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Thread: AW's Day of Listening - Interviews Thread

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  1. #11
    Court Jester Shadow_Ferret's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    In a world of my own making

    Yeshanu Interview

    She's an elf, with a daughter. You know her better as Yeshanu, and I had the pleasure of interviewing her.! Here are my questions. Have fun with it.

    My daughter is sitting beside me, "helping." Does that qualify as having fun?

    Tell us a bit about yourself. What would you like us to know about you?
    I'm a violist and proud of it. I make no apologies for my vice.

    I have a B.A. (with most of my courses in Psychology and Sociology), a Master of Divinity, and a Master of Pastoral Studies. Those exalted degrees have overqualified me to work as an Assistant Manager in not one, but two movie theatres (same chain, though.) I love what I do, and watching movies that have been made out of books that are worse than the worst of my writing inspires me to keep on going with this writing thing.

    I'm a Cate Blanchett fan. (Bet y'all didn't know that, huh?)

    What are you doing now? (Career? Married? Single? Children? Pets?)
    Separated but not divorced. Still good friends with my not-quite-sure-what-to-call-him husband/ex/best friend. Three overgrown alien elves as progeny. One cat that's never learned the difference between cats and dogs, as far as I can tell, because he's always following me around the house. My son thinks I need another cat.

    When did you first realize you had a talent for writing? When did you start to believe it could be a viable career option?
    Did you just imply that I have talent? I wrote my first paying piece when I was six years old. It was a non-fiction story about the school burning down around me, and my dad paid me a dime for it. He offered a quarter if I'd go back and add more details, from which I learned a most important lesson about my writing--I don't like to edit. I never did earn that quarter.

    When I was in Grades Seven and Eight, the other kids accused me of plagiarizing, because a lot of my poems were chosen for the yearbook, and they didn't much like that or me. In Grade Nine, I earned top marks for a humour piece that made fun of the teacher and her husband, even though it had a spelling mistake. (One that I noticed, but she didn't.)

    But I didn't start writing seriously until about twenty years ago (yes, I'm that old ), when I picked up pen and paper (yes, I'm really that old ), and started writing a novel based on some of my group's Dungeons and Dragons characters.

    What do you write? Novels? Short stories? Poetry? Non-Fiction? Which do you prefer and why?
    I read anything with words on it. I write a lot of things, but somehow they all come out sounding like sermons. Fortunately, they're mostly good sermons, as I've got both the talent and the training that makes them that way.

    Seriously, though, (in case this is news to anyone here) I prefer reading and writing fantasy, though I'm going to try my hand at a contemporary romance sometime this year, and I've got a non-fiction book or two on the back burner. I write book length prose. Something in me needs the longer form. (Meaning, I'm far too wordy...)

    I also write poetry, though it's mostly hit-and-miss. For poetry, I do need to be inspired by the subject. Prose I can just whip off with little effort, but poetry takes time and patience.

    What is your favorite genre to write in? To read in?
    See above.

    How do you generate story ideas?
    Daughter's answer: My brain falls out and I write whatever words they look like.

    Me: That's not a bad description of the process. I started my NaNo novel with three dares and a first line. I started my first novel with a few wacky characters. Then I wrote down whatever the characters chose to do.

    For non-fiction, I have to research, and I have been known to outline, but I just can't seem to work from an outline when it comes to writing fiction.

    Give us an example of a typical writing day.
    ??? What is this "typical" you ask of? Seriously, each day varies so much that I can't really describe one. Some days I write thousands of words. Most days I write none at all.

    On the days when I do write, I'll write for half an hour, then go do something else for fifteen minutes, like laundry or eat or dishes or something, then come back for another half hour spurt. I can go for about five or six hours this way, and have done between five and seven thousand words on a really good day.

    What are your strong qualities as a writer?

    The ability to churn out large quantities of intelligent-sounding B.S. in a very short period of time.

    I write very quickly, and edit in my head as I go, so I can write very clean-looking first drafts.

