We are so proud to have Linda D’Ae-Smith, author of Standing Against the Rage: Based on the true story of Mildred Flatau’s miraculous escape from domestic violence, in our HOPress-Shorehouse Books family. Although this book has some fictional elements, it does tell the story of a rea-life crime and the ensuing trauma and survival of Mildred Flatau. It is a fascinating read. Get to know this talented author and subscribe to her blog Femme-de-Finesse and follow her on twitter and Facebook
1. Tell us a little about Linda D’Ae-Smith.
I’m a native Oregonian, and contrary to the assertions of “transplants,” true Oregonians do use umbrellas.
I was raised in the very small town of Boring (yes, that is the actual name of the town!), located about 30 miles southeast of Portland. The town is so small that we had to commute to the City of Sandy to attend high school.
It was during my years at Sandy High School, that I became familiar with Christopher Smith. While I had to admit he was very good looking, I wasn’t impressed with his reputation (he went through a lot of girlfriends). In fact, when he began attending my church, I did everything possible to avoid interaction with him. We were set up on a date, in front of each other making it awkward to decline. A year and a half later, we were married.
We have two adult children, and three grandchildren, who are the joy of our lives.
2. Has writing always been a big part of your life or is it new avocation or vocation?
Throughout elementary and high school, I enjoyed English classes and even considered becoming a teacher. I loved reading (my friends and I devoured the Trixie Belden book series) and writing.
When I finally got around to attending college at the age of 33, I focused on creative writing, journalism and public relations. My internship at Oregon Zoo led to a job in public/media relations, writing press releases for local, national, and international distribution, as well as magazine articles for The Association of Zoo and Aquarium’s magazine, Connect.
3. What inspired you to write this book?
Mildred’s story was so amazing to me. What causes a teenager to have the courage to stand up to her father, and compel him to not take her life? What was her inner-strength? I wanted answers to these questions.
4. What were the challenges you faced writing this book?
The toughest part of writing the book was changing my writing style from press releases (basically newspaper articles) to creative writing. I’d been very comfortable and successful writing in one style for 15 years, and now I had to think differently.
Working with Mildred’s family was somewhat of a constraint. They were fantastic, but I was always aware that they knew Mildred personally. I was cognizant of the fact that I needed to portray Mildred as authentically as possible, even while creating dialog.
The process of editing and publishing the book was a challenge, as well. So many options available and no real clear road map.
5. Did your research inspire you to keep going?
Research wasn’t difficult as much of the material I needed almost fell into my lap. The issue for me became using research as a stalling tactic. At times I was spending much more time researching than writing.
6. What do you want readers to take away from this book?
I would like readers to be inspired by a young woman who could have justified poor choices and pursued a life of excuses and negativity, but chose a productive, positive life instead.
7. What gave you a sense of joy while pursuing this project?
I found a great responsibility in telling Mildred’s story. She wanted her story told and mentioned it to her daughter and niece. She (and they) had no idea how to go about sharing it. I really felt like I was meant to write her story.