On this warm May morning I pick up this week’s featured author and she sets the transporter’s controls for…wait a minute, where are we going?
Where is this place? What a shabby looking coffee shop. Uh, Ms. Munier, you realize I don’t drink coffee.
She doesn’t care, orders two brews and we sit at a rickety and scarred wooden table and look at each other in the dim illumination. I look at my drink. Smells good, but I think I’ll divert her attention away from my not drinking it by conducting the interview.
1. Who are you and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?
I am a very private person who leads an extroverted life. I am more content to have a voice from behind the curtain than before it. I am a practiced listener and an observer. I love people but I renew by being alone, and thinking and creating. I don’t think of myself as fascinating, but I am fascinated by life and it intensifies as I age.
2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?
People might be surprised to learn how well acquainted I am with fear.
3. What interested you to become a writer rather than something else such as rocket scientist?
Math for sure. But writing made sense to me. It started young. It was a way to capture my thoughts and develop a voice.
4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?
J. R. R. Tolkien. I’d like to see how much whiskey he’d drink with dinner.
5. If I were stranded on a deserted island or suffering from a four hour layover at the airport, why would your book(s) be great company?
I would hope they would provide you with a magic carpet ride into the fictive dream and lift you seamlessly out of your hostage situation. I hope they would deliver you home with many wonderful things to think about.
6. Share your process of writing in regards to: plot and character development, story outline, research (do you Google or visit places/people, or make it up on the spot), writing schedule, editing and number of rewrites.
I used to write and then rewrite. I was perpetually frustrated by things like how to move a person across a room. I would obsessively rewrite. But that struggle kept evolving. Now I write relying more on my senses than worrying about moving someone across the room. I write from inside the characters. Concerning locations: I absorb places. They get inside. Then I start to wonder who lived there. Then they start talking. I often visit locations. Sometimes it’s all Google and imagination. Sometimes it’s incident first and I let a story develop a story around it. Sometimes the inciting incident never shows up but it gets the story going. Sometimes it’s a character first. I have to hear the voice in my mind, get them talking and then the rest comes. I try to live in touch with my honest voice. When I write from that real place I seldom have to rewrite.
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?”
Write. Allow yourself to write garbage. Tell yourself it’s going to be garbage. You’re searching for a point of entry. It just might end up being gold. But you won’t know if you don’t write. The biggest percentage of success comes from having something on the page. An idea is nothing. It dies with you.
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?
Believe in something bigger than yourself. Believe there is a bigger picture than what you can see. Accept that you are small. Do not mistake smallness for insignificance. Believe you are gifted for the world. Be generous with your gifts. What you believe must bless the people you live with or you really don’t believe it. Forgive or you will grow bitter. Own your crap. Repair what you can. Never cut yourself off from children or old folks. Speak less. Listen more. Laugh. Be honest. Be thankful. Eat cake.
9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you?
I must write. I must breathe. I will be breathing and writing. I have much work to be published.
10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?