Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Interview Me Meme

I was so lucky! I asked her to interview me, and Nymeth sent five questions she really wanted to ask me, for the 'Interview Me' meme. This is how it works:

The rules are:

1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Here are the five questions Nymeth asked me:

1. What's the one place in the world you'd like to visit the most? Why?
Great Britain. It was easy. I've lived there, and I still haven't seen all I want to see. Why? I love so much about it. The history, the old buildings, the landscape, they all fascinate me. My ancestors are from Wales and Scotland, and I'd really like to go visit them one day. York, London, Whitby, are three of my favourite places in the world. The North Yorkshire Moors has some of the most stunning landscapes in the world, and I swear that on the moor, there is nothing between you and the sky itself. It's all you and nature. If I could I would spend six months of the year here in Canada, and the other six in England, every year. My husband is in full agreement. We just have to win the lottery now.

2. Share a really good reading memory with us! It could be discovering
a favourite author, being really impressed by a book you had no
expectations about…anything.

My favourite reading memory is how Anne Frank saved me. When I was 12, I read The Diary of Anne Frank. I remember being gripped by the book. It was how I discovered about the Holocaust, about the Jews and Germans and WW2. And she wrote in such a chatty teenager way, that it was just like she was there, talking to me. I read the book in a few days, and was devastated at the end, when she died. I remember crying and crying, and thinking it was so unfair that she, who had believed so much in the goodness of mankind, had died so close to the Armistace. Across the years, she reached out her hand, and clasped mine. I even started a diary, in the same manner as she did, addressing it as Dear Kitty, though I very quickly thought that was copying and changed it to Dear Misty. And though things were very bad in my life over the years, it still was nothing compared to hers. What she survived for so long, gave me the courage to keep going in my own life. She really was, and still is, one of my heroines for my entire life. She is one person I do want to meet in the afterlife, and say thank you to.

3. You've mentioned a few times that you're also a writer. When did
you start writing? Do you find that writing you own fiction changed
the way you read? If so, how?

I started writing when I was about 11. At first it was poetry and short stories, and for a long time that is what I wrote. Recently I finished my first draft of my very first full-length novel. I don't think writing has changed how I read; but I have to be careful about what I read while I'm writing, because if I really like the author it might end up influencing my writing temporarily, although that is usually because I'm not certain about what I'm writing at the time - tone, or character, or setting. I did find last year while writing my novel that what i read didn't seem to affect my writing, so I'm hopeful this means my vision of the book is clear enough to keep influences out.
I usually know if reading a book is working for me if I don't rewrite a scene in my head! If I'm really unhappy with the book I'll rewrite the entire ending in my mind, or imagine what the characters could say or do instead if they are acting out of character for me. I don't like being jarred out of reading because something isn't right in the writing, and a really good book is one where everything is seamless and fits.

4. If you could pick one fiction character to be friends with, who
would it be? (I don't mind if you pick more than one :P)

-Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. She is so lively and opinionated, so caring and kind, and so honest and generous, that I would dearly love to be her friend!
-Thursday Next from the Next series. Her sense of humour, her frailty, her love for her husband and crazy family, and the wonderful job she has in books! I love her dodo too, and how she earns the respects of the Neanderthals, and how she outwits Goliath every time. she's clever, she's funny, and she never gives up.
- Anne of Anne of Green Gables. How could anyone not want to be her friend? I hated Ruby and Josie and all the other girls who made fun of her at school. Actually, I think I wanted to be Anne while I was growing up! She was chatty, imaginative, friendly, and as open-hearted a girl as anyone could have for a friend.
- Dorothea Brooke from Middlemarch. Fiery, outspoken, determined, just, and ethical - she sounds frightening, and she could have been, except she is gentle and caring and soulful, and I know why Will fell in love with her.

5. If you had the chance to talk to a favourite author for a few
minutes, what would you tell them or ask them?

Well, if it was Neil Gaiman, I'm not sure I could get any words out. I'd be fanning myself and trying not to blush too hard. When I get near an author I truly like (and a good looking one at that) my brain freezes and I say the most inane things. It's really awful. I get really nervous and start giggling so I look slightly crazy. Just the idea of being in the same room with Neil makes me hyperventilate. So I'd have to pass him a note, before I passed out, and I'd ask: do you find, that having lived in two different countries, that you have to alter the words you choose sometimes? that you use words that are English in your books set in the US, and vice versa? (see I told you, even the idea of communicating with him via paper, all intelligent questions have left the building).

My second author would fare no better. This would be Stephen King, and I'm afraid I'd fall to the floor and look like I was bowing, and once down there I wouldn't move until he'd left the room. Stephen King! *tries to breathe*

Next choice: ok, she's dead. So I can imagine this would work better: Jane Austen.

Except I can't ask the normal things people who don't write, would ask: how do you get your ideas? etc, because I'm a writer, and I know very well where ideas come from - everywhere. Conversations, words on a page, some scenery, an idea that someone else ruined - you pick it up and make it better.....so the questions I would be most likely to ask any author, and that would be: have you dreamed anything that made it's way into your writing?

Charles de Lint: I can add here that I am not completely hopeless. I have had the honour of meeting and actually chatting with Charles de Lint over the years. He is a charming, sweet, very friendly, quiet man, whose writing I thoroughly enjoy. He is one of my favourite fantasy writers, and I love the Newford books. In all the times I met him I didn't embarrass myself too much, although once at a writers' meeting - he was guest of honour at our small group, as a favour to myself and my friend Jennifer, who he was really friends with - I scared everyone by saying that having pictures of dead people on the wall would be creepy with the eyes of the dead people always looking at you, following you around the room. See? He didn't say much to me that evening either, as I recall, after that! To be honest, he was writing a horror novel, and somehow the topic got on to dead bodies from crime scenes. Honest. So I thought I was making a valid point! Jennifer said after that he looked a bit scared of me.
He is someone who I would like to ask now, "has anything you dreamed made its way into your writing?"

Probably it's better if I don't try to go near any authors.

I very much enjoyed this meme! Nymeth asked me some very interesting questions, and I hope she - and you, my Gentle Readers - enjoyed my answers!

Now, if any of you would like me to ask you 5 questions, just leave me a comment, and I will contact you by email with the questions, as the meme says at the top. I'd love to interview someone!


Eva said...

I don't think I'd know what to say to favourite authors too...I'd probably end up talking about nothing to do with their books, since I wouldn't want to gush. And then at the very end, I'd pull out my stack of their books and say "Please, please, please sign these!"

I wanted to be Anne as well, except with my mom still there. ;)

Michelle said...

I'd love to be friends with Anne and Elizabeth. I think that'd be fantastic.

DesLily said...

very interesting Susan. The fact that you'd like to visit Great Britain was no great surprise lol..

I met Anne McCaffrey at a convention once, years ago, and did get to ask her if she fashioned Master Harper Robinton after anyone in particular. She said he was based on her neighbor in Ireland. Can we say that since then I've always wanted to visit Ireland, and Anne's neighbor? lol lol

not sure i could answer the "choose one character you'd like to be friends with".. geez! I am so character oriented that I love too many of them!!!

this was a fun post to read!

Molly said...

I would LOVE to live 6 months out of the year in Britain as well. I have only visited London and the surrounding area twice - but I am determined to visit often. Was it a job transfer that first took you to England to live?

I totally relate to every one of the characters you selected! I am reading the Eyre Affair now and I am captivated by its premise. I have a feeling that I will want to read all the sequels.

Debi said...

Oh, I just loved reading your interview! I know I'd be a total tongue-tied mess if I met one of my favorite authors. (Of course, I'm a total tongue-tied mess when I meet anyone.) My husband once got to meet one of his "heroes" when he went to get one of his books signed after a lecture. I can't recall at the moment which book it was, but it was one of E.O Wilson's first books. Wilson said something like, "Wow, I can't believe you've got a first edition of this." And my husband, sticking his foot deeply down his throat, said, "Yeah, it's a real antique."

Nymeth said...

Thanks for playing, Susan! I loved your answers. You're making me want to visit the Yorkshire Moors more than ever! And I have very similar memories of reading Anne Frank as a child. I so wanted to be her friend.

