Cold Coffee Press Spotlight Interview With Author Linda Maria Frank
After many years in the teaching profession, Linda Maria Frank, the author of Annie Tillery Mysteries, has launched a new career. Inspired by a childhood passion for the Nancy Drew series and the popular television series, CSI, she successfully married an appealing heroine (Annie Tillery) with gripping story plots to create these new fiction books for mystery readers.
THE MADONNA GHOST has earned the distinctive “Editor’s Choice” and “Rising Star” awards. As a result of this book, Frank is included in the Authors Show 2013 Edition of “50 Great Writers You Should be Reading”. GIRL WITH PENCIL DRAWING, the second book in the series, ramps up the adventure and suspense. Annie stays one step ahead of the bad guys by the skin of her teeth. The third Annie Tillery Mystery, SECRETS IN THE FAIRY CHIMNEYS, takes Annie to Turkey where caves, treasure pirates and saboteurs threaten to close down the archeological dig where she and her friends are working to unlock the secrets in the oldest town ever discovered.
Continuing her passion for her former career in education, she has put lesson plans for her books on her website, http://www.lindamaria.com, and other teacher websites. Her conviction is that you can make your child a life-long reader by introducing them to exciting fiction that will provoke them to ask questions about the world they live in, or would like to know about.
Before venturing into writing, Frank’s first love was teaching science, her assignments ranging from Middle School to graduate level courses at Hofstra and Adelphi Universities. She was the science chairperson for the last five years of her career at Seaford, L.I. Schools. She was awarded teacher of the year in Seaford High School in 1989. She won an award from the American Association of University Women for her ability to inspire young women to pursue careers in science.
At Hofstra University she taught courses in forensic Science and Biotechnology at Hostra College, as well as Science Methods courses in the School of Education. It was the Forensic Science courses that gave her the story lines for her heroine, Annie, who is based on a composite of former beloved students.
She recently retired from Adelphi University where she supervised science student teachers. To quote, “Writing, publishing, and marketing books is a full time job, and it’s time to change careers.”
Today she collaborates with children’s author, Karen Bonnet, to do presentations about their books and their journeys in self-publishing. Linda and Karen give a portion of the proceeds from their books to the Interfaith Nutritional Network, and are planning a series of programs for the Boys and Girl Club.
She also collaborates with author, Lois W. Stern, on a project called Tales2Inspire, a writing contest, an anthology of inspiring stories, and a marketing platform where authors help authors.
Presently Frank is involved in a project at LTV in East Hampton called “The Writer’s Dream”, an interview show where authors discuss the many different aspects of the profession. The show is aired on Cablevision 20.
Her ultimate goals are: to find an agent who will present my books to TV or film, to find venues to present my books and programs, and to organize book fairs as events for non-profit organizations to raise money.
What makes you proud to be a writer from greater NYC? Being a writer in the greater NYC area is a challenge due to the competitive environment. There are many writers here in my little town of Massapequa Park. Long Island is proud to have many writers’ groups, organizations and Meet-ups. (My Meet-up is called FABLE of Massapequa Park). To have written, published and become active in marketing my Annie Tillery Mystery series is an accomplishment alone, and it is a second career. It’s been a great learning experience for me, as well as a teaching opportunity by way of sharing my experiences with others, both young students and other writers. I do a workshop on the ins and outs of self-publishing with another author. It’s called “So You Want to Write a Story”.
What or who inspired you to become a writer? The inspiration to write this series comes from my teaching days. I enjoyed exploring the world of science with my students. In particular, it was a pet project of mine to encourage my female students to peruse science careers, for which I won an award from the American Assn. of University Women. When I started writing and creating the character of Annie Tillery, I drew from the characteristics of my female students. Secondly, I love the field of forensic science which I taught for over twenty years. And who of American adult women didn’t love Nancy Drew?
When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? The first two books were written when I took a writing course. I really didn’t know how to write a book, so I took a course in novel writing. My mentor said they were good, but it would take time to get them traditionally published. I put them aside. When self-publishing became a recognized entity, I decided to publish, picked a company, and in 2010 had my first published book.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? My parents were well educated, encouraged higher education, and fostered a love of reading. The schools I went to and the friends I had aimed for intellectually challenging careers. My first writing pieces were all about my life at home and the warm nurturing environment it provided.
Do you come up with your title before or after you write the manuscript? The first two books, The Madonna Ghost, and Girl with Pencil Drawing had titles from the start. Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys came to me at the very end of writing the book. I am writing book #4 and it has a working title for the purpose of filing, but I think this one will have to come after I have done significant work on the book.
Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? My genre is often listed as either YA mystery or Children’s Mystery. I am more comfortable with Mysteries for Girls of Any Age, because that is where I find my audience. The plots are intricate enough for adult readers, as is the CSI science. My heroine is 17 going on 19 as the books progress, and that’s what makes the series for young readers.
What was your inspiration, spark or light bulb moment that inspired you to write the book that you are seeking promotion for? I love archaeology. I read an article about an archaeological dig in Turkey. I thought, what a great setting for a mystery. I researched the area of Turkey which, by the way, has the weirdest landscape, and I went from there, even visiting Turkey.
