I’m not very good at talking about myself, so I’m just going to fumble my way through this. I was born Linda Faye Hood in Tampa, Florida in 1966. Thankfully, my parents had the good sense to move the family out of there before I learned to talk. Then again, considering my speech, maybe that wasn’t such a good thing.
I was shy, mainly because I stuttered, and partly because of my dynamic siblings. I couldn’t compete with them. So I withdrew into myself and started making up little stories.
By the way, I googled my name as well as my married name, and there are between 500 to 1,000 women who are of the same names depending on which last name you use. Therefore, I write under LF Gillis. I googled that and only found 6 of us. Hey! One of them is the cover to one of my books! Yes! I’m discoverable.
Okay, I have a tendency to digress. Where was I? Oh yeah. Me. Yikes! Okay, here we go. I was raised outside the small town of Madison, Florida. It boarders Georgia. Madison, and about six other towns are my inspiration for Morgansville, the setting for my rural noir novella, “Complicated Matters”. Don’t worry, I’m not going to talk about that, I’m going to bore you with some of the details of my life. This isn’t going to be an autobiography. If it were, I’d have to title it, “My Rise to Mediocrity.” But Madison is the inspiration for my settings.
In the tenth grade, I dropped out of high school after an argument with my English teacher, who kicked me out of her honors class and stuck me in her remedial class. I took the high school equivalency test just to prove to her I wasn’t stupid. Back then, they didn’t mail you a GED certificate, they sent you a High School Diploma. That’s what it says on mine anyway. I got every English question right and took those results to that teacher, personally. It’s a good thing I had it with me too. She tried to have me arrested for skipping school. Did I mention there wasn’t any love between this teacher and I?
It’s ironic that one English teacher took away my dreams, and five years later, another one gave them back to me. By the time I was 21, I was going to college while working a full time job at the local factory. One day, Miss Fannie Mae Walton calls me into her office. It was then, I realized I wasn’t the only one leading a double life. My prim and proper, Southern Belle, English teacher’s office was so full of smoke I couldn’t breathe. I stood at the door trying to keep fresh air in my lungs, despite her insistence that I come inside and sit down. How do you tell someone you respect and admire that you can’t breathe in her office? This was 1986, few if any, smoking regulations.
After an hour of discussing her childhood, my future, and Louis L’Amour, she takes out some of my work. She starts reading some of my short stories, then tells me I don’t fit in at that college. I had a B average, so this came as a shock. She tells me I see things differently from everyone else. I always thought that was a good thing. Then Miss Walton puts my things away and tells me, “Congratulations, Miss Hood. You’re a writer. Now finish the semester, go live your life, and write about it.”
About 5 years ago, I lost my job when an old injury became unmanageable. That’s when I found out how hard it is to get the Social Security Disability we all have don’t get a choice about paying in. I was beyond mad. Depression started setting in. I felt worthless. For the first time since I was 18, I didn’t have a job. That was a big hit to my pride. If it weren’t for my husband, I’d be homeless.
I needed someone to fight back. I needed a champion. I needed a fighter. Syl Felix was born! I said born, not created. I first thought she was going to be a female wrestler since I grew up admiring such ladies as The Fabulous Moolah and Terri Shane. Then I watched an episode of WWE. Growing up in the 80’s watching Dusty Rhodes, Black Jack Mulligan, The Briscoe Brothers, and The Funk Brothers, along with my heroes; I was mortified.
So I decided to research the next best thing–women’s boxing. In many ways, she is my hero. Writing her stories, starting with “Syl’s Story: Unfinished Business,” keeps me from getting depressed. Doing research, I am addicted to it, expands my horizons. Now, I’m working on book 3, and am discovering new things about brain damage and treatments all the time. I incorporate real-life events into fictional stories. I understand you have a family friendly policy. Out of respect for that, I won’t be sending you any links to my novels. Anyone can find them on Amazon.
I decided to go indie after my last rejection letter. The editor called my story powerful, but said it wouldn’t fit into their line of books. Oookaayyy. What do you say to that? Let’s publish this thing.
So far, I’ve had to relearn typing, how to build a website, and throw out more than 18 years of family conditioning. My parents didn’t think ladies should brag about themselves. Apparently, posturing is supposed to be a males only thing. I also played around with creating my own book trailers.
I’m 48 years old, not bad looking for an old fat lady, and live in North Carolina with my husband and almost graduating daughter. My son and his wife live close by and are expecting their first son.
I’ve been know to go into some serious mood swings, but it allows me to write in different genres. I’m leaving you with something I wrote the last time I was feeling philosophical. I may help explain.
I write about people who conquer adversity because I need heroes. I write mysteries because I need problem solvers. I write comedy to give me balance. I write poetry to stay in touch with my soul
You can find me online at the following links: