Saturday, May 2, 2009

I’ve decided to do a new series of interviews with writers. Unpublished writers—they get no glory! They do put in the hard work like everyone else, plus they have to manage to find something within themselves that keeps them going. This is what The Unread is all about.

For my first interview I asked my fabulous critique partner, fellow group administrator, great friend, and all around crazy-fun chick, Linda Duddridge (some of you may know her as SBK), to answer some questions. Okay, okay, I actually twisted her arm and threatened her. We’d better get to it before she changes her mind.

Okay, Linda, inquiring minds want to know, why do you write anyway?

I’m a control freak. I love being able to tell people what to do, what to say and even what to wear – unlike my own children, my characters have to listen. They comply with every evil plot I throw at them. It’s a power trip, I think.

How many manuscripts have you written?

Well, I wrote one lousy picture book years ago that will never see the light of day. (It’s not lousy like she says. Plus the concept was “stolen” and used in a major motion picture--sorry I can't help but comment. It is my blog after all.)And I have three novels – one is now shelved permanently, one is shelved temporarily, and my special baby from this year’s NaNoWriMo is heading into major revisions.

What have you done with them?

I’d love to say burn them, but I’m no pyromaniac. Nah, the first ones were all practice novels – ways for me to learn as I go. One made rounds to some agents, but I never really expected much from that. (Ahem, almost every agent she queried for it asked to see more.) I have big plans for the one I’m working on now, though.

Tell us about your work-in-progress.

CRAZED is set in a small town in the Canadian Rockies in the future, after catastrophic global climate change has killed almost everything. The residents of the town follow the teachings of a man who believes the world can be cured by using a sort of emotional butterfly effect. For example, happiness spreads positive energy and encourages plants to grow, but bitterness and anger bring huge storms or disease. My main character, Stephanie, finds herself in trouble when she loses her temper too many times and starts to question her beliefs. When a deadly disease arrives in town, everyone blames her and believes she brought it on purpose. They call her a witch and decide her death is a sacrifice worth making to protect the greater good.

Throw in a bit of angst over parental approval, romance and obsession and that pretty much covers it.

(OMG! They want to kill her? I haven’t gotten to that part yet!)

How long have you been writing and what keeps you going?

It’s been around 6 years now, I guess. I know many people say things like, ‘my ambition to be published keeps me going,’ but honestly, I don’t care about that. I just love creating something I can be proud of. It doesn’t always work out that way, but I try.

(She does care. She just hides it well!)

How do you make the time?

This is the easiest question for me. All my kids are in school full time now, so I have all day to browse the net, write blogs and play on Twitter and Facebook … er … I mean write. I have all day to write.

(She bugs me a lot too. ;-)

How does your family feel about your writing?

Well, they say they support it, but sometimes I think they wish I didn’t write. We’d have a much cleaner house and less take-out if I were one of those dedicated, non-obsessed moms.

What are your writing goals and what have you done to further them?

My writing goals are simple: Avoid insanity. Of course, I’m failing. Honestly, at this point, I don’t know what my goals are. Success scares me. Promotion terrifies me. