Blogs by L.T. Suzuki
Linda Poitevin Interview
1/1/2012 7:58:26 AM
Urban Fantasy author, Linda Poitevin discusses her novels and the writing life!
LTS: To kick off 2012, I’d like to introduce you to a fellow Canadian author, Linda Poitevin, the author of the Urban Fantasy series The Grigori Legacy! I’d like to begin by having you share a little information about yourself with our readers, Linda. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
LP: First of all, hello back, Lorna, and thank you so much for having me here today! And to answer your question, I enjoy a lot of different activities…reading, time with my family, movies, coffee with friends, long walks with my dog, gardening in the summer, camping, road trips, visits to farmer’s markets, trying new recipes…so many things and so little time, lol!
LTS: When did writing stories become more than just a hobby and was becoming a published author a life long dream?
LP: I was way too practical growing up to dream of becoming published, lol. My mother had wanted to be a journalist and author, too, but she was sidelined by marriage and family, and I think that may have had a dampening effect on my belief in dreams coming true. It wasn’t until my husband picked up one of my stories and started pushing me to take my ‘hobby’ seriously that I even considered the idea. He’s been my biggest fan through this entire process.
LTS: I understand your debut novel Sins of the Angels: The Grigori Legacy is receiving terrific reviews. What was the inspiration behind this story and can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist, Alexandra Jarvis?
LP: The story process started with a line from Sarah McLachlan’s Angel: “You’re in the arms of the angel, may you find some comfort here,” along with a writer’s favourite question: what if? What if there wasn’t comfort in an angel’s arms? What if there was heartache and pain instead? What if a woman fell in love with an angel and…well, you can see where the questions led. As for Alex, I like to think she’s a lot like the cop I might have been if I’d taken that career path, lol. In truth, she’s a mix of many of the female cops I’ve been privileged to know and work with—tough, professional, loyal, pragmatic, and very human.
LTS: Without giving away too much, can you reveal what’s in store for the readers when they crack open Sins of the Angels?
LP: Sins of the Angels follows a Toronto homicide detective as she tracks a serial killer. Unbeknownst to her, a Fallen Angel, the new partner assigned to her is a hunter from Heaven sent to capture him, and the fate of the entire world may be entwined with the outcome.
Reviewers have described the book as “urban fantasy without the leather,” “a different kind of angel story,” “a dark urban fantasy novel like you haven’t read before,” and “an exhilarating serial killer urban fantasy.” I think the bottom line is that the story contains a lot of different elements. It does have a romantic thread to it, yes, but there’s also a strong police procedural side, a mystery, and a psychological element, all woven together with angel mythology. While it had to be categorized as an urban fantasy for practical reasons, I like to describe the book as a supernatural thriller. J
LTS: The road to publication is difficult at the best of times. Was it difficult for you to land an agent? Do you have any advice you’d like to share with the author struggling to find representation?
LP: My advice would be to never give up, never stop trying, never stop learning. For me, finding an agent (and a publisher!) was a 12-year process involving four different manuscripts. I have a whole file folder filled with rejections from agents and editors. Some of those are form letters, others are personalized…every one of them made me more determined (after the obligatory pint of ice cream!) to improve my craft, write a better story, and try again. Sins of the Angels was turned down by fifteen agents before I received two separate offers of representation on the same day (and a third request for the full manuscript)…to me, that just proves the subjective side of reading, regardless of whether you’re doing so for pleasure or profit.
LTS: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned on the road to publication?
LP: Patience. Dreams take time to come true, but they’re worth waiting—and working!—for.
LTS: Becoming a published author is truly a difficult road to travel, so I’m always pleased when a fellow writer is plucked from relative obscurity to land a book deal. Can you share that moment when your agent told you he/she sold your story to Penguin USA?
LP: It was utterly surreal…so much so that I really can’t even remember the details, lol! When Becca (she’s my agent) called with the news, I was trying so hard to be cool and professional and to ask all the right questions, and really, all I wanted to do was hang up on her so I could squeal and happy dance and call my husband. It was a lovely, lovely moment. J
LTS: I’m curious about your writing style. Are you one of those disciplined writers who must dedicate a certain time each day to producing so many words, or are you more relaxed and tend to write when it strikes your fancy?
LP: Neither. I’m more one of those that has to wrestle time away from all the other demands of her life. I’m also the one that tends to let time get away on her until suddenly realizing she’s only weeks away from deadline…ack!!! Sigh.
