Monday, June 20, 2016

FAQ

When you've done (or read) a few of author interviews you see many of the same questions over and over again. Inquiring minds want to know:
  1. "Where do you get your ideas?" 
  2. "Where do you write?" 
  3. "What advice do you have for new authors?"
  4. "What are you working on now?
  5. Coffee or Tea?
 Except that the last question should be first and be followed by someone bringing me a cup, I don't mind answering these questions. But I can also understand how frequently interviewed authors might want to get a dig in regarding frequently asked questions.
... 'What sort of questions, then?'
'Oh, you know-What is your favourite colour? What do you like to eat? Are you an item with anybody? What advice do you have for young people today? Do you wax? Where do you get your hair done? What is your favourite spoon?'

From Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett.
To date, I've never been asked if I wax, but I have been regularly asked "What is your favourite colour?" and "What do you like to eat?" (I can't definitively answer either of those questions, by the way. There are too many variables.)

Then there's the Not So Frequently Asked Questions.

FAQ: "When did you start writing?"
NSFAQ: "Do you work full-time as a writer?"

The first question is easy. I can go back to when I was writing stories for the amusement of my friends and family... about age 12.

The second question is tricky and awkward. I could say yes, but it would be misleading. My full-time work has been writing related since 1992, because that's when I started writing and editing for business. I didn't become a published author until 2009. Three anthologies, two novellas and three novels later, I still need my day job.

FAQ: "Are you a plotter or a pantster?"
NSFAQ: "What is your writing process?"

The first question I could just answer "yes" and be done. I am both. The second question I have to explain at what stage I plot and at what point I go by the seat of my pants. And yes, I answer the first question as if the second question was asked. I suspect I'm incapable of giving one word answers unless it's a joke.

Here's a real NSFAQ: "Did you study writing or were you, like so many authors, the kind of person who has been “writing as long as (you) can remember”?"

This is a loaded question... which makes sense since a Texan asked it. 

Did I study writing? Yes, but not by taking college courses. I racked  up a mighty large student debt learning to research and write academic papers. I didn't have money for practical writing courses. I barely had money for the rent and groceries. Fortunately, you don't have to pay big bucks for a Master Class. You can do it by reading, reading and more reading. I learned from authors I admired through their novels, their author's notes and sometimes their how-to books. If nothing else, I've learned their answers to FAQ...
 "I start with a character and a situation, but I don't know what's going to happen until I write it. Sometimes things happen that surprise me." Louis L'Amour
 ...and I realize, I'm not alone.
 "I struggled to learn basic skills, get a grip on markets, find my own unique voice, create story lines and come up to speed with the industry. I struggled for ten years before having any success." Janet Evanovich
 
Check out the stop on my current blog tour for the answers to these and other questions.

May 9: Long and Short Reviews
May 16: BooksChatter
May 23: Christine Young
May 30: jbiggarblog
June 6: The Reading Addict
June 13: Stormy Nights Reviewing and Bloggin' - review only
June 13: Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews
June 20: Welcome to My World of Dreams
June 27: Queen of All She Reads - review only
June 27: It's Raining Books

 
And for the first set of questions:
  1. "Where do you get your ideas?" - Everywhere. It's all grist for the mill.
  2. "Where do you write?" - Anywhere I can plug in my laptop.
  3. "What advice do you have for new authors?" - Keep writing... and reading... and reading aloud what you write.
  4. "What are you working on now? - If I told you, I'd have to kill you.
  5. Coffee or Tea?- Yes thank you. No cream or sugar. If you don't have cream, no milk.

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