Interview with mystery author Linda Westphal

Author Linda Westphal joins me today
for a conversation about her new new-age mystery novella, The Hermit Bookstore.
Linda Westphal writes feel-good stories with
characters who explore life events that cannot be explained but are true based
on firsthand experience, such as coincidence, help from people who have passed
on, interactions with angels, intuition, and mind-body-spirit topics.

She lives in Sacramento with her
family and enjoys travel, tea, food, sunny days, friendly people, and a good
Please tell us about your current
The Hermit Bookstore is a feel-good story with a special
theme: Even if you are not aware of it, there are moments when you are
receiving hints, a nudge, or support from a loved one who has passed, an angel,
or a spirit guide.
I had fun
developing this story, which is based on a real-life event that included a bit
of mysterious help from the other side. Most people have heard of stories where
a stranger comes out of nowhere, saves a life in a car accident, and then
disappears without a trace. This is a similar story.
What inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to
write a story that was similar to a true event I had heard told. Here’s a
summary of the true event: Two men had been driving at night for hours. They
were lost and their car was almost out of gas. Moments before the men nearly gave
up, they saw a lit up 1950s-style restaurant down a country road. They stopped
to ask for directions. The restaurant was empty except for the man behind the
counter. He gave them directions to the nearest gas station. At the gas station
the two men mentioned the kind man at the restaurant down the road. The gas
station attendant said the restaurant closed years ago, when the owner, a man
who matched the description of the man behind the counter, died.
Here’s a short excerpt
from The Hermit Bookstore:
Hermit Bookstore
by Linda Westphal
2015 TISBA Finalist, Fiction
Unexplained events happen every day.
This is just one event.
Mary June – Wednesday,
April 23, 2014, morning
fine misty rain fell on the small northern California town of Lotus as Mary
June Shaw jogged the curves of Lotus Road. She had considered blaming the
seasonal mix of dewy clouds and early morning sunlight outside her bedroom
window for her inability to sleep, but her instincts hinted at something
else—something important she had to do today. Whatever it was, it had coaxed
her out of bed at dawn on her day off as marketing director at Rivers Winery.
population 295, had not always been a small, quiet town. More than 165 years
ago, when gold was discovered here, the nearby American River was overrun
within a few months by men from all over the world who dreamed of finding their
June slowed her pace, took in the view, and wondered what her little town may
have been like during the California gold rush. She imagined makeshift camps
along the river that offered the essentials—a doctor, a blacksmith, a sleeping
lodge, a food kitchen, a tavern, mail services, and other services a man was
willing to trade for a little gold. Surely, she thought, the scene was nothing
like today’s quiet picturesque destination that was abandoned most of the year,
except in the summer when families and groups dropped in for the thrill of
whitewater rafting on the river.
gait changed to a fast walk as she approached the Uniontown Cemetery and
focused on her breathing—in and out, in and out, in and out. In the distance
she could see the tiny old brick post office, built in 1881, and just beyond it
a farmhouse about the same age.
wasn’t until she reached the front of the old post office that she saw a light
in the downstairs window of the farmhouse—a house that was supposed to be
vacant. She stood still, barely breathing, and narrowed her eyes to get a
better look. “Oh my God,” she whispered. Her heart pounded in her chest. Someone’s in the house!
June crossed the street and approached cautiously, taking a second look at a
large wooden sign hanging from a post in front of the house. She was sure it
had not been there yesterday. Then she noticed the For Sale sign that had been
posted at the edge of the yard, near the road, was gone.
shifted her weight to her right leg and leaned forward until she could see the
front of the new sign, which hung from two large metal hooks that were attached
to a wooden post. She read the words carved into the wood—The Hermit Bookstore.
A carved drawing next to the name featured a cloaked man with a brightly lit
lantern in one hand and a walking stick in the other.
walked up to the farmhouse and through a side window saw an older woman,
dressed in a long rainbow-patterned skirt and a loose white blouse, placing
books on a bookshelf that stood higher than her five-foot frame. She watched
the woman for a few minutes, then moved toward the front of the house, walked
up the stairs, and crossed the front porch. Without thinking, she knocked on
the door.
she finished knocking, the woman she had been watching—with her hippie-like
clothes, long blonde wavy hair, and sparkling blue eyes that reminded Mary June
of the American River on a bright sunny day—opened the door.
What exciting story are you working on
I’m working
on a story that explores past lives and how the energy of an emotional event in
a past life can be brought with you into your current life and cause problems.
I enjoy history and metaphysical topics, so I decided to combine the two in my
next story.
When did you first consider yourself a
I’ve written
most of my life but it wasn’t until I started writing stories that I told
people I was a writer.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?
I don’t write
stories full-time but I’m always working on a story. I tend to work through
scenes in my mind, write notes, research ideas, and develop a high-level
outline months before I begin writing. I need to feel comfortable inside some
aspect of the story before I write it. I never know how long this process will
take. Sometimes it takes a few months, or a year or more.
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
Some people
would say it’s the topics I choose to write about – past lives, angels, tarot
cards, psychics, mediums, spirit guides. These are “quirky” and relatively
unexplored topics for many people. I’ve been studying them most of my life; they
are part of my every day. The challenge is communicating these ideas, and how
they can help you improve your life, in a way that makes sense to most people.
I have definitely seen a shift in the world in the last 25 years – more people
are opening their minds to these topics.
As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?
I wanted to
be successful at whatever I was doing at the moment. I’m not a one-career type
of person. I have many interests and want to be able to explore them all.
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
I recently
posted a reading group guide for both books – The Hermit Bookstore and The
— on my website.
The questions in these guides are intended to enhance your book club’s
conversations about the themes and topics in the stories.

Thanks for being here today, Linda!

One thought on “Interview with mystery author Linda Westphal

  1. Linda Westphal says:


    Thank you for the opportunity to talk about THE HERMIT BOOKSTORE. I enjoyed our time together.

    Linda Westphal

    P.S. I love all the fascinating author interviews on your blog. It's a must-read for me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *