One of my favorite authors to read and work with is Linda Wunder Wall. She has strong writing skills and is a master at making history interesting as well as digging up lesser known facts. I had the honor of working with her on her first book, “My Roots Are in the Ruts” and I am so excited to be helping her with her second one, which will be published soon. She says a third one is also in the planning stages!
Let’s Get to know Linda:
Q:Tell us a little about your book and why you decided to write it.
A: “My Roots Are in the Ruts” is primarily a recording of my ancestors who traveled over the Oregon Trail to Baker City, Oregon. My maternal ancestors (Baldock and Campbell) were in the first wagon train to stop and settle in what was then known as The Lone Pine Valley, in 1862. The paternal side of my family (Wunder and Nichols) came in the 1870s. Nichols came by covered wagon and the Wunders by stagecoach. The Baldocks, with the meandering Baldock Slough winding throughout the valley, and Baldock Peak rising behind their homestead on Flagstaff Hill, deserved to be recorded. The Baldock name is completely bred out of existence today…though hundreds of descendants remain living in Baker City and Baker County. J. J. Campbell is the honored pioneer for whom Campbell Street is named, and it is the main exit from I-84 into Baker City. My determined motivation was to prevent the memory of all four of my brave pioneer family settlers’ names and history, from being completely forgotten and lost to the dust of those old ruts.
Q: How was your book published?
A: Debby Schoeningh. Debby was wonderfully patient, helpful, and a true believer in my efforts as being “good enough” to publish. In short, she made my publishing dream come true! Her knowledge and skill in negotiating the twists and turns for such an endeavor and accomplishment, cannot be overrated. (Aw, shucks…thanks Linda!-DS)
Q: How long did the entire writing and publishing process take?
A: The writing of my book took almost six years. When I first started the project, I had no idea that it would take me that long to accumulate and write my vision and plan. I may not have started the process had I known just how long it would take me. It’s good that I didn’t. The actual publishing process took a few months.
Q: Do you have a writing routine? Where/when do you usually write?
A: My writing up to the start of the book project, had been mostly in academic settings. Unlike a disciplined academic writing style, my routine for this book was somewhat haphazard for the first couple of years. As my research efforts became more routine, so did my writing. I like to research and plan in the mornings then write during the middle of the day. In this case, my writing was on the main computer in our living room.
Q: What do you enjoy the most about writing?
A: What I enjoy most about writing is the zen-like state I slip into. I become so focused that I forget about all the nagging chattering of my mind, and enter the content that I am processing/working to communicate.
Q: What is the hardest part of the writing process?
A: It’s difficult to sit down and get started. I can think of a dozen things that I should do before I sit down to write…and if I stop to do them, then I most often don’t actually begin at all that day. Also, I labor over the best way to communicate the thoughts and information that is rolling around in my head. I’m so aware that what I write might be interesting or completely boring. I struggle to put that aside enough to accomplish forward movement.
Q: What advice do you have for those who are thinking about writing a book?
A: Be realistic about the time it may take you. Are you willing to stick with it for as long as it takes? For me, that is a critical question. I’m currently writing my second book, and just like the first, it is taking me way more time than I anticipated. That fact can become quite frustrating.
Q: What are the most difficult topics for you to write about?
A: I could never write a novel. While I love reading novels, and in particularly historical novels, my imagination doesn’t flow that way. Facts, and even theories, I can sink my teeth into, and try to communicate. That’s when I enter my “zen” place.
Q: What do you think makes a good story?
A: This is a very subjective question, as what I consider a good story might not be anyone else’s cup of tea. I love history, and books and movies that are based on true stories always interest me. They can be funny, sad, gripping…. Scottish writer, Alexander McCall Smith, might be the one exception to the above. He mostly writes pure nonsense, and it completely charms me.
Q: What are some of your favorite books/authors to read?
A: A favorite author is Kristen Hannah. She writes a lot of historical fiction, and she leaves little space for the imagination to roam. “The Nightingale” and “The Great Alone” are two recent examples of her talented best selling historical novels.
Q: What other interests do you have besides writing?
A: I like to quilt and knit. Two skills I have learned in retirement. My husband and I also love to travel, and have covered a lot of the world in the past 40 years. Our latest trip being a six-week cruise from British Columbia to Australia/New Zealand in 2018. Keeping up with my family of two children, four grandchildren, one granddaughter-in-law, and one great grandson keeps me hopping in that regard. How does one keep up with a bigger family…?