Car donors come in all different flavors, but award-winning author Linda Cutting is among the most distinguished of all the thousands of donors we have been lucky enough to encounter. With her first book translated into 7 languages, including Japanese, Dutch, German, Chinese, and Swedish, Cutting offers ample proof that her work speaks to everyone, everywhere. This versatile author has a knack for touching on the hot button topics of our time, including—but not exclusively so—family, music, abuse, bullying, racism, adoption, and suicide. Linda Cutting, moreover, is facile at switching between literary genres in her various essays and books.
Our chat with Linda Cutting offers an intriguing peek at her life and work. We hope the reader will come away with a thirst to read this talented author’s stories and articles. Linda Cutting’s generosity in donating her car to help children be the best they can be, shows her good heart, and the desire to make a difference.
Kars4Kids: You received a Barnes and Noble “Discover Great New Writers” award. That sounds like a major distinction. Can you tell us about the award? Was that for Memory Slips?
Linda Cutting: When my first book, Memory Slips won Barnes and Noble’s “Discover Great New Writers” award, I was shocked and honored to be in the same company with one of the best memoirs written that same year, Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt!
Kars4Kids: Memory Slips was translated into seven languages. How many languages did it take to convince you that the book had taken off?
Linda Cutting: When Memory Slips was translated into Chinese, I was thrilled when the publisher invited me to Taipei to perform a televised concert and interview, but most of all, to meet several teenaged girls who’d been sexually abused by a family member, then kicked to the street after saying it out loud. These brave young girls were educated, clothed, fed, and housed by a wonderful organization called “Garden of Hope” in Taipei. It was there that my husband and I saw many young Chinese children, and along with falling in love with Chinese culture, after that trip we knew we wanted to someday adopt a little girl from China. Our daughter, Hannah, is now 16.
Kars4Kids: You were a former concert pianist. How does that experience inform your work?
Linda Cutting: The thousands of hours I spent practicing and rehearsing for concerts gave me the discipline necessary to sit down for hours to write and revise. The Boston Globe gave me the kindest review I got for Memory Slips: “When Cutting writes about music, the words sing.” I was so happy that they highlighted the musical element in my writing, and very excited when I learned that the Association of Composers, Authors, and Publishers honored Memory Slips with the Deems-Taylor Award for excellence in writing on music.
Kars4Kids: Your writing work seems to span many topics and genres. Can you give us an overview? What are the advantages of switching things out?
Linda Cutting: My first published piece was a music review for The Boston Globe written in Japan where the Boston Pops were on tour with John Williams, with whom I’d given several performances of the Shostakovich Second Piano Concerto. My first published essay appeared in The New York Times Magazine and that essay is really what launched my writing career—from that I gained a literary agent and published my memoir. What led me to children’s books was reading so many to my kids for years.
Kars4Kids: You’re a mother. What was that like for a working mother? Were you already writing when they were little? It would have been hard at least some of the time, for you to get quiet for writing.
Linda Cutting: It’s actually easier to write with children around than it is to practice, rehearse, or teach music. I taught undergraduate and graduate students at The Longy School of Music and New England Conservatory of Music. It was easier teaching there than at home. For one thing, writing is silent, whereas music is all about sound, so if a child is napping or simply running around the house making noise, that’s a problem. For the times that I needed the quiet to write, my husband was wonderful about giving my time away on Saturdays to write, and at least once a year took the kids while I went away on a writing retreat.
Kars4Kids: Who and what inspires you?
Linda Cutting: People, places and events all inspire me––I’m just finishing revisions on a World War II novel based on my father’s experience as an infantryman in the Battle of the Bulge, something he was only able to talk about near the end of his life. The tragic event of George Floyd’s murder inspired me to write an essay published by WBUR’s Cognoscenti on how classical music still has a race problem, and my son’s experience with bullying in public school inspired an article we co-wrote for Wired on how video games offered a haven for him from bullying.
Kars4Kids: Tell us about your latest book. When does it come out? Will there be a next book?
Linda Cutting: My latest book is a children’s book on adoption, A is for Always, illustrated by the talented Leonie Little Lex which launches August 2, 2022. The book was inspired by my daughter, Hannah, who stomped down the hallway carrying two books, one hers, one her brother’s, and asked me, “Why are our adoption books different?” and “Can’t you write one that includes all kids of any race, that doesn’t exclude anyone?” After Leonie and I finished the book, my daughter said, “Mom, this book isn’t just for adoptees! Other kids need to learn about adoption at school the same way we’ve learned about other marginalized groups!”
Kars4Kids: Can you tell us a bit about the car you donated?
Linda Cutting: Our 2011 Honda Pilot had almost 200,000 miles on it from cross-country and closer-by family road trips, and an untold number of carpools for baseball and soccer, since it carried 8. It holds many cherished memories.
Kars4Kids: You chose to make a charitable donation of your car, when you could have sold or junked it. Why donation?
Linda Cutting: It feels more rewarding to donate a car you cherished than to simply trade it in.
Kars4Kids: Why did you choose Kars4Kids as the recipient of your donation?
Linda Cutting: To know that the car you loved with your kids is going to help other kids through an organization like Kars4Kids made the donation even more rewarding.
A is for Always: An Adoption Alphabet by Linda Cutting (Author), Leonie Little Lex (Illustrator), to be released August 2, 2022, is now available for pre-order through: