L.L. Thomsen – An Interview by Fiona Mcvie

L.L. Thomsen – An Interview by Fiona Mcvie

Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?

Good afternoon Fiona. My name is Linda Lund Thomsen. Thank you for having me on your blog – it’s a real pleasure! Now as for my age… hmm… I think I stopped counting the years when I turned 40 – it seems less important these days – but since you ask so nicely, I will reveal that I am 46 years of age.

Fiona: Where are you from?

As the somewhat different spelling of my surname might imply, I am originally from Denmark. These days, however, I live in the UK – near Sherwood Forrest, as it were.

Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).

I grew up in a small village just outside town, which may well be the reason that I love the countryside to this day. Skipping ahead some years, I attended college in Denmark at an old ‘academy’, which – if memory serve me right – was founded around 1625.

I finished college and must have been around 20 when I first moved to the UK. Staying with some English friends of the family – originally with the view to practise English – I tell you no lie that it was really just a stunt to spend some time figuring out what the heck to do next, whilst working as a bartender.

As some higher entity would have it, I actually met my husband during that time and we have been together since, although we did not jump into that pesky marriage commitment for a long time. In fact it would be 2008 before we finally did.We have two children, often lovingly referred to as ‘the unicorn’ and ‘the owl’.

I am one of those people who never found their ‘shelf’ or ‘purpose’. Until I started writing and realised that I felt compelled to carry on, I had already tried my hand at a fair few things. I have been a teacher, an archaeologist, a NVQ assessor and a manager – I have even worked in Fantasy World too, but that’s another story.

Between writing and family, life is super busy, sometimes ‘nuts’. Commonly, the hours fly and come the weekend I will wonder where the week went, but there is rarely a dull, spare moment. I guess that’s neat.

 Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

So there is a lot happening in my life at the moment. First of all I am super excited to say that I will be publishing the first ‘episode’ of my debut book ‘The Missing Shield’ on the 30/3/18. It will be available on Kindle as eBook and through Create Space as a paper back copy.

‘The Missing Shield’ is the intended first volume in an adult high fantasy series called ‘The Veil Keepers quest’, but to get the ball rolling I have decided to split the initial work into sections. I think of it a like watching a series on TV – and within that you have a current season. ‘The Missing Shield’ is one book – or season – split into episodes to offer the readers a number of cheaper ‘normal length’ books, rather than one big ‘tome’. The first episode will be titled, ‘A Change of Rules’.

Secondly, I am just putting the finishing touches to my author website llthomsen.com. It should go live at the end of February ’18 – and it is an extension of me and my work so there’ll be lots of things to explore in support of the books, such as: glossaries, maps,gossip, etc.

There will of course also be the usual links to catch me via social media. I am a very approachable person so I hope people will take the opportunity to get in touch.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I believe it was a combination of timing, coincidence and need, which put me on the author path. When the children were born it was easier to stay at home, and I was suddenly sprouting all sorts of ideas about plots and characters, so I sat down one day and let my fingers dance in tune to my thoughts. It has become a passion. Like most writers I know, I cannot imagine giving it up.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I dabbled when I was younger – mostly by inventing characters and writing in the form of scripts with each ‘actor’ line typed out, and a few paragraphs of detail in support here and there.

Looking back it seems obvious that it’s always been in me, but though I have been writing for some years now, I still feel the ‘imposter’ for daring to do this. It’s weird. In my heart I have claimed writing as my professions, but it’s still an abstract issue in my mind.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

My muse appeared without a doubt when ‘the unicorn’ was born.

It didn’t strike me immediately, but a back door must have been opened ajar because I remember having ideas about a fantasy world and about these two characters that just wouldn’t go away. I could see their interactions clearly in my mind’s eye and felt the urge to explore them. It was not even a skeleton of a plot or anything, but it started with a fight scene in the rain, and the more I wrote, the more the ideas came pouring.

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

Not for years was I able to figure out anything to really encompass the entire story. However, I always like something that carries a double meaning – ala Peter V. Brett’s title, ‘The Painted Man’ – so with that in mind, when my wip began to show the promise of a full book, I simply sat back and let my thoughts flow.

The book title is a twist on a main character’s job, which is to say that she is a type of body guard called a ‘Life Shield’ or simply a ‘Shield’. She has a number of personal issues that makes her lose her usual mojo, which in turn makes her vulnerable, but she also goes physically missing. The title is a reference to that, mixed a bit with the fact that the magic that is supposed to be a shield and a weapon for the world, now lies crippled and useless.

‘The Missing Shield’ was ‘The Broken Shield’ for a while, but in the end, one title just rang better than the other.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?

I like detail. And I like a particular flow. If a man goes into a bar, I cannot just write ‘A man went into a bar’ – I have a need to embellish, which tends to make my work slightly longer than that of most writers’. Mine is not a quick read. The length is very ‘old school’ but deliberately so.

I am aware that the genre is currently very much into books of a certain length. Anything over a 100k word-count by an unknown writer is pretty much considered untouchable by any self-respecting agent, due to the perceived risk – and, I suppose, break with prevailing trends.

I had to decide whether I wanted to embrace my own creativity or if I should cater to that of the market norm. They say ‘be yourself – don’t imitate other writers’ – so I am, and I haven’t.

Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

This epic fantasy was thankfully very much made up as I went along, but I try to keep people and situations ‘real’, though with fantastical aspects.

There are issues within the story lines that have come about via personal experiences – or through things that have happened in real life that I was inspired to tinker with in the fantasy setting. For example, I have a crown princess that suffers from anxiety. I have taken that from my own feelings on certain matters and have twisted it to make the character a little less perfect. There is also a strong flow of friendship weaving through the book as well. This vibe is mildly based on the fact that I have certain friends that I would go to extreme lengths to help and shelter, if necessary.

Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?

No physical travelling necessary here – passing through that portal in my mind, certainly helps though. As does visiting new places in the real world.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

I did not have oodles of cash to spend, but I had a concept in mind, so I went to SelfPubBookCovers.com. The one I choose is quite slick, designed by TheChunkyDesigner.

 Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Nothing more than: ‘Come along for the journey’ – if you think it’ll go in one direction, you may well be surprised.

Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?  Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?

The beauty about writing these days is that there is so much to explore and discover on social media. I love indie writers. Many are extremely talented, so with that in mind I cannot wait for my friend ‘Gabrias’ to release ‘The Crownguard Affair’. Other than that, look out for the titles of ‘Control’ and ‘The Windsinger’. All three are still in the beta reading stage, but they are amazing.

As to something recently published, in my ‘books to read’ pile, I have ‘Memories Forgotten’ by Anthony Tyrone Clemons & ‘Eclipse’ by Meredith Cole.

My favourite writer at the moment is Steven Erikson – he’s a story-crafter without comparison, weaving together extraordinary prose with first-class world-building and plots.

Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.

Entity? Hmm… not per se. Weirdly, I have queried agents, and though ‘rejected’, you could argue that their kind feedback has given me a sort of strength to carry on. At one point I was also in contact with a manager at Ingram Spark. He was very supportive and offered me his help and knowledge, but I was not then ready to go ahead and publish.  Other than that I am pretty much in this game alone – that’s not a sad thing – but a factor that makes me ultra-hard-working.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

 Oh well wouldn’t that be sweet?! If I could cross everything I own and make it so, then yes please: let writing be a career for me! I guess it remains to be seen – but I am dedicated, certainly.

Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

No. I took a while to decide on my style and flow. Swim or sink – I made a choice to write this way and I will stand by that. Certain other writers don’t appear to understand that my goal was to produce something individual – they have even warned me that it will not work – so maybe ask me this question again in the future. With proper hindsight I might have changed everything, lol.

Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?

Patience, passion, care, detail, plotting, realism, cloud-formations… the list goes on. I also learnt that you can never give up and that you have to grow thick-skinned and confident – even when you feel like a mouse that wants to hide in a deep hole.

 Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

Oh now the dreams are flying, indeed!I love that question!

I never really imagined all of my ‘cast’ with the faces of famous actors. Oddly, however, the princess Iambre was always loosely modelled on Jessica Alba, and Knights Commander Zulavi, one of the antagonists, was always vaguely modelled either on Jason Statham or Alexander Skarsgård. Still, the trouble is that they are probably too ‘old’ for these ‘roles’ now, so new talent would be cool with me.

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

Push it and then push it some more. Never give up and don’t apologise for what you write. It is my view that there are no right or wrongs, but don’t fake it.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

I hope you enjoy my tale. If you read the first page and give up, you will never know what you miss! As hinted at above, I am playing around with something a little different here, so keep an open mind and embrace it if you can.

In truth, I rather think my work is like Marmite: you’ll either love it or hate it, but at least it has never been called ‘meh’. This is fantasy with a twist: within my pages you will find mystery, magic, darkness, romance, peril, fights and a quest – so be prepared to go on a journey.

Oh, and also: it would be really grand if every reader could please leave a comment, or a snippet of feedback. Not just for me but for any writer. Any small thought is always better than none, and for indie-writers and first-time writers, a review is truly invaluable when it comes to attracting other readers.

 Fiona: What book are you reading now?

I am reading the Kindle version of MaximianHeld’s, ‘Whisper of End’.

 Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Not really – I always had my nose in a book. But I read a lot by Swedish author, Astrid Lingren. They have never dated.

 Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

I have a crooked sense of humour. Often rooted in sarcasm. I also laugh at dumb camera takes where people fall off their skateboards or get kicked by a cow. I cry at most things that tug at the heartstrings – ill children, true love, family reunited, lost animals, dying anything, the news…

 Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?

I think Nelson Mandela. He was one of the most amazing people. The world needs more heroes like that.

 Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

Writing?  Does that count?

Lol. Seriously, between maintaining social media, organising publication of my work, looking after kids, animals, and friends, there is not a lot of time left to even eat – let alone to enjoy a hobby. But I like to walk, and I like horse riding, travelling and photography.

 Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?

Enter the geek in me –I often binge watch boxsets. So here goes – Britannia, Kill Joys, Supernatural, GOT, Leverage, Spooks, The Walking Dead, Black Matter, X-Files, Westworld, Graham Norton, Task Master, Russell Howard’s Good News… (You get the picture).

 Fiona: Favorite foods, colors,  music?

I love Pizza but I am not picky.

I like the colours green and blue.

In music I like Kasabian, Foo Fighters, Calvin Harris, Swedish House Mafia, anything Classical (Baroque)… again I am not picky and my mood determines the tunes.

 Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?

Scarily that may not be too far off. In a future where I don’t write, I would be doing a job to earn some pennies.

 Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?

I am not really a head stone kinda person. I always imagined I’d have a tree…

 Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?

As mentioned above, my website llthomsen.com will be live at the end of Feb – or latest at the beginning of Mar ’18.

You can also catch me and much more on:

https://twitter.com/LLThomsen1

https://www.facebook.com/linda.thomsen.12979

Hopefully in the near future I will also have a link for subscribing to my newsletter, and for joining me on Good Reads, but I am not quite that organised yet.

To visit Fiona Mcvie’s blog, go to : https://authorsinterviews.wordpress.com/