Linda Loveland Reid is a painter, playwright and right this second, author of Something In Stone.
The Book: Five dynamic, funny and amazing women wrangle over their foibles about sex, jobs, politics, and love while being confronted with death and one overriding mystery. Does a lifetime of friendship prepare one for the truth, no matter how startling? Thirty-five years ago one of their friends walked into the ocean. Now these women gather at Dillon Beach in a cottage they have unexpectedly inherited from the mother of their dead friend.
My family owns a cabin in Dillon Beach, which is a perfect place for high angst and writing – so I was doubly interested in Linda’s new book, Something In Stone.
I was able to interview her on her process and her take on Sonoma County.
What was it about the Sonoma County landscape that inspired you to set your story here?
One blazing hot summer day my family arrived in Healdsburg from Crescent City, and before that from San Fernando. I still have close ties with my fourth grade friends, in fact, after sixty-three years, there’s nine of us that meet for lunch every month. We picked prunes, swam in the Russian River, walked around Fitch Mountain, and cruised 4th Street in Santa Rosa. A lug-box of memories!
What are your favorite Sonoma Count haunts?
Harry and I had a house boat at Spud Point for four years and spent many wonderful sunny days and stormy nights mixing it up with nature. Dillon Beach is like walking into yesteryear, a small ocean village with picturesque homes. A perfect place for a story! Sonoma County is rich in cultural offerings and a diversity of folks. As a writer, painter, theater director, and instructor, I’ve gotten to associate with the various communities of amazing talent. People make the party, but oh those vineyards, rolling ocean waves, and tall redwoods!
Did researching the book give you any additional insights to life in Sonoma County?
Each town has some quirky history that folks may not know. Like the “Battle of Washoe House,” where on the event of Lincoln’s assignation, a group of supporters jumped on their horses from Petaluma with the intent of attaching Santa Rosa, the only non-Lincoln enclave in the State. They stopped at Washoe House for refreshment and, well, their wives picked them up in the morning. End of battle. It was fun revisiting some of things that caused great excitement, like when the freeway was completed; a straight shot to Santa Rose from Healdsburg in just twenty minutes. Woo-hoo!
After everything your characters have been through, do you still love this place?
Yep. In the 70s I was Associate Director of United Way and became acquainted with each of our lovely towns, exploring their distinct characteristics. This county has lots to offer, people, climate, culture, and beauty. Now we have the famed Green Musical Center at SSU. And, soon a world class casino in Rohnert Park. Hmmm. I guess success is in the pocket of the beholder.
Was it easy to let go of the story?
Yes. I had things to say about women and how they relate, fight, love, and deal with not being thirty-somethings anymore. I wanted to talk about what integrity means, what a promise is really about, how we make decisions and then live with the result, about the deeper core issues that face humans as they take the journey from kid to adult.
Linda is reading from Something in Stone at the Sonoma County Book Festival, September 21st.
Linda Loveland Reid
Author of Something in Stone
Author of Touch of Magenta