INTERVIEW | Linda Leigh Hargrove

Linda, describe yourself for our visitors.

I’m originally from a small town in northeastern North Carolina (much like the town in my ‘Isaac Hunt’ novels). I went to NCSU (Go Pack!) and earned two degrees in engineering. I enjoy reading and writing (of course) but I also like designing things. I paint, draw, knit, crochet, and create Web sites.

I’ve been married over 17 years and we have three boys. I’m not the chatty sort but I think I’m friendly enough. If you email me I’ll email back. Linda@LLHargrove.com

Since I’m also an adoptive mom, adoption is really important to me. And having been a racial reconciliation group leader and speaker for a number of years, the topic of biblical racial reconciliation is big with me too. I blog at 17Seeds.com, where I write a lot about racial healing and a little about adoption, especially in November, National Adoption Month. Stop by and leave a comment.

How do you find time to connect with God?
As you can imagine with three young boys, it’s hard to squeeze in time for yourself. Most mornings I try to rise before they do. So it’s become my habit to have my time with God first thing, bright and early, before I get into work and hopefully before the boys get up. On school mornings that means getting up around 5 am.

When I do the mom-taxi thing (to football or martial arts practice) I usually have a book. Gotta maximize the time. I’m reading a couple nonfiction books now—one on prayer and one on racial reconciliation, of course.

Who are your favorite authors? Favorite books?

I enjoy most any kind of fiction, except horror, erotica and paranormal. Although I like reading a lot of contemporary American fiction (Christian and secular) I’d say my writing style and tastes come mainly from reading Ngaio Marsh (known for her Inspector Alleyn mysteries), Sigmund Brouwer (my favorite ones are his Samuel Keaton series), and Walter Mosley (love that Socrates Fortlow).

Books I’ve especially enjoyed over the years (in no particular order) include For Whom the Bells Toll (Hemingway), Evening Star (Sigmund Brouwer), A Bride Most Begrudging (Deeanne Gist), Pride and Prejudice (Austen), and Curious George Goes to the Hospital (H. A. Rey).

Tell us about your journey to publication.

It took ten years for me to see my first book, the first installment in the Isaac Hunt series, in print. I started The Making of Isaac Hunt while co-leading racial reconciliation discussion groups with churches in the Raleigh, NC area. I wanted the book to be a easy-reading discussion tool on race in America.

So from about 1996 to 2000, I wrote and rewrote the book, learning more about craft and the business of getting published along the way. Then from 2001 to 2005 I searched for a publisher (with and without an agent). I landed the deal with Moody through my second agent, Les Stobbe.

Tell us about your current book?

My second book is Loving Cee Cee Johnson. It’s a sequel to “The Making.” Although Isaac Hunt plays a key role in the book, my new character Cee Cee Johnson is front and center. She’s a TV reporter that reluctantly returns to her hometown to cover a story.

Memories of her late father’s abuse are still fresh in her mind. And it doesn’t help matters that the news story she’s covering involves a former leader of a racial hate group and a white playwright, both determined to bring her father’s bizarre story to the stage.

Cee Cee’s own sins and lies catch up with her. But eventually, she discovers the true meaning of forgiveness. And she’s surprised by love in more ways than one.

How did you come up with ideas for this book?

I knew I wanted to peel back a few more layers on reconciliation. And what better way to explore forgiveness and love in America than to bury more lies. Up comes Cee Cee Johnson, a celebrated TV woman who appears to have stellar upbringing. But what you don’t know could kill you or bring you closer to God. Right?

I love suspense and mystery. So of course the book had to have that. Admittedly, it doesn’t have as much as my first book, but I think I make up for that in the interracial romance and introspection that Cee Cee gets swept up in.

What’s next for you?
I’m working on the third book in the series. The working title is Saving Tate Michaels.

Where can visitors find you online?
You can find me at www.LLHargrove.com and www.17Seeds.com.