LTS: Still on the subject of writing styles, are you a plotter or pantser? The readers would like to know if you tend to plot out your story line in great detail or if your writing is more organic with the characters and events unfolding as you write.
LP: I like to think of myself as a plantser...I do a lot of mental plotting and scene-building, sometimes replaying a scene dozens of times in my head, but I don’t write anything down in the way of an outline. A more organic process happens when I start trying to put my mental scenes into an actual story and all kinds of other stuff happens that I hadn’t expected/foreseen. J
LTS: Some authors meditate, others need to fuel up on coffee or listen to music. Do you have any rituals, ones that can be shared with the readers, that you must do before you hunker down for a writing session?
LP: Okay, that question totally makes me want to ask what kind of rituals one might have that can’t be shared with readers, lol! But to answer your question, no, I don’t have anything I feel I have to do before sitting down to write. I absolutely must, however, have my music while I write. Apart from earbuds being my only way to shut out the outside world, I derive huge inspiration from the music itself.
LTS: At one time or another, most writers hit the wall and their work stalls because of the dreaded writer’s block. What do you do to get around or over this mental wall to resume writing?
LP: I’ve found that writer’s block tends to happen for a reason, usually because the story has wandered off track and I haven’t noticed, or because other things have piled up in my life to the point of becoming stressful. Either way, my best recourse is to walk away from the story for a few days (the maximum I’ll give myself is two weeks). Generally, in the course of doing the million errands and other things I’ve been neglecting, my subconscious figures out the answer to the story problem. On the rare occasion that it doesn’t, I’ve just had to force myself through the blockage one (very painful) word at a time—those are the times it can take me three hours to write a single paragraph *sigh*.
LTS: Who is your favourite author and how has he/she inspired you to write or influenced your writing style or choice of genre?
LP: I really don’t have just one favourite author. I admire many writers for many different reasons, and I think every author I’ve ever read has influenced my writing in one way or another, whether from a point of admiration or one of “so not going to do that!” When it comes to my own reading, I tend to be captured by a story as much as I am by a writer or a writing style, so even if I love a particular author, I won’t necessarily pick up all of his/her books. Alternatively, I’m very open to new writers for the same reason.
LTS: What is the most profound discovery you’ve made in terms of your writing and how it has touched the lives of others?
LP: I think it would be that dreams really can come true, even for ordinary people, as long as you’re willing to put in the time and effort. Several of my friends have told me that my journey has inspired them to continue pursuing their own dreams, and I hope that my daughters have all absorbed this same lesson into their own lives.
LTS: What are you reading now, and how did this particular book make it onto your to-read list?
LP: I’ve just finished reading two YA dystopian novels: All Good Children, by Catherine Austen, and Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin. I picked up Catherine’s book at her recent launch because I know her and wanted to support a friend (and will pick up her others because this one was so good!). Mike is another friend, via Twitter/Facebook, and he asked me to do a beta read on Ashen Winter, the sequel to Ashfall, because one of the characters has Asperger’s Syndrome like my youngest daughter. (Actually, I may have begged a little to do the read for him, because Ashfall was soooo amazing and I couldn’t wait to see if the second book would be as good. It is!).
LTS: What do you foresee in your future over the next five years and do you hope to branch out from Urban Fantasy into other genres? Can your fans expect a sequel to Sins of the Angels in the near future?
LP: Book 2 in The Grigori Legacy, Sins of the Son, will be out at the end of March. I’m currently working on book 3 and in the daydreaming stages for book 4, which, between them, will probably take up another year or so of my time. After that, I have another idea for a series that I’d like to pitch to my editor, so that could potentially take another year or two or three. J I don’t have any plans to branch out from UF in the near future, but given the number of YA novels I’m drawn to read, I wouldn’t rule out switching at some point down the road.
LTS: Thank you so much for taking the time to discuss your novels and share in your writing experience, Linda! Wishing you all the best for a year of good health, prosperity and happiness.
LP: Thank you for having me, Lorna! It was a pleasure to be here, and I wish you every success in 2012…and make sure you keep me updated on any movie progress! J
For more information about Linda and her novels, check out her website: http://www.lindapoitevin.com
Follow Linda on Twitter: .lindapoitevin
Where to buy the book: bookstores or online at
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