Friday, May 18, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - Seedlings from Ann Gabhart

Had a little fun with Ann Gabhart. Enjoy.

As per usual, I'm red and she's blue.

Fiction character you would most like to be or most identify with and why?

Peter Pan. He can fly and he doesn’t get old. Of course he does have to fight crocodiles, but he does it very bravely.

If you could ask any person, living or dead, a random question -- what question would you ask of whom?

I’d ask my dad, who died almost twenty years ago, “What was the most fun you ever had when you were a kid?”

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

Nothing too strange. I just apply the seat of my pants to my chair and stare at my computer screen and wish out a few words that tell a good story. Nothing gets written, though, until I actually put my fingers on the keyboard and start poking the letters.

If you could change something in any novel, what would you change about it and why?

Some bad endings here and there, but I can’t think of anything specific.

What crayon in the box describes you on a good day? Bad day? Which one do you aspire to be?

On a good day – red. On a bad day – tan. I suppose I aspire to be the most vibrant red in the box.

Pick one…..Pink iguana, purple cow, periwinkle giraffe. Which one and why? Can be negative or positive.

Periwinkle giraffe. I like the way that sounds when you say it.

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

“I’m off to the city of Solla Sollew on the banks of the beautiful River Wah-Hoo where they never have troubles. At least, very few.” From I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew, one of my favorite books by Dr. Seuss. I love reading Dr. Seuss to kids.

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.

If I could be assured of writing a best-seller, any genre would do. But how about a mystery? I love a good mystery. No one would guess who did it until the very last scene, and then I would have been so brilliant in planting the clues, that the reader would think back and say, “Of course. How did I miss it?”

What period of history intrigues you the most?

I can get wrapped up in any time in history when I start reading about what happened at that time, but the pioneer days here in America have always captured my interest. People then had to give up so much when they walked across the mountains to settle new land. They left behind family forever and risked not only their lives but the lives of their children to find a fresh start.

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.)

Are there rules and barriers? You can write anything. You just might not find an editor or readers who will read it. All I’ve ever wanted to write is a good story with characters that readers will love.

What makes you feel alive?

Walking in the woods or down a creek. Feeling the sun on my face. Getting a hug from a beloved child. Writing a great scene.

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

Life is a combination of all those and more, but I think if you can make me smile then you have me listening and then I’ll be more ready to hear your truth.

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

The Bible, The Beach Boys music, my daughter, apples.

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.

Not the moon – too far from home although the view must be great. Not the north pole – too cold although I might see Santa. Not the deep seas – no oxygen although I would love to know what’s down there. Not a deserted island – too lonely although I might get some writing done in all that quiet time. But I’ve always thought it would be fun to walk the Appalachian Trail. I love to hike and I love nature.

Favorite season and why?

I like them all and wouldn’t want to live where it was hot or cold all the time. I especially like Spring because of the way everything bursts back to life. Grass grows. Flowers bloom. Bees start buzzing. Birds start singing and the whole cycle of life starts afresh.

Favorite book setting and why?

My book or someone else’s? My book – a wild nature place on my own property that I used in one of my young adult novels, Discovery at Coyote Point, because I love going there. Other books – Middle Earth in The Lord of the Rings, because it was so real.

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

“I couldn’t put your book down.” That always makes me feel good because it means I didn’t write a dull book.

What criticism has cut the deepest and why?

I don’t know. If I hear or read something critical about my writing, I try to listen and learn from the criticism if it’s from an expert or someone I respect. But you know, everybody is a critic and you can’t just fall down and weep every time somebody doesn’t like what you write. At least not for over five or ten minutes. There are more stories to be written and your next one will surely be better.

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

Take my grandchildren for a walk in one of my favorite places. Tell my children about things they did when they were little. Hold my husband’s hand. Breathe the air and enjoy the sunshine.

What is your favorite word?

My editors say it must be “just” because I use it way too much. No, seriously, I would go with “joy.” Just saying the word seems to give my spirits a lift.

What word annoys you more than any other?


Superhero you most admire and why?

Superman. He’s always saving the world.

Super power you’d love to borrow for awhile?

You know that flying thing again. Doesn’t everybody want to be able to fly?

