Today, I’m thrilled to be hosting an interview with Linda Smolkin, author of one of my favourite reads of the summer, Among the Branded.
First of all, I absolutely loved Among the Branded; how did you come up with the idea for the novel?
I usually think up book ideas by doing the ‘what if’ scenario. With “Among the Branded”, I started thinking, “What if my main character found out something about her newest client? What would she do, especially if she didn’t own the company?” The story took off from there and the moral dilemma became a focal point, along with themes that included family and friendship.
There are quite a few historical elements in the novel; how did you approach researching the novel?
I approached it in various ways. Even though my book is contemporary fiction, it has some historical elements. For example, there are scenes where my characters attend a World War II living-history event, so it was important to get details right about the uniforms and other information. I checked out books from the library and read a lot on a variety of history-type websites. For the scenes where my characters are at the office, I used some of my own knowledge because I’ve worked in advertising/marketing industry for a long time, so I didn’t really need to do much research for that. They’re not my own experiences, but those parts were easier to write. And, believe it or not, my very patient son let me read some of the teenager dialogue to him to make sure it sounded right.
What inspired you to write?
I’ve been writing forever, in some form or another. After getting my journalism degree, I began working as a copywriter, and I still work full time as a writer. I work on my novels in my spare time, so I’m basically writing, editing, or researching when I’m not sleeping!
How do you combat writer’s block?
What’s writer’s block?! What I do get fairly often is the inability to figure out how to take a good idea (one of those ‘what ifs’) and turn it into a novel. I have those what-if ideas floating around in my head all the time, but most of them don’t go anywhere for one reason or another. I’m in awe of authors who come up with ideas and are able to make great stories out of them year after year. For someone who’s dealing with writer’s block, I’d recommend a few things: take a break; go somewhere new to write; or read the part you’ve already written out loud to help continue with the next scene or section.
What is your favourite novel of all time? Is there a novel you wish you’d written?
My favourite novel of all time is The Book Thief, and I wish I’d written it. It’s a great novel that’s beautifully written.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m really excited about my next book, which I hope to release in Spring 2018. It’s not contemporary fiction but also involves a dilemma that my main character faces. It follows three generations of women, their relationships with one another, and a secret that only two of them know. The story takes place mostly in the 1990s and in a few locations, including Russia.
Where can readers find out more about you and your work?
I spend most of my time on Twitter @lindasmolkin so please connect with me there. Also, you can find out more about me at lindasmolkin.com, and I’m also on Goodreads.
A huge thank you to Linda for agreeing to the interview. Among the Branded can be bought online – trust me, you’re in for a real treat!
My full review of Among the Branded will follow.