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We’re moving toward the middle of Jully, into the second half of the year. This week, I pick up this week’s featured author and, once again, I’m booted out of the way and not allowed to control the transporter. Usually, everything works out for the best, but you never know with these pushy types. lol. Anyway, before I know it, we’re enjoying brie and chewy bread somewhere in the mountains of Oregon. Below us, a placid lake beckons and while we do our interview, we watch kids fishing and catching frogs.
Okay, again, the destination worked out well…I just hope we don’t run into Bigfoot…
1. Who are you and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?
I’m not the most fascinating person in my city, my dog is. By day he’s a mild mannered Cocker Spaniel who thinks he’s a Tea Cup Chihuahua, but by night he becomes Savigon Glover, the world’s best tap dancer. I’m not fascinating at all. Really, you can ask anyone. On paper, I’m slightly intriguing, but that’s because I exaggerate and use hyperbole a lot. In person, I’m quite dull and people call me Michelle. If I ever write an autobiography, I’m titling it “My Name is Not Michelle.”
2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?
I have a fondness for ‘80s hair bands and monster ballads. I like all my fruit under-ripe. I could eat a whole jar of capers and drink the juice. Oh, sorry, you said one thing. Ummm, oh, I know! I had a job sewing sweaters as a ten year and someone turned me in to Child Protective Services and my boss had to let me go. Not a lot of ten year olds get fired.
3. What interested you to be become a writer rather than something else such as an astronaut?
Well, I’m not afraid of heights but I am afraid of dehydrated food, so they didn’t want me. And I’ve been other things besides a writer: a barista, a professional contemporary and ballet dancer, a dance teacher, a bread baker, a waitress, a mom to inner city, at-risk teenagers, and a sweater sewer (1988-1988).
4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?
I think I’d like to mix it up and have Jane Austen (come on, I’m a girl, of course Jane would be there!) sit next to Roald Dahl. I’d put the Bronte sisters over by Shel Silverstein, and naturally, Rudyard Kipling would be there, as well as C.S. Lewis and Laura Ingalls Wilder and Dean Koontz and Leif Enger and Diana Gabaldon and Daphne du Maurier and Mark Twain. I’d need a big table. I’d serve prime rib and homemade horseradish, with a lovely Zinfandel. Oh, you didn’t ask that.
5. If I were stranded on a deserted island (or suffering a four hour layover at the airport), why would your book(s) be great company?
Hopefully, they’d make you forget where you are and also keep you from spending ridiculous amounts of cash at the food court. Well, they don’t have food courts on deserted islands, so that only applies to the airport. They probably have Starbucks on deserted islands actually, and maybe a Subway. Those can get expensive.
6. Share your process of writing in regards to: idea and character development, story outline, research (do you Google, visit places/people or make it up on the spot?), writing schedule, editing, and number of rewrites.
I do Google things a lot, and I secretly fear the confiscation of my laptop. I worry that I will be jailed for looking up things like “if you push someone off a cliff, do they hit their head or their feet first?” or “how to perform a lobotomy,” or “the side effects of ether and how to hide them.” I didn’t have an outline for Shadows Gray, but I do for the sequel. I’m not actually following it, but it was fun to spend an afternoon with my Sharpie collection. I don’t have a writing schedule, because I have these odd things called my children.
As far as my characters go, I usually start with a name, because names are fun. All of Shadows Gray grew out of the name Rose Gray, which was some real life person in England who was being asked a question on the street about something uninteresting. Must have been a BBC news episode or something. I thought it was the greatest name…totally contradicted each other as far as first and surnames go. At first, she was my heroine but then I switched it up. Character development on the other hand…that’s a whole other box of rocks. I had who I thought was my hero go and betray me recently. I was very sad about the whole thing. He really wasn’t who I thought he was.
As far as editing goes, I thought I could handle my own editing, along with several English major friends, but it turns out none of us knew what we were doing and we all got lost in the story and forgot how to spell. I think editing is harder than writing. And marketing is harder than editing.
7. “I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?”
Nope. I give terrible advice. I don’t even follow my own advice.
8. I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read ‘Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?
“Don’t ask me…I’m Lost.” If you’ve read my book, you’ll totally get that and find me super creative. If you haven’t, that’s the lamest T-shirt idea and philosophy ever.
9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you?
I don’t plan on stopping; it’s much more affordable than therapy. I’m working on Shadows Gray’s sequel. It’s the story of Rose Gray. She’s a brat, so it’s fun to write, and also I get to tell some of Shadows Gray from her perspective instead of from Sonnet’s. I was going to call it Shadows Black, but then people started asking me what was next? Shadows Pink? Shadows Chartreuse? People are obnoxious.
10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?
They can look up my website, http://www.shadowsgray.com/ for anything book related. They can pop over to my blog if they’re so inclined and have a couple years to spare: http://www.thedazeofus.blogspot.com . And I can be found on Facebook (personally and under Shadows Gray). Also, I signed up for Twitter but I don’t remember how to log back in and I have yet to tweet a single thing.
My thanks to this week’s author. You can catch the book review of Shadows Gray at Brayton’s Book Buzz on Monday, June 16.