Today I’m delighted to feature author Linda Green. Linda is the bestselling author of eleven novels, which have sold more than 1.5million copies and been translated into 12 languages. Her latest novel, In Little Stars, is out in ebook, audio and was published in hardback by Quercus Books this week. Her previous novel, One Moment, was selected as a BBC Radio 2 Book Club pick and her 2018 novel The Last Thing She Told Me was a Richard and Judy Book Club selection.
Linda is a former journalist and has written for The Guardian, The Independent on Sunday, The Times Educational Supplement, The Big Issue, and Community Care Magazine, as well as a variety of regional newspapers.
Linda lives in West Yorkshire with her husband and son.
Over to Linda :
Which five pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
Picture This by Blondie
Parallel Lines was the first album I bought as a nine-year-old and it is still my favourite album! Can’t quite believe I had such good taste as a child (it wasn’t always the case – I also bought an LP by the Nolans from the bargain box at Woolworths!).
Talkin’ Bout a Revolution by Tracy Chapman
Nelson Mandela was my absolute hero and seeing Tracy Chapman play this song live at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute Concert at Wembley in 1988 was a huge highlight for me, as was returning to Wembley two years later to celebrate his freedom when the man himself was present. I still insist he smiled and waved right at me!
Life in a Northern Town by Dream Academy I went to journalism college in Sheffield in 1989 and fell in love with Yorkshire. Two years later I met and fell in love with a Yorkshireman and I’ve lived happily in West Yorkshire for 21 years now. I love the landscape, the heritage, the history and the people. Not quite so keen on the weather!
Electricity from Billy Elliot the Musical
My son has been passionate about performing arts since he was tiny. He won a singing class at a festival singing this song when he was about twelve and it sent shivers down my spine. I loved the film of Billy Elliot and the musical captures the politics, passion and pride of the people from mining communities (my husband is an ex coal miner, who was one of those on strike in the 80s).
This song captures the transformative power of the arts perfectly and the way they have given meaning to my son’s life.
The Dog Days are Over by Florence and the Machine
Florence and the Machine are up there with Blondie for me as joint favourite band. Finn’s mother Hannah in my novel One Moment was also a huge fan, which is why it featured in the book. And when I was interviewed by Jo Whiley when the novel was selected for the Radio 2 Book Club, it was the track she picked out to play.
What five things (apart from family and friends) would you find it hard to live without.
Books An obvious choice for a writer but the power of stories to transport us to different places and let us see the world through the eyes of others is an essential for me. Since needing an eye operation for an eye condition a couple of years ago, I now listen to most books on audio and there is something so incredibly comforting about having someone tell you a story.
Nature: One of the many reasons I love living in West Yorkshire is the beautiful countryside. We got into the habit of doing daily walks during lockdowns and have tried to keep it going as much as possible since. We regularly see wild deer, squirrels, and a variety of birds on our riverside and woodland walks and it is the best thing for my mental health.
Wildlife: I’m passionate about protecting wildlife and the habitats of endangered creatures. I really don’t want to live in a world that puts ‘progress’ or ‘growth’ in front of their survival.
Theatre: My son’s passion for theatre has meant we’ve been frequent visitors over the past fifteen years, and it’s been an absolutely enriching experience to see other people telling stories in different ways.
Falafel: I have to put this because my family would point out the omission if I didn’t! I’m a vegetarian of 42 years and now a virtual vegan and could quite happily live on falafel and humous for life!
Give five pieces of advice to your younger self?
Be patient: as teenagers we tend to want it all now, but the reality is that many good things come later in life.
Persevere: I received 102 rejections from agents over seven years before securing my first book deal. I’m proud of myself for not giving up and my son has been raised with this mantra!
Be Kind: There really is no more important thing is life.
Be True to Yourself: You are the only version of you – revel in your uniqueness.
Take Time to Reflect: Life is lived so fast these days that it’s rare we take a moment to stop and appreciate the moment and enjoy all that is good in life.
Tell us five things that most people don’t know about you
Aged 15 I won the Junior Spurs Young Football Reporter of the Year competition for a match report I had written. My prize was to report on a match from the press box and none of the male journalists there spoke to me.
