Sunday, May 13, 2012

What's the moon made from?

Happy Mother's Day!
    I hope you're all having an amazing one.
    Today, I thought it would be fun to post an interview.  The Hippie and Scribe came up with most of these questions.  They couldn't wait to interview the author of
Click the title to visit Carrie's blog--which I love!

Enjoy.  This is awesome.

1. If the moon can't be made of cheese, what do you think it should be made from?
 
Chocolate is an obvious suggestion. Dark chocolate, of course: milk chocolate is nice, but it doesn't taste so much of chocolate as just of sweet milky stuff. Eighty-five percent cocoa is the magic number: just enough sweetness to balance the bitterness. But then would it shine the right colour? White chocolate might be better for that, but it's not really chocolate. I think we might be on a non-starter here.
    Honey, maybe? Honey's wonderful stuff. Crystallised honey so it stays in shape. And because I especially love crystallised honey, even more than ordinary clear honey. It has a wonderful texture; I've been known to just eat it from the jar, by itself. It would crystallise anyway in the cold of space. Also chocolate and cheese both go off eventually but honey keeps forever.
 
2. What do you enjoy most about writing?
 
It's hard to say. I make up stories and I write, and they're pretty much two separate activities for me. Making up stories is something I'd be hard pressed not to do; whenever I'm not concentrating on something else I'm in one of my worlds. What I like best about that is meeting and getting to know new characters. I say meeting, not inventing, because that's what it feels most like to me. I don't get to just snap my fingers and decide how they are, I have to let them appear to me and they often don't turn out to be who I thought they would.
    Most of my stories are quite personal to me, but every so often I find that I want to write one of them: I have a list of about five or six Books I Plan To Write. What that's about for me is trying to convey the impressions and emotions that I get from seeing the events in my head. It's not always easy, and sometimes there are things that I know about that just don't make it onto the page, but finding just the right words to describe something is such a fantastic, rewarding feeling.
 
3. Do you think trees dance in the night at the same hour when fish walk on water?
 
Don't be silly. Dancing trees make the ground vibrate, and the vibrations spread to the water and disturb the surface, which destroys the surface tension so that any fish who are still out walking would immediately fall in.
 
4. Do you prefer completely evil villains, or those that have an element of good?
 
With an element of good. I like villains I can empathise with; I think it adds something to the story if you can see yourself, or the hero, doing the same in different circumstances - often they're really messed up in the head so it's hard to blame them for what they do and sometimes it can be heartbreaking to see them destroyed, even though that's what you were rooting for. I like stories that make you feel a lot. Some of my favourites are stories where it's hard to even work out who you is the good guy.
    I also much prefer a flawed hero to a perfect one; it's very hard to make a perfect hero without them ending up an insufferably annoying prat (like Luke Skywalker. I cannot stand that guy).
    Flawed heroes and villains with an element of good are also more believable, I think. Who in the real world is either perfect or has no redeeming or sympathetic qualities whatsoever?
    Although, a really nasty villain can be very effective sometimes and they are extremely fun to write. Cathartic, you know? I have a Viking named Stefan in my book who is a thoroughly unpleasant individual, a real sadist who just enjoys being horrible, and that was one of my favourite scenes to write, even though I had to put my poor old MC through some serious stuff.
 
5. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
 
I'd quite like to see some of the places where my book is set: Los Angeles is the main one, and there are also parts in Milwaukee, Chicago and St Louis. Google maps is all very well - and you can find some really funny stuff on streetview sometimes - but I'd love to actually be where my characters are.
The place I most want to go is Yakutia, in Russia. That's the place that the rest of Siberia considers remote, and it's full of the most wonderful, unspoiled forests and wildlife and pretty spectacular. It also has Lake Baikal, which all the American great lakes would fit inside with room to spare.
    They say Antarctica is the last great wilderness, but I disagree: I think a wilderness should have something more than ice, penguins, and a few seals around the edges. Antarctica's certainly barren and forbidding and little visited, but there's not a lot of wild anything. I'd give my vote to the barely explored parts of Russia.
 
6. Ham and eggs or pancakes?
 
Pancakes. I had pancakes for lunch yesterday. If you'd said bacon instead of ham it might have been a tough choice, though. And it would have to be proper crepes, the thinner and crispier the better, not those little fat scotch pancakes.
 
7. What's your favorite book?
 
That's a tough question. There are loads of books I like, and all for different reasons.
Something from Terry Pratchett's Discworld series would have to be a contender: probably Pyramids is my favourite. No-one can do satire like Terry Pratchett: I've read some of the books ten times or more, and not only do I still enjoy rereading them, I'm still noticing new jokes and references every time.
Also Lord of the Rings and A Song of Ice and Fire, but I couldn't even try to say which book I like best out of either series, let alone which I prefer overall. Both of them have very rich and complex fantasy worlds, with loads of detail, and I feel sure that both of them must have been (and presumably still is in the case of ASoIaF) a labour of love for the authors.
 
8. Is it magical where you live?
 
I think so. We have a rosebush in the garden that eats you if you're not careful, although I'm trying to train it. The cat occasionally goes berserk after looking at a patch of empty space, so it's possible we have a ghost. And the fridge seems to have no upper limit to its capacity. However much is in there it can always be repacked and turn out to be half empty, which is either magic or time-lord technology.
That's at home, but I'm only there in the holidays. Where I live in term time it doesn't seem to be magical. We think one of our housemates is a vampire, but the truth is that vampires are perfectly scientifically plausible.
 
9. What's your favorite color and why?
 
Turquoise. No particular reason; I just like the way it looks. I've always liked blue colours, probably partly because when I was little I was very much the tomboy and insisted on loathing anything 'girly'. I wouldn't have been seen dead in pink. But I also just like them, and turquoise especially.
I wonder sometimes if everyone perceives colours differently - we couldn't know because the only way we can describe them is by their names - and whatever your favourite colour is you see the same way I see mine. Or not. Who knows?
 
10. What's your first memory?
 
I can't remember!
I have two very early memories, and I don't honestly know which came first. I must have been about two or three in both of them. One is of having a black eye after walking into the corner of a table. I still have a tiny scar next to my eye.
The other is of waking up screaming the night after my birthday - I couldn't even tell you which birthday. My best present had been a push-along/ride-on fire engine, and that night I had a dream, probably brought on by too much cake, that I was eating it, and I couldn't stop myself, until there was just the steering wheel left. Then I woke up.
It's amazing what sort of bizarre things seem perfectly plausible and unremarkable in dreams. Only the other night I dreamed my curtains talked to me. They said there was a spider on my neck, and I had been awake and frantically searching for it for several minutes before I realised it couldn't be real!