She went crazy in the creative corner. I dare you to read her off-the-cuff short stories and not want to read her novels...
Can't wait to read what you're cooking up next.
Fiction character you would most like to be or most identify with and why?
Hmmm. That would be Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz or Alice in Alice in Wonderland because their imaginative worlds come to life for them. I feel a bit like that, being a writer.
Some out there in writing land have strange rituals. Share yours.
I write whenever the inspiration strikes, which may be at interesting times—in the
shower (I get some really creative ideas in there), while driving, etc. My ideas usually start out as scribbles on scraps of paper and receipts. I’ve also learned to write with The Wiggles and Teletubbies playing in the next room.
What crayon in the box describes you on a good day? Bad day? Which one do you aspire to be?
On a good day? Smooth Sailing Blue. On a bad day? Orange Frazzle. I aspire to be Peace of the Lord White.
Pick one…..Pink iguana, purple cow, periwinkle giraffe. Which one and why? Can be negative or positive.
I have one sitting in my cow collection right now, so I have to go with Purple Cow. My mother decided I needed to collect things in college, and she started sending me droves of cows. Voila, I have a collection.
Favorite turn of phrase or word picture, in literature or movie.
As a Southerner, I think it says it all when in Gone with the Wind, Rhett Butler says, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a diddly.” Oh, wait. That’s the Christian fiction version : )
What makes you feel alive?
Watching my children share their chicken nuggets (it doesn’t happen very often), painting when it turns out well, writing when the words flow out effortlessly, singing a really cool song at church (we have a great band) and connecting with God. Oh, and finding new gray hairs. Wait, no. That just makes me feel old.
How does something worm its way into your heart? Through tears, truth, humor or other?
I’m a sucker for sentimental commercials. I may be tough as nails in daily life, but show me a cute little boy with a hoppy toad on TV, and I’m all tears.
Book, music, person, food you would take with you on a very long trip.
I’d have to take my kids because I’d miss them too much, so let’s make that a very short trip, okay? And my husband should come along because he’s lots of fun.
Where would you most like to travel ----- moon, north pole, deep seas, deserted island, the holy land or back to a place from your childhood, somewhere else? – and why.
I’ve always dreamed to going to Greece to view the ancient ruins. I’d also love to see the Egyptian pyramids for myself. But if possible, I’d like to travel back in time to see my parents together when I was a child. That way, I’d have all my facts straight and have the truth instead of my childhood being some far-off fairytale that I put too much time and energy into mourning. Oh, wait. Let’s just save that tidbit for my next book, shall we?
Favorite season and why?
Spring. You know, flowers blooming, birds singing. getting into shorts again. Oh, wait, let’s make that winter.
Favorite book setting and why?
Not sure why but every now and then, I find myself in the common area in Harry Potter’s dorm room in front of that fire. Anyone else do that too? Anyone? Anyone?
Which compliment related to your writing has meant the most and why?
My next book, Trouble the Water (coming in Feb 2008), is inspired very loosely by my deceased aunt Bonnie. My mother read the book and said, “Well, you captured her. The way she thought, everything.” That was my biggest complement because I realized the power of words then. I was able to bring my mother’s best friend back for just a short while.
What criticism has cut the deepest and why?
I think sometimes readers forget that as novelists, we are writing fiction. The comment that stings the most is from a reader who just doesn’t “get” my writing, yet takes it a step further and assumes that any and all opinions of my characters must be my own. I’ve been surprised at how judgmental a few people can be and how quickly some can question the faith or intention of a writer. This ain’t non-fiction folks. Just wait for the memoir : )
What would you do today if you knew you had only a week to live?
I’d gather all my loved ones and spend every second with them. Not even sleeping. And I’d try to memorize every single thing about them and tell each person exactly what they mean to me and how much I love them. I’d also read my Bible and pray to God, mostly that my family would be alright without me.
What is your favorite word?
What word annoys you more than any other?
