Thriller Author Linda L. Richards Advises Writing From the Heart

Best known for edge-of-the-seat thrillers featuring strong female protagonists, Linda L.  Richards has clear ideas for writing a winning novel.

Richards is the author of over a dozen books in several genres. Endings, the first book in her current series, was recently optioned for series production by a major studio. The newest book in the series, Dead West, will be published in September 2023. 

The Endings series is anchored by a woman who has lost everything and has become a contract killer. “The series is about redemption, more than anything,” says Richards. “So there is darkness, but there is also real hope.”

Additionally, there is heart-pounding action. In a starred review of Endings, Publishers Weekly said the book has a “twisted, whiplash-fast plot filled with layers of moral ambiguity. This harrowing tale of love, loss, and the value of life is not to be missed.”

Richards is also the publisher and founding editor of January Magazine, an online publication focused on books and authors, Richards says it took a long time for her to find the courage to write her own first novel. “I mean, seriously write it. Sit down and commit and give it everything I had.”

That first book, Mad Money, a financial thriller, was accepted by an agent within a few months of completion. That led to a bidding war that saw Richards with a six-figure, three-book deal. Since that time, there have been ups and downs and even digressions into other types of writing, but thrillers with a noir sensibility have become her trademark in a highly competitive field.

In this year’s Dead West, the hitwoman protagonist we’ve been following since Endings is given the assignment to kill a rancher in rural Arizona who is trying to save the wild horses at the national park near his home. She finds herself oddly drawn to him, and when he disappears before she gets the chance to carry out her assignment, she finds herself intent on discovering what happened to him, following a trail that leads from the rural desert to Phoenix and even Washington, DC. Along the way, she encounters kidnappers and killers, horse thieves, and even human traffickers. 

“Linda L. Richards delivers yet another riveting entry in her hired killer series,” says New York Times bestselling author William Kent Krueger. “Set mostly in Arizona desert country, Dead West is a dust devil of a story, twisting in wildly unpredictable ways and with a powerful emotional center. But this book isn’t just a marvelously compelling thriller; it also cries out passionately for protection of the endangered wild horses of the West. Kudos to Richards for seamlessly weaving an important message into the fabric of a terrific tale.” 

Born in Vancouver, Canada, Richards has lived in Phoenix, Arizona, since she married American businessman and financier Anthony J. Parkinson in 2019. “Tony has been an amazing and unexpected resource for my writing,” says Richards. Her husband has become her first reader, offering up his decades of experience in international business and intrigue. “He offers this amazing perspective. We are Yin and Yang. I think my writing has become so much better and stronger since he started reading early in the process and offering his comments.”

You can catch up with Richards on her website.