I started writing for publication in 1996 as a way to create stories for a racial reconciliation discussion group that I co-led with my husband. I knew I wanted to publish the stories. This was back during the days when many churches were grappling with how to address the overt racism we were seeing in the news following the Rodney King verdict. My thinking was that if I could write a novel then people could see how they should be more intentional about crossing racial barriers as followers of Christ. I just didn’t know how.
Back then, there was no such thing as self-publishing, so I pursued a traditional publishing contract for a decade before I got picked up by Moody Publishers, thanks to my hardworking literary agent. During that decade, I took a class on fiction writing and I practiced my craft. I started a writer’s group but I was the only person who wanted to get published.
In the 10 years following that first book contract, I’ve published seven books. Most of them are Christian fiction. I enjoy writing fiction because it feeds my need to create. I come from a long line of creative women and I also grew up during a time when there was little else to do with your time. There was no internet and we only had three channels on TV. I also enjoy drawing, knitting, and crocheting. I usually sprinkle my writing with multi-talented intelligent folks, most of them from the South. That’s purposefully done. As a native North Carolinian, I love my home state. And I resent the stereotype of dumb country hicks.
By day, I’m an environmental engineer and by night, I let my creative side loose. I have two degrees in engineering actually; both from North Carolina State University. I worked as an environmental engineer for a little over five years. Now I work as a research engineer and technical writer on the university level. I usually don’t share my technical side with people outside of my day job. I think it confuses people who have pre-set notions of women in technical fields. “She’s a snob.” “She’s too smart for me.” “Her books must be boring.” I hate stereotypes and generalizations. They are limiting and almost always wrong.
I think I’m living proof that you should never put someone in a box. If I was allowed 30 seconds to say my piece to potential readers who find out about my techie side, I say this: Engineering is what I do. Linda Leigh Hargrove is who I am. Get to know me for me; not for what you think I should be because of my job title.
Learn more about Linda, her life, and her work at the Christian Book Reader's Weekend!