Claudia Mair Burney's latest book, Wounded, is on my bedstand and let me tell you the woman can write. But if you keep reading her Q & A that won't surprise you at all. The woman has a deep, deep vein leading to and from the heart. I'll return with a review and in the meantime you'll want to read the first chapter. If you love literary fiction with deep themes and ragged characters, check it out. (Click on the book cover to visit the Amazon page. And here to visit Ragamuffin Diva Blog Spot. )
Fiction character you would most like to be or most identify with and why?
Honey, sometimes I feel like I'm a fiction character. So, I'll have to go with Claudia Mair Burney in the novel of life.
If you could ask any person, living or dead, a random question -- what question would you ask of whom?
Dorothy Day is in my thoughts this week. In fact, I just ordered her diaries for my birthday. So, maybe I'd ask her how she, a mother, a writer, an ordinary woman, could keep welcoming the stranger as Christ, again and again, no matter how distressing Christ's disguise was, because I want to welcome him, too.
Some out there in writing land have strange rituals. Share yours.
Agonize about not having the story until the last minute, then write, eat, sleep, write, repeat the cycle non-stop only days before deadline. And do nothing else. It's AWFUL, but I find myself there again and again.
If you could change something in any novel, what would you change about it and why?
I would make the Catholic characters I created actually act like Catholics instead of some Cathovangelical hybrid. Somethings you only figure out on the inside. Many regrets there.
What crayon in the box describes you on a good day? Bad day? Which one do you aspire to be?
On a good day I'm cotton candy pink, bright, a little silly, conjuring the memory of something sweet and childish. On a bad day I'm indigo blue. Moody, somber, but not as quite as dark as noir.
Pick one…..Pink iguana, purple cow, periwinkle giraffe. Which one and why? Can be negative or positive.
Pink iguana, because I love pink, and she seems to be the happiest of the bunch to me, though the periwinkle giraffe has its charms.
Favorite turn of phrase or word picture, in literature or movie.
From Mariette in Ecstasy, "Christ still sends me roses." Makes a sistah sigh. I totally stole it for Wounded. Ron Hansen didn't seem to mind. He gave me a lovely endorsement, I'll love him evermore for that.
If you were assured of writing a best-seller, what genre would it be? Give us a sliver of information, a characteristic or glimpse of a scene.
It would be literary fiction, with language so beautiful and poetic I'd have to grow up for five or ten years to be capable of giving you a sliver of it.
What period of history intrigues you the most?
The one we're in. Amazing time to be an American. To be in this world. There a lot of wonder to behold.
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.)
Maybe all of those, except for the instruction manuals.
What makes you feel alive?
Love. The Trinity. Wow! God in community with Himself. And then God in three Persons informs the way I'm to love. Love makes me feel alive, and God is love.
How does something worm its way into your heart? Through tears, truth, humor or other?
By moving me in some way, and it could be any of those. But I have to feel it deeply.
Book, music, person, food you would take with you on a very long trip.
I'd take a Bible--with the Deuterocanonical books--wouldn't want to miss out on Tobit! My iPod that has a crazy eclectic mix of music and movies, especially about the saints! Gotta take that. And I'd travel with a bunch of healthy yummies from Whole Foods. Bono would go with me. I'd bring some strong Irish beer and Jack Daniels for him, and ask him to bring his iPod, too!
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 got mad longing to go to Italy. It's so full of romance and outrageous Catholic stuff. I love Catholic kitsch. I'd go crazy buying glow in the dark rosaries and statues.
Favorite season and why?
Summer. I feel brand new when it's hot and sunny.
Favorite book setting and why?
Each book is a wonderful world. I like to get lost wherever a good writer wants to take me.
Which compliment related to your writing has meant the most and why?
I am so humbled and touched when someone says something I wrote made them love Jesus more. Or love their neighbor more. If everything I wrote could breed love I'd die a happy woman.
What criticism has cut the deepest and why?
A review said that my audience may be offended by references to Christ as Lover in Wounded. That really bothered me. I didn't make up the idea myself. It has a historical precedent, and I dare say it's Biblical. Nor do I take it, in my opinion, to an extreme that sullies the whole concept. How can the Bride of Christ seeing Him as Lover be offensive? We're His Bride! Aren't brides and grooms lovers?
What would you do today if you knew you had only a week to live?
Have a long talk with each of my kids and my husband, then write something amazing, like I only had a week to live. I'd spend my last day serving the poor until I dropped dead. The poor Christ in someone else would be the last face I'd see.
What is your favorite word?
What word annoys you more than any other?
Superhero you most admire and why?
I like most superheros. For all their their power and glory they're all a little broken.
Super power you'd love to borrow for awhile?
I'd be cool to fly, but being able to save lives would be quite useful.
Writing believe it or not. It's a chore now.
Anything you'd do but don't because of fear of pain? What is it? Ex. Bungee jumping, sky diving, running with scissors.
I have a chronic pain disease, so I'm always in pain. Might as well do what I want. Right?
Grammatical pet peeve…sound off.
I have too many deficiencies to go off about grammar. I'm very generous and forgiving when it comes to such.
Societal pet peeve…sound off.
Poor and dying people deserve dignity. They deserve love and care.
Change. I've learned to embrace it, ride it out til the end. Sometimes I'm kicking and screaming, other times weeping with my eyes clinched tight. Once in awhile I ride like a dog in a car, head out the window snorting what life has to offer. Mother to young adult children, a marriage of thirty years, and a desert to mountain to valley waltz with God have shaped me into someone I never imagined I'd be. Life is short and I want to live it. Tears, sighs, laughter and change. Every morsel granted to me. Scrambled, shaken or stirred.