Favorite chore

Favorite chore – you’ve got to be kidding. Chore and favorite can’t go together.

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

I’m afraid to bungee jump or sky dive but I never thought about it being fear of pain. I thought it was just plain fear. As for the running with scissors, that’s just common sense. There’s a difference between fear and common sense. Then again maybe not doing the bungee jumping is just common sense too. Of course skydiving might be a little like flying, so if I wasn’t such a chicken I might try that.

Grammatical pet peeve…sound off.

Long run on sentences that go on and on and that never seem to end while lots of words are being used but nothing is being said and you finally get to the period and you’re glad but you have no idea what you just read so you have to go back and read it all again. Now what was the question?

Societal pet peeve…sound off.

Clerks who take a phone call and wait on whoever called while they are supposedly waiting on you after you’ve been standing in line forever.

Pick a Genre - Describe a kiss….


She wanted to kiss him. He had pulled her in behind the library door and put his hand softly against her lips so she would know silence was of the utmost important. Somewhere inside this old mansion a madman was stalking them, but here shoved against him with their hearts racing, all she could think of was how his lips would feel on hers. If she was going to die, didn’t she deserve a kiss first?

She put her hand behind his neck and pulled his head down toward hers. Their lips met with such an explosion that she felt as if she were flying. Then she realized she was flying. The madman must have set off a bomb in the next room.

Describe something you can see, hear, taste or feel without telling us what the item is.

It can come in several colors but only one general shape. It is very common. You might see one somewhere every day. A good one has a nice pop to it. Lots of different things are made from it, but the original form has always been the most popular since the very beginning of time. It smells like fall and can, at times, taste like candy. Doctors who need patients don’t like them.

Frizzy hair, purple scarf and a book – make a character.

Her life was fried just like her hair. Nothing was going right. Absolutely nothing. Even Superman couldn’t fix her life. Frannie looked in the mirror and tugged a comb through her hair. It was useless. The box of hair color that was supposed to turn her into a beautiful blonde had instead made her look like some weird clown with white sheep wool for hair.

And now she had to ride a bus halfway across the country to see her Aunt Stella. She didn’t want to, but her mother said she had to. Another example of how fried her life was. Here she was almost twenty-one, and still doing what her mother said instead of what she wanted to do. But she had two more years of college and no money. She couldn’t make her mother mad. She needed tuition money and what was a couple of weeks out of one summer. It wasn’t like she had anything happening here. No boyfriend. No job. No nothing. So she’d promised to go.
Aunt Stella had something wrong with her, cancer or something bad, and she claimed Frannie was her favorite niece and she just had to see her. Had to.

At least Frannie would be out in the boondocks where no one she knew would see her with her disaster hair. She reached into her drawer and pulled out the first scarf she touched. It was purple, her mother’s favorite color. Frannie hated purple, but she wrapped it around her head anyway.

Then she grabbed the book she’d picked up on a whim last night at the store when she was buying the blonde dye. How to Succeed at Life and Love in Ten Easy Steps. She could write some steps on how not to succeed. Dye your hair twice in one week. Let your mother talk you into being some kind of Good Samaritan. Waste money on a book written by some idiot that thought life was easy. She shoved the book into her bag. It would probably be good for a few laughs as she rode across country.

A crack broke the stillness as Terry tugged on the frozen door.

She held her breath and listened. No footsteps running toward her. Maybe she was okay. In an old house like this, creaks and cracks were probably the norm. She was hearing a few creaks herself. Perhaps crazy Jacob, who had locked her up in here, wasn’t running to stop her, but instead was creeping toward her in the shadows where he was watching her and silently laughing at her inept attempts at escape. What did he want with her?

She’d met Jacob at a writing workshop. His stories were weird but he’d seemed nice enough when he asked her out for lunch. Nothing bad could happen at lunch. Then he’d talked her into acting out a scene from one of his stories. Anybody with the first bit of good sense would have said no, but not Terry. Her first husband used to tell her that she thought everybody was good. Bill had certainly proved that wrong, but Terry hadn’t learned her lesson. Now here she was locked inside a creepy old house with night falling.

Her heart started pounding harder in her chest as she remembered that everybody always died in Jacob’s stories.

Thanks, Ann. You've got a flair for suspense. Happy weekend, Dregites.