Five years ago Linda Heavner Gerald turned her artistic pursuits from the visual to the written.
An accomplished painter, Gerald nevertheless felt the pull, the calling, if you will, to take up pen (well, let’s face it, more often these days it’s take up keyboard) and get to work.
She really hasn’t slowed much since.
And as her 13th book, and first historical novel, has arrived on Amazon, Gerald took home six medals last weekend during the annual Florida Authors and Publishers Association book awards.
“It was absolutely amazing,” Gerald said of the event in Buena Vista. “They kept calling my name.
“I missed going up for one medal while I was walking back from receiving another because I didn’t hear my name called.”
The medals came from several categories and weren’t solely for writing: Gerald won bronze and gold medals for her cover designs on two books.
Gerald took home one more of each, gold and bronze, in the same writing category, Young Adult Fiction, with “The Soldier and the Author” (gold) and “AnnaPolis Summers.”
“AnnaPolis Summers” earned another bronze in the Young Adult Romance/Coming of Age/New Adult category.
The same book also earned Heavner a silver medal in the Young Adult category (including both fiction and non-fiction).
“It was surreal,” Gerald said. “And being in that room, with all that talent, from all over North America.”
Amazingly enough, the two cover design medals weren’t for either of the above mentioned books, but for “Sins of Summer” (bronze) and “Till Heaven and Forever” (gold).
As the medal count, and diversity of categories, illustrates, Gerald is not to be pigeonholed.
She has heard the advice to focus on a genre: it just doesn’t work for her.
“They want you to write to genre but I write in all genres,” Gerald said. “I have so many ideas I have to write them down in a folder to remember.
“I am always writing. We (Gerald and husband Buddy) don’t travel as much anymore and we love Port St. Joe. So I write and he reads. It works out perfect.”
Lime Rock Productions, the nameplate for her books, honors the beach house the couple owns.
That Gerald is busy at the keyboard, or note pad, or whatever might be handy, seems a tad understating given the 13 books in five years.
Thrillers, romance, young adult fiction, she has produced a varied library.
And she can look back at the first tomes and see her improvement as a writer; Gerald recently reclaimed the rights to her first three books which she called “full of errors” for re-editing and re-release.
The new historical novel, set in northern France when the French Resistance battled the Nazis, started after a trip to Northern France a few years ago.
Later, discussing the idea with Buddy over dinner in Destin, Gerald was stunned when the man at the next table informed the couple he was French and had served in the French Resistance during World War II.
“I thought, ‘Yeah, right,’ he was just playing with me,” Gerald said.
“But he gave me his card and we communicated back and forth and he has helped me a lot with what people were feeling there back then, things I could not research.”
“VieVie La Fontaine” was just released on Amazon and, as with all Gerald’s books, is available locally at Joseph’s Cottage.
“It’s doing better than any book I have released,” Gerald said.
Then, it was back to work.