Linda LaRue Austin was always encouraged to pursue a career in writing. The daughter of quiet farmers, she took to reading early in life, a pastime easily enjoyed living in a serene and peaceful environment. Her paternal grandmother was a schoolteacher, so books were never hard to come by, and her interest in writing only increased as the years progressed. As a high school student, she was encouraged further by one of her English teachers, Thelma Newby, who praised her writing abilities.
In 1967, Ms. Austin completed a bachelor’s degree in theology and Christian education, with a minor in drama, at Northwest Christian College, an institution to which she received a scholarship. She became an ordained pastor in 1970, and earned a Master of Religious Studies from Lexington Theological Seminary the same year. She has since fulfilled her desire to serve as a minister through Stephen Ministries and the Disciples of Christ Church.
Ms. Austin is an honored member of Fort Worth Writers, and maintains affiliations with the Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc. and the Romance Writers of America. She is also a former member of the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, and considers herself to be an expert in various subjects, including several areas of history, archery and photography. She credits her successful career to having good friends, good fortune, a loving God, and being persistent.
Now retired from her career as a writing instructor and educator, Ms. Austin currently works as a freelance writer. She has produced several manuscripts, and her fantasy novel, “Midnight Amethyst,” is nearly complete. “You have to learn your craft,” she says. “If you know the craft, there’s just about anything you can do with it.” With that in mind, she intends to continue growing personally and professionally in the future.
Conversation with Linda LaRue Austin
Worldwide Publishing: On what topics do you consider yourself to be an expert?
Linda LaRue Austin: Ancient history, archaeology, poetry, Victorian history, American conspiracies, and biblical history.
What motivates you?
My passion and interest for life; my zest for life and beauty.
What short-term and long-term career goals are you currently pursuing?
I am 68 years old and I want to finish remodeling my house. I also want to have my books published and achieve success in my writing, and do some traveling.
How do you plan to achieve these goals?
I am in the midst of publishing my books and fixing my home.
What is the most difficult obstacle or challenge you have faced in pursuit of your goals?
Not being taken seriously.
What is the most significant issue facing your profession today?
Both of the industries I am involved with have technology affecting them.
Did you ever consider pursuing a different career path or another profession? If yes, how did you end up working in your current field?
I didn’t really consider anything else because everything worked out for me. I was encouraged throughout my life. However, I did consider teaching home economics or becoming a librarian.
What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of your profession?
I have tasted recognition and success, and I also have people who admire me.
What advice can you offer fellow members or others aspiring to work in your industry?
Get organized and simplify your life. One person can’t do everything. You need to persevere, and be determined and open to new pathways. Try, try again.
Who have been your mentors or people who have greatly influenced you?
My husband, fellow members of several writing groups, Ron Coulter, Thelma Newby, drama coaches, Denis Beck, Lucile Davis, Robyn Conley, and writing instructors I had.
What changes have you observed in your industry/field since you started?
Everything has changed in the publishing world since I started writing. Computers were just coming into use and since then, self-publishing [has become more prominent] and there are several new ways to read a book. This makes the process both harder and fills more possibilities at the same time. It is a constant effort to keep up on the changes.
How do you see these changes affecting the future of your industry?
I do not believe books will ever go out of style, but they will become fewer. There are and will be even more optional methods to read and store information.
What characteristics help to separate you from your competitors?
I am a lifelong student and I know history. I have studied the craft of writing and I keep up on the changes in the publishing field. Because I know the craft, I know how to creatively and successfully “break the rules.” I also have a vivid imagination and know how to use it.
What lessons have you learned as a professional in your field?
Every person is unique. Every person has a story to tell, and each of those stories deserves a hearing. I take each person I speak to and every story I read or edit seriously and give them/it my best effort.
What are some questions that an individual interested in your services can ask to ensure a more productive relationship?
How do you work when you write? How will you work on my manuscript? I will set up a schedule to work or meet together, and people can feel free to call or meet me at any time. I want the person I am working with and myself to “feel like kindred spirits” as we work together.
What is your favorite or least favorite work-related task to do and why?
My favorite place to be is at the computer, in the middle of a story, happily typing away as I visit my current friends and go with them through their trials. My second favorite aspect is realizing how much work there always is, in both my writing and in my editing.
My least favorite part is knowing that I will never get everything done that I have in my heart to do.