It is with great pleasure the Scribbler presents this week's guest, Linda G. Barrett. A shout out to editor Karin Nicely (a regular contributor to the Scribbler -- see here) for introducing us.
When you take a peek at Linda’s website -
Author of Release Me – Linda G. Barrett (lindagbarrett.com)
one sentence I was impressed with is as follows:
Linda Barrett delves into the soul's journey toward peace and examines the human reaction to pain, grief, love, longing, and despair in her unique mix of captivating, poignant poetry and genre-bending short stories.
Linda has kindly agreed to a Branching Out interview and is sharing some of her writing.
Let's have a chat with Linda.
Allan: Thank you for joining us this week, Linda. Before we begin, please tell us about yourself, where you live, your rescued pets and home life and anything you’d like our readers to know about you.
Linda: I live in North Central Florida with my husband, two dogs, and one cat—all rescued. I am a firm believer in giving love, hope, affection, and a better quality of life to an animal, either young or old, that needs us. I love seeing them happy and “smiling” with their wagging tails.
Allan: I'd like you to address the following statement taken from your website: My books are about the soul's journey through despair, pain, grief, and love, struggling to find peace.
Linda: Release Me created a way for me to purge my own pain and feelings of being alone, unseen and unheard. Others are often too caught within their own pain to notice yours. The intention of this book is for the reader to, upon reading these written words, realize they’re being given a lifeline to hold onto and know they are not alone on their journey.
I have always walked the road to that dark place within us all, looking at it, feeling the emotion, and deciding if there is a desire for healing. Or not. Living through the deep purging from within the core of my own being, choosing the path of light or darkness. Sometimes it’s both. I know the pain and anguish of those choices.
Save the Sinner’s title was influenced by a personal event. Its poetry continues with similar themes to those poems in Release Me. But the short stories in this book feature many different types of characters who deal with their own unique situations and internal struggles, whether in this world, other worlds, or even other dimensions.
Allan: You also mention how much Karin Nicely was instrumental in your decision to publish. There is nothing more encouraging than having someone tell us how much they enjoy our writing. Can you tell us about this experience?
Linda: As fate would have it—literally—I met Karin through one of my marketing networking meetings. What are the odds that I would know an editor! I told her my story; she looked at my work, and said my writing was unique and print worthy. Karin has given me her insight, encouragement, guidance, and mostly her patience. She is remarkedly talented.
Even though my style of writing is distinctive, what interested many of my readers the most is the ‘why’ I began my journey. Not only was I so relentlessly compelled to write Release Me to save her life (with her referring to a particular girl, one I did not recognize and one who was in obvious distress, that I had seen in a very vivid vision), but in so doing, saved mine as well. www.lindagbarrett.com
Allan: You have two books published. The first being a book of poetry--Release Me--and the second a collection of poems and short stories--Save the Sinner. Please give us a brief glance at what to expect when we pick up our copies.
Linda: Release Me is a small collection of poems that allowed me the freedom to release those raw emotions I had held so tightly for so long. When you are in that lonely, dark place within your heart, this book can be the catalyst for your own healing.
In Save the Sinner, I continued with more poetry but also included six short stories. All of my stories are deeply personal to me. As I write, I don’t just tell a story. I was there with each character, becoming them, to learn who they really are.
For example, with “The Forest,” I sat in Crow’s mahogany chair and felt the cold hardness of the seat. I felt Shadow’s feathers when he gently stroked them while she sat quietly on his shoulder as he gazed out over his vast, dead forest. I went deep into his heart to feel his desperate longing and lost love for his beautiful Genevieve, the vengeance that it created, and felt his guilt and grief for what he had done to the Ancient Ones.
Allan: Please share a childhood memory and/or anecdote.
Linda: I grew up with airplanes as a part of my everyday life. My dad was an aerobatic pilot for fun and an airline captain as his profession. My favorite childhood memory was flying with him in his open-cockpit biplane, his favorite being his 1930s Great Lakes. I could look above and see the top wing close enough to reach up and touch it, and I always did. Then right below me was the other wing. The entire outer skin of the plane is fabric, by the way--special, but it’s fabric that I could feel when I ran my hands over any part of the plane. Very cool. There just isn't any other experience like flying in the open air, slow and close to the ground, with the wind in your hair. There’s just no other feeling like it.
Oddly enough, however, even though I have flown my entire life, over time, I have become terrified to fly…and I have no logical reason for this. But in keeping with these memories, I can still feel the wind in my hair, and I still smile.
Allan: If you could only write either poems or short stories, which would be your choice and why?
