Author interview 168 – Abigail Linhardt


Abigail Linhardt

USA

Age 32

Abi has been a writer all her life, but is a mentor at heart. When she is not writing, you can find her slaying enemies online or hunting for the next bohemian adventure. She has published works of fiction, poetry, academia, and even won awards for her short stories in science fiction and horror.

Abi is also a proud mom of two…ferrets! She live streams on Twitch where you can enjoy her terrible gaming skills and join the live discussion. She works part-time as a freelance ghostwriter, editor, and audiobook narrator, hoping to one day make these passions her full-time job. She currently resides in Kansas.

She is one of nine children–all who share the creative spark.

The endless road and life of a monster-hunting Runer has gone stale for Tzarik and death is the only alternative. Tired of risking his life for the prejudiced people of Al’Myrah, it’s time to just let go. The only thing that stands in his way: A Runer cannot take his own life, breaking his oath to the dark magic that binds him to the hunt.

When a warlord from the far east threatens her family, Sybal, a young diamond mine heiress with a lavish lifestyle, takes action to protect her family and estate. But when her crime is witnessed, she must stand trial for murder. To save her own life, Sybal calls for a trial by Runing—a dangerous and often fatal pact with unknown magic.

Thrown together by law and dark magic oaths, Tzarik and Sybal find themselves entangled with an eldritch force when a lone necromancer hell-bent on devastation, rises up, and ravages the eastern continents. Tzarik must conquer his desire for his own demise and train the empathic Sybal to save the people from a risen death.

Romelia:   WHAT IS A SIGNIFICANT WAY YOUR BOOK HAS CHANGED SINCE THE FIRST DRAFT?

Abigail Linhardt:   The order of the chapters. What was chapter 1 is now chapter 6. I love when that happens! I have also cut close to 20K words from the first draft and re-written 13K much better words. I love cutting the bad stuff and re-writes!

Romelia:   WHAT PERSPECTIVES OR BELIEFS HAVE YOU CHALLENGED WITH THIS WORK?

Abigail Linhardt:   I have worked with that makes a main character VS what makes a hero. I have challenged my readers to look at the MC as a person rather than The Good Guy. They are not superheroes, they are just people inhabiting this world just trying to get by. They are slowly becoming the heroes though. It’s all about character development.

Romelia:   WHAT INSPIRED THE IDEA FOR YOUR BOOK?

Abigail Linhardt:   So many things! Mostly, I watch ghost hunting YouTubers and that really inspired me. You can hardly tell from my story, but it’s in there. I also do a TON of research.

Romelia:   HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR BOOK’S IDEAL READER?

Abigail Linhardt:   My ideal reader is someone like my main characters: they suffer from depression, anxiety, and are looking for a reason to go on. My MCs, therefore, are not for everyone but have really resonated with the readers who “get” them. Aside from that, the ideal reader will love the monsters, supernatural, and emotionally-driven stories—more sword and sorcery than epic fantasy. 

Romelia:   HOW MUCH RESEARCH DID YOU NEED TO DO FOR YOUR BOOK?

Abigail Linhardt:   Oh, boy, tons! My first month of outlining is all about research. I look up and read myths, legends, and lore of places all over our real world and decide how to build my fictional ones around it. I gather up monsters and ghost stories from everywhere and mix and match to make my own. For example, it’s subtle, but the Chinese myth of the Great White Snake is amalgamated into my most recent release. The actual story is liberally adapted, but it helped inspire a pivotal moment in my book and inspire a whole character. I dive into the history and myth of places that inspire me to make sure I do them justice, but also completely change them into something new.  

Romelia:   HOW IMPORTANT WAS PROFESSIONAL EDITING TO YOUR BOOK’S DEVELOPMENT?

Abigail Linhardt:   Very important! I have many stages of readers and editors I go through. Things still slip through the cracks, but I am determined to put out quality work that I am not ashamed of. People love to find typos in indi author’s work, so I do all I can afford to make sure my books are strong. 

Romelia:   WHAT WAS YOUR HARDEST SCENE TO WRITE, AND WHY?

Abigail Linhardt:   Any transition from intro scene to scenes that move the story forward are hard at first. Or scenes that are “boring” to me but necessary. Those are the ones that I will look very hard at during re-writes. I leave myself notes about scenes that I struggled with so I can make sure to go back and double check them. Also, action scenes.

