Friday, April 20, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - Annette Smith - Big Life Q & A

Happy Friday, all.

Annette Smith, author of A Bigger Life is gracing us with her thoughts and comments. I can see why I liked A Bigger Life as much as I did. If you like what Annette has to say, you are going to like her book.

Some out there in writing land have strange rituals. Share yours.

It's not strange but it's definitely caffeinated. Got to have lots of coffee to get me started and to keep me going.

Favorite turn of phrase or word picture, in literature or movie.

And they all lived happily ever after.

What period of history intrigues you the most?

I find the 60's fascinating. I know those were years of great social change and turmoil, but I admire the passionate activism of that era. I also love the music and the fashions. Think about it. Where would we be without the Beatles and the peasant blouse?

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.)

Graffiti. I'm always tempted to add my two cents to what's on the bathroom stall walls.

What makes you feel alive?

Many things:
Music, especially live performances. Art. I love galleries and outdoor festivals. Spending time in nature, even just kicked back on my front porch, feeds my soul. I am also energized by deep, off-the-wall conversations with creative, free-spirited, out-of-the box people. The intimate drama inherent in my work as a hospice nurse makes me feel unbelievably alive and alert.

How does something worm its way into your heart? Through tears, truth, humor or other?

I am drawn to the poignant. I find deep meaning in tragedy and loss.

Book, music, person, food you would take with you on a very long trip.

I'd take my Bible and a blank notebook, Norah Jones' Come Away With Me CD, my husband Randy, Green and Black dark chocolate bars, Rice Crispie Treats, and Dasani bottled water.

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.

That deserted island sounds tempting! I love both solitude and the ocean and am very content when my feet are in the surf and my bottom is sunk into the sand.

Favorite season and why?

I love springtime because of the sheer beauty. Living in a forested part of east Texas, the trees are simply gorgeous right now. Looking out my kitchen window, I can see an amazing number of shades of green against the bluest sky you can imagine. The air is cool. Birds are singing, and clouds of wildflowers bank the roads.

Favorite book setting and why?

Elizabeth Berg is one of my favorite writers. In every one of her books, she lovingly describes the smallest of domestic details in ways that make me want to move right into her settings. I love her kitchens, her gardens, her bedrooms. Every time I read one of her books, I am struck with the desire to rearrange my own nest.

Which compliment related to your writing has meant the most and why?

Readers have told me they can't believe A Bigger Life was really written by a woman. It was a risky venture for me, a middle-aged mainstream wife and mom, to write in the first-person male voice of Joel, a twenty-seven year-old single dad. I love it when someone tells me I nailed his voice.

What criticism has cut the deepest and why?

I am so hard on myself that criticism never surprises me. I nearly always agree with my critics.

What would you do today if you knew you had only a week to live?

I'd get up early and have my coffee on my front porch. I'd water my plants and clean out my underwear drawer. Knowing that in my absence, he'd simply toss it in the dryer and think that was good enough, I'd iron a shirt for my husband to wear to my funeral. I'd invite family and friends to come for dinner and I'd hope they'd spend the night. I'd pet my sweet pooch Wallie and eat oatmeal cookies in bed. I'd buy fresh flowers and put them in every room of my house. I'd write letters to my future grandchildren.

What is your favorite word?

Feign. I think I've managed to work it into ten of my twelve books.

What word annoys you more than any other?

I'm not fond of suddenly.

Favorite chore

Folding clothes. I love it when all there's nothing dirty in the hamper and everything is clean, sweet-smelling, and put where it belongs.

Anything you'd do but don't because of fear of pain? What is it? Ex.
Bungee jumping, sky diving, running with scissors.

My parents' encouraged my adventurous spirit, but they did forbid me to ride a motorcycle. My friend Ken rides an enormous black BMW. When I get up my nerve, I'm going to ask him to take me for a spin.

Societal pet peeve…sound off.

The constant presence of television. TV's are everywhere, in restaurants, hospital waiting rooms, and airports. I don't believe the background noise and rapidly changing images add anything to our quality of life.