What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? When my book club, Seaford Bookies, comprised of my teacher contemporaries, read my first book, The Madonna Ghost, and one of them said, “I love Annie”, I believed there was no greater reward. They continue to read and purchase my books. Who better to know a great teen girl than the teachers who spent their lives teaching, guiding and nurturing them?
Have you had a negative experience in your writing career? If so please explain how it could have been avoided? A fellow author said he knew an agent, and would I like him to give her one of my books. Of course I said yes. Her opening comment to me was, “I didn’t really read your book, but . . .” Her comments were the exact opposite of any reader comments I had received. Lesson: Never ask an agent for a favor. Their time is too precious to give you a comment based on actually reading your book. You must approach and agent in the proscribed professional way laid out on their websites. Breaches of this protocol are not well received.
What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? Having the first copy of The Madonna Ghost sent to me in the mail, opening the package and holding it in my hand. I had just completed medical procedures for a bout with cancer, and this was very sweet indeed.
Have you had a negative experience in your publishing journey? If so please explain how it could have been avoided? I have had to argue some points with editors about plot elements and science which they are not too up on, but otherwise, it’s been a good experience. The self-publishing companies offer many marketing packages for very steep prices. I tried one of the promotions that came with my publishing package and it was not effective.
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Search the internet for free help with your writing. Join a writing circle. If one doesn’t suit your needs, try another one. There are lots out there. When your manuscript is done, get the best professional editor you can afford.
Who is your favorite author and why? Don’t laugh. Charles Dickens. His stories are rich with, not only language, but plot twists. His characters are masterpieces of humanity. The social themes of his stories are cogent today. He has crafted wonderful, colorful stories.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us? I would like to see more books written where girls are smart, strong, courageous, and independent.
I do a workshop on “Daydreaming”, because I think it is important to know the things you really love, and will lead you on a road to what you really want to be in life. Take your favorite daydream, and take baby steps to make it happen. Research it. Find out how to accomplish your dream. And soon, “wishing or rather, daydreaming, will make it so.”
Cold Coffee Press Book Review For Secrets In The Fairy Chimneys – by Linda Maria Frank
Annie Tillery Mysterys book three ‘Secrets In The Fairy Chimneys’ can be summed up as Indiana Jones meets Nancy Drew with the skills and precision of CSI. A mystery unfolds amidst a mix of ancient history and modern innovation, in an ageless Eastern country where time moves at a camel’s pace.
Dedicated research by author Linda Maria Frank leaves no stone unturned while great description text transports the reader to the streets of Turkey with it mosques and minarets, towers and modern buildings. One of my favorite quotes from the book is “Water droplets plunked into the pool from the vaulted ceiling. After the heat of the bazaar and the street chase, it was deliciously cool. Ornate columns with carved capitals supported the ceiling. The bases were decorated with animal and human figures. There were a few visitors, but the enormity of the space muffled their conversations.”
Strong characters with great dialog brings us to dusty archeological site in one of the oldest towns in human history called Catalhoyuk. Nothing can explain it better than this quote: “We were in a valley of shapes I couldn’t believe were not made by humans, humans with a fabulous imagination. Conical formations called fairy chimneys in various sizes spread away from us in every direction. The color of bleached bones, they sat majestically among the gray-green brush and white claylike soil. The air shimmered from the heat. I could smell the odor of clay mixed with a faint herbal scent that must have come from the brush.”
Cosponsors from Vermont University are looking for a DNA connection between residents of Catalhoyuk and our original nomadic ancestors in Africa. Annie Tillery and her team go to work excavating this archeological site with all its inherit dangers and a mystery brings out the detective in Annie.
From the spell of an Ouija board to a magical balloon ride in the sky nothing is lost as this time and space makes all their senses come alive with amazing black and white graphics that bring the main characters to life.
Students and young adults of all ages will enjoy Annie Tillery Mysteries. Although a series each book is unique and stands alone with no need to read in a particular sequence.
Cold Coffee Press endorses ‘Secrets In The Fairy Chimneys’ and the Annie Tillery Mysteries by Linda Maria Frank. We received a PDF version of this book for review. Review completion date February 5, 2015. For more information please visit Cold Coffee Press: http://www.coldcoffeepress.com
Author’s Book Description: Amateur sleuth Annie Tillery has been warned to stay away from Nevshehir, Turkey, where she is heading to meet her boyfriend, Ty Egan, and Cedric Zeeks, Ty’s best friend. Intent on helping the two excavate an archeological site where they hope to link human remains to the first African ancestors, Annie does her best to shakes her foreboding feelings as her plane lands in Istanbul and she prepares to embark on her next adventure.
But when a stranger claims he is there to pick her up and then disappears once he sees Ty, Annie is immediately thrown back into worry mode—especially after Ty tells her there is unexplained tension surrounding the dig and she receives a threatening note at the hotel. Still, as the three head to Nevshehir, Annie is buoyed by the excitement surrounding ancient Turkey and the possibility of uncovering secrets. The dig is plagued by accidents and theft, however, and the three friends, assisted by the head archeologist’s twins, must search the ancient city of Istanbul and the caves of fantastic Cappadocia to find who is sabotaging their work.
In this young adult thriller, detective Annie Tillery must once again walk on a dangerous path in an attempt to unravel a complicated mystery and solve the secrets in the fairy chimneys.
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery
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