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Such a Pretty Girlby Laura Wiess
Author Q & A
What was your favourite childhood book?
Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth, the true story of a family with twelve kids. I read and reread it, did school book reports and very much wanted to have real-life adventures with the Gilbreth family
Which book has made you laugh?
There are plenty, but Cheaper by the Dozen and its sequel Belles on Their Toes are always the first that come to mind. Dave Barry and James Herriot are also very good at making me laugh.
Which book has made you cry?
All of James Herriot's books have made me cry (and laugh) more times than I can count but I always go back for more.
Which book are you reading at the moment?
I just finished Joan Ackerman's In The Space Left Behind and really enjoyed it.
Which book would you give to a friend as a present?
It depends on the age and reading preferences of the friend. I usually spend hours trying to find just the right book for the recipient. If I can't, I give a bookstore gift certificate which is always received with delight.
Which other writers do you admire?
My reading tastes are pretty erratic, and there are so many authors whose work I enjoy that it's hard to name only a few but here goes: Anne McLean Matthews, Sarah Bird, Sherman Alexie, Stephen King, A.M. Jenkins, Amy Tan, Betty MacDonald, Dave Barry, and the list goes on.
Which classic have you always meant to read and never got round to it?
Sad to say but this list is a long one, so I'm starting with Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls, and reading on from there.
What are your top five books of all time, in order or otherwise?
Well, the list is constantly evolving, so in no specific order Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski, The Blood Countess by Andrei Codrescu, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, and the All Things... set of books by James Herriot.
Is there a particular book or author that inspired you to be a writer?
Not that I can recall, although I wouldn't be surprised to discover that in some way, every one of them did. Loving a book is a great inspiration, as is loathing a book or wanting to read a story you can't find, and so must write yourself. These are pretty strong motivators.
What is your favourite time of day to write?
Late at night, when there's nothing around to distract me.
And favourite place?
At my desk in the sunroom, looking out over the garden and the woods. The good part is that it's my favourite room in the house; the bad part is that the view is very intriguing, which is why I do my best writing at night when it's too dark out to see.
Longhand or word processor?
Most of my writing is done on the computer but when it comes to choosing character names, I usually grab a spiral notebook and list all the options by hand. Not sure why, unless it's to see which ones flow naturally with the last name list, or feel right as a character's signature.
Which fictional character would you most like to have met?
Moll Flanders, Auntie Mame Dennis and the Herriot/Siegfried/Tristan crew. Impossible to pick just one!
Who, in your opinion, is the greatest writer of all time?
I'm going to pass on this one, because I honestly don't have an opinion. I don't think I'm capable of choosing just one of most anything!
Which book have you found yourself unable to finish?
If I love the characters I'll pretty much follow them anywhere, through darkness, happiness, trauma and triumph. If I can't connect emotionally with a character, if I find myself not caring if they live or die then I know it's time to stop reading that book and try another. This happens every so often, but no one specific title comes to mind.
What is your favourite word?
Well, 'determination' first, along with 'freewill, stubborn, husband, Mom, Dad, sister, brother, nature, animals, perseverance and passion.'
Other than writing, what other jobs or professions have you undertaken or considered?
I've held an interesting assortment of jobs including waitress, dry cleaner clerk, bartender, mortgage tax disburser, assistant supervisor in mortgage assumptions, lawnmower sales clerk, customer service/sales for a bearing company, assistant landscaper, and lunch truck driver, which was actually a great summer job. Good money, very free-wheeling, plus I met my husband on my route.
What was the first piece you ever had in print?
If we don't count Letters to the Editor in the local newspaper, then it was a short story written for middle readers and published by a small literary magazine with payment in contributor's copies. That sale thrilled me, and fired me up enough to keep writing, learning and trying no matter how many rejections arrived in between sales.
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm preparing for my next book Leftovers' release in January 2008, and busy working on another. I'm very much caught up in these new characters, and wondering how they managed to get themselves into such terrible tangles.
Can you think of a question that we didn't ask you?
Well...yes. You didn't ask me to tea.
What would the answer be?
Why, I'd love to, of course!
I very much enjoyed talking books, writing and answering such fun questions. I also enjoy hearing from readers and if anyone is looking for additional information about Such A Pretty Girl or the upcoming Leftovers, please feel free to visit my website at http://www.laurawiess.com or email me at email@example.com. Thanks again!
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