Tuesday 16 February 2016

Q&A with Linda Huber, author of Chosen Child

Hi, Linda. Can you tell us a bit about your new book, Chosen Child?

Hi Sophie and thanks for having me here!

My book’s about Ella, who has always dreamed of being a mother but can’t have a child of her own. She and her husband Rick set out to adopt, but it doesn’t go quite as Ella imagined. Meanwhile, Amanda is expecting her second baby, but something happens and her life is turned upside down.

Chosen Child is set in beautiful Cornwall, where I spent many holidays as a youngster.

Where did the idea come from?

It was my niece’s wedding, October 2014, and I was chatting to my sister-in-law’s sister, who works in child welfare. Somehow we got on to the subject of adoption, and she told me about adoption parties, or adoption activity days. That was when the idea for Chosen Child hit me – like a ton of bricks!

How long did the process take from writing the first page to having the book finished and ready to be published?

I started writing mid-October ‘14, and the book was published mid-February ’16 – sixteen months. It’s my quickest so far, but the story almost told itself.

Do you have any plans to celebrate publication day?

We’ll have lots of celebrations – there’s eBook publication day and paperback publication day, and we always do something when my books arrive in our local library here in Switzerland… you get the picture! I find it quite emotional. Being a writer was a dream for so long.

Chosen Child’s cover is my favourite of all your book covers so far but have you got a favourite?

Before this book, mine was The Paradise Trees, but like you, it’s now Chosen Child. It’s such a vibrant colour, and the butterfly’s perfect for the story.

Can you tell us a bit about how you came to be a novelist? How long have you been writing for?

I wrote my first story for my Writer’s badge in the Brownies, aged seven – and realised this was my thing. In my twenties I began to write magazine stories and articles, over fifty of which were published, but the dream was always a novel and in the late nineties I started The Cold Cold Sea. Back then, I never imagined it would be published – or I did imagine it, but I never thought it would actually happen!

Chosen Child and The Attic Room are self-published whilst The Cold Cold Sea and The Paradise Trees were published by Legend Press. How has the self-publishing experience been for you?

Both the traditional and the self-publishing experiences have been positive. I still work with Legend and my first two books – The Cold Cold Sea is coming out in French this year, which is very exciting! The move to self-publishing was because I live in Switzerland and it was just easier not to have to schedule my life round book publication in the UK. I’ve met some amazing people in the self-pub community – it’s all very supportive and helpful. I love it!

Do you read whilst you’re in the process of writing a book? If so, does it have to be something completely different to the genre you write in?

I always have at least one book on the go, and usually I read the same genre I write, psychological suspense. I love all crime fiction, though – there are some great police procedural series around now.

What psychological thrillers have you enjoyed reading recently?

My most recent read was The Bad Things by Mary-Jane Riley. That was a great book. Another was Girl Number One by Jane Holland.

Are you a TV/film watcher? If so, is your taste in viewing similar to your taste in books?

Ah – I’m not really a film person… When I do watch one it’s usually a golden oldie. I watched Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie recently, and both ET and The Sound of Music were on around Christmas… And I’m a huge EastEnders fan.

You have to narrow your book collection down to three books: a favourite book, the last book you bought and a book you’ve been meaning to read for ages. (Sorry!) Which books would you be left with?

Aargh! Okay – Favourite book: A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes. Last book I bought: The Moth Catcher by Ann Cleeves (I’m halfway through and it’s brilliant!) A book I’ve been meaning to read for ages: I’m ashamed to admit it, but I haven’t read The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins yet…

If you were to co-write a book with another author, who would you love to write it with?

This will never come true now, but I’d have loved to work with Ruth Rendell. Her psychological thrillers under her pen name Barbara Vine are just spectacular. I think my favourite is The Blood Doctor.

Lastly – if you could live the life of a book character for the day, who would you choose to be?

For one day? Then I’ll choose Lizzie Bennett in Pride and Prejudice. I’d love to try on the lovely floaty dresses of that time, plus she was a strong woman – and she gets Mr Darcy! Sounds okay to me…

Chosen Child is out now.

Linda Huber grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, but went to work in Switzerland for a year aged twenty-two, and has lived there ever since. Her day jobs have included working as a physiotherapist in hospitals and schools for handicapped children, and teaching English in a medieval castle. Not to mention several years spent as a full-time mum to two boys and a rescue dog.

Ideas for her books come from Linda’s daily life. The Paradise Trees (2013) was inspired by her father-in-law’s struggle with dementia, and she started writing The Cold Cold Sea (2014) shortly after learning that a child in her extended family drowned in the 1940s, aged eleven. The Attic Room (2015) begins in one of her most-loved places, the Isle of Arran on the west coast of Scotland.

Chosen Child, her fourth psychological thriller, was inspired by a chance conversation at a wedding, and will be available from February 15th.

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