Interview with Linda Kozar
Today, we feature a lively interview with Selah Award winner, Linda Kozar, who writes cozy mysteries and devotionals. But don’t hem her in; Linda enjoys coloring outside the lines.
Find all of her books and her podcast information at LindaKozar.com.
Episode 4 - Interview with Linda Kozar[:
I'm your host, Kathrese McKee. I own Word Marker Edits and write and produce the weekly newsletter, Word Marker Tips for Authors. In addition, I am a speculative fiction author. Writing Pursuits is for authors who drink too much coffee, endure judgmental looks from their furry writing companions, and struggle for words. If you are a writer seeking encouragement, information, and inspiration, this podcast is for you. Let's get to it.
Linda Kozar is an award-winning multi-published author of traditional and indie-published fiction and nonfiction books, novellas and short stories, speaker and podcaster.In:ed ACFW Mentor of the Year in:
Linda and her husband Michael, married 32 years, live in The Woodlands, Texas and enjoy spending time with their two grown daughters, their wonderful son-in-law, sweet granddaughter Eden, and Gypsy, their rascally Jack Russell Terrier.
Welcome to Writing Pursuits. And thank you for being my very first guest.[:
She's rascally all right. She's at my feet right now.[:[:[:[:just out of the blue, um, in:
So I did. And, uh, she, she instructed me, you know, just gave me some kind of basic instructions about how to do it. I didn't know what I was doing and she wasn't very accessible to help me. So it was just like, “Hey, learn to swim. I'll throw you in the water. Just swim.” Yeah. And that's what she did basically.
But I learned what I had to learn. I made a lot of mistakes, but I learned what I had to learn. And, um, I was with them for six years. But, um, kind of toward the end because they had a lot of secular, uh, shows on there, the other hosts and I decided that it was a good thing to break away.
Uh, when I first started, I decided to do a two hour show and feature four different hosts. And so I, I found three other people willing to do it and to cover other genres like Carla Hoch, who wanted to do speculative fiction and, you know, she was great doing the Geek Block and, uh, you know, and I've had, uh, genie when, of Wynn Wynn, and I've had, uh, a bunch of other people. You know, it was pretty hard because I had to do all the tech work and introduce each host.
So that meant two hours out of my, my day, you know,[:[:
And so, um, I wrote my first proposal. I decided to go to the Colorado Christian Writers Conference. Um, never been to a conference, um, went to that and I had an idea for a book called Moving Tales, funny stories about moving. And an editor liked it, and it went all the way to the board. But, you know, I didn't get, I didn't get that contract because I didn't have any credentials or anything. I was a newbie, you know.[:[:[:[:[:[:
And I try to reach letting you know, I tried to go to depths that, uh, other devotions don't get to go to, but I do it in a, in a lighthearted way. I want people to look up the Scriptures and say, wow, I never saw that in the Bible before. Yeah. Yeah, it's true. And because most of the devotions are come from my morning time with God, you know, I write down things and I do a little research. And so, so they have a lot more depth than me just sitting here, “What can I write a devotion about something?”[:[:[:[:[:[:[:[:[:[:
Just like, uh, I belonged to Toastmasters for a couple of years, way back when, and, um, they would say just kind of shake it out before you walk up on stage or, you know, take a deep breath because it helps. If you go on stage without taking a deep breath, you're going to get breathless and start stumbling over your words and feeling like you're suffocating.
I've had authors on who were terrified to be on a podcast, even not a visual, just a podcast, you know, and not say two words to me; they would answer with yes, no. So I think the main thing to do is to make your guests feel comfortable. Like they're like they're sitting at the kitchen table with you over some coffee and, you know, you're just chatting about. And, uh, you know, if you can do that, then your, your guest is going to open up. You're going to open up as well.[:[:
And, um, and of course I had technical difficulties at time after time, and I had to end the show. And I was so disappointed and so upset. That happened, but what could I do?
Another time, lightning struck, and it knocked out my internet connection. But as it turns out, if you're connected by phone, you're still connected, you know, so you can keep on recording. So I just kept on recording and, and it worked out great.[:[:[:[:[:[:[:[:
I'm going to do add-ons I'm going to delete. So I feel like, okay, I'm on the home stretch. That's encouraging. But I think, don't get discouraged because sometimes you, um, you read back what you've written and you go, “Oh man, that's subpar. That's just not good. What am I doing writing?” I think, I think you just have to write that first draft and just get through it and, uh, don't get discouraged.[:[:
So you don't miss those important details.[:[:
And that's how my mind works. And so, yeah, I'm both,[:[:[:[:
I didn't have an agent or have contract and didn’t have anything. And I realized it wasn't that long, but it felt that way to me. Cause I knew I was going to be a writer, but I couldn't convince anybody else, you know? And a lot of other writers feel that way. It's like, I know I can write and I know I can do this, but I can't convince anyone.
