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Thread: AW's Day of Listening - Interviews Thread

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  1. #11
    Court Jester Shadow_Ferret's Avatar
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    Apr 2005
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    Vixey Interview

    She's only been here since June, but Vixey has quickly become a popular member of AW, and has become a regular welcome wagon in the Newbie forum. I also consider her one of my closest friends. Here is her interview.

    What are you doing now? (Career? Married? Single? Children? Pets?)
    I suppose I’m a stay at home mom, but I hate that term. I have a small online pewter business selling liturgical jewelry, but that doesn’t take up much of my time. I’m actively looking for a job in event management.

    I’m married with three children, all teenagers – one (boy) in college. My daughters are in high school. I’m enjoying this phase of their lives for many reasons, but mainly because they can do so much for themselves. Driving is key.

    I have a golden retriever mix, Chamois, who’s nine and very sweet because her personality is a reflection of mine. Modesty? Me?

    Tell us a bit about yourself. What would you like us to know about you?
    In addition to what I wrote above, I suppose I could add that I was born and raised in Charlottesville, Virginia. (I was born in the same hospital as my grandmother and father.) And I was so taken by the University of Virginia (also in Charlottesville) that I went to school there. I was a Towny. Until seven months ago, my license plate was TOWNY.

    I worked in DC for a few years after school for a lobbyist and later in an executive administrative position for a political association. Let’s just say Bill and Hillary were often in our offices, while he was still governor. And there are a slew of other muckety mucks I dealt with on a daily basis, but I won’t share all of them here. It was a heady job and if I hadn’t left to have a baby, I might still be doing it today.

    You came to writing rather late in life, within the last few years. Can you tell us what inspired you to take up the pen?
    I began writing three years ago.

    The inspiration came from a need to entertain myself in the middle of the night. Sleeping husbands don’t appreciate insomniac wives who turn on the light in the middle of the night to read. So…what to do if you don’t want to get out of a nice warm bed?

    I’ve always been a daydreamer. My mother says that I’d be the one in ballet class staring off into space while everyone else sashayed across the room. When I was very young I conjured two little people, Sweetie and Pogo, to sit on my pillow as I waited for sleep and talk to me. Wish I could remember what we talked about.

    But as an adult when I woke at night, I began to fantasize about stories I’d read. I imagined disappearing into a different era, having different lovers, living a different life. I’d log these segments of stories in my brain to be continued the next night. One morning, as I woke I could see the scene from my fantasy being written. I saw each word appear as though someone, me, were typing it. That day, still in my pajamas and robe, I sat at my computer and began typing a story.

    A related question: Do you feel that coming to the game late is an advantage or a disadvantage? Explain.
    I can’t answer to the advantages, because I just don’t see them.

    As to disadvantages, I suppose if I’d started writing at a young age I would have learned many of the writing ‘rules’ earlier, such as Tom Swifties, POV switches, showing versus telling. All of these no-noes show up in my earliest writing. Everything I’m learning now about publishing and agents, either on AW, in books, or through trial and error, would have happened anyway – just earlier.

    I suppose the biggest disadvantage is the loss of some great stories I may have written at earlier points in my life.

    What do you write? Novels? Short stories? Poetry? Non-Fiction? Which do you prefer and why?
    Novels – I can mess around with someone else’s life and make it happy for them in the end. I call it escapism. It gives me a control I don’t have in my own life.

    I’m currently working on a non-fiction piece with a woman who wants to tell the world about her experience in adopting an African American ten-year-old boy raised in generational poverty. It’s heart-wrenching and exhausting. I have to take breaks from the research and her interviews. Let’s just say the interviews have become a form of therapy for her, which means I have to put on my big girl pants and be supportive.

    What is your favorite genre to write in? To read in?
    I tend to write women’s fiction, but I’ve discovered I like writing action and dialogue the best. My current WIP is a YA fantasy – no weres, vamps, or dragons – at least not yet. You never know what those pesky characters are going to throw at you.

    For reading, I suppose women’s fiction is the first book I’ll pick up at the bookstore. But I also like gothic suspense, occult style horror, and, lately I’m trying to catch up on classics I missed out on along the way.

    How do you generate story ideas?
    I have no idea. Seriously. Some ideas come to me while I’m driving, some as I’m waking up. Other ideas come to me based on incidents from my life.

    Give us an example of a typical writing day.
    That has changed for me recently due to other commitments. But when I wrote my previous novels, I became obsessed with writing them. I’m not a good wife and mother when I’m into writing. Instead of a home-cooked meal, the family is likely to get tacos or spaghetti sauce from a jar. I would literally write, write, write from the moment I woke until I just couldn’t write anymore. And I’d resent anything that stopped me from doing that.

