Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
My name is Linda Wasylciw (also known as L.M. Wasylciw – to my adult readers – and/or Professor Scry – to my young readers). I live in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada, near where I was born and raised, where the Boreal forest rises up to a ridge of hills that sweeps down to meet the great prairies. Books have always been an important part of my life and as a child it was my passage to places that I never imagined existed. When young, I often looked out upon the Clear Hills dreaming of the day when I would go over their peaks to the other side, to experience the vast world beyond. Maybe, had my bedroom window faced south, I might have imagined myself leaping over the steep banks of the mighty Peace River. In the end I went south. Video About Me
What is/are the story(ies) behind your book(s)?
After leaving the security of my little farming community, I became witness to a multitude of social issues – problems that I never knew existed. I write about these topics, firstly to get an insight into what others face, but also to provide readers with a better understanding of those challenges through fiction. My stories are heavily influenced by what I have seen and learned. I write from the heart, about topics that are not often spoken of, or brushed away as if they do not exist. The subject matters pack a punch and resonate long after reading.
What inspires/inspired your creativity?
I am inspired by people and the difficult situations they find themselves in, ever conscious of my surroundings, my place in this vast world, and the affects humans have on this planet.
How do you deal with creative block?
Thankfully I have never been faced with the dreaded ‘mental block’. I write my story in my mind before putting it on my computer; therefore, when I start writing it just flows, writing from the video that plays inside my head.
What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
Of course, every writer should know and follow the rules of correct grammar. It is often better to stick to the rules, but then there is always the exception to the rule. It is true that every writer has their own quirky trademarks, which sets them apart, and I think this is great. Most importantly write well, and the story has to be believable. Know your facts and know your geography. Know that your character cannot stand on London’s shores to drop letters into the sea!
Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
The title must mean as much as the first and last paragraph – as well as every chapter in between. It has to resonate with the entire story being told. A powerful cover means everything, as it is generally what captures the reader’s attention first, even before the title. Too much clutter can confuse the matter – making it unclear as to what the story is about. The title must be catchy – odd even – or completely eccentric. When I wrote Forgiveness Be Damned I could have called it ‘Tommy’s Dysfunctional Family’ but I do not believe it would have packed the same punch.
do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you
deal with them?
I am not an expert, when it comes to reviews, and have been told by many authors, “Do not read reviews.” I read my reviews and proudly post them on my website. In my mind we are adults and have to learn to take the good with the bad. Not every reader will like all of my books, and I’m okay with that. My collection is eclectic enough that there is something for everyone. People who buy my books read other readers’ reviews and I am pleased to read what they write.
How has your creation process improved over time?
I do believe that my writing has improved, significantly, over time. I am able to deliver more powerful sentences, and create a story that is believable. I still mull over my story for months, sometimes years, before it has taken enough shape to put it into a novel. Never have I had to stop and wonder what was going to happen next – as it had already been worked out in my head.
What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered
during the entire process of completing your book(s)?
The best: the completion. Words cannot describe how exhilarating it is to hold that first copy in your hands – ready to be shown to the public. My baby, my little creation!
The worst: Marketing! Marketing is the absolute worst. It takes a special person to successfully market anything, be it a toothpick holder or a book. My forte is writing and as a self publisher, I wear many hats: author, publisher, title and cover creator, blurb writer, blog writer website manger and designer, finding the right editor and then on top of all that I do my own marketing. I admit that my marketing skills are lacking.
The most surprising: is the emotion that I feel when writing. When I begin a new book, I have a clear desk with a new box of tissues at my side, ready, for when I go into an emotional tailspin with my characters.
you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your
readers? Do you balance the two and how?
I aim for personal satisfaction. I know that I cannot please all my readers or even a fraction of the public. If I was writing to please the readers, I would be writing series or trilogies. I write from my heart about subject matters that get my blood heated. I write to bring awareness to the problems that few writers explore. And these stories are stand-alones.
What role do emotions play in creativity?
My emotions play a huge role in my creativity. As stated in the previous question – I am my own self, walking my own path – exposing issues in the literary word of fiction.
Do you have any creativity tricks?
This is an interesting question. For years I had complied scraps of paper with writing tips on them, then one day I decided to put them into a self-help book, before they were lost. Take a peak at my creativity tricks to writing and marketing: Writer to Author – 10 easy steps. I have also created a wide collection of self-help videos to help the writer with issues that we have all faced. http://www.lindawasylciw.ca/tutorial-videos/
What are your plans for future books?
I am always writing; everyday! I have published 16 books: 4 non-fiction, 4 youth novels and 8 adult novels. But it does not stop there, for I have 5 other novels awaiting the final touches and 2 others in the planning stages (which means that I am still mulling them around in my head).
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
I don’t believe that I have ever thought of myself as being quirky – though I have been called brave – but I have had a couple of ‘great adventures’ that I would like to share. In 2005 I left the security of my home and country to explore the world. For the next five years I lived on a sailboat and explored a large portion of the North and South Pacific Ocean, going from one island port to another. My great adventure began in Victoria, Canada, and took me around Vancouver Island, then Alaska and Mexico before going south and west among the many dozens of islands within the South Pacific: French Polynesia, Cook Islands, Niue, Tonga and Fiji, southern waters to New Zealand, where I paused for a long rest before going north again to the islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia, and dropped anchor for the last time in Australia, where I ended my sailing journey.
Not one to pass on an opportunity, in 2012, I set off on another adventure, a self-guided walking trek, the Coast to Coast Walk, across the north of England. I walked the entire width of England, from St Bees, in the west, to Robin Hood’s Bay, on the North Sea. This quintessential English walking excursion began by climbing St Bees Head, a mirror image of Robin Hood’s Bay on the opposite coast. Before long I was in the Lake District, where the scenery was at its most rugged. The landscape of Eden Valley offered a softer look, with no great climbs or descents, and glimpses of the moors and the North Sea in the distance.
It is strange, the emotion that one feels when completing such adventures, sad in an odd way, when realizing what I had done and that it was over, yet exhilarating at the same time. I had achieved something that only a person who had travelled the same journey could relate to, leaving a small audience that can connect with me and my adventures. I had no welcoming committee awaiting me at either other end, not that I needed one, for I know what I had accomplished. Those memories are now tucked deeply inside me, to relive again and again.
With those feats behind me, and weighed down with a box full of video, I sorted and edited then produced 30 travel documentaries.
go against the grain,
develop an insatiable curiosity,
establish a sense of purpose,
grasp new complexities and
be sensitive to others,
for every person has a story of their own.