Linda Heavner Gerald had a picture in her mind she could not shake.
The Port St. Joe resident had a recurring vision of a woman, walking down a street among older houses in Beaufort, South Carolina. There was a man on a balcony waving to her … and the vision in Gerald’s head was gone.
Only to reappear again and again.
So, the retired nurse decided to sit down and map out the details surrounding her vision and that became her first published book, “Beaufort Betrayal.”
That was roughly 18 months ago and since then Gerald has found a calling cranking out two more mysteries and a children’s book, all published and being sold throughout the world, Gerald said.
“I am the most unlikely person to write a book,” Gerald said with a laugh last week. “I feel my faith just set me up for this at this time.
“And here I am; I have my next book in my mind. I have had four books in a year and they are doing well. It is really amazing, this whole thing.”
Gerald has been published by Public America. The company assumes all expenses, pays no upfront costs and makes their books available to all booksellers. Gerald is among featured authors on Amazon.com.
The publishing company, Gerald said, serves a launching pad for authors and is excellent at marketing its authors and their works.
Gerald said that once she sat down with pen and pad – a traditionalist, she also types with a typewriter – the words, the sentences seem to take care of themselves.
She does not plot or outline her books before beginning the task of writing, she said.
The books, and the plots, just spill out, she said.
“I feel like I am vessel in this,” Gerald said. “I have so many books in my mind, it is difficult sorting them out.
“I am going to write what I feel. I feel like I work by divine intervention. The book just writes itself. It is different at the end that it was at the beginning. I love it. I sit and do it.”
Gerald said she writes pretty much every day, “almost non-stop” until the current work she is slaving over is finished.
Gerald has had such periods of artistic inspiration before.
While living in the Bahamas she took up painting, though she knew little about brushwork or canvas before picking up a brush and paint.
“Painting was the same thing as the writing,” Gerald said. “I started painting and it was day and night; I must have painted 200 paintings and some those paintings sold well,” Gerald said.
A stint as president of the Friends of the St. Joseph Peninsula State Park provided added spark.
“That gave me a little confidence, getting out and meeting people and being part of that organization,” Gerald said. “That really helped.”
So, with four books behind her, including a mystery set in Rosemary Beach in Walton County, Gerald is moving on the next tome – which will surely come as easy as the first four.
“Everything that has happened has been good,” Gerald said.
And then she was off, to her home and her pen and pad.
Linda Heavner Gerald will have two upcoming book signings. The first will be 1-3 p.m. ET Saturday, March 16 at Downtown Books in Apalachicola; the second will be 1-3 p.m. ET March 30 at No Name Books on Reid Avenue in Port St. Joe.