"If I really like the author it might end up influencing my writing temporarily" --> that happened to me all the time back when I used to write. I'd unintentionally end up echoing the voice of what I was reading at the time. I should have seen it as a sign that I should quit sooner than I did :P

You know, I'm almost sure I've seen Neil answer that question in interviews before, but sadly I can't remember what he said. And how cool that you've met de Lint. And I don't think what you said about dead people's eyes is that weird :P

mariel said...

Great answers! And yes, Britain is awesome! Though we all want to move to places like Canada..how ironic.

Gentle Reader said...

Love, love, love your answers! I am a huge Jane Austen fan, too, and love Elizabeth Bennett, Anne of Green Gables, and Dorothea Brooke. I think I need to read the Next series. I'm also a fan of Anne Elliott from Persuasion. And I wouldn't mind living in Britain, either :)

Susan said...

Eva: I didn't even think of having my books signed! sheesh, you'd think I'd never attended a book signing, and I have, several!!

I know, one of the saddest things about Anne was that she was an orphan.

Michelle: It's surprising how many of us do like these two! Something universal about them, I think. They never betray a confidence, and they tell the truth. It would be fantastic, wouldn't it!

Deslily: Wow, see, you had a good question! I want to go to Ireland too, I always have, and then I recently discovered a big part of my family comes from there, so now I really want to go.

It was hard to just name those characters, I can admit here. I had to erase another 4!!! lol

and thanks, I had great fun doing the answers, too :-) I had to keep telling my husband what i was laughing to myself about at the computer!

Molly: actually, it was to live with the man who is now my husband :-) I went over on the marriage visa, and couldn't work until after we were married. I ended up doing two part-time jobs, and met some wonderful people.

I'm so glad you're trying The Eyre Affair! That's such a cool book. I'm about to read the last one so far in the series.

Debi: LOL! I understand your husband completely! I know I'm intelligent, but something about being around people who are successful writers,which is what I want almost more than anything, freezes me. And I have met quite a few, since i used to attend science fiction conventions in the 1980s and 90's. It was such a great way to meet authors and people who read books. but I never learned how to talk to authors. Even though I've even hosted a panel with them once!!

Nymeth: I spooked everyone in that meeting. It was so eerie. I mean, Charles has long since gotten over it and he still knows me to say hello to when I bump into him at a pub (where he fiddles with his band from time to time) in Ottawa. I don't get out much with the kids being so young,so its' been some time since I last saw him.

How long ago did you write? and what did you write? This is so fun to discover about you. Please tell me more! :-)

I'm glad you enjoyed my answers, Nymeth. you asked some challenging ones, I have to say! I do really enjoy seeing that almost everyone wants to be Anne's friend too, and read the Diary of Anne Frank as well. Some books transcend their time and space. some characters, too. thank you for your questions, dear Nymeth!

mariel: I had to laugh when I saw your comment, because my husband is a dual citizen - his parents came here in the 1960's, and he was born here, then they returned to England. He always wanted to live in Canada - they made several trips back while he was growing up - and now he is. And he misses some things in Britain! You're right though, I met so many people who knew or had family members who emigrated to Canada. I did miss it while I was living in England.

Gentle Reader: Anne Elliott almost made it onto my list! Since Persuasion is one of my favourite books. I love Anne. Hmm, a lot of Anne's on my list! But compared to Elizabeth, she's a bit too quiet. Elizabeth I can relate to with her big family. I would love to meet Jane Austen, though.

So many of us want to go over there! And as Mariel said above, so many of them want to come over here! lol thank you for enjoying my post so much. :-)

Miss D. said...

you are cracking me up... you'd pass Neil Gaiman a note... hee!

I'm reading a Charles de Lint book and just discovered his website -- he sounds like such a wonderful man!

Susan said...

Miss D: I liked what you had to say about Gaiman on your blog too!! lol and Charles is wonderful and sweet and a lot of fun to talk to. His wife Mary Ann is gorgeous and does fantastic art. I just think i'm lucky I've met them, never mind they know me to say hi to! I'm doing 13 of Charles' books for Canadian Challenge 2, I have to get busy reading more too!