A Conversation with author Linda Hurtado Bond

Giveaway Ends 9/16

What does it mean to you to be called an author? 

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. In high school, I went part-time to a school for the arts and studied creative writing. I walked the hallways with a notebook under my arm in case ideas hit me. I started a novel back then and I still remember the name: Forever Autumn. It took me years of studying the craft to finally get a book deal, so being called an author is like a stamp of approval.  It legitimizes that after all these years of wanting to be an author, I finally achieved my lifelong goal.

Can you tell us a bit about your book and its main characters?

ABOUT THE BOOK:

When one falls…

Crime reporter Mari Alvarez was never able to solve her mother’s murder ten years ago. But when a woman is gunned down on the doorstep of her West Tampa neighborhood, Mari can’t shake the eerie sense of connection.

The others will break…

Now there have been two murders in two days. Each crime scene is awash with arcane clues―and without a trace of DNA from the killer. And for each victim, a doll. The first is missing an eye. The second is missing a heart. But are these clues leading to the killer…or messages for Mari?

Unless she plays the game…

Caught up in a maelstrom of Old-World superstition, secrets, and ties to her own past, Mari has only one option. Put the puzzle together before someone else dies―even if it destroys her career. But there’s no escaping the hungry spider’s web when it’s been made just for you…

What inspired the idea for this book?

My first three books are romantic suspense novels. My publisher came to me and said they thought I had a voice for thrillers, would I like to try writing a serial killer thriller? I said, sure! They gave me an idea of what elements they wanted in the book. I also wanted to write a book introducing people to the Cuban American culture I love.  And I wanted the main character to be a reporter since I am one myself, not your typical homicide detective or FBI agent. Another inspiration for the book is my mother-in-law. Once when my daughter was a baby and became ill, my MIL claimed someone was giving her the evil eye. She said a prayer to the saints over her and my daughter’s fever went away. I’ve been fascinated with Cuban-American beliefs and traditions ever since. 

 What was the most surprising thing you learned in writing this?

I had to do research into the Afro-Cuban religion Santeria for the book. I teamed up with a professor of religion at the University of South Florida and asked all my questions about the religion that many still practice but often in secret. I learned why Santeria started, so slaves in Cuba could practice their religion in plain sight. They’d give their orisha’s the names of Catholic Saints, for example, the orisha Chango is also known as Saint Barbara. Fascinating details make it into the pages of All the Broken Girls

Tell us about a favorite character from the book.

Orlando is the main character’s TV news photographer. Also, her sidekick of many years. He is based on two of my past sidekicks: my high school debate partner turned comedian and Hollywood actor Orlando Jones and also my chief photographer when I worked at ABC Action News in Tampa, Eric Moore. Both are talented, African American men who had a great influence on me at different stages in my life. Both have a great sense of humor, and I made sure Orlando had that sense of humor in All the Broken Girls.

Where did you come up with the names in the story? 

I liked Marisol because I think it’s a name people can easily mispronounce, like my last names, Linda Hurtado Figueredo ( Bond is my pen name ) To make sure readers knew how to pronounce her name I had a character mispronounce it on purpose so Mari could reply, “It’s Mari, not Mary, not Marie. Mari, rhymes with sorry,” Which you’ll be if you call me by the wrong name again. 🙂

How do you define success as an author?

I certainly don’t define success by money or fame. LOL 

If I’m enjoying the process, and I always have a book under contract, and reviews show me people are enjoying what I write, that’s success to me. 

Can you share with us a day in your life?

My day job is as a news anchor at Tampa Bay’s Fox 13. I write news stories about real people. I go in around ten am and leave at 6 pm. I write fiction either at night or on weekends. Or play around with editing between my news shows. But I spend all day, every day,  telling people’s stories. Some are real. Others I make up.

You must have some tips to avoid or defeat writer’s block.

I’m a journalist by day, who writes under deadlines every day, so I don’t usually get writer’s block. When I do, I outline a chapter with goals, motivation, and changes, or just jot down dialogue. Then all I have to do is work on prose and fill in memorable details. 

Do you have any quirky writing rituals?

Yes!  Sometimes I’ll pick one song and let it play in my air pods over and over again. Just the same song. For some reason that lulls me into a hypnotic state and lets me dive deep into character and plot without getting distracted.

What comes first for you — the plot or the characters?

The characters and their goals, motivations, and conflicts.  They need an arc and a pathway to grow and that becomes the plot. 

What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?

Study the craft first. I’m still studying it. The books influencing me now are written by Lisa Cron; Wired for Story, and Story Genius. She talks about how the brain works and how you can craft a chapter so readers will keep turning the pages. Also, join a writer’s group with members on different levels of achievement. You’ll learn so much from them!

What can we expect from you in the near future?

The second book in the series with Mari Alvarez and Detective Tony Garcia. It takes place in Cuba and it’s called All the Missing Girls.  

Which of your books would you recommend to readers who haven’t read your work?

If you like romantic suspense books ( romance with mystery ) read Alive at 5 first. If you like thrillers with little to no romance read All The Broken Girls

Who is your audience and how do you interact with them? 

Men and women who love thrillers with a little romance and mystery thrown in. I’m active on social media daily and I have a newsletter  I put out once a week. I also have a segment on my noon news in Tampa called Tampa Bay Reads. I love being able to share my love of books with my Fox 13 viewers. 

What has been your favorite reader feedback?

I love hearing all feedback, even what isn’t working, but when readers tell me they could not put my books down, that’s the greatest compliment, because that’s what I’m always going for, a page-turner.

.

Who are your all time favorite authors? 

James Patterson and Harlen Coben are my favorite authors and yes they’ve both influenced me. James Patterson inspired me to write short, lean chapters to keep people turning pages. Harlen Coben inspired me to write books with characters that have troubled pasts and to keep throwing twists and turns at my readers, along with a rash of red herrings to keep them guessing. I think both of these writers are masters at their craft.

If you could have lunch with three authors what do you think you would all talk about?

Jane Austin – I love her stories but I’d talk to her about what it was like to be a writer in a time when women didn’t “work”

James Patterson – I’d ask him which one of his books broke out first and why he thinks that one made him famous. And advice on building a lasting career as an author.

Shonda Rhimes She’s a writer and producer and everything she touches turns to gold. I’d ask her what she looks for in characters and story. What are the most important elements to creating characters people will connect with.

What do you look for in a story as a reader?

Action, mystery, adventure, and romance. I want to be swept away into a different world that takes my breath away.

What is the first book that you remember reading?

The Nancy Drew series. Strong female lead, solving mysteries herself, often with spooky settings.  I’m still a fan of that kind of story today.

Aside from writing or reading, what are your hobbies or interests?

I love working out in my home gym, twirling my baton ( I used to be a majorette with The University of Georgia Redcoat Marching Band.), and watching college football. My husband and I also love boating on the beautiful waters in and around Tampa Bay.

Name some fun facts about you & your work.

I have two step kids, one adopted son from Cuba, and two biological daughters, so I’ve been blessed to know motherhood in many different ways.

I’m afraid to fly yet accepted a ride in a U.S. Air Force Thunderbird – which travels twice the speed of sound. I featured this in my first book Alive at 5. My 19-year-old daughter is a pilot. Yes, I’ve flown with her. Yes, I’m still afraid to fly.

I love ketchup but hate tomatoes.

I love late afternoon thunderstorms in Florida, the big boomers, where the thunder and lightning shakes the house.

I published a medical thriller during a real-life medical thriller – the ongoing Covid Pandemic.

I named my English Bulldog, Athens, after the home of the University of Georgia,

where I spent four years studying and performing as a majorette with the University of Georgia Redcoat Marching Band.

I was Ms. Greenville, South Carolina in 1985, using my stepfather’s surname Linda Yokum.

My favorite movies are “Silence of the Lambs” and “Pride and Prejudice”.

My favorite music is the 80’s hairband rock n roll. In fact, I work out to Guns N’Roses and Bon Jovi most mornings.

My guilty pleasure is watching thrillers on Netflix.

I love dark chocolate and full-bodied red wine.

I survived breast cancer and it changed the way I live.

If you knew you could not fail, what would you do?

I’m doing it. Still keeping my fingers crossed that each book will be a success and find readers who love the characters and their worlds. 


All the Broken Girls by Linda Bond
Synopsis:

When one falls

Crime reporter Mari Alvarez was never able to solve her mother’s murder ten years ago. But when a woman is gunned down on the doorstep of her West Tampa neighborhood, Mari can’t shake the eerie sense of connection.

The others will break

Now there have been two murders in two days. Each crime scene awash with arcane clues―and without a trace of DNA from the killer. And for each victim, a doll. The first is missing an eye. The second is missing a heart. But are these clues leading to the killer…or messages for Mari?

