After spending a career in the high-pressure arena of hospital risk management, Linda Pollock retired a couple of years ago and promptly immersed herself into a new full-time endeavor.
The Land O’ Lakes woman, who turns 70 this month, often devotes 10 hours or more a day to writing.
She finished her first book, a memoir called “Ohio Girl,” in 2013. Just a few weeks ago, she published a novel called “Windows,” which is available through print-by-demand on Amazon.
She’s also done the writing for “Daniel Smith,” a second novel that continues the story she began in “Windows.” But she still needs to edit “Daniel Smith” before she can publish it.
Then, she expects to follow that with “Copper Swift,” which will either round out the trilogy, or set the stage for a fourth book in the series. She’s aiming for a 2015 release date for “Daniel Smith,” and a 2016 publication date for “Copper Swift.”
Pollock, who publishes under her maiden name, Linda J. Pifer, always has loved to write.
“I had an English lit teacher when I was in high school that just really encouraged me to use the gift,” Pollock said. “He really was my inspiration, when I was a kid.”
Initially, she studied nursing and planned to pursue that as a career.
“That’s what girls did then,” she said.
It didn’t take her long to discover that nursing wasn’t her true calling, so she enlisted in the U.S. Navy. After her stint there, she went into retail work.
Later, she began working for hospitals — first, as an administrative clerk, and then later in risk management. She finished her career doing just that for the former University Community Hospital, now Florida Hospital Tampa.
Over the years, Pollock wrote articles for hospital newsletters. She penned her first nationally circulated work in 2003, a piece about her uncle called “The Cloverfinder” that was published in Country Magazine.
After she retired, Pollock turned her attention to telling the story of growing up in Ohio, surrounded by her family. She culled through hundreds of photographs to accompany her memoir that details her life and her recollections about her grandparents, great aunts, uncles and other family members on both sides of the Pifer, Wanamaker and Guerin families.
Her first novel “Windows” focuses on a Florida woman whose husband has died from cancer. The main character, Sarah Sandlin, is obsessed with genealogy, and uses it as a way to hide from life.
“She wants to let go of her grief,” but she can’t, the author said.
Eventually, Sarah receives a letter from one of her husband’s friends who wants her to come to the United Kingdom to research his family’s genealogy. She agrees, which leads to a story that Pollock describes as both romance and genealogical mystery.
As Sarah uncovers secrets hidden in the old estate house, a New Zealand connection emerges which leads to the next novel, “Daniel Smith.”
That novel tells the story of Daniel Smith, who travels to New Zealand from Scotland with his wife on a masted ship in 1843.
Pollock’s novels draw heavily from her imagination, but also involve considerable research. She uses the Internet, books, movies and other sources to help create the backdrop for her stories.
She even consulted with a member of Blackheath Dawn Writers, a United Kingdom writers group, to ensure that the descriptions of her settings and the dialect she uses create an authentic look and feel.
The Land O ‘ Lakes author understands there’s no guarantee that her hard work will attract a broad audience or yield a lucrative return. Still, she’s willing to invest the time and creative energy that’s required.
“You’ve got this stuff in you, and you’ve got to put it down on paper, even if it is just for my family or someone that looks at it on some dusty shelf in 20 years,” she said.
Even though she’s content to lose herself in the work, Pollock has one regret.
“It’s a shame I didn’t start sooner,” she said.
She believes it takes authors 15 to 20 years to become established and widely known.
“Now, I’m 70,” Pollock said. “And even if I lived to be 90, I’ve only got 20 more years.”
Published November 19, 2014
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