Linda Leaming is a writer whose work has appeared in Ladies’ Home Journal, Mandala Magazine, Guardian U.K., A Women’s Asia (Travelers’ Tales), and many other publications. She has an M.F.A. in fiction from the University of Arizona, and divides her time between Nashville and Bhutan where she lives with her husband, the renowned Bhutanese thangka painter Phurba Namgay. Her latest book, A FIELD GUIDE TO HAPPINESS: What I Learned in Bhutan about Living. Loving and Waking Up, is now available from Hay House.
The Writing Life Questions
What did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was in the fifth grade I wrote a poem about the wind and it was such a rush. I knew I would be a writer. It was a terrible poem, but the point is I’ve never had any ambition or any talent to do anything else.
What are you doing when you’re not writing books?
Knitting, teaching, walking, drinking coffee, reading, laughing, spending time with people I like, going to movies, picnicking, loafing (a word people use in Bhutan that I do a lot).
What did you learn in school that helps you as an author?
At the suggestion of one of my teachers in the M.F.A. program, I developed a hard shell like a turtle. Nothing anybody says about my writing can get to my soft underbelly.
Do you share your work-in-progress with anyone other than your agent/editor?
Heavens no! Why would I? I have the steady eye and pragmatic wisdom of Laurie Abkemeier, and I can’t imagine anyone who is more helpful, encouraging, and timely with comments. I pray every day for her long life and good health. No joke.
What advice do you have for writers who have signed their first book deal?
Buckle your seatbelt. Keep hydrated. Don’t let your ego keep you from enjoying your moment in the sun.
How did you come up with the title?
I think my editor kind of dictated the title after I turned in the first draft, and so during the rewrite I felt obligated to try like hell to live up to it.
What was the hardest part about writing this book?
Writing the proposal.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I stayed in a beautiful house in a remote part of Tennessee for 2½ months, and I’d write every day and send two or three chapters to Laurie every couple of weeks, and she’d comment. I wrote, walked, ate, slept, and swam. It was heaven.
What is your favorite way to connect with readers?
I like it when they email and say they’ve been to Bhutan and found some of the places I write about. Or they tell me a story of something that happened as a result of their reading.
What is the last book you read?
A More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible by Charles Eisenstein
Visit Linda at LindaLeaming.com, and read her earlier installment of Inside the Authors Studio here.
A FIELD GUIDE TO HAPPINESS is now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, and wherever books are sold.