Linda Schroeder divides her time between the bright sun of California and the high mountains of Colorado. She has a Master’s degree in English and one in Communicative Disorders/Audiology. In addition to her novel, Artists & Thieves, she has published a college text.
Her early interest in English expanded to include language disorders and she began a second career as an audiologist and aural rehabilitation therapist working with deaf and hard-of-hearing children and adults.
Currently, she studies and practices Chinese brush painting, celebrating the vitality and energy of nature. She follows art and art theft blogs and writes her own blog about art and sometimes includes reviews of novels. She is working on two more novels, a second Mai Ling novel about the Diamond Sutra, and a Sammy Chan art mystery about the forgery of a Goya painting.
You can visit her website at www.artistsandthieves.com.
What was your inspiration for Artists & Thieves?
I was enrolled several years ago in a class at UCSD on how to write a mystery novel. I didn’t want to do “detective” fiction in which a crime is committed by someone “bad” and then solved by someone “good.” I was fascinated by art and art theft and wanted to explore why someone with good intensions might steal art. So I created a heroine who is an artist who must steal an ancient Chinese bronze bowl because it belonged to her ancestor in China and she must return it. She is artist and thief at the same time. To fill her world I created an art collector, an art critic, a flamboyant “best friend” artist, art looters and smugglers, all involved in the theft of the same bronze bowl. Hence, Artists & Thieves. It won the San Diego Book Awards in the action/suspense category.
Tell us something about your hero and/or heroine that my readers won’t be able to resist.
Mai Ling is beautiful, clever, skilled in martial arts. She dresses in Chinese silk and lives her life as if she is splashing wild colors on a fast moving canvas.
Is there a villain in your story? Tell us about him/her.
The villain and killer is an employee of an import firm. He smuggles objects looted from digs around the world. He is the kind of handsome man who actually looks perfect up close, like a Milan model. He dresses in while linen suits.
Who is your favorite character in the book and why?
Mai is my favorite but to portray her well I paired her with Angelo. Mai is competent, skilled in martial arts, compassionate, a winner with positive qualities. Angelo is arrogant, conceited, emotional. His impulsive nature gets him into destructive relationships. Mai and Angelo are different sides of the same coin.
What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
My favorite scene is the build up to the plot’s climax. I had to increase the speed of the story, put obstacles in the way of Mai’s success, and isolate her from anyone’s help. I let the physical setting reflect her frustration: “The streets at the west end of Golden Gate Park were shrouded in fog and darkness. Mai couldn’t see the white center line on the road or the one at the edge marking the bicycle lane, couldn’t keep the Jaguar in her lane. She was racing to find Toni, getting nowhere, the hands on the dashboard clock sweeping away minutes.”
What do you love most about being an author?
I like having a written story, a product for someone to read and enjoy. The process of writing is work, listening to critiques on what needs to be fixed is painful, but storytelling is an art that requires both craft and viewers as much as any painting does.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell my readers?
Thanks to you and your readers for being interested in the bits and pieces of books.