Romelia:   WHAT CHARACTERS IN YOUR BOOK ARE MOST SIMILAR TO YOU OR TO PEOPLE YOU KNOW?

Abigail Linhardt:   My main male character, Tzarik, is 100% me. And I think that’s why a lot of people don’t like him! I’m not very likeable, haha. I don’t normally put myself into my characters too much, but he is for sure my child. I’ve struggled a lot these last two years and ended up in some dark places and his fight for his life mirrors my own a lot. Mostly, my characters are people I WISH I was. Or I make characters that I can admire. I admire Sybal (my main female) a lot but I had to give her flaws too. So I gave her my habit of rushing into situations without thinking of the outcome. Fortunately, she’s a lot stronger and resilient than I am!  

Romelia:   HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE THIS BOOK?

Abigail Linhardt:   Four months to write the first draft. After that, it’s months of re-writes and edits. Altogether, from the outline to the final product in my hands, it takes me about 10 months to produce the written and audiobook. 

Romelia:   HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE TITLE FOR YOUR BOOK?

Abigail Linhardt:   I keep asking myself that. The series, Season of the Runer, just came to me and I wish I knew how. It’s such a good name! The titles for individual books usually some from whatever is the pivotal point or moment in the book. I usually have a chapter named after the book too like song albums of old. The Trial of Two is really about Sybal and Tzarik coming together and accepting each other, all their flaws, and learning to lean on one another. It’s not easy and they butt heads a lot. But that’s the point. If they can make it through the Trial of Two, then they will make it and survive the trials they have to face together.  

Romelia:   WOULD YOU AND YOUR MAIN CHARACTER GET ALONG?

Abigail Linhardt:   Maybe on the surface. I’d die if I tried to join them on a hunt, haha! Sybal is too girly for me (despite being a monster hunter) and Tzarik would not be able to stand me. I’d be a burden and he’d for sure try to ditch me any chance he got. 

Romelia:   IF YOU COULD MEET YOUR CHARACTERS, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THEM?

Abigail Linhardt:   That I’m proud of them. I’ve been told a lot how depressing my books are and how much pain and suffering I heap onto my characters. They are so strong for getting through everything they’ve done so far. I’d tell them it gets worse, but that they are more than an adversary for the torment yet to come.

Romelia:   WHAT IS YOUR WRITING PROCESS LIKE? ARE YOU MORE OF A PLOTTER OR A PANTSER?

Abigail Linhardt:   Plotter. But that’s all I’ll say on that, otherwise, I’ll give a three-hour lecture on why you should be a plotter (and I’ll lose all my pantser friends in the process!). My process is rough and rigid, but it took me a while to get into the swing of it. I freelance to support my self-publishing and also have a full-time 8 to 5 like most. It’s agonizing and lonely but so far it’s worth it. My day starts between 5-5:30AM. From then until 7am I write on my own work. During the lunch hour at the Day Job, I work on freelance then again when I get home. My days are full! Weekends, I work on my short story podcast and catch up on freelance work. I am not working, but so far, it’s been worth it.

Romelia:   WHAT DO YOU NEED IN YOUR WRITING SPACE TO HELP YOU STAY FOCUSED?

Abigail Linhardt:   Quiet. I cannot write to music or with noise going on. I hear and see the scenes I am writing and so I to be free of images and sounds leaking in from other sources. Other than that, just a desk and chair!

Romelia:   IF YOU WERE TO WRITE A SPIN-OFF ABOUT A SIDE CHARACTER, WHICH WOULD YOU PICK?

Abigail Linhardt:   I actually have 5 novelettes planned for spin-offs already! I will be writing about Azar (Tzarik’s mentor) later this year and have a few from other countries in my series: Sybal will have one (no more on that because spoilers!), Yasuke from Sojourn is getting one, and a few other characters we’ve not yet met have some lined up. I also plan to write in this world after Season of the Runer is finished to explore the other magic systems and the plethora of other religions and people that inhabit that world. It’s a very big world with a lot to explore outside the Runers.  

Romelia:   IF YOU COULD SPEND A DAY WITH ANOTHER POPULAR AUTHOR, WHOM WOULD YOU CHOOSE?

Abigail Linhardt:   DeAnna Cameron! She’s not super popular (which is a shame!) but we’d be able to talk about dance, food, music, and our love of the Chicago World’s Fair and history. We’re friends online (which is amazing!) but I’d love to meet up with her, smoke a hookah, and chat. She’s an amazing and talented writer.

