Saturday, February 20, 2010

Canada Calling: Linda Kupecek

Linda Kupecek is a Canadian writer who started her career as an actor, and eventually shifted into writing. She is a produced playwright, an award winning screenwriter, and the author of four books, the first of which, Rebel Women: Achievements Beyond the Ordinary (Heritage House, 2003) is a Canadian bestseller.

So how was the launch?

A huge success! The store ran out of books and had to take orders. A jazz musician showed up with his trombone and played while I signed! It was fabulous! I would say it was one of the happiest nights of my entire life.

Congratulations. As a brand-new mystery novelist, what's most on your mind right now about writing?

Deadlines. Word count. Promotion of Deadly Dues. Excitement over opportunity.

I am at a very colourful moment in my life, where everything is vivid and alive. I am excited about the release of Deadly Dues, hopeful that more than three people buy it (this is likely, as I have at least five cousins). I am working on the next book in the Lulu Malone mystery series, Trashing the Trailer.

Honestly, I never dreamed would end up writing a mystery series. Many people who knew me in my youth probably would have seen me as writing deep, profound stuff (and who knows, some day lightning might strike and I will) but now I realize I prefer a banana peel to a bed of nails. I am just not into gore, torture and suffering. I love to laugh, and I love to make other people laugh.

I started out as an actor, and one of my most satisfying gigs ever was in a dinner theatre production of The Female Odd Couple, where I played one of the scrabble players. Doesn't sound like much, but I still smile at the memory of the waves of laughter from the audience at some of my antics. Of course, I have done more serious work as an actor, including a supporting role in the Robert Altman revisionist western, McCabe and Mrs. Miller.

I am having a lot of fun writing, riffing on Lulu's antics in the style of Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg (a book I highly recommend) and then pulling back and working that into the structure of the plot.

For Deadly Dues, I didn't storyboard until the final stages, when my wonderful editor Frances Thorsen (who owns Chronicles of Crime bookstore in Victoria, B.C.) and I figured out the days and timelines. This time, I have started the storyboarding much earlier. For me, it helps. It's the difference between staring at the ceiling with a bunch of cinnamon almonds in my mouth, pinkies over the keyboard like claws, trying to remember just what has already happened, and being able to look at a mini-storyboard beside me and find my place. I balance it on a music stand, because I have a tendency to ilio tibial band syndrom, never having the presence of mind to stand up and walk around the room every twenty minutes while I am writing.

Do you have any obsessions?

I fret over details. I am generally terrified of technology, even though I have the requisite number of electronic gadgets, some of which I know I’m not helping achieve their potential. I hate having to look up instructions for simple things, like changing an ink cartridge (and they will run out, won't they?)

I dream about the clutter in my office, worrying that I am turning into one of the cases in Hoarders, yet don't do anything about it. Because I am too busy writing, right? I have over 7000 emails in my Inbox, some since 2005, and don't know what to do with them. On the plus side, I recently had to find an email so that I could address the work I need to do on an expanded version of my first non-fiction book, Rebel Women: Achievements Beyond the Ordinary, and was Very Glad Indeed that I was such a pack rat that I found what I needed. So every foible has a silver lining. Or so I hope.

Do you have any outside interests that tie into what you're writing?

I am a collector of vintage buttons, costume jewellery, compacts, perfume bottles, and golden age holiday postcards. I hope to write a mystery utilizing that knowledge some day. In Deadly Dues, Lulu is a casual collector, with a condo-full of great vintage finds. I have written a non-fiction manuscript on collecting things Canadian, which has yet to find a publisher.

I studied classical piano when I was a teenager, and sometimes muse that I could turn that experience into something entertaining. I have served on many regional and national boards and executives, and this gave me an opportunity to see the worst and best of people from diverse backgrounds.

And I love junking. There is a great book, called American Junk, [PDD note: the author of American Junk seems to be away junking right now, but we've included a link anyway.] which inspires one to get out there to the thrift stores and flea markets, and have fun!

And really, that is what I want to do, in my writing and my life - have fun!

To learn more about Linda and her books, visit her brand new site or Lulu Malone’s site. And check out the sultry trailer for Deadly Dues, which will be on YouTube within the next week. Radio fans can listen to the upcoming interview on CKUA radio Sunday Feb. 21st, at 12:30 MST or check out the Bookmark archives.


Sandra Parshall said...

Great interview. I enjoyed learning about you and your books, Linda, and I look forward to reading about Lulu.

Julia Buckley said...

Linda, I think you have an excellent philosophy--both about life and writing.