Linda J. White writes FBI thrillers from her home in rural Virginia. Her husband, Larry, was a video producer/director at the FBI Academy for over 27 years. Mother of three grown children, Linda is also a national-award winning journalist and a women’s ministry speaker. When she’s not writing, she can be found playing with Keira, her Sheltie, reading a book, or dreaming of the beach.
How to connect with Linda...
Purchase her novel:Words of Conviction
Author Interview | Linda J. White
You and Writing
Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing?
...I’ve been a writer since I was little: My fourth-grade teacher thought enough of a poem I’d written to make it the centerpiece of the hallway Christmas bulletin board! I majored in English in college and won an award for writing as a government employee. Later, when I was married with children, I found myself editing preschool newsletters and writing all kinds of things for church, including a play for a major Christmas production. When my youngest child went off to school, I asked God, “OK, what do you want me to do with the rest of my life?” Having been a mom at home, I felt suddenly out of a job!
...But along came an idea for a novel … and a whole new life began.
Why do I keep writing?
...Because I go a little crazy if I don’t. I think writing helps me process my life. It gives my creativity an outlet. And because, frankly, it’s what I feel called to do—and what I do best!
Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?
...My favorite book is still my first, an unpublished work I call “The Tiger’s Cage.” Why? I think because I was in the “can I really write a novel?” stage. I wasn’t worried about getting it published. I wasn’t writing with any marketing in mind. I was just expressing myself. It was fresh, and I still love it.
...I met a wonderful lady, Dr. Sharon Smith, in Sunday School of all places. She was a forensic psycholinguist for the FBI. (She’s now retired.) She analyzed threats, detected deception, studied psychopaths, and did all manner of other interesting things. We have been friends now for at least 15 years, and she was very gracious to share her expertise with me.
...In “Words of Conviction,” the five-year-old daughter of a powerful senator is abducted from her bedroom. Special Agent Mackenzie Graham, a forensic psycholinguist, is assigned to the investigation team to analyze words from the kidnapper. But is her science reliable? Kenzie works with Special Agent John Crowfeather, a Navajo running from a difficult past, and Agent Scott Hansbrough as they search for the little girl.
What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...Because of God’s love for us, we can risk loving humans.
What was the hardest thing about publishing?
...Certainly keeping up with the ever-changing world of publishing. I have an agent who does that better than I. Still, I find myself constantly off balance. I think God intends it that way.
When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?
...Clearly I want to present a good solid, logical story. I also care a lot about writing authentically about the FBI. My husband worked at the FBI Academy for over 27 years, and many of our friends are agents. But my overall mission statement is this: To spread a passion for Christ through white-knuckle fiction. If I can encourage someone to move a little closer to God through my books, my work is successful.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
...Persist. If God has called you to this work, keep writing. Because in the end, it’s not publication credits or awards or acclaim that matters, it’s obedience to his design for your life. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Eph. 2:10 ESV
What is your favorite season and why?
...I love fall. I think it’s refreshing after what in Virginia is usually a hot, humid summer. I love the colors of the trees, digging out my turtlenecks, and, after the first good frost, walking in the fields and woods with my dog without worrying about ticks. (I landed in the hospital a few years ago from a tick-borne illness called ehrlichiosis.) Fall brings lots of work as we gather, haul and stack wood, but there’s great reward just around the corner: warm, cozy nights in front of the woodstove in the frigid winter.
What is your favorite genre to read? Why do you enjoy it?
...I’ve always loved mystery suspense. Recently, I reconnected with a guy I haven’t had contact with in a long, long time. He reminded me that when I was in early elementary school, I ran around with three boys. No girly girl games for me! I wanted adventure! And that’s what I like in books.
__________________________Linda, thank you so much for this wonderful interview today! I'm really looking forward to reading your novel (it's right up my alley!). I love how you say that writing helps you process life - I completely agree. And, I envy your connections to the FBI ;) It's difficult to write something that's entertaining and somewhat accurate without access to a little 'inside knowledge'. As for your love of fall - I am right there with you! I will be in DC for this fall and I cannot wait to experience it! Thanks again and I hope to see you back on the blog in the future!