SPEAKER: Linda is a member of AWSA, and is available to speak to your organization, at your conference, or as part of a workshop.
Contact her at

AGENT: Linda is a an agent with Hartline Literary Agency. She would love to represent that next great American novel! She will look at nonfiction, but she LOVES FICTION--historic, suspense, romance or all of the above.

AUTHOR: Linda writes romance in all categories, but what is her fave? Suspense, and not only suspense, but SUSPENSE SEALED WITH A KISS

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Congrats, ladies!

Congrats, Sadie and Sophie and Nancy Sullivan!
What made you so interested in the direction social media is going?
Two factors here.
One, I’m in the business. As a software developer, I’m responsible for a bunch of credit and debit card processing. That is, I provide the software tools to get it done. Because I’ve been at this a long time, I’m very aware of how much personal info is transmitted back and forth in the daily course of business. We encrypt it, tunnel it, protect it the best we can. And yet there are breaches.
When we’re involved in social media, we’re far more careless about the information we throw around. You and I can get a near-complete life history on anyone that approaches us on any of the various platforms. It is not usually very difficult at all. Sometimes it only requires two or three minutes to accomplish.
So social media is a major minefield. That makes it an entire new frontier for a writer to work in.
Two, I want to be a Christian that pays attention to the cultural shifts going on around us. I remember standing in my grandmother’s home as a little boy, hearing her ring up the operator and give her a four-digit phone number. In the short span of my lifetime, we’ve gone from that simple beginning, cascaded through the prank phone calls (“Is your refrigerator running? Better go catch it!”), to #900 sex numbers, and now to virtual people and virtual lives.
Back in 1970 a man named Alvin Toffler wrote a book called, Future Shock, where he dealt with the exponential growth of knowledge and technology. I read that as a missionary in Taiwan back in 1978. He defined the title with reference to, “too much change in too short a period of time.” We’re experiencing that in a big way, right now.
The greatest dangers are to the GenX and Millenials. They’ve grown up with this technology as a given. They’re not cautious, typically careless. A whole generation is at risk.
People are taught to “trust technology.” Ridiculous. As a tech provider, I can tell you that behind way too many finished tech products, there is a guy, or group of guys, who wanted nothing more than to get home and play video games. They’re the ones you’re trusting.
I’m afraid there’s just more than I can say about it here.

Did a specific event prompt your writing Friend Me?
Sure did. A bunch of software designers (myself included) were sitting around in a meeting in late 2010. Someone said that all the great ideashad already been done.
While we were talking, something occurred to me that had not been done yet. Something really revolutionary. There were bits and pieces of it all over the world wide web, but no one had yet brought them together yet, not in the way I was thinking.
Consider the whole Facebook phenomenon. How people want to be “friended” and “friend” other people. What a lot of people really want is a true friend. Someone they can pour their hearts out to. A person who is totally trustworthy, and who would keep every confidence sacred.  The truth is, there are not many like that!
But what if. . . you could design your own friend.Not a real person, but just as good as real. A virtual person. You would pour into your design all the traits that you thought were most important — trustworthy, friendly, discreet, constant, forgiving. Just think about your list. When you were done, you’d have the perfect friend.
Your friend (we’ll call her “she”) would remember your birthday, email you every day and encourage you. She’d remind you about important events, and she’d keep your secrets. You could tell her anything, and it would never go any further.
I told my wife about this. . . that maybe I’d get some people together and we’d do it. Make such a product available and see if we could make it work. I got back an unequivocal, “NO.” When she explained why, she made sense. Women would be designing boyfriends, men would do girlfriends. Widows (it gets creepy) would design their lost husbands, and mothers their lost children.
It would really get weird, and pretty fast. So she said to me, “Why don’t you write about it? Just don’t really do the software.”
She was right. That’s where Friend Me came from. I wrote the novel in such a way that it was demonstrably possible, given current technology.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born again on May 9, 1965. An arrogant young man, already married for over a year to a sweet girl I’d known since first grade, and for the first time confronted with the Gospel.
I was in the Air Force then, at a Minuteman ballistic missle base in Cheyenne, Wyoming. We trusted the Lord together that day, and never looked back.
I went to Vietnam (military), then to Bible college. When we were done with that, we moved back to Vietnam as missionaries. Until the Lord took her home in 1989, we’d worked in full-time Christian service the whole time.
God, with indescribable grace, gave me a second wife in 1990. We took my third daughter, and new six-week old son off to Beijing in 1991. We ministered in Chinese until 1999 when we returned (along with a fourth daughter!) to the USA. Since that time I’ve worked as a senior applications developer for a big electronics and appliance chain.
Can you see the Hand of God in all that? The details are even better. I thank God for every moment of life He’s given me.

An excerpt from Friend Me:
Melissa (the antagonist) discovers that her computer system has found her ideal man. She is sitting alone in her darkened office,…
            “This was the one for whom she had kept herself all this time.
            “If she didn’t click the mouse, then nothing would change. She would go on in her work, acknowledged as a success in her field. She would have the respect and admiration of all the people who knew her. But she’d resign herself to a life of loneliness and cold despair.
            “With eyes closed, she leaned back in the high-backed chair and stretched out her legs. How would he touch me? Would he love me? I would be everything to him. Yes, I would become the only object of his love.
            “She sat there in the dim light until there was no more doubt. Until she knew with deadly certainty exactly what she must do, no matter who he was.”
Thanks, John, for stopping by.


  1. I'm so excited to be one of the fortunate winners of Friend Me, especially after reading your interview. Thank you again. I'll be watching my mail box! God Bless.

  2. Hi Linda I see your message at the top. I did get the email and sent my address but didnot receive my book yet. I just sent you another email with address. I would like to win John's book. Interesting interview. And, John I do worry about the safety of the social media. Seems everything that pops up requires to see your entire profile including your friends list. But, I know my friends do it, so they already have my info I guess. Why should they need your friends. So they can then see their profiles. Please give me an entry. Maxie
    Please use this email when contacting me. mac262(at)me(dot)com

  3. Congrats, maxie! You won the copy!