(From author’s site)
One of Linda’s earliest memories is of holding a book-and crying because she couldn’t read it. An only child whose father worked for the federal government, she moved often. She was born in Georgia, lived in Oklahoma and California, finally settling in Fairfax, Virginia. Visits to relatives in Georgia and southwestern Virginia were the constants in her life. In those places seeds were sown that would later grow into books.
Her father’s family was from Sandersville, Georgia. The high point of family reunions there was sitting around her grandmother’s old oak table and listening to her father and his brothers tell stories. Her mother came from Martinsville, Virginia, and going there was like stepping into the past. Her great-grandfather lived in a log cabin. Her great-aunt churned her own butter. Linda remembers her grandmother doing laundry in a wringer washer. Her uncle knew all about plant and animal life. When she went there, she saw stories all around her. And her family heritage didn’t just feed her imagination. Sitting in her great-aunt’s porch swing, she was introduced to the Lord Jesus Christ, and gave her life to Him.
Midway through high school, though, Linda’s father was transferred yet again-to Seattle, Washington. Linda was desperately unhappy about the move, but God had plans for good. Alone and discouraged in her new home, she renewed her commitment to Christ. However, things weren’t going well with her family. By the time Linda left home to attend college at Seattle Pacific University, her parents’ marriage had dissolved.
She stayed in contact with both her parents, and kept busy changing her major-from nursing to writing and back to nursing again. She finally transferred to the University of Washington, graduating with a degree in Communications. Unable to find work as a writer, she took clerical jobs. While working at a bank, she was introduced to the son of a co-worker, and a year later they were married. As Ken pursued a career as a lawyer, Linda stayed home to raise their three sons, and put her writing on hold. When the youngest went to first grade, she joined a writer’s workshop at a nearby community college and began writing freelance articles for local parenting magazines.
She committed herself to learning the craft of writing. She wrote several “practice€VbCrLf novels, but couldn’t seem to bring them to a conclusion. Finally realizing that her dream of being an author would never come true if she couldn’t finish a book, she committed herself to finishing something, even if it was terrible. She began writing a serious novel, but midway through was captivated by another idea-that of writing a romantic comedy. They were fun, they were lighthearted, they weren’t depressing, and besides, how hard could it be? She came up with a premise-distraught young woman pours out her heart to the man she thinks is her new therapist, but who is actually the carpenter hired to remodel the psychologist’s office. The writing was fun and came easily. She finished in six months, then sent out query letters to nineteen agents. Four days after dropping them in the mail, Linda received a telephone call from agent Theresa Park. Theresa offered to represent Linda, and three weeks later she had sold the book, Handyman, as well as film rights.
Linda felt as if she had stepped onto a carnival ride. She went from driving the carpool and working as a secretary to having agents and lawyers and business with Hollywood. Although her family remained in their modest bungalow in Tacoma, Washington, subtle changes began to take place. She began to be distracted from the values around which she had built her life.
By the time Handyman was released in January of 2000, she was outwardly prosperous, but miserable in her spirit. Success and financial gain had brought more confusion than happiness. Once another year had passed, she was beginning to realize she had lost something precious. She began to remember the faith of her grandmother and aunts with grief instead of joy. Tensions mounted in her home. Her family was unhappy and her marriage strained. Financial reversals had created tensions in that area as well, and her writing career had stalled. Humbled, she turned back to God. She let go of her ambitions and asked Him to take over the areas of her life that were in such disarray. She relinquished everything, and miraculously, hope and joy came back to the heart that had been hard and cold.
However, she didn’t feel permission to write. Nor did she feel any desire to do so. Months passed, but one day, as she listened to a song of praise, she reflected that someone had written the words to that song. They had worshipped God themselves, then had written down those words, and she, hearing them, was led to worship as well. In a moment of insight, she saw the reason God had given her the gift of writing. She humbly asked the Lord if He would allow her to write for Him. Graciously, He consented. The book that resulted, Not a Sparrow Falls, is a beautiful story of redemption and grace, of a prodigal daughter’s journey home.