What can you tell me about my favorite author, Linda Howard?
—Alison Ballantine, Chicago, Ill.
Howard, 62, a native of Gadsden, Ala., began writing when she was just 9 years old, but back then, she put pen to paper for her own pleasure. She didn’t seriously consider writing as a career until 21 years later. Her current novel is the romantic suspense title “Shadow Woman,” about a woman who wakes up one morning and realizes two years of her life are missing from her memory.
“When I’m writing a book, I see the action taking place in my head like I’m watching an internal movie,” Howard says. “I hear the dialogue, I hear the different voices and I see what they’re seeing, but I still have the director’s option when something isn’t working to pull it back and redo the action. It’s weird.”
Howard, who has consistently landed on best-seller lists by the “New York Times,” “USA Today” and “Wall Street Journal,” is the author of the popular novels “Running Wild,” “Prey,” “Burn,” “Drop Dead Gorgeous,” “Killing Time,” “To Die For,” “Mr. Perfect,” “Heart of Fire” and “Now You See Her,” among others.
She made the transition from writing romance to romantic suspense because she loves reading books by the men who write suspense, including Vince Flynn, Barry Eisler, Stephen Hunter and Robert Crais. But she always felt the need to put in her own twist.
“No matter what I was writing, I always wanted the relationship in there, too, so I did my own and put the relationship in there,” says the charter member of Romance Writers of America. “To me that’s as much a part of the book as the plot or the narrative and the dialogue. The relationship. The people.”
Howard, who worked at a trucking company prior to becoming a best-selling author, met her husband, Gary F. Howington, a professional bass tournament fisherman, there. The couple lives on a farm in Alabama with their golden retrievers.
“I write to entertain myself,” Howard says. “I hope the readers are entertained. I’m not trying to teach anybody anything, I’m not trying to change anybody’s mind about anything. It’s simple entertainment.”