Saturday, December 13, 2008

Linda Kozar Interview

The book is titled “Misfortune Cookies” released November 2008, by award winning author, ACFW 2007 Mentor of The Year and all around good friend, Linda Kozar. The back cover copy reads as follows: Best friends Sue Jan and Lovita run a beauty shop/boutique in the little West Texas town of Wachita. They share a passion for food and fun. But one day, over lunch in a Chinese restaurant, Lovita opens a fortune cookie with a sinister message: “Your father was murdered…” a clue that leads them to God, and international spy ring, and several devastatingly handsome strangers. A most unlikely pair of detectives, these girlfriends “comb” the countryside with style, sarcasm, and lots of Szechwan. This tale is like good take-out food—definitely worth bringing home.

Linda, your main characters, Sue Jan and Lovita live in tiny Wachita, Texas. Thanks to your vivid descriptions, the town came alive for me. My keen deduction skills and a Google search revealed that there is in fact, no town in Texas by the name of Wachita. What, if any town, did you base your descriptions of Wachita on?

It’s all in my head! I can tell you this—it’s the kind of town I sometimes wish I lived in. Life would sure be simpler. Plus I’d know everybody. But I guess it’s sort of like attending a small church—you wind up knowing a little TOO much about everyone.

Main character, Lovita Horton, is a born again believer. Her best friend, Sue Jan, on the other hand, cares nothing for the things of God. Without giving too much away, towards the end of the book Sue Jan makes some life changing decisions. In your own personal experience, how do you feel about having a non-believer as a best friend? Do you think these situations often have the happy outcome as in the book?

Yes indeed. I have non-believer friends and have the opportunity to share the truth with them. I live out my life before these friends without compromising—take me or leave me and show them the love of Christ. It is through discipleship that Christians grow in their faith and through relationship with believers that many unbelievers come to know Him.

At times it can be difficult. There is a wall your reach in relationship with an unbeliever—a wall that you cannot get past until there’s a breakthrough. And that can be bittersweet when you’re waiting and praying and hoping they will see the truth.

Lovita deals a lot with her unwillingness to let go of the past. One instance is shown in her reluctance to enter a partnership with Sue Jan in her salon and boutique. What prompted you to write about this particular issue?

I added this because sometimes we are unwilling to let go of things. Lovita is kind of stuck in the past after the trauma of losing her father so suddenly and then later, her mother. She’s going through the motions of living her life, but she’s kind of depressed. Been hurt and rejected by guys because of her weight too.

Lovita and Sue Jan are described as bodaciously big beautiful women. As a plus sized beauty myself, I have to ask; are these characters based on real people in your life, or are you a closet “chubby-chaser”?

Hehehe—actually the character of Sue Jan is an amalgam of three women I love--Sally Nimitz Mann, Dannelle Woody and my Aunt Solie. But they’re all losing or have lost weight! What attracted me to them was the quirkiness. All three women are hilariously funny—they live large, enjoy life with gusto and joke around; they make people laugh whereever they go. What a gift!

The book is near and dear to my heart because it addresses some very real issues in women’s lives. The first is body issues. The majority of women, even stick thin types, think they’re fat. And we’re unhappy with ourselves for the most part. Lovita and Sue Jan wish they were thin too, and they have trouble in the romance department because of their size, but they are more comfortable with themselves than most. They love to eat and aren’t ashamed to admit it. I’ve had lunch with friends who feel guilty for every bite. But I refuse to live that way. Let’s face it—food is good! Another issue is finding husbands. Women know how hard it is to find a husband. And why? Because men all seem to be looking for 22-year old size zero women. Which brings me to the third issue. Age. The older women get, the harder it is to find a husband. My characters are in their late 30s; one has given up hope and the other is desperate. In a comic way, of course!

Lawyer, Monroe Madsen is madly in love with Sue Jan. She doesn’t see anything in him because he doesn’t measure up to her “hottness” standards. Have you known a man or even a woman in this situation before where the perfect person is right in front of them and they don’t even notice?

Lots of people—including me when I was single. I wrote out this list of all the qualities and characteristics inside and out that I wanted in a prospective husband. And then I held it up to God and prayed. I’m thankful though that I ended that prayer with “not my will, but Thine, Lord. . .” Why? Because His list was FAR better than mine! He gave me the perfect husband FOR ME and hopefully vice versaJ

Lovita mourns the loss of her precious father throughout the book. I know personally that you still mourn the death of your own dear father. Is Lovita’s father a sort of tribute to your own dad?

Wow, you really have your saint antenna up! Yes, it is a tribute to my father and reflected from the sudden loss of someone you love dearly. A piece of your own heart should be on every page. That’s what makes a story believable and real. The reader can stand where you’re character stands and try their shoes on for size.

I learned from your author bio that you also work at a local Houston college. How does a wife and mother of two busy teenagers manage to work outside the home, mentor two groups of Christian authors, and write and sell novels?

And teach a women’s Bible study every Tuesday! I really don’t know how I do it, but I am sort of glad to be stepping down from Words For The Journey. Hopefully that will free up a little of my time. Life can sure be crazy.

So tell us what you’re working on now. Will you be taking us somewhere other than Wachita, Texas?

Well, after the two sequels: A Tisket, A Casket and Dead As A Doornail anyway. . .
But I also co-authored a book of womens devotions called Babes With A Beatitiude published by Howard/Simon & Schuster that will release in 2009.

Other than that, I am working on four or five other projects. I’m sort of ADD. It helps to write a bit on a variety of projects—like cleansing my palate! I take my time—don’t believe in rushing. I need to be happy with what I’m doing and make sure it’s done right—or at least to my satisfaction.

Linda, thank you so much for sharing your heart. Please tell us how your readers can contact you and keep up on your latest releases?

Besides these sites, readers are welcome to look me up on Facebook or Twitter. I look forward to hearing from you!

Linda P. Kozar