Sunday, December 04, 2011



A book, of course. But add a childhood story to the book and it becomes more than a book; it becomes a never-ending story (which was an amazing movie of the same title by the way...but I degress....)

The story of this Christmas-theme book begins when I was 13 years old. I was shy, unpopular, insecure and bursting with creativity that often came out in the inventive crafts and games my best friend and I created (but that's another story). When I couldn't hang out with my best friend Lori, I spent time with my other best friend: books. I loved reading so much and had discovered girl mystery books. My favorites were the Nancy Drew and Judy Bolton series (rivals in publishing, but best friends on my bookshelves). So I wrote two fan letters--the first went to Carolyn Keene care of Grosset & Dunlap. I never received a reply (ghosts can't write fan letters after all). So I wrote a letter to my other favorite author, Margaret Sutton, original creator and author of 38 Judy Bolton mystery novels. And Margaret wrote back.

I was SO thrilled to have a letter from my favorite author. I showed it off at school the next day and will never forget that thrill, especially when I get the opportunity to give the same thrill to a fan of my books. Well, my relationship with Margaret didn't end there. She recognized something in me, maybe passion for writing, and we kept sharing letters. I met her in person at my high school graduation party (just my family in the kitchen, with Margaret as the celebrity guest).
PHOTO: Linda (age 17) Margaret (age 71)

As adults Margaret and I kept in touch mostly through holiday cards but when she moved to Berkeley, just an hour away, I visited her. On one visit she gave me the address for a group of her fans who had started a newsletter, The Whispered Watchword. Meeting other Judy Bolton fans was amazing. Even more amazing, through serendipity, one of the other fans has been given the beginning chapters of a new Judy Bolton mystery by Margaret and told she could do whatever she wanted with it. She gave it to me.

Now to understand how HUGE this was, imagine your favorite series and how you felt when it ended. I'd read all 38 Judy Bolton mysteries many times and longed for more. Just one more mystery, I wished. And now I had the opportunity to make it happen. But I had no synopsis or outline to go by, only 3 chapters that ended dramatically with a ambulance siren. I knew these books so well, better than I knew my own writing style. And I was thrilled for the chance to finish this book. So I reread Judy's and studied the style. I typed like I was possessed, and in three weeks had finished the book which Margaret titled THE TALKING SNOWMAN.

Several months later, I met Margaret along with some of her fans in Pennsylvania at a Judy Bolton reunion. I showed Margaret the manuscript, and while she pointed out things that would need to be edited, she was very positive, even impressed that I came up with solutions to the mystery and also guessed much of what she had planned. Of course, I couldn't include her trademark "something that really happened to the author" so she took the manuscript from me and added this scene herself, making editing marks and returning it to me for completion. And years later, I self-published THE TALKING SNOWMAN, a new Judy Bolton mystery co-written by Margaret Sutton and me.

Fans were so thrilled to have this book that I didn't need to advertise. Word spread and they found me. It didn't feel right to profit from a work of love, so I priced the book low; enough to cover my expenses. The first 500 books sold out so next time I printed 1,000. And I continue to sell these books to fans who stumble upon the website and are stunned to find there are more than 38 books.

I wrote an introduction to SNOWMAN which begins: THIS BOOK IS A GIFT.

THE TALKING SNOWMAN is a Christmas story that keeps on giving to readers who love Judy Bolton; the girl heroine who wasn't perfect like Nancy Drew which endeared her to readers like me who watched her age from 15 to mid-20's; a teen to a young married woman.

And the 38 books of the original series have all been reprinted by Applewood Books so new readers can fall in love with Judy, too. Go online and search for Applewood's reprint of the first Judy Bolton book: THE VANISHING SHADOW, based on a real flood.

Make a comment on this blog and I'll randomly pick a winner who can choose one of my books as a prize. I have copies of my SEER, DEAD GIRL, STRANGE ENCOUNTERS series, as well as TALKING SNOWMAN to choose from.


amheavensent said...

To receive a book is always good but to receive one of yours is extra special to me.

Margo Dill said...

Saw your tweet and followed the link here. Would love to win a copy of your book.

Margo Dill

amheavensent said...

To receive a book is always grand, but to receive a book of yours is extra special to me.

NekoKiryu said...

Linda, That was a wonderful story and I would like to meet you as well. I love you and you have inspired me to want to write my own book!

-Love your superfan,

Janie Emaus said...

That's a great story.

Aimee Page said...

See, I love reading stories like that! Where you get to meet someone who obviously had a huge impact on your life!! I know when I first found the Seer series I was just randomly looking around for something new to read. Once I got home and cracked the spine I couldnt put it down!! Made my dad drive me back to the mall and buy the next two. :) I know when I get stuck in a rut and can't think of what to write I like to think W.W.L.D? and it all comes flooding in. Thankyou Linda! You've been more of an inspiration then you know.


Anonymous said...

Just started your Seer series. Really good so far. Unique story & different from the stuff that's out there right now!


Sayomay said...

Thats sucha sweet story! It reminded me of me writing to u! U were the first author to ever responed to my letters! idk if u remember but i sent u a stick figure comic a while back depicting when u sent witch ball! I still have all the seer series books! From the tattered Dont die drangonfly i bought at goodwill to the copy of Witch Ball u sent me! Hopefully you will b doing to signing for have an event in Texas so i can finally meet u! :D
Samantha D

collkosinski said...

What a wonderful story. : )

collkosinski said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christine said...

peraceceI can't think of ANYTHING I would rather have than to win a signed copy of one of your books!...AWESOME Christmas gift:)

Linda Joy Singleton said...

Thanks for all the wonderful comments! I'll let you know when I draw a winner for a book.

If anyone wants my latest postcard of my books/info email me privately with a mailing address. I'll send several to teachers and librarians.