Q and A

I’ve received a few common questions lately, so I thought I would address some of those.

1. How do you come up with the names for your characters?
Well, the bad characters get the names of students and possibly distant family members who gave me grief or bad Christmas presents. Characters I like are sometimes named after friends, family I like, and names I get from peeking into Cabbage Patch boxes at Wal-Mart.

2. Do you listen to music when you write, and if so what kind?
Sure I do. It’s so inspirational for putting you right into the heart of a scene. And since I have some romantic elements in most of my books, that of course means I listen to a lot of…polka. For special moments I even break out the kazoo. (side note: I once worked in a school where the faculty were given NOSE kazoos. No kidding. I still have that thing, but have yet to perfect it.) There is nothing like a good chicken dance to get the creative juices flowing. I also listen to Phantom of the Opera a lot and imagine my characters in half-masks and capes. Just really elevates the plot of any story. My editors always edit those parts out.

3. Where do you find the time to teach full time AND write?
In a word: elves.

And along those lines, I’d like to offer a few time-saving tips for the rest of you. These have sure helped me.
a. Wear the same outfit every day. People will stare, but they will not comment for fear of rudeness. Or fear of getting too close.
b. Become friends with your messy house. A dusty coffee table isn’t a problem. It’s a great place for tic-tac-toe at dinner parties.
c. Send pets out to find their own food. Remember, mine’s into snakes. And he finds them. Often.
d. Forget setting aside time for running or lifting weights. Your exercise? Emailing. It’s got to burn at least some calories. Like three.
e. Press your nose to your neighbor’s dining room window and look pitiful. Instant invitation to dinner. It makes them feel included in your career. (And Mrs. Rumpskie, I like a little more ketchup on my meatloaf, by the way. See you Thursday.)

4. Do you participate in Halloween?
Um, does a dog have whiskers? Let me preface this by saying as a short girl, I took full advantage and went trick-or-treating until my senior year of high school. You could argue that the holiday is about evil and darkness. And if that’s what you want to call bags of chocolate and Smarties, then go ahead. Come on, Halloween is a chance to dress up. Without people thinking you’re weird. That opportunity only comes along once a year, so I’m personally not going to let it go.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 3 comments
sheilasue - October 16, 2007

I LOVE how you didn’t mention using your real-life boyfriend’s name for inspiration. Is it because it’s passe? Is it part of some writer’s code, that you don’t use your actual love interest (or his name) as a character? Or maybe he’s in the witness protection program and you are afraid of outing him! (his name in your book is merely coincidence, right?) Wait, did he kill a man in Reno just to watch him die?!?!
I am going to write my own book, and just because I like to live on the edge, I am going to use your name and your fugitive boyfriend’s! Ha! (But you will both have to do book tours with me on Oprah!) p.s. you should totally go as Dorothy Gale this year 🙂

Timothy Fish - October 17, 2007

I love Halloween. I don’t even have to dress up and I still scare little kids when they come to the door. That will teach them to talk to strangers. This year it falls on our regular Awana night, so I won’t have the joy of seeing the petrified look of fear on the faces of kids when I open the door. Our church has something planned for the kids, including lots of candy and games. So, it looks like I will be dressing up as a cameraman this year.

Erin Valentine - October 17, 2007

I remember the nose kazoos! I was a conscientious objector and had to refuse to participate, if I recall correctly…


Leave a Reply: