Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
This week’s theme is questions I’d ask to my favorite author.
I tweaked this somehow as I have interviewed many authors and I thought of doing a medley of my favorite questions and answers.
First let’s begin with some questions from Jane Harvey-Berrick and Stuart Reardon! I chose that interview as it was the first time that I got to interview an ex international rugby player!
1) Stuart what was it like to be a professional rugby player? Did you keep a cool head like Nick or got a big inflated ego and burnt all your money, drinking every night (but I can hardly fathom this as your coach would probably have you kicked in the behind or make an extra hard training the day after a drunken night)? Did you have all the women falling over you? And was it for your hot bod, for your brain or for the money? Or for all of it?
Stuart: “I don’t think I’ve ever had women falling over me LOL. I think because I had two years of working in a factory when I left school, I knew what an amazing opportunity I’d been given.”
2) That’s only the outer layer, the glamour but what I would really like to know is about the nitty gritty. The bad days. The dark days. How can someone cope to put his body through such hard training? What I adored in Undefeated was the “other side” of the story. The first lines are eye opening (I chose them yesterday for my First Lines Friday). You say it like it is: brutal. With injuries. So yes, do tell us how you can cope with it and come… undefeated.
Stuart: “You get injured every season, it’s inevitable. Yes, when your team has lost, it’s hard to pull yourself up again, but that’s part of it. Being strong inside.
Find their interview here (click on the graphic)
One of my top favorite writers and totally overlooked. Friends, I swear, Suanne Laqueur is just an extraordinary writer!
3) You really love destroying your characters. Be it what happened to Erik and Daisy (and you were destroying them not once but twice!), or what happened to Javier (crushed hopes, kicked out of his family, rejected) and now to Geno (I won’t tell more than that he had to go through Hell) you make them suffer. And you make us suffer (and nearly throw up). Why? Are you a sadist? Do you believe in what does not kill us makes us stronger? Do you see them like phoenixes? Is it necessary to bear this burden in order to become who they were meant to be?
LOL, I swear, I don’t set out to be mean to my characters. It’s not like I sit at my desk rubbing my hands, thinking, “What terrible thing can I do to this guy?” A lot of writers start with a storyline in their head and think up characters to fit. Others, like me, start with the characters. I spend a lot of time just fooling around with the people who come into my head. Back to my theater background: it’s like a huge improv session. I let them try on a bunch of different costumes and act out different scenarios. I don’t worry if it works or if it’s going to make it into the final version. I just let it all flow and write it all down. I try to keep the pressure off and just mindfully enjoy the process of messing around.
Stephen King is one of my idols and what I admire most about his writing is not the thrilling/horrifying stuff that scares you to death, but rather the ordinary-ness of his characters as they go about daily life. That’s his genius—he creates ordinary people and puts them into extraordinary situations. You learn a lot about a character 1) when they’re hanging out with their friends and 2) when they face adversity.
I’ll give an example using Daisy and Erik. TMIL was written from the ends in. Meaning I had them written as college students in love, and I had them written as adults reconciling. But reconciling over what? What had happened to break them up? Well, maybe someone cheated. OK. Who? Daisy, but why? She’s not a malicious, reckless, foolish person. What would drive her to do that? Were external forces at work here? Did something happen? Yes, something happened, but what? What traumatizing event could drive her into such a polar-opposite of herself, that she sabotaged the one thing she loved more than dancing? And what were Erik’s circumstances that would drive him to just cut himself off, bury the whole thing in the backyard and walk away without a backward look for over a decade?
So it’s constantly asking “Why? But what? But why? What happened? Why would she act that way? Why would he react that way?” And it’s not being afraid to pursue a whole bunch of possible answers, no matter how far-fetched or insane. To keep following the thread as it unravels until you hit upon the…thing. Which, in this case, was the shooting in the theater, and Erik’s abandonment as a young boy.
Time to have some fun!
4) Your secret book crush? And that one book everyone seems to love but you can’t understand why?
I didn’t feel compelled to read all the Outlander books, just the first one a few years ago. Yet I still to this day think about Jamie Fraser. (I know, I know, I should get in line and take a number.)
As for that one book… God, this is where I’ll get in trouble. OK, a gajillion people loved The Bronze Horseman but I did not. And I’ll just leave it there because to each their own.
Read the whole interview here below (click on the graphic)
Another favorite interview, or rather that was a series of interview, was to chat with James Cudney IV alias Jay ! He is a fellow blogger but also an amazing writer!
5) What triggered this leap of faith? Quitting what I guess was a well-paid stable job to live your dream? I have a very serious job, manage two teams and would love studying graphic design and web design but…I have mouths to feed etc. So I never dared. Tell us was it a dramatic event? Was it the “forties” crisis? A life changing encounter? One morning you just decided to resign between your hot cup of coffee and the bowl of cold cereals?
It just sort of occurred… a bunch of things happening where I worked, two decades of feeling like I never had a break, a sense of no longer being able to make progress or learn… and like most things in my life, I have a dialog in my head for months about how to approach life and change. All the internal discussion happens often without my direct knowledge, but then I get to this point where I have, and pardon the image, verbal diarrhea. I then solicit advice from everyone important in my life… they usually tell me I make perfect sense and I’m completely crazy at the same time. I’m not a risk-taker, but everyone decade or so, I feel the need to rebel on something, and this was that case. It was less about needing a change and more about… if I don’t do something now, I never will. So I took the risk. I made sure I had safety nets of the financial and emotional kind. But I’m also a believer in doing what is in your heart and the rest will fall into place (assuming you’ve done the research and planned a bit). I could never just leave a job without thinking about all the impacts and weighing the pros and cons. I’d be the first in line to smack myself for that!
Read this interview below
Then you also have that time when I interviewed a dog ….Atticus, Sawyer Bennett’s dog 😀
6) Atticus was it easy to train your mom? And your new family? I know human think they train the dog and it’s usually true but I am under the impression that it was different with you ….
Training my mom means I had to get her to accept fairly quickly that I was a bad dog and I was never going to grow out of it. I started off with a little chewing of her drywall, but that’s only because I overheard her say she didn’t like the wallpaper that was covering it. I moved on to door casings and baseboards, and then took a crack at the mattress on her bed. I made a pretty big hole in the middle of it and she cursed for a really long time. But in the end, she always ended up laughing at me. It didn’t take long to train her at all.
7) Atticus, do you think your mom did a great job writing your POV? Do you think she missed something?
I’m not sure. I mean… I chewed on one of the books to try to gain insight, but alas, I only have my mom’s thoughts on the matter. She loves this book and loves how my POV turned out. I suspected as much because of how much she snorted and laughed while writing it. **Of note in this photo, I tried to look ashamed of my actions but I really wasn’t.
Read the interview (click on the graphic)
Later on it was Leylah Attar who answered my questions after having written Moti on the Water, her romantic comedy
8) In your family, what job do you have? What label are you under?
Let’s put it this way – if this were a Quentin Tarantino movie, I’m the one you call to clean up the mess *slips on gloves*
9) Recommend us some books…
–ugly cry = A Thousand Boy Kisses, Tillie Cole
–hot but smart = The Siren, Tiffany Reisz
–dark and powerful = You, Caroline Kepnes
–perfect beach read = 100 Love Sonnets, Pablo Neruda
-historical fiction = Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens
–fantasy = Fever series, Karen Marie Moning
-YA = The Sea of Tranquility, Katja Millay
Click on the graphic to read her interview
And last but not least, you have Emma Scott when she published her first fantasy under the pen name of ES Bell!
10)How do you invent words? Do you try them speak them aloud and feel how it sounds? It’s one of the things that I admire most in this story and in other fantasy stories possessing their own vernacular. I see it as the highest testimony to the author’s imagination. Did you find some words thanks to your kids or brainstorming with friends? Did you try some dialogs with your kids like mock play?
The vernacular is a sort of hybrid of 18th century jargon, mixed with some British slang and swearing, and then I created sayings and slang that people who live on a water world would use. They don’t have “hell” or a fiery underworld, they have “the Deeps.” They classify creatures as “kind”: humankind, merkind, dragonkind, etc. The Spanish were a mighty force to be reckoned with during the Golden Age of Sail so I wanted to reflect or pay homage to that in some way: Sebastian smokes cigarillos (smaller than a cigar, larger than a cigarette) and there are the islands Huerta and Saliz to add a little bit of flavor.
As I stated earlier, the vernacular flows from the research and what the story needs. If it sounded like some made up shit (and I did have some of that early on) then it got the axe. And a lot of times characters will reveal themselves through dialogue; much of how they speak comes straight from them. 😀
Read her interview here below
Now what would you ask your favorite author?
Thanks for reading!
Brilliant questions, Sophie. I love doing little Q&As on my blog. I’ve already had the opportunity to interview a few authors but there are still many more I’d love to ask.
This is so cool! I’ve not had many chances to speak to authors (baring one or two that I’ve been really lucky to be able to talk to a lot!)
I love your interviews, Sophie, they’re so insightful! I would’ve fan girled all over Stuart, LOL!
Really fascinating questions! I love asking questions to authors too, especially about their writing process. There’s so much to learn from them. I also love the question about how some authors INVENT words. Some authors get quite crazy with their freedom! 😀
Right? Their imagination knows no bounds Lashaan!
That’s so great that you got to interview so many authors already! Love your highlight of your favorite questions.
Thank you Lindsey!!
I did my first author interview recently (will be on my blog on the 7th Sept) and I found it so super difficult! I had no idea what I wanted to ask in the beginning and spent crazy amounts of time staring at a blank word document trying to think of questions… It’s awesome that you’ve got to ask questions of quite a few! 🙂
Thank you Nicci! It’s because I am very curious, have an overactive imagination and zero complex LOL
Stuart has never had women falling over him? I need to fall over him!!!!
He truly did Caro!
I love that Leylah Attar recommended Pablo Neruda as a beach read. That makes me all kinds of happy. 🙂
I have never read him so far Tanya but now I want to!
I love author interviews- they can be so fascinating and provide such insights into our favorite books! 🙂
Right? I am always curious and want to know how they wrote their books!
I love your spin on this week’s topics and that you asked these authors such great questions.
Thank you Suzanne!
This was absolutely fascinating!! I love reading author interviews and it’s really interesting getting a glimpse into their mind and thought process! I found Suzanne Laqueur’s answers really interesting and I agree with her comments on Stephen King. Also you asked amazing questions and they really illicited thought provoking answers. Great post