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Prior to Linda's arrival, the Arkansas Easts spent a number of years outside of New Orleans proper in small-town Louisiana. As a result of her coming to be a good mile north of the Mason-Dixon Line, Linda's kin could always blame any questionable quirks in her nature on the fact she was the only Yankee in the brood. Yet, as her mama and daddy had taught her the basics of speech, she never quite lost the family's Delta twang. The drawl gave her away as outsider to her St. Louis peers. It wasn't until Linda fled to the West that she felt she found a real sense of place.
When Linda was seven, her daddy passed on suddenly. The Southern Belles took over her upbringing, though their life lessons never quite took firm root in the budding Blues Mama. More influential was the arrival of her well-read and loving stepfather, William Hill, who married into the clan when Linda was twelve. He always encouraged her to write and to read everything she could get her hands on. It was a lesson taken to heart.
Blues, R&B and old rock and roll captivated Linda from the get go. She'd traveled the country by spending summers with her sister Bettye, who moved around the nation often as she followed her husband's jobs in the hotel business. It was a time when the intrepid music seeker could still find regional music on the airwaves, and Linda explored the different musical styles to be had with gusto. As for her penchant for record collecting, Linda started out young. For her eighth birthday, Linda was given a gift certificate from a fancy local department store. Instead of buying the clothes her mama intended, Linda went straight to the record department, where she bought the first pieces not inherited from her siblings: The Beatles' Rubber Soul and Hendrix's Are You Experienced? From then on out, her walking around money inevitably went to records, concerts, and music related books.
Linda is a cartoonist as well as a writer. When she was sixteen, she had her first publishing success with a Beatles-themed strip in a fanzine called Strawberry Fields. Though she kept on writing and drawing through thick and thin, she didnt pursue publishing again for many years. Instead she relocated to the Southwest after getting her high school diploma, rarely returning to her midwestern birthplace thereafter. She graduated from the University of Arizona in Tucson with a Bachelor's Degree in Theater Production.
Linda met Steve Brady, her future husband, while still in college. He was a native Arizonan with a record collection twice the size of Linda's. His tastes ran to jazz, whereas Linda's records mostly featured rock and roll. The couple had a meeting of musical minds when it came to the blues, however. Steve's first courting gift to Linda was new inner sleeves for her old albums. He came over one night, just before her birthday, and handed the sleeves to her at the door. He said, in a stern voice: "Use these. You're ruining your records." He managed to ask her out on that same evening. Clearly it was a case of Kismet. Steve and Linda's collections eventually insisted on marriage, and after six years of courtship, the owners of the albums obliged.
After graduating from college, Linda joined Steve in the Los Angeles area. It was the eighties when first they moved there and married, and the club scene and indie record stores offered an amazing selection of talent. The couple delved into the music available with great abandon before moving to the outskirts of the Colorado Desert and starting a family.
First came daughter Carmen, then twin sons, James and Lee. Steve and Linda felt it important that she stay home with the kids during their early years. Linda, however, felt pretty isolated as a result, and with her soul craving a little creative flow. She started studying guitar while pregnant with her daughter, and began writing again in earnest with the arrival of the twins.
The story that was to become Lone Star Ice and Fire came to her then, though it would go through many revisions before becoming the book it is today. After knocking off the first rough draft of the novel, Linda took a seminar on how to eventually get the thing published. The best information she gleaned from that class was to try marketing a few shorter works before pursuing getting the novel into print. With a concert review of Taj Mahal in Southland Blues Magazine, her music journalism career began in earnest.
Linda served for two years as contributing editor for HHGI Online Guitar Magazine and as local music columnist for Northern Utah Junction Magazine. She regularly writes profiles and reviews for Blue Suede News, a well-respected American roots music magazine, and has had pieces appear in several other publications. Her short fiction has appeared in The Mid-South Literary Review. Lone Star Ice and Fire is her first novel.
She currently lives in Ogden, Utah with her three children and husband. She is still pursuing her freelance music journalism career, and is also working on her second novel. The book in progress follows the formative years of Louisianan Bonnell Devereaux, a sinister supporting character featured in Lone Star Ice and Fire. The new book will be loaded with the mystery and music found in the Creole culture of Louisiana and Texas. Stay "in tune" for more
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