I need to practice effectively answering questions about my books, myself and my motivation for doing any of this and… What better way to do that than a self-interview in the privacy of my own home, while my children run around like banshees in the background and my dogs are covered with mud and filth from #rainpocalypse2015, otherwise known as #hurricanejoaquin.
- When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Honestly, I have had that dream for so long, I no longer remember NOT having that as a dream. I don’t remember the first time I realized that “author” was a legitimate job, though I know Reading Rainbow is partly to blame. If I had to label the idea with a number, I would say 6. I was 6 when I wrote my first book, about mermaid fairies that lived in flower blossoms. My mother should still have that somewhere in her attic, if she can find the door to her attic anymore.
2. What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Frantic. I have learned, as I have gotten older, that outlines save me from meandering around the central points I am trying to make. That helps a lot. Aside from that, it’s a balls-to-the-wall race to the finish line because once I’ve gotten a book planned out, my mind is already at work on something else.
3. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I have two, actually. I have to have a bra on. I can do blogs like this (catch that mental image) with no bra, but if I’m doing any serious writing, I need to look like I’m a serious writer and that means strapping the girls down. The other quirk is, I have thrown out entire keyboards if I don’t like the sound the keys make when I press them. Cheap keyboards sound oppressive. No one wants to slave away under a fascist dictator when they’re fishing for thirteen different ways to say “labia.”
4. What does your family think of your writing?
Given that my chosen genre is salacious fiction, I anticipated their response to be something of an amalgam of embarrassment and reticent pride, but I was so far off base. My parents have been shockingly supportive, my in-laws are shockingly supportive, and my third grader was so proud she went to school and told everyone in her class. I can’t imagine how uncomfortable her teacher will be when they call and ask for a copy for the classroom library…
5. What authors have inspired you to write?
All of the quintessential high school curriculum writers – Fitzgerald, Shakespeare, Yeats, Poe – had a profound impact on me when I was younger. I was always very moved by words and the way in which they could be strung together to create a specific mood. I also loved Anne Rice and anything that was primarily Southern in its approach to storytelling. When I got to college, I discovered Allende and Garcia Marquez and Magic Realism and I think I really realized that this [being a writer] was the only thing I wanted for my life.
6. What is your biggest failure?
I think not using the outlining system earlier was a huge failure for me. I could have been doing so much more, but I was so adamant that I wanted to start writing and “not know where the story would take me.” What a dumbass.
7. Where do you hide when you’re upset?
In the car. I have a litany of Disney songs on my iPhone. I like to play them and cry. Sometimes you really do just want to rise like the break of dawn, dammit.
8. Name Five Favorite Movies
Jurassic Park (I also should have listed Michael Crichton as a favorite writer, I have read literally everything he has ever written, even Pirate Latitudes and Micro, which were horrible), The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Godfather, Gosford Park, and The Little Mermaid.
9. Do you believe in love at first sight?
Absolutely not. I believe in “I want to get into her panties” at first sight, and that worked out well for me, but I don’t think I believe in love at first sight. I remember running into my wife the first time, she sat in on my job interview at a public high school, and I thought “This woman has the prettiest skin I have ever seen.” I did not love her, but I did know that I wanted to see all of her skin. It was pure dumb luck that she happened to be the coolest person I had ever met (and still is).
10. If you were attending a Halloween party, what would your costume be and why?
Ms. Frizzle from The Magic Schoolbus. We have the same hair. Or Merida from Brave, same reason. I’m thrifty and wigs are itchy.
AND THE BONUS QUESTION
11. Does Prince Charming exist?
I don’t give a rat’s ass, as long as I have his muscular, competent, tile-laying sister.