Taking a midlife leap of faith and rediscovering your life’s passion. Seeking a soul mate on only a few small clues from a psychic. Intriguing expat adventures in Europe and beyond… This may sound like a work of fiction, but it’s Linda’s true story.
In today’s author spotlight, we’re introducing you to Linda Jämsén and her debut book, Odyssey of Love. In her memoir, Linda shares the real life story of how she found love by taking an adventure to Europe. If you love travel and romance, then this is the book for you!
Please tell us a little about you:
Hello, I’m an American expat writer-musician living in Finland. I grew up in New York, holding a book in one hand while exploring the piano keyboard with the other. My mom taught me to play piano when I was a child, and years later, I graduated with a B.A. in music from Bard College. As a big Franz Liszt fan, I was inspired to uproot my life in Boston at age 41 and seek my destiny in Hungary. Odyssey of Love, my debut book, is about my romantic and music-filled adventures and travels during that time.
I live on an island in Helsinki with the “tall man with glasses” from the book and our cherished Russian icon.When not writing, I sing in various choruses, play piano at church, and volunteer as an English teacher for the MS Society, as well as refugee groups.
Please tell us a little about your book:
Odyssey of Love is very close to my heart because it’s a story of how I met my husband, the “tall man with glasses,” based on a psychic prediction. Heartbroken at age 41 after my long-term boyfriend didn’t propose, I left him and my job in Boston and moved to Budapest, where I taught ESL and rediscovered my passion by joining a local chorus. I also traveled throughout Europe, where I met several romantic imposters.
Why did you write Odyssey of Love?
My real-life Odyssey had such an impact on me that I felt compelled to share my story with others. My hope is that my search will inspire those looking for true love or fulfillment to “settle down, not settle for,” which is my character’s mantra in the book. It’s never too late to find love or fulfillment, even in midlife!
Who is this book for?
While primarily a love story for women in their mid-30s to mid-50s, Odyssey of Love would also appeal to classical music fans and travel lovers, as well as those who appreciate a happy ending during these difficult times.
What is your favorite part of the book?
Aside from the surprise ending with the icon, it is when János gives me a flower on Women’s Day. I had been feeling so down, and his kindness just flooded me with hope and happiness. Even thinking about that scene now, I get emotional.
How long did it take you to write this book?
Forever! About 15 years ago, I started writing vignettes about different characters I’d met, like János, the Roma street beggarI befriended. Or Ádám, my married student crush with a secret. While I knew the story’s arc and ending, I struggled with how much to share publicly, like the Mary vision, which I wrote, and then deleted numerous times. It took me years to feel comfortable enough to share it, even with close friends. I also had to stop writing for long periods due to family illnesses and crises, so that slowed me down. It wasn’t until the pandemic began and my musical endeavors were canceled that I decided that Odyssey of Love was ready for her final voyage.
When did you start writing books?
After my dad died suddenly, my therapist suggested writing exercises as a way of working through grief. My first story was about the father-daughter wedding dance that never took place. This led to other stories about my parent and others, poems, essays, fairy tales—like a literary explosion! Odyssey of Love is my first completed book, although I often juggled other projects at the same time, such as the sequel, Triptych, about healing pilgrimages of hope, faith, and love.
How is this book different from other books in your genre or niche?
Right now, memoir is my main genre, although I have written a collection of Finnish fairy tales that I’m hoping to publish here or in the States. Also, a Christmas picture book, but this comes later in the publishing queue.
Where is the best place for readers to connect with you?
Follow me on social media @lindajamsenauthor or visit my website for updates on Triptych and other writing projects. I’ve also created an Odyssey Facebook page with photos from my adventures. Thanks for your interest!