Author Q&A, Blooper Reel

 

We fell apart so many times. I don’t know how Oprah is going to handle me on a stage. Or her backyard in Maui.

But practice we must, as I’m presenting my books in zoom Book Club meetings now.

Book Ends is a group of savvy readers in the St. Louis, Missouri area. This gorgeous group read The Great Loveda Brown and has invited me to speak at one of their monthly meetings. I’m fairly certain wine will be involved. And my cat is a non-negotiable. I can only hope we don’t dissolve into a fit of giggles.

Or maybe we will. If we aren’t having fun, why are we here? After Kid Five’s questions, I think I’m ready for just about anything you can throw at me. Including the camera. Use the comment box below and test it out. What’s a question you have for me? And while we’re at it, invite me to your Book Club this summer. Let’s talk poppycock.

Meanwhile, this video is blessedly short. This is not a coincidence. Enjoy.

Author Q&A, Round Six

 

This video short concludes our round of author interviews, held by Kid Five and thoughtfully dissected by yours truly. I had a hard time pretending only the two of us were going to watch it afterward. Thinking like that resulted in laughter and wisecracks and going wildly off-topic. The alternative was pretending that a million people were watching, and the idea made me want to run from the room in hysterics.

To find a calm middle ground, I quoted movie lines between filming.

“Do or do not. There is no try.”

“The name’s Bond. James Bond.”

“I’m just gonna have fun with it.”

Tucson. 1916.

I guess you had to be there.

“You’re killing me Smalls.”

In this final episode, we chat about how I come up with the titles for my books, when I first considered myself to be a “professional” writer, writing male characters, and hitting an emotionally charged scene that took all my nerve to write. It might not be the one you think it is.

This video is around three and a half minutes. This is how long it takes to brew a perfect cup of tea. This is not a coincidence. Enjoy.

Author Q&A, Round Five

A desperate fit of giggles sabotaged this interview by Kid Five. We cut them off of both ends of the video clip and even so,  you can hear the clothes dryer beep at the end of our author interview, sealing our fate as forever amateur fireside chatterers.

We’re going to make some new ones up in Idyllwild, outside among the pines. After the weather turns. You know my feelings about snow.

Although, now that I consider it, it’s hard to have a fit of giggles when you’re about to freeze to death.

Probably.

In this episode, Kid Five asks me about what literary success looks like. Moms everywhere will relate to my answer. Have I ever Googled myself? What is the most difficult part of my artistic process? Do I believe in writer’s block? How much content did I have to edit out of The Great Loveda Brown before publishing it?

This video was supposed to be three and a half minutes. We settled for short, sweet, and to the point. Then we went to fold laundry. Enjoy.

Author Q&A, Round Four

 

Do you remember the moment you realized you could read? It’s an intense memory I have. I remember looking around, seeing words everywhere, and understanding that they were all trying to talk to me. I imagine it was something like the time Kid Five put on his first pair of glasses and looked around at the world.

“So,” he said. “This is what the place looks like. I’ve never seen individual leaves on a tree before.”

He was twelve. And possibly he’s never forgiven me for being such a clueless mother. He held this interview like a pop quiz and enjoyed it so much more than I did.

Fair.

In this episode, Kid Five and I discuss the time I first realized I wanted to be a writer, my “absolutely must have” item or ritual when I write, where I get ideas for books, and what new and interesting parts of history I’ve discovered during research. (Hint: those go into my newsletter!)

1912 is the year the Titanic went down, the “S” corset went out, and Boston’s Fenway Park went up. The first Eagle Scout earned his rank, Theodore Roosevelt passed the presidency to Woodrow Wilson, and Harriet Quimby was the first female pilot to fly over the English Channel. Life Savers candy was invented in 1912.

Have I always known that I was a writer? Is this a trick question?

This video is around three and a half minutes. This is how long it takes to brew a perfect cup of tea. Not a coincidence. Enjoy.

Author Q&A, Round Three

 

I wonder whether other author interviews are quite this eloquent. Sophisticated. Whether the author demands to breathe into a paper sack before-hand.

One fun fact about my series is that it evolved from a previous project, an unpublished manuscript titled Horizons. In it, I follow a branch of my family tree out of Texas and into the solitary mountains of New Mexico in 1888. Their struggle for survival and the years leading up to World War I were vivid, and the year 1912 rose to the top as an incredibly interesting time to live in America. I celebrated my fascination with historical fiction by writing an article for the NaNoWriMo blog.

My family tree has enough skeletons to populate several series. Facts that inspire fiction? In the words of the great Dave Barry, “You can’t make this stuff up.” Idyllwild has a tantalizing history just begging for someone to gild it.

In this episode, Kid Five and I chat about the research behind The Great Loveda Brown, how many hours a day I sit at my desk, which character in the book I relate to the most, and a childhood author that influenced me. Kid Five follows these with wanting to know whether my written characters have historically based people beneath them and asking what I would tell younger and aspiring writers at the beginning of their writing journey.

This video is around three and a half minutes. This is how long it takes to brew a perfect cup of tea. This is not a coincidence. Enjoy.

Author Q&A, Round Two

In today’s episode, we chat about online reviews, how I stare down a book before I begin writing it, keeping characters fresh in the series, and trying to decide whether Book One was harder to write than the rest and why or why not.

Questions that should have been asked, but weren’t, include:

Q: Mom, did you seriously put bad words in your books? Mom…(utterly aghast)
A: Yes. Beginning on page one. Three different ones in here. You can read them to yourself, silently. But you aren’t allowed to say them.

Q: But…
A: These are grown-up books.

Q: (muttering) I’m twenty years old, Mom.
A: Potatoes, Pu-tah-toes.

Q: Are there other things in there…that are strictly for grown-ups?
A: It’s the Wild West. Everybody has guns. There’s violence and murders because—follow me here—these are murder mysteries. Political correctness is just called ‘manners’, and good luck with that. They cuss when it’s called for. They will drink when they want because prohibition hasn’t been invented yet. And babies are made in the usual way because storks haven’t been invented yet. Maybe you should simmer down.

When Kid Five agreed to host my author interviews about my book, The Great Loveda Brown, he told me we had to set up in front of the fireplace.

“Fireside chats, Mom. It’s all the rage.”

“For presidents, maybe. Can I hold the cat in my lap?”

“You have to hold your book.” Eye roll. “Mom.”

If I ever have to do this in public, you’d better believe I’m bringing the cat for moral support. I will wear him around my neck like an airplane pillow.

This video is just over three and a half minutes. This is how long it takes to brew a perfect cup of tea. This is not a coincidence. Enjoy.

Author Q&A, Round One

 

Some day, I will hold readings in cozy San Diego bookstores and sign my books in front of Bubba’s Books up in gorgeous Idyllwild, California. Some day, I will land a book on Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club List, Hello Sunshine. Some day, I will interview and be interviewed with grace and clarity, and exude an innate sense of curiosity that skims the edge of wild enthusiasm.

But this is not that day.

If we are reduced to little chatting boxes for now, so be it. After all, I can fit an entire world into a little paper book. It’s no substitute for living in 3D, but it is a place to get you dreaming about “some day”.

It’s a start.

My dashingly handsome Kid Five held a series of interviews in our living room last week and the results wobble between, “Oh, I really wanted to talk about that!” to “How would I know?” He pulled questions from his phone and threw them at me then laughed as he watched me squirm in the hot seat, trying to explain things verbally that are so much easier to explain in Times New Roman.

In today’s episode, we chat about the book blurb, the book cover, and choosing three words to describe The Great Loveda Brown herself.

Each video is around three and a half minutes. This is how long it takes to brew a perfect cup of tea. This is not a coincidence. Enjoy.

The Video for Mom

Transcript

Hi everybody! Don’t freak out – this is not my average blog. This is the month of April, so we’re trying new things, okay? This is a really big year for fun stuff, so…videos for April! And I want to start by saying I did try and do the podcast thing. I can’t get any girlfriends to go in there and do it with me because – talking to myself? – not so fun.

“Now taking auditions for a podcast in the future. Accepting resumes!”

In the meantime, while we’re holding our breath for that, this is the first one, so we’re gonna play ‘Youtube Channel’. We’re just gonna figure it out. Something new.

This one is called “The Video for Mom”. That’s very specifically my mom I’m talking about because I got a call last week, and we’re chatting, and she says, “Okay, what’s really happening in your life? What’s going on?”

I said, “What are you talking about?”

She says, “I’m finally on technology and I can read your blogs now.”

Just so you know, it’s been five years mom, and you have a lot of catching up to do. Have fun.

But she’s reading my ones from right now. She’s like, “Okay, so there’s alcoholism, vaping, bullies…shark tank? What’s going on? I thought you wrote funny stuff?” She’s like, “Should I worry? Do we need to talk?” She’s all, “Did you find something in the boys’ room? What’s going on?”

Yay!

Mom just totally validated my whole life. No, not really. It is different, this year.

I needed to try some new things and it all came from a conversation I was having with (actually more than one) girlfriend at the end of last year. Everybody’s struggling with something and that’s kind of normal. And I try to be a good ear for that and it occurred to me that I also have a voice that I’m really not using in maybe the best possible way.

So I was having a good time, laughing, you know, that’s my favorite – is comedians, you know, they’re laughing so you can just take a break from the drudge – what’s going on. But you know, if I have a blog and I have a voice, why not use it for something constructive? At least, you know, for now?

So I wanted to open specifically some conversations that families really should be having, with topics that we’re all kind of avoiding. (Me too.) And I told you in some of the stories my personal – you know – what was going on, why that would connect to me in my life in what’s happening. But I don’t want anyone to feel like they’re the only ones struggling in it.  Even though you probably know intellectually that’s true, you need to feel that, that emotional support that I’m trying to float out there, and give you something practical.

You know. It’s not enough for me to say, “I love you, you’re gonna get through it, here’s a hug,” but not give you some tools, some ideas, some other things. Parenting is the hardest job in the whole world, hands down. So literally everything that I can offer…and then I’ll just keep looking for more things to help out that are happening out there, that can maybe help you out.

Parenting is the hardest job in the whole world, hands down. So literally everything that I can offer…and then I’ll just keep looking for more things to help out.

I’ll probably go back to laughing about it really, in a little while, but some of the things were pretty close to me and I wanted to get them out there and I wanted to say something about that.

So, actually, thank you mom for reading my stuff and picking up the phone and calling me, saying, “Okay, I feel like there’s something going on in your world. We need to talk.”

And she made that place available for me, her kid, to chat about something that really wasn’t going on at the moment but that was the whole point of the blogs – so far.

And I want to – what else? Hold on, hold on. I guess I want to suggest that there are a lot of other things going on out there. And I’ve always been available on the “Contact Me” page, if you guys have something specific you’d like to see me address, either with humor or just practical, I’m wide open for that because this is not just my blog, this is every single one of you who’s been reading – bless you – thank you for listening when I yammer.

I don’t know how to do videos so this is going to be an interesting thing. I’m doing this one right here in my kitchen. I think next week I might go outside somewhere but it turns out that other sounds come in. So maybe we’ll be listening to a lot of birds or maybe traffic. I don’t really know.

Anyway. Thanks for listening. I hope you guys have a fabulous week. I’m going to try to get the next one out to come out on Sunday morning. But literally I spent all weekend trying to do this and there was always a kid coming in the door at the wrong time or the laundry was done and beeping at me or…it was always something. So anyways. Fun chatting with you guys and I will be in touch. Bye.

(This video was six minutes long. I said “um” 38 times and “you know” 8 times. You do not begin a sentence with “And” “But” or “So”. Counting them is as far as I allowed my perfectionism to go. Except for the multiple times I tried to shoot the film, of course. That hurt a little.)