Interview with Linda Lisa McGrew: Third Place Winner in the Fall Flash Fiction Contest

Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Linda’s Bio:

After several years as an entrepreneur, at the age of 25, Linda Lisa McGrew sold her business, her house, her car and almost all her earthly possessions. She took her bicycle to New Zealand with plans of touring this unknown and beautiful country for two months, then returning home. This was the beginning of her lessons on how planning is useless. The other lessons? A previously unknown passion for travel and knack for adapting to new environments. Two months later she found herself living in Maui, doing yoga and surfing fulltime. It was here she began to explore the life of a writer. But she was not completely fulfilled, and dreamed bigger dreams; that of becoming an international business consultant. With this in mind, she returned to Canada to complete an MBA. For her thesis project, she thought it exciting to study some aspect of business in China. In August of 2007, she went to Shanghai, with a plan to spend two months there, completing her thesis and learning about the next super power, in order to help her with her consulting firm. She had apparently forgotten lesson number one. Again, the universe laughed at her plans. She fell in love. This love was not a typical love, though. It was not human. It was the love for a people, a country, a language, a culture and a life. It was inevitable karmic-past-life-energy that she could not pull away from. Linda lived, worked, studied and played in China for another three years. Libraries of books could not describe or express all that she learned in that time. She had become a lif-er. She was going to live there forever. Happily ever after. Currently, Linda McGrew travels for a living by writing for several adventure and travel magazines. She is also working on two novels, both based in China.

Find out more about Linda by visiting her blog:

Read Linda's third place story "A Chinese Haircut" and return here for a chat with the author!

WOW: You have quite an exciting biography! Is your story based on a real experience, or what is your inspiration for your story?

Linda: The story is a mix of several experiences I had personally in China as well as horror stories I heard from friends. There is certainly an element of fear alongside the excitement of living abroad, and I took that with a pinch of humor to tell the tale.

WOW: You brought out both that fear and excitement very well in your story. What do you like best and least about travel writing?

Linda: I love experiencing unexpected adventure, meeting incredible people and overcoming challenges. The pleasure comes mainly from getting to tell others all about it. My major focus in doing so is to dispel ignorance and fear of other people and places. We're all 99.99% the same and all want the same fundamental things.

The major difficulty is getting paid to do something you would do for free - because what happens is you end up doing it for free more often than not.

WOW: What is your traveling/writing schedule like?

Linda: Schedule?!? I am generally in a new place every month, if not every week so depending on where I am and why, my schedule changes. I try to keep some semblance of normalcy with a day to day schedule involving a run, a big breakfast, then as many hours as I can manage in front of the computer.

WOW: Sounds fantastic! If you could have dinner with one writer, dead or alive, who would you choose and why?

Linda: Dai Sijie. I am writing a novel right now about a girl in China from 1972 to 1982. It was such a phenomenal time and place, but to speak to someone who actually experienced it all would amazing. Even the thought gives me shivers. His novels are a similar style and genre to my own, and I would especially want to compare his real stories to my fictional ones. It is a time and place I am mesmerized by. The people who survived it (the entire 20th century in China) are an inspiration.

WOW: Good luck with your novel! It is such a great feeling when you can find a specific story and topic that impassions you. What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

Linda: Write only what you are passionate about. To not do so is a disservice to everyone - most importantly to yourself.

WOW: Thanks so much, Linda, for your answers! Keep up the great work with your writing!

Interviewed by: Anne Greenawalt -, home of The Daughter Project


Trisha said...

Great interview, and what a life! I too love travel, though I have never gone anywhere else to actually live. I'd find that much scarier than the 15-stop world trip I did on my own, etc. ;)

Stephanie Romero said...

Voices from the grave of great writers...what a wonderful gift this would be to any writer! I would love to win this book.

Anonymous said...

I am embarrassed...I am anon-fiction writer but I don't have the self-discipline or the focus of either the authors or the bloggers....always looking for a boost. Maybe this book is the kick in the perverbial seat that I need.

Katie Bulmer said...

I would love this book! Pick me pick me :)

Unknown said...

I am so impressed that this author has taken so much time to research great authors so that we might gain insight into their lives and perhaps gain even a glimpse into their drive and enthusiasm to write. Books that inspire are richly rewarding.

WOW! said...

Hi Ladies,

If you're trying to comment on Nava Atlas's post for The Literary Ladies' Guide to the Writing Life, you need to go here:

I'm guessing you just scrolled to the bottom of the blog and commented on this last post? Sorry for the confusion. =/ Visit the link above to be entered in the giveaway contest. ;)


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