Uggh, I hate to even write it –“butt”. Can I say that here? Can’t stand the word. It seems so crude and crass. I much prefer “tushie” or “rear” or “behind”.
Is this a trick question?
Anything you'd do but don't because of fear of pain? What is it? Ex. Bungee jumping, sky diving, running with scissors.
I’ve always thought skateboarding looks like tons of fun, but I really prefer my un-skinned knees. Funny how we get so attached to our bodies as we get older.
Grammatical pet peeve…sound off.
“Where’s it at?”
Excuse me? It’s not “at” anywhere.
Societal pet peeve…sound off.
Credit card companies preying on college students.
Describe something you can see, hear, taste or feel without telling us what the item is.
It crinkles in his two-year-old hands, and he giggles. He pops it in his mouth, and I tell him no. He puts it on his face and looks at me through it, but I tell him it’s dangerous. He takes both arms and waves it up and down, causing it to fill up with air. I really should have put that in the trash…
Two middle-aged females talking animatedly. One wears a very short skirt, and she ought not to be……………. Give me a scene, dialogue, characterization, drama……
“Well, I’ll be. Do you see that, Martha?”
The tennis court empties and a slender blonde wiggles into the clubhouse past two white rocking chairs.
“What, her? Hmmph. Ever since she dumped her husband and lost twenty pounds, she thinks she can flaunt that hiney any-which-where she pleases.”
Miss Meredith shifts uncomfortably in her seat, stealing a glance at her friend’s wrinkled knees. She obviously doesn’t get it. “Well now, she is young, and…firm…” Meredith coughs, “and perhaps, someone her age can get away with it.” She glances again at her friend and catches her eye.
“What, exactly, are you trying to say, Meredith Billingsby?” Martha’s eyes narrow, framed by sharp crow’s feet.
“I’m not implying any…oh, for heaven’s sake, Martha, you know and I know you’re too old for that dad-gum skirt you’re wearing! Can’t you see it?”
“I…what?!” Martha’s eyes glass over and her mouth crinkles up into a dried apple.
“Oh honey, don’t do that. Don’t do that,” says Meredith, touching her friend’s orange freckled arm. “Not that you don’t have the legs for it…’cause you do! You do. It’s just that, well, when a woman reaches a certain age…”
“Just how old do you think I am…” Martha says through pursed lips.
“Oh, I don’t know. About my age, right? Give or take a few years? I just turned sixty-seven.”
“Sixty-seven! Meredith! I’m only forty-two! Do I really look that old?!” She whines and clutches the arms of her rocker, nearly crushing them.
Oh heavens to Betsy, Martha thinks, hanging her head low and wondering why she ever opened her mouth. Didn't Mama tell me to keep it shut? "Uh, maybe you should just wear some more sunscreen? Here, sugar. I keep some in my bag." Meredith smiles demurely and hands it to her, then slathers some more on her own face, pulling her hat down over her ears…just in case.
If Alex had known the body of the senator was in the bathtub, she would've taken Jim's offer for coffee.
Jim, with his whining, wheezing, and that smell! Yet she’d kiss Jim full on the lips if she could avoid what she was seeing now.
Alex closed the shower curtain and sat down on the commode. All I wanted was some peace and quiet, she thought. The office had been a madhouse since the allegations of the senator’s affairs. And she’d done her best to spin it all—quite successfully, she thought. It was some of her best work.
“But why my bathtub?” she said to the corpse, lying there with a frozen silly grin. “Truly, George? Did you have to do this to me?”
She’d never had an affair with the senator. That’s the last thing she wanted. He was a bumbling old coot in her opinion, and she’d fended him off at every advance. Yet here he was, naked in tepid water, with his “little buddy” (as he so often referred to it) finally put to rest.
Alex pulled the shower curtain open again and a rubber ducky plopped down into the water. She stared at the ripples floating out over the senator’s chest and wished that ducky could just figure out how to spin….
Thanks again, Nicole. And happy weekend one and all...