    Your weaknesses?
    Daughter's answer: Fried Chicken.

    (Smartass kid, but she's right...)

    As a writer, I think my weaknesses are two: 1) I'm not disciplined enough to write every day, 2) I hate revising my work, and 3) I am occasionally attacked by bouts of depression, where I doubt my ability to do anything right.

    Also, I can't count, but then, I'm a violist.

    If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
    Australia, and not just because Cate Blanchett's there. It's also warm there, which it isn't here right now. I've also had a long-standing desire to scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef.

    What inspires you to write and why?
    Ideas just pop out of the compost in my head.

    Really, just about anything can set me off--I'm always asking questions about the silliest things. Like taking a bus ride, and pretending an alien from outer space is sitting beside me, asking questions about what it sees out the window. Or I'll read a short story in the newspaper, or online, and say, "What if...?"

    What is your favorite book and why?
    Okay, folks, if you don't know this, you're worse off than I thought. (Ed will guess Lord of the Rings. ) As to why, I once wrote an essay for one of my profs answering that question. It was about twenty pages long, as I remember.

    Which is to say, a real answer to that question is going to be way longer than most folks would stand, and I really can't make the answer shorter.

    Suffice it to say, I've been trying (and failing) for years to write something that even approaches Tolkien's genius. It's both helped and hindered my writing.

    List your three favorite authors (any genre) and why?
    J.R.R. Tolkien, kind of goes without saying.
    Mary Balough, who writes Regency Romances.
    J.K. Rowling, Alice Walker, James D. MacDonald, Terry Pratchett.

    I did tell you I couldn't count, didn't I?

    What do you think makes a writer successful?
    Persistence. Knowledge of how things in the publishing industry work. An interesting story idea. And yet more persistence.

    What are your goals as a writer?
    To become filthy rich like J.K. Rowling or Dan Brown or Stephanie Meyer. Seriously, I want to write a book or ten that is going to be read by a large number of people, some of whom are not habitual readers. I'm truly inspired by their examples, even if I'm not a fan of some of the books they've written.

    How long did it take you to write your book(s)?
    Daughter: Once upon a time there was a baby girl. Actually, I think it may have been a fetus. And the mommy of this fetus decided to write a crazy book about D&D characters. 20 1/2 years later this ex-fetus/baby girl[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]alien elf is still waiting to read the final draft. Maybe I should offer her two quarters.

    Inflation has set in. I want at least a loonie.

    Mom, I need a dollar so I can bribe you.

    I'm broke right now. Go ask your dad.

    If you have published a book, tell us about your publishing success (title, publishing date and company, where it is available to purchase).
    No book of my own yet, but I do have a little story in Stories of Strength. If you don't have it yet, pick up a copy. You'll be glad you did.

    If you could meet anyone in history, who would it be and why?
    Queen Elizabeth I, but only if she did look like Cate Blanchett.

    J.S. Bach, for a more serious answer. Someone who could write as much music as he did while raising twenty kids surely has something interesting to say on the subject of productivity.

    What is your favorite food?
    The kid gave it away up there. Also Black Forest Cake. The real stuff, with the Kirsch in the filling.

    What is your favorite color?
    Purple and green, and yes, I think I've told you I can't count.

    What is your favorite place?
    Algonquin Provincial Park. I try to get up there at least once a year, sometimes more.

    What is your favorite memory?
    I have lots of them. Most of them involve being with one or more of my alien elfs.

    If you could have any talent in the world besides writing, what would it be?
    I'd like to be a better musician than I am, but I don't want to have to practice to do it.

    Then she could play something other than the viola.

    I'd really like more artistic talent (talking here about visual art.) I'd like to be able to paint more than just blobs, and draw people that don't look like they used to be part of a tree somewhere.

    Is there anything you’d like to tell us about yourself that might surprise people at AW?
    I'm actually very good at math. And I'm a founding member of Smiley Addicts Anonymous.
    Last edited by Shadow_Ferret; 12-14-2008 at 10:49 AM.
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