Thursday, March 3, 2011

Author Insides - Scott Lininger

Scott Lininger is a dad, entrepreneur, and mystery enthusiast who lives in Boulder, Colorado. His short fiction has appeared in Flash Fiction Online, Everyday Weirdness, Powderburn, and He is currently working on his first novel.

Scott's humorous short story, "Undressing Bullie," appeared in last summer's TBS

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I was invited to a creative writer's group by a friend of mine a few years ago, and that kicked it all off. Though I had dabbled with fiction in college, it was something I never thought I'd become passionate about. Boy was I wrong. Happily, it has been my main creative outlet ever since.

Why do you write?

To tell stories. To enhance my understanding of the craft. To hang out with interesting characters. To accomplish something that is really hard and that I've never done before.

Is being a writer/poet anything like you imagined it would be?

It's a lot easier, actually. When I first started I imagined that every word would be a painful slog that leaves you wanting. As I've become more comfortable and less concerned that I'm going to just get bored, it's grown more natural and less stressful.

What do you think makes a good story?

Characters that you love, or love to hate.

What's your favorite genre to read?

Mystery and crime fiction.

Who is your favorite author or poet?

Right now my favorites are Susan Hill and Laurie King.

What books or stories have most influenced you the most as a writer?

Anything in the vein of Joss Whedon or Thomas Perry, meaning interesting characters with totally unique voices... dialog that both entertains and communicates character. Those stories blow me away and make me want to write. They also make me laugh, and that's become a barometer of mine. When somebody laughs out loud at one of your stories (in a good way ;), you know instantly that you got the reaction you wanted, no filters or over-evaluation.

What books or stories have most influenced you as a person?

The little internal stories that I carry in my head about my parents and the place I grew up (small town, Colorado.)

Where/how do you find the most inspiration?

I absolutely love wandering around the library or bookstore and just imagining what lies beneath those covers. Makes me want to go home RIGHT NOW and write.

What does your family think of your writing?

My wife is very supportive and patient with my sometimes-obsessive writing schedule. My larger family is used to me and my wanderings. I've had a lot of creative interests over the years... I imagine they're placing bets on how long I'll stay interested in writing.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

I generally write from 9pm to midnight, after my daughter has gone to sleep.

Do you have any writing quirks or rituals?

I sometimes visit and plug in an artist that puts me in a given mood. Devotchka and Dead Can Dance are great for atmosphere.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

On my novel-length projects, it has been tough sticking to a holistic arc yet not letting that overwhelm the individual scenes. Letting the characters do whatever they want while ensuring they do interesting things is hard for me. Still figuring that out.

What are your current projects?

I'm in the editing stages of first mystery novel, Guesswork, which features the World's Greatest Carnival Guesser and reluctant murder solver, Joe Odin. I'm also neck-deep in a middle-grade science fiction novel called Xenopaths.

What are you planning for future projects?

I'd like to do sequels to both of my current novels, but we'll see. After Xenopaths I might go back and devote more time to short fiction.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write! As much as you possibly can. When you get a rejection from a publisher, send that story out to somebody else, and do it the same day--no exceptions.

Where can we find your work?

You can see my portfolio at,  including links to my published stories.

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