Linda has spoken at a variety of venues from conferences to book clubs. She can tailor her presentation to your group’s needs. Her fees are negotiable.
Organizations she’s taught/spoken at include The Women’s Center at Firelands College in Ohio; Stonecoast MFA program at the University of Southern Maine and in Michigan at the following: the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids; IN-Word/OUT-Word Writing Workshop; Troy Public Library; HAVEN Domestic Violence Shelter; Metro Detroit Writers/Springfed Arts; Royal Oak Rotary; and Pages Bookshop. She has appeared on Writestream Radio, Between the Lines on WMUK Michigan Public Radio, and Through the Eyes of Women on NPR station KHSU.
Linda is a member of Detroit Working Writers, She Writes, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Romance Writers of America and Springfed Arts.
Her presentations include:
Get Close to your Readers Through Point-of-View
Which point-of-view best serves your story: first person, third or second? We’ll look at how each POV works differently to move the reader, and how a writer can create more intimacy, or might want to add necessary distance.
“You” in Fiction: A Departure from the Narrative Norm
Second person address in fiction is a rhetorical device to denote a story’s narrator turning away from the reader to address another, as in “I –to-you.” By reading and discussing examples, and an in-class exercise, we’ll explore how and why this literary device creates a more passionate response in a reader, and what factors make it successful.
The Second Worst Moment in my Writing Career
Linda presents her hunt for an agent, her journey through the publishing world, the second worst and very worst moments in her writing career, and the joys of working with a small press. Attendees will leave feeling inspired.
Linda K Sienkiewicz, award-winning author of In the Context of Love, attributes her creative drive to her artistic mother, who taught her to sew, and her father, who let her monkey around with the gadgets in his workshop. A scholarship art student, she worked in graphics before raising a family. Years later, she returned to her other passion, writing. Her poetry, fiction and art have been published in more than fifty literary journals, such as Prairie Schooner, Clackamas Literary Review, Rattle, CALYX, A Twist of Noir, Spoon River Poetry Review and Permafrost. She has a poetry chapbook award from Bottom Dog Press, Pushcart Prize nomination in poetry. In the Context of Love has a 2016 Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist, a 2016 Readers’ Favorite Finalist, and a 2015 Great Midwest Book Festival Honorable Mention. Her Masters Degree (MFA) in Fiction is from The University of Southern Maine. Linda grew up south of Cleveland, Ohio, and now lives in Rochester, MI. She is a volunteer for Rochester Area Neighborhood House Inc., a nonprofit human service organization. Her website: lindaksienkiewicz.com
LONG BIO HERE
Click to expand Interview and/or Credits:
1. In your story, the main character Angelica Schirrick goes on a journey of self-discovery after her family suffers a devastating blow. Have you been on a similar journey in your own life, and how has it changed you?
Our family suffered a tragic loss when my eldest son took his own life in 2011, but I don’t know if there’s ever an end to such a journey. Living with loss becomes part of who you are. I now understand there are no guarantees in life, and I have much more empathy for anyone who’s suffered any kind of tragedy or loss. Life itself is a constantly evolving journey of self-discovery.Life itself is a constantly evolving journey of self-discovery.
2. Angelica speaks to an old love interest, Joe, about her life. Why not have her tell her story outright? Why tell it to Joe and not to the reader?
In the Context of Love is a deeply personal, intimate story, and my hope is to create an equally intimate experience for the reader. If Angelica were to tell her story to “you” the reader, she would be telling us about a tragic love affair. However, when she addresses Joe using “you,” the reader is drawn into their relationship: we hear “you” and know it’s Joe, but at the same time, we become the “you.” So, on a subliminal level, the reader can experience the love affair, rather than simply being told about it.
3. As someone who has published short stories, poems, and essays prior to authoring this book, how challenging did you find the process of writing In The Context of Love?
I found it to be quite an undertaking, both exhilarating and exhausting. I relate it to writing one massive poem. After I had written to the end, I discovered what the story was really about, then went back to the beginning and refined everything to focus on that. Instead of rearranging stanzas, I rearranged paragraphs and chapters. Instead of analyzing one word or phrase, it was sentences or paragraphs. A writer can spend years crafting one poem, so taking years to craft a novel didn’t discourage me.
4. How did you come up with the title of your book?
At its heart, the story is about love and what people do in the context of love. A mother goes to extreme lengths to protect her daughter. A father takes action unlike anything he’s done before to keep his daughter from going astray. A man sends yellow roses, which signify friendship, to someone he loves in hopes she’ll appreciate the deeper meaning.
5. You chose to set your story in Ohio. What lead you to choose this setting? Do you have ties to the area?
I grew up south of Cleveland, Ohio, in Independence. Part of the story takes place in the seventies, when Angelica is a teen, so I drew from my vivid memories of Cleveland from that era, and my high school and hometown were in my mind when I created Angelica’s fictitious school and neighborhood.
6. Who is your favorite character from the book, and why?
I love them all for different reasons, but I got a kick out of writing Gavin Schirrick, Angelica’s husband. He’s shady and complicated with a streak of stupid. He allowed me to go over to the dark side and write from there. It was fascinating to create him and then let him screw things up on his own.
