Linda Yiannakis is an author, reader, martial artist, speech-language pathologist, often seeking the meaning of life and her car keys 🙂
I met Linda at the BookGoSocial Children’s Books and other Facebook groups. I love magical realism, so it was clear that ‘Erasable’ came on my ‘want to read’ bookshelf. Finally, I could read and I just have finished it. Well, let me tell you that I think this is even better than I could have imagined. Linda Yiannakis is an amazing storyteller. I, for instance, loved and found it so exciting, to read how Ellie (book: Erasable) gets herself from one to another complicated mess, but in the end, finds ways to restore life. Through the book, you feel how things are related to one another, and the strength of love.
- Can you introduce yourself, what’s your name, where are you from… ?
My name is Linda Yiannakis. I live in New Mexico, USA.
- Tell us something unexpected about yourself!
Well, I hold 5th degree black belts in both judo and Japanese jujutsu. I started studying martial arts in the early 1970s and have continued for most of my adult life.
- Give 2 things about yourself that you think matter the most?
I’m very appreciative of the interconnectedness of our lives to each other and to our place on the earth. I think that is why I value kindness so highly, because we all need it and because giving or receiving kindness helps us connect and live better lives. And I have a strong passion about the humane treatment and protection of animals, domestic and wild.
- Identity Card
- Do you remember the first book you read?
Aside from “Fun With Dick and Jane” that we were given to read in first grade, two books I remember reading when very young were “My Father’s Dragon” and “The Year After Tomorrow.”
- What makes you laugh/cry?
Political humor can cause either reaction in me! Other things that make me laugh are good-natured humor or witty comebacks. There are some very moving films that have started the tears flowing, and to this day I can’t watch certain old Disney films that involve animals being mistreated or dying.
- In which genre do you write?
My books are middle-grade magical realism and fantasy.
- What makes your book special, how is it different from other books in your genre?
Every book is certainly special in its own way. I had particular messages that I wrapped up in the arc of the story in each book. In ERASABLE, the main character, Ellie, learns through her actions and their consequences that everyone is much more connected to the other people in their lives than is immediately apparent. She also learns a big lesson about the value of kindness. In DIGBY OF THE DINOSAURS, the main character goes on a journey of self- discovery and finding his own strengths when he is adopted and loved by a very unusual family. He learns to live a life connected to the natural environment, and understands that animals may have much more to offer than humans often give them credit for.
- How do you feel when you write, do you have a special ritual?
No special ritual, although I like to have a good chunk of uninterrupted time to get into my rhythm and move forward with the section I’m working on.
- What inspired you to write your first book?
My husband! He kept encouraging me to write because he knew I loved working with kids and that I knew their issues, their concerns, their questions about life.
- How did you come up with the title?
The titles just arose naturally from the stories. I wanted them to be short and easy to remember as well.
- If you could be any famous book character, who would you be and why?
Perhaps Antonia Shimerda in Willa Cather’s MY ANTONIA. She was a good person whose courage and persistence saw her through her life.
- Is there a message in your book that you hope the readers will grasp?
I think as I said above, I hope they will feel the importance of connections, kindness, love and family, taking care of the environment, and respect for animals, among others.
- What are your top 3 books of all time?
YOU CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN, by Thomas Wolfe; MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING, by Viktor E. Frankl; THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS, by Kenneth Grahame. Those are what come to mind today. On another day perhaps I would name three others.
- How important is marketing and social media for you?
These are very important to all authors today, I think. It’s got to be part of your efforts to make your books visible to your target readers.
- Is it important for you to get book reviews? Do you read them?
Reviews are very important. They give me good feedback as a writer and let me know if I am on the right track. My favorite reviews have been ones that teachers have given me that were done by their students as a class assignment after reading one of my books. Some have even been illustrated. I love these and keep them in a special folder.
- What advice do you have for other writers?
You are a writer because you have something to say. Just write what is in your heart and mind and let the process unfold.
- Can you give your book information: blurb, link, genre (for children’s book, please tell for what age)
Hook: A magic book allows you to literally erase anything from your life that you don’t like.
Blurb: Could life be more unfair? Nine year old Ellie doesn’t think so. With her summer off to a terrible start, she stumbles across a mysterious carved chest in the attic. What she finds inside gives her the power to change her life exactly the way she wants it to be. But it’s not long before Ellie learns to be careful what she wishes for – and what she wishes gone.
ASIN (Amazon): B01LXRMBTC
Age: 9 – 12
DIGBY OF THE DINOSAURS
Hook: A boy is adopted by dinosaurs who escaped extinction, survived in a hidden canyon, and evolved.
Blurb: Sixty-five million years ago, a meteor struck the earth and the dinosaurs went extinct.
Or did they?
Digby Darby has no idea about the extraordinary turn his life is about to take when he runs off one afternoon. He tumbles into a hidden canyon and lands among dinosaurs that escaped extinction, evolved, and survived to the present day in their secret domain. Will Digby adapt and find acceptance in this strange new world? Or will he struggle just to survive in the land of intelligent dinosaurs?
ASIN (Amazon): B075ZBQVRV
Age: 9 – 12
- QUICK POP-QUIZ. (You can choose one or both, and please feel free to add a very brief comment)
Snow or sun: Sun
Soccer or (ice) hockey: Soccer
Dogs or cats: I have both so I must say both!
Ice-cream or fruit: 99% of the time fruit; but I love the other 1% for ice cream.
Fact or fiction: Mostly fiction, but I also like to read biographies and science and nature books.
Music or silence: Each at its appropriate time
Sport or reading: Reading
Sea or mountains: Both
Groundhogs or squirrels: Oh, come on! We both know it’s got to be groundhogs!
Books or movies: Books
E-book or print: Print
- Is there anything more you want to tell your readers?
One of the greatest gifts you can give is to help a reluctant reader discover the joy of books.
If you’ve loved a book, share it!
Thank you so much for this interview Linda Yiannakis!