Monday, April 4, 2016



What makes us step back to examine the events and people that have shaped our lives? And what happens when what we discover leads to more questions?

Angelica Schirrick wonders how her life could have gotten so far off-track. With two children in tow, she begins a journey of self-discovery that leads her back home to Ohio. It pains her to remember the promise her future once held and the shattering revelations that derailed her life.

Can she face the failures and secrets of her past and move forward? Somehow she must learn to accept the violence of her beginning before she can be open to life, and a second chance at love.


“Linda K. Sienkiewicz’s powerful and richly detailed debut novel is at once a love story, a cautionary tale, and an inspirational journey. In the Context of Love should be required reading for all wayward teenage girls—and their mothers, too.” ~Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of National Book Award Finalist, American Salvage, and critically acclaimed, Mothers, Tell Your Daughters.

“With tenderness, but without blinking, Linda K. Sienkiewicz turns her eye on the predator-prey savannah of the young and still somehow hopeful.” ~ Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller, Deep End of the Ocean

“Absorbing, heartbreaking, compulsively-readable and insightful, Linda Sienkiewicz’s In the Context of Love casts a hypnotic spell. This is storytelling at its best.” ~ Lewis Robinson, author of the critically acclaimed, Officer Friendly: and Other Stories, and Water Dogs



Linda, how did you get started writing?

My writing evolved from my love of stories. As Thomas Lynch said, “Writers are readers who have gone karaoke.”

I like that. What do you think is hardest aspect of writing a book?

Writing a first draft is hard. It’s cheesy, bland, boring and unfocused. It takes a lot of faith to believe that you’ll be able to massage schlock into a good story.

What’s more important – characters or plot?

Characters and their inner development, which hopefully will lead to plot.

What is your writing style?

Evocative (I hope that doesn’t sound pompous). I like to evoke feelings and emotions through description and action with well-chosen words.

What do you think makes a good story?

A good story needs conflict, either inner or external. There has to be something for the character to resolve to keep the reader turning pages.

What scares you the most?

My own clumsiness is terrifying. I move too fast without looking. I fear I’m going to knock my teeth out some day.

What’s one thing you never leave the house without (besides your phone).

Got to have lip balm.

What do you love about where you live?
Historic Rochester, Michigan is so cool that my friend from California asked “Is this a tourist town?” Eclectic shops, five star restaurants, and festivals like Fire and Ice, Arts and Apples, Rockin’ Rods of Rochester, and the Big Bright Light Show at Christmas. Everything is within a few blocks of our 1914 home.

Name one thing you’re really good at and one thing you’re really bad at.

I’m great at hands-on creative problem-solving but I suck when it comes to organization.

Where is your favorite place to visit?

Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris, France, where I visited Jim Morrison’s grave. The cemetery is stunningly beautiful and strangely peaceful.

What would you name your autobiography?

Oh, Yes, She Did.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I can wiggle my ears.

Do you give your characters any of your bad traits?

Of course. Like Angelica, I went through an angry, rebellious stage in my teens, and often stretched the truth to get out of the house. I was a little too fond of my boyfriend, as well (cough, cough). I have an addictive personality like her ex, although I’ve learned to keep things in check.

Do you procrastinate?

I follow the OHIO rule: Only Handle It Once. If I don’t take care of business right away, it’ll just nag at me.

What is your most embarrassing moment?

At a reading, a well-known poet from Cleveland read a poem referring to the Cuyahoga River catching fire. As a former Clevelander, I’d heard that worn-out story so many times that I decided to tease him when I took the stage to read. In front of 100+ people, I said “Thanks, Ray, for your Cleveland poem, but, about the river catching fire: get over it.” It did not sound as funny as I thought it would. I later apologized to Ray. He was a good sport.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to write? 

It was difficult to write about my grown son’s suicide, even years after. Tears were rolling down my face, but I felt it was important to share my experience if the story helps another parent.

That's heartbreaking. What’s one of your favorite quotes?

“There is nothing fiercer than a failed artist. The energy remains, but, having no outlet, it implodes in a great black fart of rage, which smokes up the inner windows of the soul.” Erica Jong

Describe yourself in five words.

Impulsive. Empathetic. Naïve. Optimistic. Clumsy.

What would you do for a Klondike bar?

Roll over and beg.

What is your favorite movie?

Lars and the Real Girl with Ryan Gosling, a surprisingly tender and emotional story.

Do you have a favorite book?

Gilead by Marilynn Robinson. It was the most powerful and intimate story I ever read. Certain passages can still make me weep. In my novel In the Context of Love, I used the same perspective, where the book reads like a letter from Angelica to Joe.

What are you working on now?

The story of Angelica’s first love, the “Hungarian heartthrob, the Gypsy King,” Joe Vadas. I think he deserves his own book, don’t you?



Linda K. Sienkiewicz is a published poet and fiction writer, cynical optimist, fan of corgis, tea drinker, and wine lover from Michigan. Her poetry, short stories, and art have been published in more than fifty literary journals, including Prairie Schooner, Clackamas Literary Review, Spoon River, and Permafrost.

She received a poetry chapbook award from Bottom Dog Press, and an MFA from the University of Southern Maine. Linda lives with her husband in southeast Michigan, where they spoil their grandchildren and then send them back home.

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