Born in a small town in Kansas and taken at six months to San Diego, I lived most of my childhood on the move, following my career Navy father around, except for three pivotal years in Oklahoma where my father’s family lived, followed by high school graduation in Kansas. After marriage and three kids, I went back to college and received a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City where I spent many years as an administrator, mostly running the UMKC Women’s Center. That job gave me many great pleasures, including serving on the planning committee and as co-convenor of one of the critical area caucuses at Women 2000: Beijing Plus Five at the United Nations.
I had always wanted to be a writer, a novelist, but life got in the way, and I wound up scribbling poetry in spare moments between childcare, work, and school. I became a poet, but my poems always had a story somewhere in them. The narrative impulse dies hard.
Health problems eventually forced me out of the university and opened the door to writing full-time. I published two books of poetry, had two poems read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac, and won some awards. I also published a cookbook. I took a deep breath and jumped into the fiction pond. My novel, Every Last Secret, won the St. Martin’s Press/Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition, was a Barnes & Noble Mystery Pick, was featured by Las Comadres National Latino Book Club, and was a finalist for the International Latino Book Award.
When I started writing this series, I wanted to explore Skeet Bannion’s character. She, like so many of us, is a good person still tangled up in family issues from her childhood. Skeet stars in my second novel, Every Broken Trust, which was a selection of the Las Comadres National Latino Book Club, as well, and now in the third Skeet Bannion novel, Every Hidden Fear. I want to spend more time with her and with my invented town of Brewster, Missouri, which partakes of so many Kansas and Missouri small towns I’ve known. I love mysteries set in small communities where the detective is a real part of the whole community. With Skeet, I have that—and yet, she’s not quite completely a part of it since she always holds a bit of herself back. I don’t know if Skeet will ever get over that. I’ll have to write it to see.
I enjoy knitting lace shawls, spinning alpaca and wool, weaving tapestries, and gardening with herbs and native plants when I’m not writing, always my first love. I am president of the Border Crimes chapter of Sisters in Crime,a founding board member of The Writers Place and the Latino Writers Collective, and a member of Wordcraft Circle of Native American Writers and Storytellers, Kansas City Cherokee Community, and International Thriller Writers. I live in Kansas City, Missouri, with my husband Ben, a Plott hound named Dyson, and about a million books.
Awards/ResidenciesWinner, St. Martin’s/Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition
Finalist, International Latino Book Award
Inspiration Award KCArtsFund
Thorpe Menn Award for Literary Excellence
Finalist, Eric Hoffer National Book Award in Poetry
Midwest Voices and Visions Award
Elvira Cordero Cisneros Award for Excellence in Writing
Barbara Storck Prize in Creative Writing
Crystal Field Creative Writing Fellowship
Gary Barger Memorial Fiction Scholarship
Media BioLinda Rodriguez’s fourth Skeet Bannion novel, Every Family Doubt, will be published August 15, 2018. Her writing book, Plotting the Character-Driven Novel (Scapegoat Press), is based on her popular online workshop. She co-edited The World Is One Place: Native American Poets Visit the Middle East (BkMk Press/UMKC) with Diane Glancy. Her second and third Skeet Bannion novels, Every Broken Trust (St. Martin's/Minotaur) and Every Hidden Fear (St. Martin's/Minotaur), were selections of Las Comadres National Latino Book Club and won International Latino Book Awards. Her first Skeet novel, Every Last Secret (St. Martin's/Minotaur), won the 2011 St. Martin’s Press/Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition and was a Barnes & Noble mystery pick, featured by Las Comadres National Latino Book Club, and a finalist for the International Latino Book Award. She has published two books of poetry, Heart’s Migration (Tia Chucha Press, 2009), winner of the 2010 Thorpe Menn Award for Literary Excellence and finalist for the Eric Hoffer National Book Award in Poetry, and Skin Hunger (Potpourri Publications, 1995, Scapegoat Press, 2007) and edited Woven Voices:3 Puertorriquenas Look at Their American Lives (Scapegoat Press), which won an International Latino Book Award. She received the 2010 Inspiration Award from the KC Arts Fund, the 2009 Elvira Cordero Cisneros Award from the Macondo Foundation, and the 2009 Midwest Voices and Visions Award from the Alliance of Artists Communities and the Joyce Foundation and has been both a Ragdale Fellow and a Macondo Fellow. She is the president of the Border Crimes chapter of Sisters in Crime, a founding board member of The Writers Place and the Latino Writers Collective, and a member of Wordcraft Circle of Native American Writers and Storytellers, Kansas City Cherokee Community, and International Thriller Writers. She publishes poetry and fiction in numerous journals and anthologies and has edited three award-winning anthologies. Her poems have been broadcast on The Writers Almanac with Garrison Keillor (NPR) and New Letters on the Air (NPR). She is currently working on another novel and a book of poetry based on teachings from her Cherokee grandmother.
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