    Lately, however, I’m in the early stages of a WIP that’s a genre switch for me. In this case, I like writing in small spurts – like two or three pages at a time. I find the story changes direction and becomes more fascinating that way. And I find I’m listening and watching my characters and allowing them to lead me on a journey.

    What are your strong qualities as a writer?
    Well, I don’t think this is a fair question. Being unpublished I don’t feel my writing talent is validated. However, I enjoy writing action and dialogue more than description. My son suggested I should look into screenwriting. Nah. That’s his territory.

    Your weaknesses?
    Creating conflict. I have difficulty hurting my characters, physically and emotionally. But, I know it’s got to be done. I killed one once and I just couldn’t write much beyond the funeral.

    If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
    I’d go to Holden Beach, NC. I love being at the beach after high season even when it’s cold. I love walking the beaches, listening to the waves and gulls, and the smell of salt air. Some of my best writing has occurred at this beach. My bedroom in my MIL’s cottage is on the ocean side and I set up a table in front of the window there. I literally stare out at the waves with my hands on my keyboard never looking at the screen. It’s truly an inspirational feeling.

    What is your favorite book and why?
    The answer to the question varies at different points in my life. Today, my answer would be Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, a paranormal adventure with strong romantic elements. Gabaldon transports her reader to a tempestuous time in Scottish history with such realism I feel that I come away from reading it scarred.

    List your three favorite authors (any genre) and why?
    • Thomas Hardy because I fell in love with his voice as a teenager so much that I read all of his books the minute I could get my hands on one.
    • Anita Shreve, whom I’ve mentioned several times on this board, because I love her voice for its poetic prose.
    • Sue Monk Kidd, more for her inspirational works, but I just find her to be an interesting person. I’ve heard her speak and I’d love to sit and chat with her some day.


    What do you think makes a writer successful?
    • Not being afraid to submit.
    • Passion for his/her work.
    • Effectively bleeding that passion into a story.
    • The ability to appreciate criticism.
    • The dedication to BICHOK!


    What are your goals as a writer?
    My goal is to be published – to see at least one novel in print. My dream goal is to have my screenwriter son adapt one of my novels for the screen.

    How long did it take you to write your book(s)?
    I have two completed novels (the second one was written twice) that each took about 4-6 months to write.

    If you could meet anyone in history, who would it be and why?
    My great-great grandmother who was a Catawba Indian. I’d just like to see her in person, hear her speak, and hear the love story that inspired the cross-cultural union between her and my great-great grandfather . I would love to write that story.

    What is your favorite food?
    That’s a funny question. I don’t really think I have a favorite. When I’m recovering from being ill or otherwise in need of comfort food, I want mashed potatoes and gravy. I also love Chinese food…but not with mashed potatoes and gravy.

    What is your favorite color?
    Yellow – it’s happy.

    What is your favorite sound?
    Ocean waves
    A fire crackling
    A mournful oboe

    What is your favorite article of clothing?
    It’s easier to answer what my least favorite is. But that doesn’t answer the question.

    A man’s worn shirt. Seriously, a well-worn long shirt in a soft cotton or faded denim, with the scent of your honey, is just, well…I like it.

    What is your favorite word?
    ‘Yes,’ as in it’s the word I like to hear the most. Examples: Will you clean your room? ‘Yes.’ Can I have a glass of wine? ‘Yes.’ Could you just make that check out to me? ‘Yes.’

    What is your most favorite quality about yourself?
    I’m comfortable in my own skin. I’ve experienced many highs and lows, as we all have, and I’ve learned to be happy in the moment, not worry about tomorrow, and not to give a darn about what other people think about me. Their opinions are none of my business anyway. I love me, therefore everyone else should too.

    What is the least favorite quality about yourself?
    I procrastinate! In fact, I’m surprised I finished these questions four days before they’re supposed to be posted.

    If you could have any talent in the world besides writing, what would it be?
    I’ve thought about this question a lot because there are many experiences I’d like to have that don’t involve writing, but I can’t think of a specific talent. I’m going to take the question in a different direction.

    I have a talent for music. I studied piano for ten years and *blushes* I was quite good in my hey day. Being without a piano at present, my fingers itch to play. Playing the piano is the single best source of tension release for me. So, in spite of my lame attempt to redirect and answer the question, my answer is I’d like to hone my talent for playing the piano. I’d like to master Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody Number 2.
    Last edited by Shadow_Ferret; 12-14-2008 at 07:23 PM.
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