Today we travel to Lake Constance in N.E. Switzerland to chat with Linda Huber about how being a physiotherapist, the Brownie Guide Book, a 1940’s drowning, the magic of childhood, cutting her own hair, and Agatha Christie play roles in Linda’s past and current life.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up in Scotland, but came to Switzerland over half a lifetime ago intending to stay for a year – and here I still am. After working as a physiotherapist and then retraining as an English teacher after a back injury, I was lucky enough to be able to transform my hobby of the past thirty-odd years – writing – into my ‘job’. I’m hybrid published, with both traditionally and self-published books – nine psychological suspense novels as Linda Huber, all set in the UK, and five feel-good novellas set right here in Switzerland under my pen name Melinda Huber. Nowadays, I live on the banks of beautiful Lake Constance in N.E. Switzerland, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?
I can tell you that exactly: I was seven years old and in the Brownies, looking through the Brownie Guide Handbook for a first badge to do. I decided on the Writer’s Badge, wrote the required little story and thought, ‘Wow. This is cool. This is what I want to do.’ Long story short, I’ve never stopped.
Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?
If I tell you that I’ll be giving away the entire plot, so I’ll tell you about an older book, The Cold Cold Sea.
One day back in the late nineties, I started to research my family tree. This was before the internet was helpful with things like that, so first of all I wrote to various relatives asking for info. One of them, an elderly distant cousin, sent diagrams of several families on her branch of the tree. One showed a mother and father with three children. The first two children had names and dates, but the third name, Agnes, had one word beside it: drowned. I was dumbstruck. In the 1940s, a little girl in my family had died, and I’d never known she’d existed. Then I started to wonder… how do parents cope with a loss like that? How do they react, what do they tell the other children, how can their world carry on? Then I thought: what if they don’t cope? And that was the beginning of the idea for The Cold Cold Sea. (I found out later that Agnes had drowned at a swimming pool, aged eleven. Isn’t that tragic?)
What are you currently reading?
Ninety-nine per cent of the books I read are some form of crime fiction. However, at the moment I’m reading Helen Pryke’s Innocenti Saga, a trilogy about the fictional Innocenti family, all the way from the Great Plague to the modern day. It’s set in Italy and the UK, and it’s mesmerising.
What do you miss about being a kid?
The magic. The feeling that the world’s in front of you and anything is possible. The endless summer days with freedom to play. Knowing my parents would always take care of me. Santa Claus. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to go back, just for a day?
List three interesting facts about yourself.
1. I cut my own hair. (I bought a Flow-Bee decades ago to cut my kids’ hair. Neither would let me anywhere near them with it, but I started doing my own, and I haven’t been to a hairdresser for over twenty years now.)
2. I write my shopping list in a mixture of English and German, depending on what I’m thinking and who I’m with at the time.
3. I collect pottery sheep.
If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author from the past, who would it be and what would you ask them?
I would choose Agatha Christie, and I’d ask her how she came up with plots for the dozens of books she wrote. She must have been a phenomenally imaginitive woman; I’d love to be able to think like that!
What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?
Yesterday I watched an Agatha Christie film on TV, which is probably why I immediately thought about her for the last question. It was Evil Under The Sun, with Peter Ustinov. I’ve seen it already and think I watched it again for the distraction; at the time of writing we’re in week 3 of Corona lockdown here in Switzerland, and the world isn’t a happy place.
If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?
Our Shiva is sadly no longer here, but I would have LOVED to ask:
1. How come you’re always hungry?
2. Why is rolling in something totally disgusting the best idea ever?
3. What do we have to do to make you sleep an hour or so longer in the morning?
Tell us about your most recent book.
It’s The Runaway (psychological suspense). Nicola, her husband Ed and their fifteen-year-old daughter Kelly move from London to the seaside town of St Ives. It’s supposed to be a fresh start for the family, but things don’t go as Nicola had hoped…
It was lovely to have you on MTA, Linda. I also miss the magic of childhood. What a lovely thought. Wishing you all the best, and take care during these strange times! – Camilla
Blurb for The Runaway:
Keep your secrets close to home…
Bad things happen in threes – or so it seems to Nicola. The death of her mother-in-law coincides with husband Ed losing his job and daughter Kelly getting into trouble with the police. Time to abandon their London lifestyle and start again by the sea in far-away Cornwall.
It should be the answer to everything – a new home, a new job for Ed and a smaller, more personal school for fifteen-year-old Kelly. But the teenager hates her new life, and it doesn’t take long before events spiral out of control and the second set of bad things starts for Nicola.
Some secrets can’t be buried.
Or… can they?
Where to find the book:
At the moment it’s an ebook on Amazon, with the paperback coming later in the year. (NB – my books are all written in British English)
Connect with Linda:
Amazon Author page: viewAuthor.at/LindaHuber
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/authorlindahuber/
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