Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Serials and Scenarios ~ Kaye Dacus

As promised. Kaye's answers to the Dregs.

Scroll down a bit to read my review of Kaye Dacus' Stand-In-Groom and for a look see at the first chapter.

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

If I could be a character in a book, I would want to be Anne Elliot from Jane Austen's Persuasion---because Frederick Wentworth is my favorite of all the Austen heroes, and I fall in love with him a little more each time I read the book or watch the film (the 1995 version, anyway).

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

This isn't a ritual so much, but an addiction. I'm addicted to Post-it Notes. As I write this, I currently have nine of them stuck around the perimeter of my computer screen, and more than a dozen more stuck to the wall over the desk. I have a dispenser on my nightstand by my bed, on the end-table beside my chair in the living room, a pad of small ones in the top drawer of the entertainment center, and several different sizes of them on the table in my office where I do my editing work. I can't work (write or edit) if I don't have a Post-it pad within easy reaching distance.

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

In Jane Austen's Emma, I would find someone better for Knightley. As Jane herself said, Emma was a heroine only she could like. It's my least favorite of the six major novels, as I've always thought Knightley deserved someone of much better character than Emma.

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

I'll have to admit, I had to get onto Wikipedia and look up the new names of the crayons---it's been a very long time since I've had any! On a good day, I'd have to say I'm "Purple Heart"; on a bad day, it would be "Blue Bell." I would love to be more environmentally friendly, so I'd say I aspire to "Ultra Green."

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

Purple Cow, for a couple of reasons: first, purple is my favorite color; second, I love beef (prime rib especially); third, I love cheese and ice cream. Of course, if we're talking beverages, I think I'd have to go with the Pink Iguana, because I much prefer the sound of cranberry juice and lime to grape juice and milk mixed together!

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

"Good stuff, Maynard." From a Malt-o-Meal commercial from the late 1970s. My sister and I started using this phrase since elementary school, and it's been a regular part of my repertoire ever since.

What period of history intrigues you the most?

As someone who grew up in the "Old" West and who also went on to minor in history in college, I can't narrow it down to just one, so I'll give you three: (1) the late Georgian/Regency era of England (because of my love of Jane Austen), (2) the American Civil War (the era of history I specialized in with my minor), and (3) late 19th Century New Mexico (because of my childhood in N.M.).

What makes you feel alive?

The first rainfall after a long, hot, dry summer. Writing the hook ending of a chapter. Laughter with friends. Singing, especially old, beloved hymns. Watching my favorite teams play football. Learning something new.

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

Book: The Complete Jane Austen
Music: Dean Martin
Person: My parents, or my friends Lori C. and Ruth
Food: Popcorn, fruit, nuts, dry cereal, and sparkling 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.

I would love to take at least a fortnight's visit to Britain, especially the southern/Hampshire/Portsmouth region and Scotland---for research purposes as well as family history (I'm a McLellan on my mother's side of the family). I would also love to spend some time in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria (from my years of studying the German language and cultures of those countries).

Favorite season and why?

Fall is my favorite season, and summer is my least favorite. Most people get depressed when the leaves start falling, the days get shorter, and the weather gets colder—but it invigorates me. I’m lethargic and feel house-bound during the summer because I get very easily overheated and dehydrated, which gives me rip-roaring migraines. I’ll take autumn allergies over heat any day! When the weather starts turning cooler, to me it’s the fulfillment of the promise that the nastiness that is summer-weather doesn’t last forever. I just wish fall (and winter—at least, the kind of winters we get here) lasted a little longer around here.

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

The comment that gave me the greatest encouragement came in my 12th grade Creative Writing class. On the first piece of fiction I'd ever let anyone read, a short story assignment, my teacher wrote, "I think you've found what you're meant to do." It took almost exactly twenty years between receiving that comment and holding my first published novel in my hands, but I've never forgotten it. (And of course, I sent him a signed copy!)

Favorite chore

Are people supposed to have favorite chores? I don't have a favorite, but the one I don't mind doing as much as anything else is laundry. I love the smell of the fabric softener when it releases in the spin cycle. My house is so small that it freshens every room.

Grammatical pet peeve…sound off.

Let's see . . . would it be people mixing up Me, Myself, and I? saying TRY AND instead of TRY TO? adding TATE to oriented and disoriented? using an apostrophe to make a word plural? using plural pronouns with singular antecedents? (Um, I'm a copy editor by trade, if you can't tell!)

Societal pet peeve…sound off.

Pants hanging off the rear-end! I don't wanna see your underwear! Also, girls wearing shirts that don't reach the waist band of their pants, while wearing pants that are so tight they get a "muffin-top" effect. Facial piercings, belly rings, and tongue-piercings bother me, too. Oh--and the biggest one of them all---PEOPLE USING THEIR CELL-PHONES IN THE MOVIE THEATER. Can't you sit for two hours without texting someone? And, even worse, DON'T ANSWER A CALL IN THE MIDDLE OF THE MOST DRAMATIC SCENE OF THE FILM!