Getting to know Linda C. Wisniewski #author #journalist #librarian #timetravel #fiction #teacher #memoir

I have a special treat today: author Linda C. Wisniewski is here to share about the inspiration for and writing of her time-travel tale. Let’s find out more about Linda and then we’ll delve into her writing process.

Linda C. Wisniewski is a former librarian and journalist who lives with her retired scientist husband in Bucks County, PA, where she volunteers at the historic home of author Pearl S. Buck. Her work has been published in Toasted Cheese, Hippocampus, and many other literary magazines. She teaches memoir writing in the Philadelphia area and online and is the author of a memoir, Off Kilter: A Woman’s Journey to Peace With Scoliosis, Her Mother and Her Polish Heritage and a time travel novel, Where the Stork Flies.

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Betty: What inspired you to write the story you’re sharing with us today?

Linda: At a family reunion, a cousin showed me a copy of our family tree. The oldest known ancestor was a woman named Regina, born in 1778, and we were curious about what she’d think of our lives today. From that beginning, I decided to time travel her to the present day and find out.

Betty: What, if any, new writing skill did you develop while working on this story?

Linda: Although I’ve written short stories, this is my first novel. I attended workshops with fiction writers and read books on plotting, character development and scene building. Not a surprise, I found that the same skills are used in my first genre, memoir writing, but with more world building and less self-reflection.

Betty: Did you struggle with any part of this story? What and how?

Linda: Since I was creating characters who did not really exist, I struggled to find motivation for their actions. Why would Kat take in a homeless woman? Why would they come to believe that time travel was real? I needed to sit with these questions and come up with possible answers, which turned out to be their ‘back stories:” what happened in their lives that made them act this way.

Betty: Which character(s) were the easiest to get to know? Why do you think?

Linda: The point of view character was easiest because I made her a librarian, a career I’m familiar with, and the setting was eastern PA, where I live. She also has a Polish American background. Initially, I was writing Regina’s story, but after a while I realized it was Kat’s story I wanted to tell.

Betty: What kind of research did you need to do to write this story?

Linda: I love to do research as a former librarian and journalist, so this was fun, and often led me down rabbit holes I had to pull back from if I ever wanted to finish the book! My husband and I went to Poland to see the area I was writing about. We got to visit an outdoor living history museum and saw the houses, villages, clothes people wore and what they ate from the time period I wrote about.

Betty: How many drafts of the story did you write before you felt the story was complete?

Linda: I don’t count them because when I have revised the story, I delete the old stuff. It’s a risk, I know, but I find that keeping old drafts is confusing.

Betty: How long did it take for you to write the story you’re sharing with us? Is that a typical length of time for you? Why or why not?

Linda: I took about ten years to write Where the Stork Flies, taking my time, putting it aside for weeks or months at a time. I didn’t feel an urgency to write it, but I did feel motivated to finish it. I think this is typical for me and some other writers, especially because I also write personal essays and short memoir pieces in between big projects like this one.

Betty: What rituals or habits do you have while writing?

Linda: I like to have coffee at hand, and I write in the afternoon, after my chores and errands are done, when the house is relatively quiet. I write in my upstairs office beside a window that looks down on evergreens and birds flitting between them. Can’t seem to write in cafes or libraries, though I’ve tried.

Betty: Every author has a tendency to overuse certain words or phrases in drafts, such as just, once, smile, nod, etc. What are yours?

Linda: My writing ‘tic’ is gerunds: ing words. “Walking down the street, she…,” “Looking out the window, he…,” “Asking herself the next question, she…” Early feedback I was given was “get rid of all the ‘ing’ words!”

Betty: Do you have any role models? If so, why do you look up to them?

Linda: Oh yes, I do. Older women who taught me what I know and are still writing. Maureen Murdock, Susan Tiberghien, Susan Wittig Albert, were kind and encouraging when I was starting out. The first two are memoirists. Susan Albert writes cozy mysteries and started an organization, Story Circle Network, that supports women writers of all ages and genres.

Betty: Do you have a special place to write? Revise? Read?

Linda: I write in my cozy office/sewing/yoga room on the second floor of my house. Same place for revising, but I take my reading downstairs on the couch or in a big recliner looking out over our deck at the birds and grass. I like to reward myself after a writing session with a good book and a cup of tea about 4 in the afternoon.

Betty: Many authors have a day job. Do you? If so, what is it and do you enjoy it?

Linda: I teach memoir writing on Zoom and in person once a month, and I also volunteer as a docent at the home of Pearl S. Buck. I love both because they connect me with people who love writing and authors, and because my students are eager to share their stories.

Betty: As an author, what do you feel is your greatest achievement?

Linda: Lifting up other women by writing about my own struggles and those of my female ancestors. I am a big believer in the connections we make when we give each other the time and space to be heard. People have told me that my words have helped them understand others and themselves.

Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?

Linda: Mystery novels have been my favorite all my life, from romantic suspense as a teen to British mysteries today. I love entering the worlds the authors have created, whether from the past or the present day, and following the plot that works like a puzzle to be solved.

Betty: Success looks different to different people. It could be wealth, or fame, or an inner joy at reaching a certain level. How do you define success in terms of your writing career?

Linda: In terms of wealth or fame, I’m a failure! 😉 But that was never my goal in writing. I started late in life, after 50, and the joy comes from knowing my words are being read far and wide. I love hearing from readers about what they liked. Just the other day, a reader called me from Florida to say I wrote “a great book” because it touched him by bringing up memories of his childhood in the Polish section of Philadelphia, a neighborhood that is one of the settings of Where the Stork Flies.

Kat is estranged from her family when she finds an old woman who speaks no English in her Pennsylvania kitchen, desperate for help. Eager to give her life meaning by coming to her rescue, Kat hires Aniela as translator. When the woman tells them she is Regina, a 19th century Polish peasant, Kat thinks she’s crazy – until Aniela convinces her it may be true.

As they struggle to find a time portal, the exasperated Aniela reveals her true identity as Jadwiga, medieval queen of Poland sent by the Black Madonna to help them. It’s Jadwiga’s first mission after dying in childbirth at 25. If she succeeds, she can stay on Earth and experience more of life.

Kat is overwhelmed as she feels responsible for both Regina and Jadwiga. At least she can buy Regina a new pair of shoes, but no sooner do they arrive at Wal Mart than Regina rescues a girl from assault and realizes that years ago, she was a victim too. Lesson learned, she goes back home with a desperate Kat close behind her.

When Kat gets lost in a 19th century forest, she realizes her own mistakes and goes home to heal her family.

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Okay, Linda, I will confess to gasping when you said you delete your previous drafts! I can’t say the same…Eventually I do, just not as I go. Thanks for sharing about your story and writing process.

Happy reading!


Award-winning Author of Historical Fiction with Heart, and Haunting, Bewitching Love Stories

Visit for a complete list of my books and appearances.


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