Unless she plays the game…

Caught up in a maelstrom of Old-World superstition, secrets, and ties to her own past, Mari has only one option. Put the puzzle together before someone else dies―even if it destroys her career. But there’s no escaping the hungry spider’s web when it’s been made just for you…

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication Date: August 23rd 2022
Number of Pages: 368
ISBN: 1649372140 (ISBN13: 9781649372147)
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

I’m running fifteen minutes late after driving my Abuela Bonita to her doctor’s appointment. But that’s not bad, actually, for Cuban time. Of course my statement high heels click on the uncarpeted floor like my abuela’s disapproving tongue and all I can think of is that silly commercial with the tagline “Wanna get away?” Except I can’t escape. It’s my first day back at the TV station after two weeks at home with no work and no pay. I’m still on probation, and I need this job like I need water and air.

Speaking of which, the thought makes me notice how parched my throat is and I’m afraid my voice will crack when I talk. My lungs are so empty I’m not sure I can deliver any story pitches, even if my job depends on it.

Which, it does.

Reporting is in my blood.

But my paycheck—also a necessity.

I rub my right wrist. The red rope bracelet is there. The pea-sized, black gemstone dangles from it. I roll the azabache charm between my fingers, silently going through my routine: twist the stone three times to the right, three to the left. Six times in all. My lucky number. I swear I’ll never go to a crime scene again without the charm. I’ve learned my lesson. Asi es. Truth. That’s how it is.

I pull out the chair across from Mr. Payton and accidentally scrape the floor. It’s loud. Que escandalo!

More stares cut my way. The air conditioning kicks up a notch, but that means nothing to the sweat rolling down my back, sliding into the most inconvenient places. I ignore the wet tickle and stand even taller before taking a seat.

My boss drills me with that intense stare that says everything he’s not allowed to vocalize for fear Human Resources will reprimand him. “Thanks for joining us, Ms. Alvarez.”

“Had to drop off my grandmother at her doctor’s office. She doesn’t drive.” I sit and twist the water bottle on the table until the label faces me. I look at El Jefe and force the corners of my mouth up. Abuela Bonita always told me, no matter what’s going on inside, you can win over the world with a warm smile.

“Let’s continue.” Mr. Payton looks at Paul Johnson, our political reporter.

Paul clears his throat. “As I was saying, the governor is going to hold a press conference on the opioid crisis at a local…”

I cross my ankles to keep my leg from bouncing. It’s clear my boss doesn’t trust me anymore. Not since my serial killer story got the station sued.

I catch the ambitious, crime reporter wannabe eyeing me from the right corner of the room. Bet she’s dying to know what happened to warrant my suspension. She probably already knows. Secrets don’t stay secrets for long in a newsroom.

What the hell had gone wrong?

Abuela Bonita calls it mala suerte. She insisted I wear the azabache bracelet today to ward off the bad
luck following me. I find the charm again and twist.

I will fix this. Don’t know how. But I will repair my damaged reputation.

“Alvarez?”

I flinch in my seat.

“You have anything to add to the meeting?” El Jefe taps his engraved pen on the table in a slow, rhythmic pattern.

“Well, Mr. Payton.” He likes it when we use his last name. “I thought I’d do a feature on a young girl in New Tampa Hospital who needs a kidney transplant.”

“That from the crime beat reporter?” I hear the words he isn’t speaking.

“I know.” I answer in my head. “Eleven Emmys, and I still messed up that last crime story, didn’t I?” Out loud I say, “She’s an artist—truly amazing gift— and she’s willing to auction off her paintings to raise money so people can get tested to see if they’re a match. We could save her life by sharing her story.”

My boss nods but says, “Busch Gardens is showing off a new baby sloth this evening.”

My cheeks burn. I sit back. The heat floods down into my chest. “A baby sloth?” I’m pretty sure this is what a public castration feels like.

“We have enough crime, corruption, death, and destruction today. We need something positive after Weather. Sloth baby it is. Can’t go wrong with baby animals,” he says.

Can’t get the station sued again, you mean.

“You’re on that, Alvarez.”

“Gracias.” I close my eyes and visualize a sloth picking at El Jefe’s bushy, needs-to-be-cut eyebrows
with those two big claw-like toes. In slow motion, of course. “If our viewers see what I’m envisioning, they’re going to love it.” I smile. Warmly.

Whatever. It will keep me employed for at least one more day. My sister Izzy and Abuela are counting on me.

My phone goes off. I look down, fumbling it as I try to flip off the ringer. “Sorry. Sorry.” It’s not someone calling. It’s my home RING security camera alerting me. My pulse takes off like an F-16. Someone is at our front door. My heart stalls. And falls.

“An important source?” El Jefe asks.

A scoff from the right corner of the room. “Baby sloth police calling?” Crime reporter wannabe gets the room laughing.

Wannabe must have missed her café con leche this morning. I join the laughter and wink at her, despite the slow scalding heat I’m feeling. Abuela Bonita also taught me you get more with honey than vinegar. “No. No. Sorry.” Just my sister’s boyfriend of the week, who is not supposed to be at our house. I shake my head.

