Today’s Spotlight is on Linda Pennell, author of Al Capone at the Blanche Hot


Why do you write?

I write because I enjoy the act of creation.  Envisioning characters and seeing where they lead me is an exciting journey each and every time I start a new project!

 What’s your favorite genre? Do you have a favorite author (if so, please tell us the name)?

I love anything historical, especially if there is a mystery involved.  My favorite authors are too numerous to name!

 To be successful as an author, what do you see as the main goal?

My main goal as a writer is to produce the best novels that I can and hope that readers enjoy them.  While I do write what I want to read, it’s a lot more fun when other people get pleasure from my work as well.

What inspires you and how do you channel it when you need inspiration?

My inspiration usually begins with a theme I want to explore or a point that I want to make.  While this may seem to some to be the sole purview of authors of literary fiction, I believe that all good fiction imparts more than just plot.  Good fiction also informs and enriches the reader’s experience.  In Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel, I explored the issues of love vs economics during the Great Depression, racism, friendship, and women’s personal vs professional growth in the modern world.

What advice can you give to aspiring authors?

If one has developed a good work ethic, done the research, written well, edited and revised, in other words, done all that one can to produce a good novel, then have patience.  Have patience with the tedious process of getting into publication, but more importantly, have patience with yourself.  Do not become discouraged or engage in negative self talk.  Negativity accomplishes nothing, so be kind to yourself!   It’s good for the creativity.

What advice would you give to the youth of today (not just authors)?

Be more concerned about your future than what your peers think of you.  This is so simple to say, but so hard for youth to do.  As a secondary public school educator, I have seen far too many kids make life altering choices without so much as a thought to the consequences.  More often than not, they are trying very hard to gain peer approval and friendship.  This is especially, tragically true for the kids sucked into the gangster life style.  Once a gang has its hooks into a child, there is hell to pay for him/her to get free.

What’s on your bucket list?

Travel, travel, and more travel!  I have been fortunate in that I have visited much of Europe and a little of Africa, but there are still sooo many places left and too little time/funds!

Tell us about your book:

Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel tells a story of lives unfolding in different centuries, but linked and irrevocably altered by a series of murders in 1930.


Lake City, Florida, June, 1930: Al Capone checks in for an unusually long stay at the Blanche Hotel, a nice enough joint for an insignificant little whistle stop. The following night, young Jack Blevins witnesses a body being dumped heralding the summer of violence to come. One-by-one, people controlling county vice activities swing from KKK ropes. No moonshine distributor, gaming operator, or brothel madam, black or white, is safe from the Klan’s self-righteous vigilantism. Jack’s older sister Meg, a waitress at the Blanche, and her fiancé, a sheriff’s deputy, discover reasons to believe the lynchings are cover for a much larger ambition than simply ridding the county of vice. Someone, possibly backed by Capone, has secret plans for filling the voids created by the killings. But as the body count grows and crosses burn, they come to realize this knowledge may get all of them killed.

Gainesville, Florida, August, 2011: Liz Reams, an up and coming young academic specializing in the history of American crime, impulsively moves across the continent to follow a man who convinces her of his devotion yet refuses to say the three simple words I love you. Despite entreaties of friends and family, she is attracted to edginess and a certain type of glamour in her men, both living and historical. Her personal life is an emotional roller coaster, but her career options suddenly blossom beyond all expectation, creating a very different type of stress. To deal with it all, Liz loses herself in her professional passion, original research into the life and times of her favorite bad boy, Al Capone. What she discovers about 1930’s summer of violence, and herself in the process, leaves her reeling at first and then changed forever.


Buy link:

From Soul Mate Publishing:  Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel


Twitter: @LindaPennell