Fiction character you would most like to be or most identify with and why?
I would most like to be Princess Leia of Star Wars fame. Okay, not the hair, unless it’s the hair she had in Episode VI, when she had that long braid. And I’d love to have the body that could pull off the metal bikini she wore when she was a slave to Jabba the Hutt. I want to go zipping through the galaxy with Han Solo, zapping bad guys with cool laser pistols. And she’s a princess! Who doesn’t want to be a princess?
If you could ask any person, living or dead, a random question -- what question would you ask of whom?
I would ask the Apostle Peter why he fell asleep in the garden while Jesus was praying. I have this (totally unspiritual) theory that it’s because he was full from the Passover dinner he just came from. When God gave the Jewish people the rules for the Passover dinner, he told them to serve a lamb and eat it all. They had to clean their plates. Okay, so that means if the cook misjudged, everybody had to eat more than they wanted. Well, around my house when we have a big family dinner and everybody eats too much, the guys all go off into the other room and fall asleep in front of the television. And the Passover celebration also included several ceremonial cups of wine, not just one. So I just wonder if a full belly and several sips of wine might have had something to do with Peter’s uncontrollable dozing. (I am totally aware that there’s no spiritual basis for this at all, but I do wonder!!!!)
Some out there in writing land have strange rituals. Share yours.
I don’t have any strange rituals, but I do require complete silence. I can’t listen to music, and even having a television on in the other room drives me nuts. It helps that my kids are grown and gone, so the major noisemakers have left the house. But my husband sometimes makes enough noise for a dozen kids. Even a door slamming in the other part of the house jerks me out of my story and sends a jolt of teeth-grinding irritation through me. I tend to be fairly grumpy when I’m interrupted during writing, so my poor husband has learned some self-preservation skills. He tiptoes all day long, God bless him.
Favorite turn of phrase or word picture, in literature or movie.
This isn’t really a “turn of phrase” but one of my all-time favorite book openers is from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. “There once was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.” I just love that! I immediately know Eustace’s personality without reading another word. That’s great characterization!
What period of history intrigues you the most?
I love British history, especially the time of Henry VIII. So much happened during that era that reverberated through the entire world and across the centuries since. Henry was the first monarch to split from the Catholic church. He created the protestant Church of England and made himself the head of the church, all because he wanted to dissolve his marriage so he could marry his mistress. He fathered Britain’s most famous monarch. I’m just fascinated by that era, and my favorite city in the world is London because there is so much history from that time period there.
What would you write if there were no rules or barriers? (epic novels about characters in the Bible, poetry, greeting cards, plays, movies, instruction manuals, etc.)
I’d write epic fantasy novels of adventure and daring-do. I absolutely love the Lord of the Rings, but I want my fantasy novels to have a futuristic feel instead of an old-world atmosphere. I want to create entire worlds with their own cultures and societies, where the people are human enough that we identify with them but alien enough to be intriguing. And oh yes – I want there to be a princess who gets to flit around the galaxy… oh. Never mind. That’s been done.
What makes you feel alive?
My family makes me feel alive. The way my husband locks eyes with me across a room full of people and I know exactly what he’s thinking because we have shared so much of our lives together. The way my daughter calls me every day because I’m an important part of her life. The way my son hugs me by picking me up and swinging me around, just like I used to do to him when he was little. And of course, I love the way God lets me know that He’s always right beside me, showing me where each step goes and assuring me that He knows what’s around every corner on the path in front of me.
What word annoys you more than any other?
You’uns. It’s a Kentucky hillbilly term meaning the plural of ‘you.’ Even educated people from the hills of Kentucky hang on to this term after they’ve learned better, and I think it is the most ignorant-sounding words I’ve ever heard. It sets my teeth on edge.
Grammatical pet peeve…sound off.
Ooooh, I absolutely hate it when people use the past tense of verbs incorrectly. For example: “The grass needs mowed.” No, it doesn’t need mowed, it needs to be mowed. Or it needs mowing. My husband does it, and even though we’ve been married 17 years I have not been able to train it out of him. Sometimes I think he does it on purpose just to irritate me.
Societal pet peeve…sound off.
People who walk through the grocery store talking loudly on their cell phones. I don’t want to hear about your date last night, or what you’re fixing for supper, or the contents of your spice cabinet. This is even worse when people use that Bluetooth earpiece, because then they feel the need to shout. You know the movie What Women Want? When Mel Gibson (be still my heart!) is walking through the shopping mall and hears the thoughts of every woman he passes as though they were normal conversation, it just about drives him insane. I’m afraid that’s what our society is coming to – only we won’t be thinking, we’ll all be walking through the mall shouting into our cell phones. When that happens I will become a hermit. I will buy a piece of mountain property somewhere and dig a cave beneath tons of rock and dirt where the satellite signals won’t reach, and I’ll live there.
Pick a Genre - Describe a kiss….
THE FIRST KISS
By Virginia Smith
“Hold still while I kiss you,” Jake whispered.
“Yeah, well, that’s easier said than done,” I snapped. The gravity generators on the ship were deactivated for one third of each twenty-four hour period along with the artificial sunlight panels. The officers had a dual purpose for cooking up that crazy scheme: to save energy and to simulate an earth-like routine during our five year journey to our new planet. We were supposed to be safely cocooned in our anti-grav nets, sleeping. If my daddy found out I’d snuck out, I’d be grounded from the entertainment vids for a month.
I swam through the air in the direction of Jake’s voice, thankful that he couldn’t see my inelegant movements in the darkness.
Fingers entwined themselves in my hair and jerked me forward. “There. I have you.”
“Ouch! Let go, you big spacer.”
His hand dropped to my arm and grabbed a fistful of my shipsuit. I could just make out his silhouette in the dim glow of the instrument panel.
“Here, hold onto this.”
He guided my arm toward the panel, and I felt around. There. My fingers grasped the cold metal of a protruding lever. Now I could focus on Jake.
“Okay, I’m ready.” I pitched my voice low and husky, the way Mom sounded when she talked to Daddy.
Only surely Daddy’s breath didn’t smell like three-day-old onions. I jerked my head backward. “What is that smell?”
“Sorry. My mom rehydrated onion casserole for dinner.”
Careful not to let go of the lever, I used my free hand to pinch my nostrils. “It’s okay. I cad haddle it,” I told him.
The dark blob that was Jake’s head drew closer. This was it! I was about to get my first kiss!
Something rammed my finger.
“Ow! That was my eye!” He sounded angry.
“Well, I didn’t do it! Watch where you’re going.” But I lowered my hand for the next try.
Jake advanced cautiously. I closed my eyes. Something wet and mushy pressed against the tip of my nose, but quickly slid downward as Jake corrected his approach. And then his mouth touched mine.
Jake’s lips, soft and warm, sent ripples of electricity through my body. My grip on the lever tightened as I gave myself over to the feeling. Light exploded behind my eyelids, and I closed them even tighter. So this was a kiss. I could get used to this.
Suddenly Jake jerked away. I opened my eyes to find him hovering in zero-g in front of me, alarm on his face--which I could clearly see in the bright rays of simulated sunlight. Behind him, a uniformed man charged through the doorway, followed by a stream of stern-faced bridge officers.
“You flipped the lever!” Jake shouted. “You turned on the sun!”
Oh, man. I was so grounded.
But what a kiss!
Thanks, a bunch, Virginia.