7. Do you have any tips or advice for other writers trying to get published?
Think of your chapters as publishable excerpts, and submit them to literary journals and contests. Sometimes judges offer valuable feedback, and publishing credits establish credibility. Writing a synopsis is a great exercise that will help you further develop your story, plus it’s necessary for querying agents and publishers. If possible, work with a reputable story editor or other writers on structure, plot and characterization. Take a couple weeks off and then return to revising with fresh eyes. Once you feel you have a well-crafted manuscript, research agents and publishers and start sending out those queries. Lastly, don’t let rejection deter you. Be determined.
8. Who are your favorite authors?
T. C. Boyle, Marilynne Robinson, Ann Hood, Anne Tyler, Ian McEwan, Jane Smiley, Jane Hamilton, Bonnie Jo Campbell and Laura Kasischke to name a few. The earliest books I remember embracing were Heidi, Pippi Longstocking, Mary Poppins, and The Jungle Book.
9. What do you hope readers will take away from your book, what wisdom or insights?
Bad things happen in life, but there is much good in the world, too. Through understanding and love, redemption is possible. Through storytelling, we learn we are not alone.
Grateful acknowledgment from the author to the editors of the literary journals, magazines and anthologies in which the following poems and stories first appeared:
Celebrities in Disgrace “Holy Liberace” and “Popular Art in America”
Clackamas Literary Review
Edge City Review
Into the Teeth of the Wind
Main Street Rag
Mobius: A Journal of Social Change
Muddy River Poetry Review
Now Here Nowhere
Spoon River Poetry Review
Touchstone Literary Review
Wayne Literary Review
White Pelican Review
The following poems first appeared as a First Place Chapbook Award titled “In the Curve of Space and Time” from Heartlands, published in Vol. 7 (1997): “Cigar Stains,” “He Ain’t Nobody,” “What Ma Never Knew,” “Friday Night, Brookpark Skateland,” “Chocolate Caramels” “Incurable Heart,” “Face It,” “Leave Your Boots by the Door,” “Eulogy on Main,” and “Ice Dance.”
The following poems first appeared in a chapbook titled “Postcard of a Naked Man,” published by March Street Press: “Russell Edson’s Matter,” “Interesting,” “The Circus Runs Away with my Life,” “In Lavender,” “Eviction,” “Postpartum Psychosis,” “Color of Broken,” “This Night,” “On a Postcard of a Naked Man,” “Pet Names,” “Leave your Boots By the Door,” “Behind the Willow Theatre.”
The following poems first appeared in the anthology Almost Touching, published by Plain View Press: “What Matters,” “Anaconda,” “Toronto Trolley,” “Danger in Perfect Order,” “Nightly Grind,” “Order Toll Free,” “Cosmic Misconnections,” “Smile, Baby,” “Jackie Junior,” “Sleepwalker,” “Running with that Dream,” “All Night Movie,” “Tattooed in Jocko’s Parlor,” and “Kiss the Sun”
The following poems first appeared in a chapbook titled “Security,” published by March Street Press: “Holy Liberace,” “Father,” “Family Portrait,” “Wake Up,” “Who to Sleep With,” “Help Wanted,” “Retirement Living Receptionist,” “The Twin,” “Elegy for a Son,” “Terror,” “Device,” “Shimmer,” “Thrust,” “What Every Mother Hopes For”
MISCELLANEOUS ON THE WEB
Detroit Free Press
MetroParent Magazine: Cutting: Why Teens Hurt Themselves; Domestic Violence: Kids: The Secondary Victims; Parents’ Guide to School: “My Teacher Doesn’t Like Me”
Rocky Parenting: Finding Perspective in the Loss of a Son
2016 Eric Hoffer Commercial Fiction Finalist Award for In the Context of Love
Great Midwest Book Festival Honorable Mention for In the Context of Love
National Federation of State Poetry Societies, Hon. Mention: “Nightly Grind”
Heartlands, Poetry Chapbook Award, 1st place
Detroit Writer’s Voice Poetry Contest, 2nd place: “Anaconda”
Pushcart Prize Nomination: “Leaving Carolina”
Sow’s Ear Review Chapbook Contest, Finalist
Maryland State Lit & Poetry Society Chapbook Contest, Hon. Mention
Detroit Working Writers Spring Competition, Hon. Mention, poetry manuscript
Concrete Wolf Finalist, Chapbook Contest
Redgreen Press, Finalist, Chapbook Contest
Bone & Flesh, Finalist, Chapbook Contest
Frith Press, Finalist, Chapbook Contest
Detroit Writers Voice, Hon. Mention Poetry: “Russell Edson’s Matter”
Main Street Rag, Finalist, Chapbook Contest
Springfed Arts-Metro Detroit Writers, 2nd Place Poetry: “Shimmer”
Springfed Arts-Metro Detroit Writers, 3rd Hon. Mention, poetry: “Device”
Inkwell Poetry Contest, Finalist, Judge Billy Collins: “What Every Mother Hopes For”
Springfed Arts-Metro Detroit Writers Prose Competition, 2nd place, Judge Craig Holden: “Swerve”
Black Lawrence Press, Semi-Finalist, Chapbook Contest
Springfed Arts-Metro Detroit Writers Prose Competition, Hon. Mention, Judge Jack Driscoll: “Obsessive Possessive”
Springfed Arts-Metro Detroit Writers Prose Competition, 2nd place, Judge Brad Leithauser: “Incarcerated”
Springfed Arts Prose Competition, Hon. Mention, “Gut Wrenched in Barnstown”
Springfed Arts Prose Competition, Hon. Mention, “The Right Thing”, judge Robert Olmsted