They're not listening to me. So I, I just, um, got before God and I said, “Lord, you called me to write, but I feel like I just ask you to either, please help me get published or take this desire to write away from me because it's just hurting my soul, you know?” And the very next day is when I, I got the call.[:[:
I just said, “Okay, Lord, I'm just, you know, when you put your hand toward the computer and say, ‘Oh Lord, please bless me. Give me favor.’” And I sent it off to Spyglass Mysteries, and then I had that epiphany that moment, you know, that sad moment where I just said, “Ah, it's never going to happen. Take this away from me, Lord.”
And then the next day…[:[:[:[:
So I found out from another author, Anita Higman, who'd had him do a cover that he did great covers. And I started looking at some of the ones he did for his mom and, um, some of her indie work. And I was like, oh, I'm going to ask him. So I made a, a deal with him. I knew I was going to do a certain amount of books.
So I made a deal with him that he would charge me a certain amount to do all these books. And he's, he's fabulous. I mean, he really captured the spirit of what I wanted because. I don't like, uh, for cozy mysteries. I like something light and cheerful and fun, not dark looking because a mystery, you know, mysteries happen in cheerful places.
They look. So, um, they're unsuspected. They're cheerful and fun.[:[:[:[:
Cause it's, it's scary, you know, but I dabble in those. I do, you know, it's like a palate cleanser. You go on, and you do something a little different like historical romance. What I'm working on now, set in Texas. And so, I just like doing different things. I don't, you know, they, they used to tell you, oh no, you can only write in one genre and that's it.
But I never held with that. I just thought, no, that's not who I am. 'cause you know, I can craft, I can do this. I can do that. I can try this. I can do oil painting. I can do watercolor. I'm not going to be limited because someone tells me I'm limited. I agree. Yeah, you can do whatever you set your mind and your heart to.[:[:[:[:
You know, you want to go the traditional author route, and you haven't been able to yet. And maybe you've done indie. Um, back when I started, uh, everyone was against indie except me. I believed in it, and I even did a writing, uh, Meet the Christian Authors event where I invited traditional writers and indie writers.
And the traditional writers were all angry at me because they said, “Why would you sit me next to an indie author?” I said, “Because they're writer too, you know?” Uh, and now it's like, everybody's doing it, but, but it was something I've always believed in. It empowers us. To be able to, right now, I believe in being a hybrid author, it's, it's excellent to get those creds, you know, from being a traditional author.
But it's also nice when you know, a lot of people will tell you, oh, that book could never be published. Just stick it in a drawer and forget about. No. If I believed in it enough to write it, I'm going to see that it's published because you never know this could be the next big thing. You know, it could touch someone's heart.[:[:[:[:
Um, just buy a bag of chili, cheese Doritos, or didn't buy something, buy something that's like you're not supposed to eat and just eat it. You know, you know, have a Twinkie or something and just say, “Okay, I'll start again.”
After this, I've just made myself feel a little better, and I cried a little, but now. Press on. And, uh, and I'm going to do it one day. Give yourself a moment and say, “They just don't know what they're talking about. They don't know me, you know, one day they will.”[:[:[:[:[:[:
Just remember that. And so if you keep pressing in and you don't give up and you just give every failure to him and every success to him, yeah, it just laid before his feet and just say, “Lord, I'm ready for the next challenge, whatever it is.” Um, cause you go through dry spells as an author to where you think you get that first contract and that's everything.
Well, then you're waiting for the next one and the next one. How's that going to happen? So it's going from trust to trust to trust, and your faith grows in God. And[:[:
I've even had dreams where I kind of like played out a scenario in my dreams and like, oh my gosh, that would be a great story, you know. So I write them all down and then, um, then I forget where I put them. And I, and I'll run across them. I have like a hundred notebooks filled with things I've written down, so I'll never run out of ideas.[:[:[:[:[:[:[:[:[:[:
If you don't believe it, if you don't have that confidence. Like all nervous and you're not smiling. You're not going to get anywhere. You know, I've even pitched movie ideas and they told me, “Hey, send it.” You know, I mean, and that's exciting, you know, but how many times have you gone to a conference?
And they said, oh, send me your stuff. And then you never hear back from them. You know, that's the hard part about conferences. Cause you're all you're on this high, when you get. And I was like, yeah, I'm going to send this stuff and the money get a contract. And then you don't and you don't hear from them.
You know, I once got a rejection on Halloween night from Harvest House and they told my agent, ‘Don't ever send me any more stuff from this, this girl she can't write.’
So you, you get mean things, you know, now and then, and I'm not blaming the editors because they, you know, they probably get thousands of, you know, thousands of things sent to them and, you know, they get tired.[:[:[:
I know Stephen King was rejected so many times. And then I think his wife pulled his first successful manuscript out of the trash.[:[:
Well, I think that's our time for today, but I appreciate your time for coming today. [Musical chime.] And, uh, I look forward to hearing more of your books and your podcast program as well. I guess that's our bell.[:[:[:[:
Please join us on Wednesdays for new episodes, and keep writing, my friends. Keep writing!