Linda Howard

I began writing at the age of nine, far too young to know better. I've always lived with other people inside my head, so I'm at a loss when people ask me where I get my ideas. Coming from a long line of smart-asses the way I do, I'm always tempted to say "From the Idea catalog." Is that better than admitting to a form of schizophrenia? The voices in my head don't tell me to kill anyone, they tell me to write. So I do.

On the outside, I live a rather normal life. I attended a small country school, then a small community college where I was the only journalism major. I promptly dropped out of college and got a job at a trucking company, which greatly expanded my knowledge of people in general and men in particular. No, I wasn't a truck driver, I was an office worker -- officially a secretary, though I did almost no secretarial work. Somehow I ended up doing things like payroll, dispatching, insurance, cost-control studies, shipment tracing, and even -- when I got bored with the color of the office -- a painter. I loved that job, and the people with whom I worked.

I loved writing more, though. I got up at 3:45 in the morning, got to work around 6:30, and was usually home by 5 p.m. I still had all the normal things to do at home: laundry, dishes, etc. It was usually around 7 by the time I got to the typewriter (which later became a computer), and I would write until I was too tired to sit up any longer. After a few hours' sleep I started all over again. Eventually, though, the writing became more lucrative than my day job, with more and more demands on my time, so the day job had to go.

I met my husband at the trucking company; since we worked together, that saved wear and tear on two cars. We bought our first bass boat in 1979 and he began tournament bass fishing, which was the start of another career for him. I eventually quit work to write full time, and he quit work to fish full time. H'mm. I wonder who got the better deal. He travels all over the country fishing on the B.A.S.S. pro circuit, and most of the time I go with him. It is NOT an easy or glamorous way to make a living.

Over the years, I've written just about every kind of fiction except horror, which I avoid because it gives me nightmares. Science fiction, fantasy, adventure, romance, paranormal -- I've written it all. So far, the science ficiton and fantasy have been for my own entertainment. One day -- who knows? I write whatever interests me at the time, and I'm interested in almost everything.

I'm a morning person, and a mountain person. I like the beach, but I'm happier in the mountains. I need to at least SEE a mountain. I wake up disgustingly early, usually before dawn. My office faces the east, so it's bright with morning light. I like to work in one place -- my office. In fact, it's difficult for me to work anywhere else, because a change of location splinters my concentration. Once I moved my desk from one wall to another -- in the same room -- and couldn't write a word for almost a month.

I love writing so much that, if I never sold another book, I would still write. Those people would still live inside my head, their stories swirling and coalescing until I have to get them out. The satisfaction of telling their stories is intense. Some stories aren't as interesting as others. I've never yet written anything with which I was satisfied. The written word, and my talent, does not measure up to the stories as they are in my head. So I keep trying, and maybe one day I'll get it right.