I did my work experience on the football magazine Shoot! They gave me their complete annual to proof read and I spotted more than half a dozen factual mistakes in it. They were not expecting that.
French footballer David Ginola once said he agreed with me when I appeared with him on Newsnight.
My favourite animals are orangutans and I’m a life member of the Orangutan Foundation. Back in 2000 I won a radio competition and spent the winnings on a trip to Borneo where we trekked after wild orangutans in the rainforest. Looking up from a hammock to see a baby wild orangutan looking down at me is one of my life highlights.
I was an audience member at the Leadership Question Time in Leeds in 2015 and angrily challenged the then PM David Cameron on foodbanks, poverty and the bedroom tax. The next day The Morning Star described me as ‘Cameron’s Nemesis’ in its headline.
Tell us five things you’d still like to do or achieve.
Have a Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller. The nearest I’ve come is number eleven with my Richard and Judy Book Club pick The Last Thing She Told Me.
Write a play and see it performed on the stage. I love the collaborative nature of theatre and I think working with other creatives would be a wonderful change from the isolation of writing a novel.
See my son perform or direct a play at the National Theatre. It’s his lifetime ambition and I will be there for it, blubbing uncontrollably.
Leave a positive legacy. If you can say you’ve tried your hardest to make the world a better place and help others, that’s pretty much the best you can hope for.
I’ve been fortunate enough to see orangutans, polar bears, penguins and elephants in the wild. I’d like them all still to be there so I can do a return visit at some point in later life!
Many thanks for joining me today Linda, I’ve loved discovering more about you. You’ve brought some great music choices, I was a big Blondie fan and Parallel Lines is a classic LP. I was also a fan of Tracey Chapman, another LP that’s in my collection. As a proud Yorkshire woman I’m glad to hear you fell in love with Yorkshire, and even better, stayed! I share your love of orang utans and have also been lucky enough to visit Borneo, including a trip to the Sepilok Rehabilititaion Centre. What is happening to them because of deforestation is appalling. Kudos to you for also challenging David Cameron, sadly we haven’t progressed since 2015. But, following your mantra of persevere, we can only live in hope that common decency will win out in the end. I sincerely hope you’ll be able to tick off those items on your dreams list. How fabulous would it be to write a play that was performed by your some at the National. I’m also sure that a ST Top Ten can’t be far away. Here’s hoping that In Little Stars will be the one to do it.
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In Little Stars
Two families divided by hate
A love that will not die.
Sylvie and Donna travel on the same train to work each day but have never spoken. Their families are on different sides of the bitter Brexit divide, although the tensions and arguments at home give them much in common.
What they don’t know is that their eldest children, Rachid and Jodie, are about to meet for the first time and fall in love. Aware that neither family will approve, the teenagers vow to keep their romance a secret.
But as Sylvie’s family feel increasingly unwelcome in England, a desire for a better life threatens Rachid and Jodie’s relationship. Can their love unite their families – or will it end in tragedy?
Finn and Kaz are about to meet for the first time.
Ten-year-old Finn, a quirky, sensitive boy who talks a lot and only eats at cafes with a 5-star hygiene rating, is having a tough time at school and home.
Outspoken Kaz, 59, who has an acerbic sense of humour and a heart of gold, is working at the café when Finn and his mum come in.
They don’t know it yet, but the second time they meet will be a moment which changes both of their lives forever . . .
The Last Thing She Told Me
Even the deepest-buried secrets can find their way to the surface . . .
Moments before she dies, Nicola’s grandmother Betty whispers to her that there are babies at the bottom of the garden.
Nicola’s mother claims she was talking nonsense. However, when Nicola’s daughter finds a bone while playing in Betty’s garden, it’s clear that something sinister has taken place.
But will unearthing painful family secrets end up tearing Nicola’s family apart?
Ten Reasons Not to Fall in Love
Indulge yourself with this tearjerker about second loves and second chances . . .
She gave her heart away once. She won’t make the same mistake again.
Having been dumped by Richard, the father of her toddler son Alfie, award-winning TV news reporter Jo Gilroy returns to work to find she has been demoted and that Richard is now her boss.