“Alvarez?”

My spine straightens. “Yes?”

“You can take the new photographer, Chris Jensen.”

That pulls me back to the moment. “But I always work with Orlando.” A big eyeball fills the RING camera at the front door, but it isn’t Izzy’s new boyfriend. His eyes are as blue as the Florida sky. Isabella’s are dark brown, so dark you can’t tell where the pupil ends, and the iris begins. Izzy pulls back and yells at the RING camera, “Stop spying on me! De conseguir una vida!

My younger sister is telling me to get a life of my own.

Snickers flicker across the room.

Every hair on the back of my neck rises. The audio on my iPhone is still on. Wanna get away?

I glance at my friend Kiara. She smiles and shakes her head. I appreciate her support. Time to turn the sound off my iPhone.

“Everything okay?” El Jefe’s features remain constant. He doesn’t chastise me for my sister’s outburst, even though she interrupted his busy news meeting.

“Yes sir, I’m fine.” Wait till I get home, Isabella Alvarez! “I’m fine.”

He nods, but his eyes narrow.

I sit through one of his nerve-wracking, wish-I-knew-what-he’s thinking pauses.

He says, “You can take Orlando.”

I exhale.

El Jefe is throwing me a peace offering, I think. Or maybe he believes I can’t even handle an animal story with the newbie photog, so giving me Orlando is like tossing out a safety vest.

Wow.

Two weeks ago, I would have rolled my eyes at the insult of such an easy, nonrelevant assignment. I would have been deeply offended by the shade of making sure I had a veteran babysitter with me.

Tonight, I’m grateful for it.

Even though I know I can’t possibly screw up a baby sloth story, right?

***

Excerpt from All the Broken Girls by Linda Bond. Copyright 2022 by Linda Bond. Reproduced with permission from Entangled Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:

Linda Bond

By day, Linda Hurtado Bond is an Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. By night, she’s an author of James Bond like adventures and heart-stopping thrillers. Linda met her husband Jorge on assignment in Cuba, twenty-some years later they’ve raised a doctor, a nurse, a pilot, a paramedic firefighter, and an aspiring psychologist. A breast cancer survivor, she’s active in the Tampa community raising money and awareness. When not working she finds time for her passions, her husband Jorge, world travel, classic movies, and solving a good mystery. Visit Linda at lindabond.com.

Catch Up With Linda Bond:
www.LindaBond.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @lindahbond
Instagram – @authorlindahurtadobond
Twitter – @AuthorLindaBond
Facebook – @authorlindabond

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

08/22 Review @ The World As I See It
08/22 Showcase @ Fredas Voice
08/23 Showcase @ Silvers Reviews
08/24 Interview @ I Read What You Write
08/24 Showcase @ BOOK REVIEWS by LINDA MOORE
08/25 Review @ tea. and. titles bookstagram
08/26 Review @ Lynchburg Reads
08/27 Showcase @ Brooke Blogs
08/29 Review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews
08/31 Review @ Novels Alive
09/01 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
09/01 Review @ The Page Ladies
09/02 Review @ Paws. Read. Repeat
09/02 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews
09/05 Showcase @ The Mystery of Writing
09/06 Showcase @ Books, Ramblings, and Tea
09/07 Showcase @ 411 ON BOOKS, AUTHORS, AND PUBLISHING NEWS
09/08 Review @ Read_betweenthecovers
09/09 Showcase @ The Bookwyrm
09/11 Review @ From the TBR Pile
09/12 Review @ nanasbookreviews
09/14 Showcase @ The Authors Harbor
09/15 Review @ Totally Addicted to Reading
09/16 Review @ Urban Book Reviews
09/17 Review @ Melissa As Blog
10/24 Podcast interview @ Blog Talk Radio
10/24 Review @ Just Reviews

GIVEAWAY:

THIS IS A GIVEAWAY HOSTED BY PARTNERS IN CRIME TOURS FOR LINDA BOND AND ENTANGLED PUBLISHING, LLC. SEE THE WIDGET FOR ENTRY TERMS AND CONDITIONS. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

1 Comment

  1. OMG, so much about this interview that I love.
    First – I love romantic suspense, so I will definitely check out – Alive at 5.
    I love tomatoes but hate ketchup. LOL
    I love thunder storms! I love medical thrillers!
    I lived in Savannah GA for a few years and became a huge Bulldawgs fan!!! 😀
    My favorite 80’s hairband is Def Leppard. ❤

    I think we are soul mates! I will definitely check out your books!

    Like

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