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Linda Nichols

Linda Nichols, a graduate of the University of Washington, is a novelist with a unique gift for touching readers' hearts with her stories. She is also the author of the acclaimed novels If I Gained the World and At the Scent of Water. She and her family make their home in Tacoma, Washington.

Favorite verse: Romans 4:17-21  "I have made you the father of many nations"—in the presence of the God in whom he believed,(B) who gives life to the dead and calls into existence(C) the things that do not exist. 18In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told,(D) "So shall your offspring be." 19He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was(E) as good as dead ((F) since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered(G) the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21fully convinced that(H) God was able to do what he had promised.


 Our Interview with Linda Nichols

What is your favorite Bible verse?

Romans 4:17-21

Is there going to be a sequel to At the Scent of Water?

At the Scent of Water is intended as a stand-alone novel; although Iíve learned to never say never. This book began its life as a romantic comedy with its main hero an implosion demolition man. After that version didnít sell I stowed all the versions and discs in my garage for several years. In time I felt the Lord was allowing me to re-envision the story, so it came to life again. I have no plans for a sequel, but anything is possible.

Are there any new projects on the horizon?

I would like to write a historical novel, an entire series, in fact. I would love to do what Francine Rivers does in alternating contemporary and historical novels. I donít want to become stale or bored with what Iím doing.

How much research did this book take?

Quite a bit. I did a lot of studying and Iím also fortunate to have medical people in my life who were wonderful resources. A book, Walk On Water, about pediatric cardiac surgeons, actually inspired the choice of Samís profession.

How do you think up your characters?

Sam is a composite of all the noble men Iíve ever known and noble southern men, in particular. I wanted to explore the idea of how chivalry works out in todayís modern world.

Annie and I share some characteristics. I patterned her tendency to think deeply about the issues of life after my own as well as her ability to recall the joys and sorrows of life in great detail. Although those can be good qualities they can lead to a sort of melancholy spirit and trouble with forgiving others. I also enjoyed giving her a hobby I love in her knitting and spinning, however I endowed her with much more knowledge and skill than I actually possess.

Samís mother, Mary, is based on my actual Aunt Mary. Although the details of the fictional Maryís life donít match my auntís, she has the same kind and sweet personality and is grounded and the pillar of her family.

Do you have a favorite character? Why?

I would have to say I liked Diane. She has a bracing, ďget up and deal with itĒ way about her, but she is very loving and compassionate as well. I see her as someone who has great flaws, but loves the Lord and others deeply.

How did you choose the setting?

I originally was going to set the book down in Georgia as a tribute to my Georgia relatives, but decided I didnít know enough to write about that area convincingly. However, I wanted a mountain setting with a southern feel, so I chose the Great Smokies. They are picturesque and romantic and I have spent a lot of time near there. I chose Seattle for the second setting because it is about as far away as you can get from North Carolina. It feels like a different world, which was the effect I wanted to convey.

How personal are your novels?

They are very personal. People who know me well see me all over my books and comment on it. But I donít put the actual events of my life in my books. I think fiction is better if life is translated a little rather than described directly. There has to be some distance between the authorís life and the story.

Who was the person who influenced you the most with your writing?

I would have to say my dad has influenced me the most. Heís interested in everything and has accomplished a lot in his life. He has never been intimidated to try new things and has passed that quality on to me. If I didnít have a certain ignorant boldness I donít think I would have ever had the nerve to try to write to begin with. I blunder into things thinking, ďhow hard can it be?Ē and usually by the time the question is answered itís too late to back out.

What were your favorite books as a child?

My favorite books as a child are still some of my favorites. I loved the Anne of Green Gables books, as well as the Little House on the Prairie books. I loved biblical sagas, like The Big Fisherman, The Robe, and Dear and Glorious Physician. Earl Hamnerís books. Spencerís Mountain, and The Homecoming made a big impression as well as The Friendly Persuasion and Except For Me And Thee by Jessamyn West. I also enjoyed Gene Stratton Porterís books, especially Girl of the Limberlost, and The Harvester. And I canít forget Cherry Ames, Beany Malone, and Nancy Drew.

What message would you like your readers to take away from this book?

That God can bring hope into a hopeless situation and that nothing is too hard for Him. Things in our lives can look dead, but be revived when Jesus comes on the scene.

What is your goal or mission as a Christian writer?

It is simply summed up in a verse of scripture that the Lord gave me. During a time of personal reorientation I was praying that the Lord would speak to me. The Scripture He gave me was Jeremiah 15:19. “If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me. If you utter worthy, not worthless words, you will be my spokesman.” Now when I get an idea, I ask myself, “are these worthy words?” It takes a long time to write a book and we only have a short time on this earth. I want the things that I write to be worthy and to have eternal fruit.



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