Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Writer's Block Interviews: Linda Hatton

1) Tell us a bit about yourself and where you live and work.

I grew up in Seattle, lived in New York briefly, and then moved to Southern California where I now live.

When I was very young, I had a fondness for writing. Then in high school, I focused on watercolor painting; I had my art displayed at a mall in Seattle when I was in high school.

Then I went on to study acting at New York University and to pursue a career in acting and theater, including a little producing and writing. I also had my first poem printed in a literary magazine back then and made hand-crafted jewelry, hats, and handbags that I sold around Seattle (as well as working at Seattle Art Museum after I finished my degree).

Later I became a stay-at-home mom and have been keeping myself busy with varying side projects and a constant dose of classes.

I’m working for a web design certification, but it’s slow going because I have to work around my kids’ schedules. Additionally, I take every writing class I can get my hands on that fits into my budget and schedule. I have had some outstanding teachers both at UCSD Extension online (poetry and novel writing) and College of the Canyons (creative writing and screenwriting).

Oh, and besides writing, my daughter started creating sock dolls when she was about 7 years old. Word spread about them up until last year when we finally started a Facebook page, Sock Doll Surprise, (http://www.facebook.com/SockDollSurprise) to sell her dolls. We were running monthly fundraising auctions; we had one for her school, one for the Red Cross efforts for Japan after the Tsunami, and one to support bicyclist Kirsten Salvador for her participation in the California Coast Classic to raise money for Arthritis Foundation. We’ve gotten a little side-tracked due to school activities, although we are donating one to support medical expenses for Ruby Owen’s Charity Fund. We have purchased the domain SockDollSurprise.com (http://www.sockdollsurprise.com/) and I have been building a website for it.

2) What is Mouse Tales Press? Why did you start it? How did you choose the name?

Mouse Tales Press is an online literary magazine that publishes poetry and short stories. I wanted to make a website where I could use the skills I had learned in my web design classes and challenge myself to keep my knowledge up-to-date. Inspired by my writer-daughter, I initially started it as a place where emerging writers could have a chance to display their work. Mouse was my childhood nickname given to me by my father who had died not long before I started the website, so I named it in his honor.

3) Tell us about your submission process. What kind of writers should submit?

Mouse Tales Press publishes work by both emerging and established writers. I love experimental works, those written outside traditional format. While I receive mostly free-form style poetry, I also appreciate poems written in form. However, I usually choose works that bring out an emotional response in me when I read them.

Writers should send submissions to Submissions@MouseTalesPress.com. In the subject header, write “Submissions” and indicate to which category they are submitting (poetry or short stories). Also, we appreciate the stories to be formatted as stated in our guidelines on the submissions page (http://mousetalespress.com/submissions.html).

4) What is your vision for Mouse Tales Press?

I would like to one day produce a hard copy version of the magazine. However, I envision making handmade books rather than mass-produced copies (I have pondered creating issues through Mag Cloud though). I am still learning the fine art of book-making, so it will be a while before I turn out my first set.

Adding a store to the site is another option I have thought about. It would most likely be a store of handmade books (although my wheels are always churning!), and whether or not I open it up to outside artists, has not been decided at this point. Stay tuned!

5) Who are your favorite authors? What is on your reading list right now?

I have been immersing myself in novel re-writing books over the past several months. I was once addicted to reading Ridley Pearson books. However John Steinbeck is also a favorite. Most recently, despite my apprehension at the subject matter, I am now reading Catching Fire of The Hunger Games series. I could barely put the first one down. (Catching Fire is just as good, I’m just a little busier now so it’s taking me longer to read it.)

6) When you are not writing/editing, how do you spend your time? Describe a typical day in your life.

I write, work on Mouse Tales Press, exercise, and create foods from vegetarian and raw food recipes while my kids are in school. When they are home, my schedule usually revolves around their many activities: soccer, volleyball, track meets, and horseback riding lessons. Favorite places I like to take my kids are hiking, biking, to museums, the science center, and the beach.

7) What projects do you have in the works?

I have been working on a cozy-mystery called Do Not Disturb for longer than I would like to admit. Initially I wrote it during National Novel Writing Month; it needed heavy editing and re-writes, which I am now in the final stretch of. The story is about a hotel maid who finds a hidden package in one of the rooms she is cleaning. The contents change her life forever. When one of her co-workers is found beaten, clues surrounding the package lead her to believe the sender is the attacker. Afraid of being arrested for theft and fearing for her safety, she sets out to find the culprit.

When I was 14-years-old, a teacher had me read, The Greatest Salesman in the World (by Og Mandino) and when I was 16 my dad gave me How to Win Friends and Influence People (by Dale Carnegie). Having been influenced by positive thinking type ideas from a young age, I have included bits of this philosophy in Do Not Disturb.

I tend to write stories that have a spiritual twist (currently, I am also working on a screenplay called Reincarnation Saved My Life). The subject of death seems to pop up in my writing a lot, too, though. Besides that, I have two other novels I am working on, one of which is a Young Adult novel, and various other poems, short stories, etc.

8) What advice would you offer to aspiring authors?

Always carry a journal and pen with you, or use the notepad in your phone if you have a thought and you don’t have the paper to write it on. Sometimes it’s hard to recall those fleeting thoughts hours later.

Also, set a regular time every day to write whether you feel like it or not. If you feel you have writer’s block, get outside of your head by recording what is going on around you through your senses. Write what you hear, smell, feel (the clothes touching your skin, twitches, whatever).

And find a class to take. There is nothing more important than feedback by other (experienced) writers. Also, check your local library or bookstore for writers’ groups.

About the Author

Linda Hatton has a BFA in Acting from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. She has produced, written, and acted in various theatrical productions since 1982. Most recently, her play, “A Human Being”, was produced at the West Hollywood Black Box Theatre in September, 2009. Her writing has appeared in Rainy Days, The Writing on the Wall, on VeggieMama.com, and in Cul-de-Sac literary magazine, Volume I and Volume II. Linda also runs her own online literary magazine, Mouse Tales Press.

Contact Linda

Twitter @MouseTalesPress.

Facebook Writer Page  http://www.facebook.com/linda.goleschhatton.

Mouse Tales Press Facebook Page http://www.facebook.com/MouseTalesPress.

Linda's Blog the whatnot shop http://whatnotshop.blogspot.com/

Mouse Tales Press Blog http://mousetalespress.blogspot.com/


  1. Great interview. I love the sock dolls - what a great way to help others. I also love the title of the current screenplay, Reincarnation Saved My Life. Good luck with Mouse Tales Press! And thanks Raychelle.