So, What Do You Want to Know? (Part Four)

Dirt BettyAnother day of practice interview and I am relieved.

This is the fourth of five sets of author interview questions compiled by Elisabeth Barette and sorted by me.

I enjoy writing, adventuring, observing. Interviews . . . I don’t know what to say for myself. On the whole, I don’t consider myself a particularly interesting person.

Oh, I care about people. I enjoy talking to people. I even enjoy talking about writing with people. I believe, now, I could do a book signing if only to meet and greet people.

Interviews to promote myself, my books . . . they are difficult. What I’ve done and seen eases smoothly into the realm of fiction for me. Traveling the nebulous space between fact and fiction is akin to picking my way over a stony and narrow path along a cliff face, only to find glyphs I cannot comprehend etched in rock at the top.

Yet, here we are again.


How long have you been writing?

Well, I started writing poems, songs, and short stories as a kid, so just about three decades. Sometimes these were creative writing assignments; other times, for my own entertainment. An owl feeling oppressed flew away from home then returned. A mouse girl had a birthday party where another mouse was mean to her yet befriended the poorly-behaved mouse girl anyway. I wrote about fairies; I wrote about magical children. Though I’ve had a darkness to my writing since the beginning, I was (and still am) always longing for a happy resolution to my stories.

I didn’t write voraciously as a child (my writing disturbed teachers), but I was already familiar with the writing muse even as I read insatiably and daydreamed incessantly. I wrote short stories for myself late in high school, most of which I did not finish. I wrote short stories in college, all of which I finished.

In 1992, I was given a wonderful gift in spoken words which changed my life: “What happens next?” That question started me writing novels. The novels entertained people, particularly the person who asked the initial question. During this time, I learned I could write a full-length novel draft in less than two weeks. None were good enough to be sent out to agents or publishers, but the march toward finding my novel-writing voice had begun.

In 2003, I wrote the draft which became the entire Dome Trilogy over November and December. Since then, I have written dozens of full-length novel drafts.


Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?

Not really, no. I researched my subjects in books and on the internet. I’m not even sure how to petition an expert to give me information. I do have to admit, the Cryptid Series could benefit from sitting down with a biology professor or someone in organic chemistry. I’ve met wonderful people since I started ‘Til Undeath Do Us Part, but none were part of researching the novel.


Are there vocabulary words or concepts in your book that may be new to readers?  Define some of those.

Well, in the Dome Trilogy, I created its own set of words and did my best to offer imagery or descriptions which explained the unfamiliar word. After my own difficulty with George Orwell’s 1984 and its Newspeak glossary as an adolescent, I tried to do what I think most writers do and build sentences which explain the word within the context of the story. My sister read challenging fiction; her vocabulary was massive simply from reading, and her writing was strong enough to earn her an acceptance into a world-class college then a world-class graduate program.

I think maybe the science and sometimes the psychic paranormal vocabulary and concepts in the Cryptid Series can get detailed, but I do my best to explain it in conversations between characters. If I don’t know what’s going on, then I failed in my goal of keeping a steady story flow for the reader.


What inspires you?

I don’t understand; the question is too vague. What inspires me to write? What inspires me in general?

In the realm of writing, I am swept away by a story which must be written. I have no real alternative; I have to write, or I am haunted by ghosts of novels unwritten. Writing, itself, inspires me. Reading does as well.

In life, being out in nature inspires me. New experiences inspire me. Seeing how the world has changed and celebrating or mourning those changes inspires me. Life, itself, inspires me.


What are some day jobs that you have held?  If any of them impacted your writing, share an example.

Mmm, next question.

[Note: if I were asked this in an interview, I wouldn’t answer it then, either. Writing is my calling, my career. I appreciate that others’ works of fiction and non-fiction are deeply influenced by their work experiences. They influence my writing, yes, but they are not at the heart of it.]


What makes your book stand out from the crowd?

I haven’t really seen many works try to approach myth and magic with a scientific bent. A person says, “Oh, this turned out to be real,” and everyone accepts it. They don’t question why, don’t try to understand how this supernatural person, place, or thing suddenly is part of the natural world. It’s too easy; if I learned vampires are real, like the characters in ‘Til Undeath Do Us Part learn, then I want to know what they are. I want to know what myths about them bear up to scrutiny, which fall down, which are simply bad cause-and-effect or a story told to raise a storyteller’s esteem in the eyes of others.

I have skeptics as main characters in my books; they demand of themselves and others to seek questions and answers science can provide. Does it mean they get those answers? Not always. Science has its limitations at every age and stage, which inspire future scientists to pursue theoretical then experimental proofs of ideas.


What do you like to read in your free time?

Whatever I can! I read across genres; I read fiction and non-fiction. I read fairy tales, poems, short stories, sagas, novels, novellas, blogs . . . I read.


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