As she tries to pick up the pieces of her shattered life, she resolves to never fall in love again. But then along comes enigmatic children’s entertainer Dan Brady, who is a huge hit with Alfie. Just as she wonders if she can risk opening her heart again, dark secrets from Dan’s past emerge and Jo discovers that he has his own reasons not to fall in love.
And Then it Happened
The only man you’ve ever loved is slipping away…
Mel and Adam were childhood sweethearts and remain blissfully happy twenty years on.
And then it happens…
When tragedy strikes, Mel is faced with losing the only man she has ever loved. But what if he hasn’t really been taken from her at all – he just can’t find a way to let her know…
Things I Wish I’d Known
Ever look at your life and find yourself wondering: how did this happen?
When Claire discovers the list she wrote as a teenager entitled ’20 Years From Now’, she realises how far removed her life is from the one she’d imagined. Divorced. Stuck in a dead-end job. Dating a man who is desperate to settle down to a future she doesn’t want . . . it’s time for Claire to put her life back on track, before it’s too late.
From the bestselling author of While My Eyes Were Closed comes a poignant novel about what could have been . . .
I Did a Bad Thing
Sarah Roberts used to be good. Then she did something bad.
Now, years later, she’s living a good life. She works as a local newspaper reporter and lives with her saintly boyfriend Jonathan. She has no reason to think her guilty past will ever catch up with her.
Until Nick, the man she was prepared to risk everything for, walks back into her life. And suddenly, what’s good and bad aren’t so clear to Sarah any more . . .
After I’ve Gone
Status Update: you have 18 months left to live . . .
Jess Mount goes online and discovers that her Facebook appears to have skipped forward 18 months. Her timeline is full of shocked family and friends sharing heart-breaking tributes to her, following her death in an accident.
Is she the target of a cruel prank or is this a terrifying glimpse of her true fate? Jess is left scared and confused, even more so by the photos of a gorgeous baby – a son she has not yet conceived.
When a post from her best friend suggests her death was deliberate, Jess realises that if she changes the future to save her own life, the baby boy she has fallen in love with may never exist…
While My Eyes Were Closed
One, two, three . . .
Lisa Dale shuts her eyes and counts to one hundred during a game of hide-and-seek. When she opens them, her four-year-old daughter Ella is gone. Disappeared without a trace. The police, the media and Lisa’s family all think they know who snatched Ella.
But what if the person who took her isn’t a stranger? What if they are convinced they are doing the right thing? And what if Lisa’s little girl is in danger of disappearing forever?
The Marriage Mender
You can run from the past but you can’t always stop it catching up with you . . .
Alison is a marriage mender. Her job is to help couples who fear they have reached the end of the road. So when her husband’s ex Lydia arrives on the doorstep demanding to see her son, Alison thinks she can handle it. But what Alison doesn’t realise is that Lydia is the one person who has the ability to destroy their happy family. And sometimes the cracks run too deep to ever be repaired . . .
SOMETIMES, THE CRAZIEST IDEAS TURN OUT TO BE THE BEST ONES.
When Sam, Jackie and Anna successfully campaign to save their children’s school lollipop lady, they are asked by a TV reporter if they fancy standing in the general election. It is, of course, a crazy idea: Sam’s youngest son has an incurable disease, Jackie is desperate for another child and her mum is struggling with Alzheimers, Anna’s teenagers – and marriage – are in danger of going off the rails. But just think what they could do if they got to run the country . . .
The Resolution (short story)
THE COUNTDOWN IS ON
For Sam, Jackie and Anna, a night out is a rare treat — a chance to have a little fun without worrying (too much) about their families at home. That’s why they’re resolved to make it a regular thing, and what better time to start a new resolution than the New Year?
Reblogged this on Judith Barrow.
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Thanks for sharing Judith x
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My pleasure, Jill.x
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Reblogged this on https:/BOOKS.ESLARN-NET.DE.
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Wonderfully interesting and inspiring. Thanks ladies. Reblogging on janerisdon.com
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Thanks Jane x
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Great questions and answers. I also fell in love with Yorkshire and a Yorkshire man, although he came to Canada to be with me. It is a great place. Love your music choices.
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Glad you enjoyed it Darlene, as a proud Yorkshire woman I’m glad you like Yorkshire too x
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