Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Author Interview ~ Linda Urbach

I must admit, I’m feeling very good about publishing this interview with Linda Urbach. It’s the first time an author has visited this blog who’s had someone say this about her recently published book: “A lavishly textured sequel to a timeless literary masterpiece.”

Read on :-)


Linda, when did you begin writing and can you remember how it felt, inside, back then?

I first started writing in the third grade. It was a poem about Halloween. And every line rhymed. The next writing I did was for a Junior National Scholastic short story competition in the 4th grade (It was the story of a sardine who gets separated from his family).  I won first prize (A $25 savings bond).  My mother typed the story for me and I always had the sneaking suspicion that she re-wrote it and that’s why I won a prize. The next year I also won a prize in the same contest. Still, I believed it was my mother’s typing that somehow elevated my writing to a prize-winning level.

I think I was always writing in my head from a very early age. Putting down on paper gave me a sense of control of my young life, which of course, was an illusion.

Linda, please tell us what your goal for your writing is?

My greatest joy in life is entertaining people, in making them laugh. My goal in writing is to entertain and amuse myself in addition to as many people as I can. In other words, I write to write and I write to be read, hopefully by lots and lots of people.

I *love* that one of your writing goals is to amuse yourself :-)

Have you had any “formal” training in the art of writing?

I majored in English Lit in college. I took some fiction writing courses at the New School in New York. But I think my greatest training came from reading. Reading anything and everything.

Well then, I must ask, who are your favorite writers and why are they favorites?

Oh, so very many. But let me just focus on one of the greats: Charles Dickens. Nobody tells a tale or creates a character like he does. They live on long after you’ve closed the book. Read any Dickens and you’ll see what a master storyteller he was. Dombey & Son is a particular favorite of mine.

Where and/or how do you get your ideas for writing?

I used to get the ideas for my writing for my own life experience. I published two novels of contemporary fiction under another name (Expecting Miracles and The Money Honey under Linda U. Howard, published by Putnam’s). But to be honest my life wasn’t that interesting so I got my idea for my recently published novel, Madame Bovary’s Daughter, from, where else, but reading Madame Bovary, the great classic by Gustave Flaubert. In reading the novel I couldn’t help but feel terribly sorry for the poor unloved daughter. Her mother cheated on her father, bankrupted the family and finally poisoned herself without ever giving a thought to her daughter.

Folks, I urge you to click that link up there for Madame Bovary’s Daughter!!

So, tell us, Linda, what’s your normal revision or editing routine?

I put down my first thoughts and it’s like reading gibberish. I make a point to try and get as far into the story as I can in just broad, rough strokes. Then I go back and put it all in English. Then I look at it and think, who wrote this garbage? That’s when the revisions really get going. My big concern is getting the whole story down before I start ripping it apart. Because I really rip it.

I love it–“Then I go back and put it all in English.” :-)

So, what are you ripping into now?

I’m currently working on a novel entitled Sarah’s Hair, the story of Sarah Bernhardt’s hairdresser. Sarah Bernhardt was the Lady Gaga of her times (1870’s Paris).  She made a name for herself on the stage and took her wild personality and unbelievable talent on the road. She toured all over the world. Pascale, her hairdresser had her hands full, not only with Madame Sarah’s wild head of hair, but with her unpredictable temperament as well.

Oh, my, that sounds absolutely like a Must-Read!!

Thank you, Linda, for taking time away from your schedule to let us have a peek at your writing life :-)


So, dear reader, go check out Madame Bovary’s Daughter. And, I can’t help but reproduce a post Linda did right after her book was published:

J’ai la dépression, bigtime.
Posted on July 29, 2011 by lindahoward

What do I have to be depressed about? The book is out. Well, that’s just the point.  It is out. It’s done. It’s over. People are either reading and liking it or not reading it and “liking” it.  Giving it away as birthday presents or library donations.  Using it to stabilize a wobbly end table.  Taking it on public transport to impress fellow passengers and then dropping it into the nearest trash bin. I mean, you just don’t know what happens to your baby once it’s out in the world. You can follow anxiously behind, tweeting, retweeting, friending, unfriending, linking in and linking up and you still have no control over what will happen to le bébé Now, are you as depressed as I am? I hope so. What’s the cure for post partum depression?  Ooooh! Oooh! Je suis enceinte avec un autre livre! *

* I am pregnant with another book!
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4 responses to “Author Interview ~ Linda Urbach

  1. John Paul Mahofski August 1, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Charles Dickens is an excellent choice for motivation. I just loved this interview, and I laughed when she mentioned her suspicion that mom did a little more than just type.


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