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Sunday, December 8, 2013

READ TUESDAY. TWENTY QUESTIONS FOR…RLL.

Who is RLL? He’s one of the writers taking part in the worldwide Read Tuesday movement scheduled for December 10th. In order to get the word out about Read Tuesday, he came up with twenty questions for participating authors to answer, theirs on his blog, his on theirs. You can find author Lois Winston’s answers to his questions here

And here, for your amusement and enjoyment, are RLL’s answers to his own questions:

1. Fire rages in your house. Everyone is safe, but you. You decide to smash through the window, shielding your face with a book. What is the book?

THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE, by Stephen Crane. I should have liked this book. It fell flat on first reading. As I know I must return to the tale, it's the book to save.

2. Asleep in your rebuilt house, you dream of meeting a dead author. But not in a creepy stalkerish way, so you shoo Mr Poe out of the kitchen. Instead, you sit down and have cake with which dead author?

Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson. He finishes Weir of Hermiston. I offer him a can of Irn-Bru, telling him it's a very Scottish drink.

3. Would you name six essential items for writers? If, you know, cornered and threatened with torture.

Half a dozen plaques to hang on your wall.
   NEVER GIVE UP.
   MAKE MISTAKES AND LEARN FROM THEM.
   READ YOUR WORK ALOUD.
   OFFER HELP TO OTHER WRITERS.
   READ COPYRIGHT LAW.
   ALWAYS LOOK BOTH WAYS WHEN CROSSING THE ROAD - ESPECIALLY WITH AN UNFINISHED NOVEL WAITING AT HOME.

4. Who’d win in a fight between Count Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster? If, you know, you were writing that scene.

The battle is interrupted by Peter Vincent, who sees off Dracula. Vincent's colleague is Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. She tells the monster to shape up or ship out. Elvira and Vincent then marry in Vegas. A preacher dressed as Elvis seals the deal. His fee - an autographed copy of Fright Night - a documentary about vampirism.

5. It’s the end of a long and tiring day. You are still writing a scene. Do you see it through to the end, even though matchsticks prop your eyelids open, or do you sleep on it and return, refreshed, to slay that literary dragon another day?

Sometimes a burning need to finish a scene kills tiredness. It's easier to keep going if writing a scene. And it's much harder to keep going if editing.

6. You must introduce a plot-twist. Evil twin or luggage mix-up?

I'd introduce an evil luggage mix-up.

7. Let’s say you write a bunch of books featuring an amazing recurring villain. At the end of your latest story you have definitely absitively posolutely killed off the villain for all time and then some. Did you pepper your narrative with clues hinting at the chance of a villainous return in the next book?

If fictional villains are hard to kill, they should be hard to bring back.

8. You are at sea in a lifeboat, with the barest chance of surviving the raging storm. There’s one opportunity to save a character, drifting by this scene. Do you save the idealistic hero or the tragic villain?

My natural optimism convinces me that I won't actually survive the raging storm. In attendant newspaper stories, the deceased hero is painted as a cad, the deceased villain is painted as something of a hero, and I am painted tartan. The type of tartan is misrepresented by journalists who weren't within 500 miles of the disaster.

9. It’s time to kill a much-loved character – that pesky plot intrudes. Do you just type it up, heartlessly, or are there any strange rituals to be performed before the deed is done?

I take out an order barring Kathy Bates from my country.

10. Embarrassing typo time. I’m always typing thongs instead of things. One day, that’ll land me in trouble. Care to share any wildly embarrassing typing anecdotes? If, you know, the wrong word suddenly made something so much funnier. (My last crime against typing lay in omitting the u from Superman.)

Once I couldn't even manage typos, as I'd disconnected the keyboard.

11. I’ve fallen out of my chair laughing at all sorts of thongs I’ve typed. Have you?

Now I think on it, I tend to trip, fall, vault, fly, careen, career, carom, crash and crump my way through life.

12. You take a classic literary work and update it by throwing in rocket ships. Dare you name that story? Pride and Prejudice on Mars. That kind of thing.

I try a literary mash-up, taking the idea from Fantastic Voyage and bolting it to Mark Twain's work - giving us King Arthur's Court in a Connecticut Yankee. Arthur and his knights are reduced to micro-miniature size and take a submarine strip through the veins of a disgruntled American. Raquel Welch plays Guinevere.

13. Seen the movie. Read the book. And your preference was for?

Fritz Lang's Moonfleet is an adaptation that wanders far from J.Meade Falkner's book. With that in mind, I much prefer the book - though 'twas the movie led me to the tome.

14. Occupational hazard of being a writer. Has a book ever fallen on your head? This may occasionally happen to non-writers, it must be said.

I feel more pain on seeing books mistreated.

15. Did you ever read a series of books out of sequence?

As I'm providing different answers on each guest-spot, I am fast running out of examples. On a side-note, years passed between reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and picking up a copy of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I read Tom's adventures again, just before I tackled Huckleberry's. Over time, Huck's adventures have acquired the definite article - something guaranteed to infuriate and amuse Twain by turns.

16. You encounter a story just as you are writing the same type of tale. Do you abandon your work, or keep going with the other one to ensure there won’t be endless similarities?

I think the important thing is to avoid writing the same tale twice.

17. Have you ever stumbled across a Much-Loved Children’s Classic™ that you’ve never heard of?

Occasionally, you stumble over works you thought you'd heard of. Jules Verne stands as one of the most-translated authors in literature. His work lays claim to a less-beneficial title. Verne is probably the most-mistranslated author out there. This meant it was a long while before I realised Verne's book was called Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas.

18. You build a secret passage into your story. Where?

The title. Click on that to open the door.

19. Facing the prospect of writing erotica, you decide on a racy pen-name. And that would be…

Tougher than I thought. Make it up! Er, then check the internet. I started with Delfine Augier and switched to Delphine Augier. No good. Those people are out there. But surely I'd get away with Delphine Aubergine...

20. On a train a fan praises your work, mistaking you for another author. What happens next?

The train collides with a dirigible before either of us can say another word.

~~~

For LOIS WINSTON/EMMA CARLYLE/ANASTASIA POLLACK answers to my questions, visit REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.
Here's a blog post on READ TUESDAY.
And here's a funny one on CONTACTING PEOPLE FOR READ TUESDAY.

Featured in the READ TUESDAY sale on December the 10th, 2013 - Neon Gods Brought Down by Swords and WITCHES. Both will be free on the day. 

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