Romelia:   WHAT IS YOUR SCHEDULE LIKE WHEN YOU’RE WRITING A BOOK?

Abigail Linhardt:   Hectic and rigid! Nothing gets me up in the morning like knowing I get to write 1,500 words on one of my Runer books. I fight and claw to get those words done and everyone knows I am useless for anything else until I get them done. I never thought I had self-discipline until starting this series. It’s done wonders for me.

Romelia:   HAVE YOU EVER TRAVELED AS RESEARCH FOR YOUR BOOK?

Abigail Linhardt:   I have not. I would love to though! I would love to write a history of my family from Scotland (clan Ramsey) and visit our family castle there. I also want to travel to Bavaria (where my father’s family is from) and find kin there. We’re related some strong American heroes and I’d like to see that history and visit those places as well. As is obvious from my Runer series, I am a big fan of other people, cultures, and religions. I love the planet I was born on and would love to see more of it.

Romelia:   WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE WRITING SNACK OR DRINK?

Abigail Linhardt:   I do not eat when writing. I believe it was Sherlock Holmes (a figure those familiar with him and his ways will see a lot of in my Runers) who said something to the extent of working on an empty stomach allows more blood to flow to the brain. That being said: coffee!

Romelia:   HOW DO YOU CELEBRATE WHEN YOU FINISH YOUR BOOK?

Abigail Linhardt:   I live alone and am not near any family or friends physically, so I tend to drink alone like a proper writer, haha! I tell people, but it doesn’t matter as much to them as it does to me. I will tend to take a day off and watch a movie or a few episodes of something as I don’t get to do that much while writing. I’ll sleep in the next day and enjoy not getting up at 5am!   

Romelia:   WHAT RISKS HAVE YOU TAKEN WITH YOUR WRITING THAT HAVE PAID OFF?

Abigail Linhardt:   I have taken a lot of risks in the last 2.5 years. We’ll see if they pay off.

Romelia:   WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU GOOGLED YOURSELF AND WHAT DID YOU FIND?

Abigail Linhardt:   I google myself waaaay too often. I am glad to see my website comes up as the first result as does my amazon and Goodreads. I have found that people have spammed 1-star reviews on my books on Google Books since they do not require you to have purchased like Amazon does. But that has just toughened me up!

Romelia:   WHAT IS YOUR KRYPTONITE AS A WRITER?

Abigail Linhardt:   Strong, male leads in touch with their emotions. A lot of my male leads are tender tough guys. Oddly, it’s hard to find in other books these days. But I think that’s why I gravitate towards the video games I do. I love God of War, Witcher, the Assassin’s Creed games, and Red Dead Redemption 2 (Arthur Morgan is THE man!). Those are the kinds of guys I like to write.

Romelia:   TELL US SOMETHING FUNNY FROM YOUR ADULT LIFE.

Abigail Linhardt:   I have a goldfish running my brain. Every day everything is new and experienced for the first time. It leads to me forgetting a lot of things, people, and experiences, but also getting to be wowed by the same thing over and over again. I have struggled at keeping jobs or excelling at jobs because of it, but it also cracks people up. My sister is the one who lovingly called it The Goldfish Life once and I’ve used it ever since. She said, “How wonderful and terrifying the world must be for you.” True, and it’s my wonderful and terrifying life!

Romelia:   DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN A FEW SENTENCES. TELL US SOMETHING WE DO NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU AND SOMETHING YOU HATE ABOUT THE WORLD.

Abigail Linhardt:   I’ll keep this short or else I’ll go on forever. Something you don’t know: I minored in Geology for a year at the university in Texas. I wanted to work on an oil rig for some reason. Then the science got hard, and I had to quit. At the same time, I minored in French.
Something I hate about the world: the US education system. I’ve worked in college and academia since I started my higher education (so, over 12 years) and I hate the system/business so much. It’s dirty and wrong. It wouldn’t take much to change it, but it wouldn’t be near as profitable. There’s nothing I can do to change it from the inside so I’m trying to break free from it. 

Facebook.com/abilinhardt
instagram.com/promthanius 
tiktok.com/@promthanius 

Book link: www.books2read.com/sotr1ttot

Contact: spacedragoncreations@gmail.com

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