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Linda Allen, Author

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Linda Allen says it's no mystery why she became a suspense novelist.
The longtime Bellingham real estate agent always wanted to write a book about a character she respects. Now that her first mystery novel is out, she has nearly finished her second and is working on a third.
Allen called on her extensive knowledge of real estate and forensics to write "Bellingham Homicide," a 100,000-word mystery she printed herself. She hopes a corporate publisher will pick it up.
Allen, who works for Sun-Mark Properties, graduated from Eastern Washington University and holds a master's degree in anthropology from Western Washington University. She has two daughters and one granddaughter.
Question: Your 38-year-old real estate heroine, Jozie Hunter, knows all the stuff you know. Is she a younger version of you?
Answer: I have strong background in forensic anthropology and especially in skeletal anatomy, but I'm not Jozie.
Q: You surely couldn't have had Jozie's police-record background.
A: Jozie is flawed but with a lot of moxie. She grew up a troublemaker as a hardscrabble orphan, and spent time in reform school. She is more spontaneous than I am and more aggressive. I grew up with a very loving, caring family in Spokane, and I was never in trouble.
Q: Your book is along the lines of an old-fashioned "cozy," although the way you describe how Jozie finds a skeleton in the walls of her home in Bellingham is absolutely terrifying!
A: I call it a "semi-cozy," since there is limited violence but no sex, so far anyway. That's not to say there's no romance. Jozie is conflicted and doesn't know it yet. As each book comes out, Jozie will change and there will be relationship issues with men. Jozie is altogether plausible. I want my readers to be able to relate to her and to care about her.
Q: Most authors use mythical Fourth Corner names. Why did you stick with Bellingham and name actual streets and locales?
A: Because Bellingham is the center of the universe.
Q: Jozie's best girlfriend, Presley, is quintessentially Bellingham, running a consignment clothing store and knowing everyone in town.
A: You guessed it. I named her for a relative who named her daughter after Elvis. I deliberately don't give Presley a last name.
Q: You went to all the trouble to earn college degrees with a scientific background as a re-entry student. Why did you go into real estate?
A: I taught as a graduate student for six quarters in college. I found out that teaching wasn't my calling. But I have been involved in one phase or another of real estate for 33 years, since I formerly co-owned a construction company and built homes in the Lake Chelan area. It seemed natural for me to go into real estate fulltime 15 years ago.
Q: I'll bet you loved books as a child.
A: I did. I read all the Black Stallion books (by Walter Farley). When the bookmobile came to my grade school, it was like a religious experience for me. I felt there was something holy in that truck.
Q: What's your favorite novel?
A: I love great literature. My favorite book is "The Great Gatsby." Fitzgerald's writing is so clean, it just sparkles. If you could say writing is pretty, his is.
Q: Why did you decide to print up only a few books?
A: As gifts for my clients and family. I've read all the horror stories about authors getting dozens of rejection slips. I decided to skip that part and get my book out there under the Riegel imprint. It's a way of honoring my parents - that was our family name.
Q: What's next?
A: I'm almost finished with my second novel, "Bellingham Betrayal." I'm hoping to have it available in time for Christmas at Village Books now that it is in demand. I'll be doing a book event Nov. 15.

Alumna Gets published
EWU graduate Linda Allen pens first mystery novel
By Simon McDowell
Staff Writer
September 17, 2006
 
     Linda Allen, a Spokane native and Eastern Alumna, has just
released her first novel in a series of mysteries that follow a 38
year old real estate agent named Jozie Hunter.
     Bellingham Homicide is the first novel Allen has written. She
has the second book of the series, Bellingham Betrayal, completed
and it will be in print about March 2007.
     Allen has released one work before this endeavor into mysteries.
While at Western Washington University, where she received her
master's in anthropology, she wrote Survival Techniques of the
Homeless Mentally Ill.
     Allen enrolled at Eastern for the 1985 school year, finishing two
years later with two bachelor's degrees, one in Anthropology and the
other in Gerneral Studies.
     "The Anthropology Department was awesome," said Allen. "I had
not expected such small class size taught by Ph.D's from Harvard
and Cornell."
     She eventually went to Bellingham, once she was accepted in
their grad program. She was hired as a TA by Western Washington
University, and headed up the Women's Alliance. She was also
awarded the Distinguished Achievement Certificate in the field of
Anthropology from Lambda Alpha, National Honor Society for
Anthropology.
     Graduating from Western with a master's in Anthropology in 1991,
she decided not to go into teaching. Instead she took back the reigns
of the real estate career she started in the the late 1980's. Allen said,
"It's my day job and I love it."
     Her personality would not let her work solely in real estate. The
itch to write mysteries came to her one day when she had just
completed a novel and decided to try writing one herself.
 
 
 
Chelan Valley Mirror
October, 2006
by Jennifer Marshall
Staff Writer
 
     Stehekin and Chelan will soon be featured in a novel by Bellingham
author Linda Allen.
     Allen, formerly of Chelan, said she decided to base Bellingham,
Dead Ahead, in this area. "I love the place . . . it's my home turf."
     Bellingham, Dead Ahead will be the third novel in her Jozie Hunter
mystery series.
     "I know the area well and like the man said, "Write what you know,' "
Allen said. "Readers know if a writer is faking it."
     Allen earned two bachelor's degrees from Eastern Washington
University in general studies and anthropology. In 1991, she received
a master's degree in anthropology from Western Washington University.
     Allen is a real estate agent and president of Women's Alliance, a
group that raises funds for women's and children's causes.
     Instead of embarking on the long, uncertain process of finding a
publishing house, Allen decided to print a few copies herself first and work her way up to finding a literary agent, she said.
     "If a writer wants to hit the mass market with an initial order of
5000 books or more, he or she will have to go the agent and publishing
house route," Allen said.
     To keep herself updated on the area's developments and geography,
Allen has found it necessary to make a few trips back to her old home
in Lake Chelan.
     Jozie Hunter is a 30-something, crime-solving real estate agent
with a background in criminal forensics. In her first book, Bellingham
Homicide, Jozie hunts down the killer of a woman whose remains
were found 3,000 miles away from her home.
   The second book, Bellingham Betrayal, features Jozie who is
engrossed in another murdur mystery. It will be released in 2007.
     The only hints Allen would drop about Bellingham, Dead Ahead
were the locations: "Mainly in Chelan and Stehekin, with stops in
Spokane and of course, Bellingham."
     Allen says she has 12 books planned for the series and no
other projects in the works.
     "Jozie keeps me busy," she said. "I love going back into Jozie's
world and finding out what she and her cohorts will do next. It's the
slipping into another world that is so exciting," she said, adding that
she loves the challenge of being a good writer. She has a collection
of her writings going back 40 years."
     Allen has a full plate between her work and family, so she sits
down to write whenever she has some spare time.
     "Creating flawed, edgy characters that the readers will love enough
to want to visit again is not easy," she said. "What I want to have in
the end is a voice that the reader's trust to be consistently'good.That's
what writing suspense is all about."
    More information about Allen, her books, and her speaking schedule
can be found by contacting the author at allen.properties@yahoo.com.