Conversations Magazine, Oct./Nov. 2021 (Click below to order yours today)

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Linda Diane Wattley, author of A LOVE STORY TO REMEMBER


Linda, congratulations on another great read with A LOVE STORY TO REMEMBER. Before we get into that let’s catch our readers up on your career. You have written both fiction and non-fiction titles, all covering a variety of topics. What has it been like for you to reflect on your writing career?
It has been one of those experiences in life that lets you know you are not alone.  When I wrote my first Novel, I had no ideal I was authoring a book.  The amazing way words came from the unseen to being seen was phenomenal.  It made me realize we are not alone in the world.  To be an author is an honor and a joy because I know it was something God wanted me to do. 

Have you always known that storytelling was going to be your way to share messages with the world?
No, I had no ideal storytelling would become a way of sharing messages with others.  But before I became an author, people would always share their painful feelings and experiences with me.  For some reason, I always seem to use the right words to make them feel better; so when storytelling found its way into my life it was easy and natural for me to want to author books that talks to the hearts and souls of others.   

When we first met you were discussing the topic of PTSD in your work. That continues to be one of the topics you cover, even in the new book. Why is it so important for you to discuss the impact that PTSD can have on the individual and those around them?
It is important to me to bring to the forefront the impact PTSD have on individuals and those around them because I feel if people realize how manageable and normal it is, then they can embrace one another better knowing healthy relationships are possible.  PTSD diagnosed and not diagnosed is a normal reaction to trauma.  Once we understand it is the body’s attempt to be in real time while it struggles with past-time engraved experiences that have not died.  The key is loving someone enough to know and learn the triggers that fuel the emotional and mental storage of the memories.  Also, it is so important that it is realized PTSD is not just a soldier experience, anyone can have it even children.

I’ve gathered over the years of interviewing you on Conversations LIVE the radio show that a lot of yourself and your experiences find themselves in your books. Is that part of your own therapy? 
It has been part of my therapy even though I did not realize it in the beginning.  When I wrote my first novel, it came into existence after my reading a book by Dr. Phil, ‘Self Matters.’  I remember being angered by that book for unknown reasons.  After reading his book, I was at work and suddenly began typing what I eventually learned a story that kept getting longer and longer.  Then I began to see, characters were me revealing buried experiences feelings I didn’t know I had.  From that day on, I went from hiding to transparent in revealing truth.  It was an awesome experience.

What is it like for you to see how something you have written has affected those reading it?
Knowing my writing affected my readers is such a humbling experience because I know it is the spirit in me that talks to them.  More than anything, I want readers to get to a better place within so that they can enjoy the life they create for themselves in an astounding way.  We can enjoy life until we inner wounds are healed and released.

That brings us back to A LOVE STORY TO REMEMBER. You have told me that this book means a lot to you. What led you to write this particular book?
This book to me, was always in the makings since the first day I began writing stories. But first I had to grow up, heal and let go of my past unjust experiences before I could author a book about love.  I had to understand the undiagnosed little girl with PTSD had become a woman diagnosed with PTSD, both wanted to be loved and give love.  So, when I finally qualified to write a deep, spirited, and entertaining book, A LOVE STORY TO REMEMBER was created.

Lots of themes in this one: dealing with love, loss, self-discovery. Was it difficult for you to go through this journey along with the main character Leona Tillard?
I can honestly say yes but in dimensional ways like recapturing some of Leona’s experiences as a child was heart wrenching knowing not only were these my experiences but the experiences of so many innocent children.  Then there were the realities of the sufferings her mother experienced that made me understand my mother so much better over the years.  The high experiences during her time as a soldier reminded me of the amazing people I loved and loved me when I was in the service was bittersweet.  A LOVE STORY TO REMEMBER reminded me that God was with me the moment I was born and for sure God is with me now.

You and I discussed on the radio show how sometimes some saw Leona’s greatness more than she did. What do you want readers to know about their own value and how they should realize about their worth?
Because Leona’s childhood experiences forced her into facing life as though she was invisible, she did not know her self-value.  In time she learns, you must know your own value because to depend on others to reveal it for you can be dangerous or a waste of your time living.  I tell people, you are the first child you will ever have, protect this child making sure only the best is in his/her space.  You are responsible for your own happiness.

Faith is a huge part of the new book and your life. How has your faith helped you to get over challenges?
That question at once put a smile on my face, because I so love and believe in God.  I learned in the most painful moment in my life, God is closer than breathing.  My husband was in a car accident.  As I was approaching the entrance way to the hospital, I looked up to the sky and asked God to not take my husband, God’s response came before I had closed my lips.  He said:  Pray for something else, I already have.”  That moment right there changed me, as painful as that moment was, I came to realize God is closer than breathing, I could never be alone.  From that time on, I trust God with my life and learned His guidance is amazing.

You’ve already done so much.  What should our readers be expecting from you next?
I’m not sure what is up for me right now, but I feel God knows.  Can’t wait to see!

Thanks so much for the time, Linda. How can our readers stay connected with you?
Thank you Cyrus for the time also.  I can be reached on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Lindadianewattley/, Twitter, www.twitter.com/universalove also my email:  universalove26@yahoo.com.

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