Linda: Definitely short stories. I love having an idea of a story, creating the characters, and seeing how the adventure unfolds. My fictional stories are wide-ranging and uncommon, as I try to open my imagination to endless possibilities. Even more exciting for me!
Allan: Again, from your website, you tell us: My interests are varied and diverse. I studied with a Native American teacher for many years, learned from Tibetan monks, met with Orthodox priests, and studied with a Shamanic teacher. I've been fortunate to have met diverse cultural leaders from around the world, and I love a good philosophical conversation. Will we find evidence of this journey in your writing?
Linda: Here are a few examples.
“Ancient Dance of Women,” in Save the Sinner, is directly dedicated to my shamanic teacher, who taught me to remember my ancestors and showed me there can be trust rebuilt from hurtful and negative experiences. This was a profound awakening for me. I hold her in my heart with the greatest respect and in honor of her wisdom.
The short story “The Forest” (Save the Sinner) conveys the intensity of the power of love and loss. There is a depth of despair so strong my heart aches with Crow, yet there is also the promise of hope.
Allan: You are working on your first novel -- Soul Collector -- inspired by one of your short stories. Is it nearing completion? Can you tell us what to expect?
Linda: I’m still in the creation process, but I will keep you updated as I get closer to its release! I’ve introduced new characters, added many twists and turns, and we learn much more about the motivation and background of Breena, the dark protagonist of the story.
Allan: Favourite book? Author? Movie? Dessert?
Linda: Always start with dessert first! Hot fried donuts (glazed, of course) with chocolate and raspberry sauce drizzled over them and topped with a ton of powdered sugar. Now that’s a dessert!
Apollo 13 is my first go-to movie. My favorite line is when Lovell’s mom says, “If they could get a washing machine to fly, my Jimmy could land it.” I hold my breath every time as I watch them come home.
My second favorite would be Independence Day. I mean, defeating the evil alien while your spaceship is stuck into their mother ship! How can you not like that!?
Then would come The Bird Cage--It’s light, it’s fun, and it makes me laugh.
My attention is drawn to many different topics and styles of writing. Some of my favorite writers include Anne Rice, Kim Harrison, Laurell Hamilton, Dan Brown, Dean Koontz, and Jacob Nordby, to name a few. World mythology and religion, especially of indigenous tribal cultures, fascinate me, and I’m intrigued by gothic and Renaissance art. My interests may be unusual, but I’m never bored!
Allan: Anything else you'd like to tell us about?
Linda: I saw Release Me as timidly dipping my toe into the vast ocean of authors, Save the Sinner as slowly putting my whole foot into that ocean, and now with my first novel, Soul Collector, I’m jumping in headfirst! These books, albeit very different, have allowed me to spread my wings and fly. I am having the best time ever!
Linda is sharing samples of her writing.
(Copyright is held by the author. Used with permission)
I feel my poem, “The Lies of Childhood,” speaks for itself. (Release Me)
The lies of childhood / Stories continue in life / If there is a God / I've been forgotten / A life of solitude / Standing within many / Love fleeting / Happiness scarce / Heart broken and bleeding / It hurts to be forgotten / Just wanting to be loved
is a short excerpt from “Soul Collector” (Save the Sinner):
“Jack!” Billy gasped, out of breath. “I saw him! He’s dead, Jack! She killed him!”
“Billy, what the heck are you talking about? Who’s dead? Come on. Are you telling tales again?”
“You have to believe me! Please.” He gulped in some air. “Just listen. I swear it’s the truth.”
“Okay, Billy-boy. This better be good,” I said.
“You know those big old oak trees behind Breena’s house that have all those jars hanging in the branches?” asked Billy.
“Sure,” I said. “Everyone does.”
“Have you ever wondered what those screams are that everyone hears at night?” asked Billy.
Some people say that the screams heard from the old house at night are from the jars that hang from the old oak trees’ branches. Folks say when the wind blows, those jars bump against each other, causing that unholy screeching that can be heard through the whole town.
“It’s just the wind,” I said.
“No, Jack. It’s not the wind. I’ve got to tell you…” Billy trailed off as he started to sob.
But not everything I write is dark and soul searching. There are also some elements of romance, as in this excerpt from my short story, “The Crow,” in Save the Sinner:
At the same time, Crow emerged from the dust cloud and stopped when he caught sight of his lost love. Their eyes locked. Her beauty and his undying love for her overwhelmed him, and he dropped to his knees beside her. They held each other tightly, both sobbing deeply, purging all their pain, allowing the old memories and emotions to wash away what had been held for so long.
Thank you, Linda for being our guest this week. Wishing you continued success with your writing.
For all you devoted readers wishing to discover more about Linda and her writing, please follow these links: