of choice?
LDV: I may be one of the last people around that has never read an eBook! Although, my books will be available as eBooks.
Excerpt of Interview with Linda D. Vagnetti about her process:
ZHP: Describe your desk or writing space.
LDV: I write wherever I am when an idea comes to me. I do have a space to perfect my ideas though. I like a quiet room with few distractions. I’m not opposed to jotting down ideas on napkins at a Coney Island here and there.
ZHP: What is your writing process?
LDV: When I begin a piece, I work on the characters first. Their personalities and their names. Then their stories come together as they interact and their dialogue with each other moves forward.
ZHP: How do you connect with your muse?
LDV: Muse? What’s a muse? What’s NOT a muse?
ZHP: Is procrastination an issue for you?
LDV: My characters nag me to death, so, no. It’s not an issue.
ZHP: What motivated you to become an indie author?
LDV: My grandsons actually. They lived with us for a time when moving from Chicago to Michigan. They were two and four at the time and had me tell them stories each night before they went to bed. The next day, they’d ask me to repeat them, and oops! I usually didn’t remember them as I made them up on the spot. They began telling me stores after a while and Ralphy was born from that.
ZHP: What advice would give about writer’s block?
LDV: You’re trying too hard to write about something you aren’t interest in, or being forced to spit out another piece on someone else’s timeline. Get out of your own head and relax. Find a way to rekindle the interest in the story and just continue on.
ZHP: What’s the story behind your latest book?
LDV: My Ralphy stories continue to evolve as the grandkids grow, it’s situational.
ZHP: What are you working on next?
LDV: I’m working on a lovely novella about cat named Tabitha, a children’s picture book about lessons learned, and a children’s book of poetry for preschoolers. I keep busy.
ZHP: Do your fans impact your work?
LDV: My boys impacted my work early on-they were brutal with their opinions, but they tell me it’s because they love the stories so much. Other fans of my work keep me motivated because they seem to like my stories and keep asking for more.