Linda MacDonald is the author of four independently published novels: Meeting Lydia and the stand-alone sequels, A Meeting of a Different Kind, The Alone Alternative and The Man in the Needlecord Jacket. They are all contemporary adult fiction, multi-themed, but with a focus on midlife relationship issues.
After studying psychology at Goldsmiths' London, Linda trained as a secondary science and biology teacher. She taught these subjects for several years before moving to a sixth-form college to teach psychology. In 2012, she gave up teaching to focus fully on writing.
Linda was born and brought up in Cockermouth, on the edge of the Lake District in Cumbria and now lives in Beckenham in south east London. We were fortunate to have the chance to interview Linda in June 2020. Here's what she had to say...
Welcome to Autumn Chickens, the magazine style website devoted to thinking people in mid-life and beyond. Thank you for agreeing to take part in our series of monthly author interviews. When did your writing really take off? What made you decide to pubIish your first book?
I had been writing Meeting Lydia for five years when I tripped over the leg of a classroom chair, stuck my arm out, propelled my hand into the edge of a desk, collapsed in a heap on the floor and couldn’t get up. The damage was a badly broken wrist which required an operation and a metal plate. It was mid December 2009 and the start of a snowy winter in London. My operation was delayed day upon day for a week while people with life or limb threatening injuries from accidents on the ice took priority. I decided life was too precarious to wait for a publisher to show interest and began navigating the road to independent publication with Matador.
How do you feel about writing? Has it made a difference to your life?
I’ve always written stories and had completed a couple of what I refer to as ‘practice novels’ before I embarked on Meeting Lydia. Juggling writing with a career in teaching meant it was, for many years, an intermittent pastime. I had always wanted to write a novel about school bullying, but didn’t have a plot until I met an old classmate via Friends Reunited. The process of meeting the real Lydia via email was very therapeutic and totally extinguished the trauma of my early schooldays. I decided if I spiced up the reality, I might have the basis of a novel. That was the beginning, and since taking early retirement, writing has kept my brain busy and been a fulfilling pastime.
How many books have you published? Do you have a favourite?
I’ve published four novels, each of which stands alone, but together they form a series which follows the lives of a group of characters and tells their stories from different perspectives. My favourite has so far always been the last one or the work in progress.
Do you think it is important to write books which include characters in mid-life and beyond?
Reading can be both instructive and healing, and if people in midlife are going to find answers through fiction, then authors need to write about issues relevant to this period and with characters that are relatable.
Tell us about your most recent book.
The Man in the Needlecord Jacket is the most recent book in the series and examines the grey areas of emotional betrayal and psychological abuse. It sounds grim – and it is in places – but I like to think it is funny too.
Sarah is in love with a cad whom she has been patiently hoping will move in with her. When he falls for someone else, her world collapses. The other woman doesn’t know about Sarah and she is duped too. The novel centres on the difficulties in moving on from destructive relationships. Many people say Sarah is a fool to stick by Coll for so long, and to put up with his attitude towards her. But people do.
My WIP is at the first draft stage but the framework is in place and it’s well on the way. It’s about addiction – but not to the most usual culprits. I’d love to say more, but I’ve sworn myself to secrecy!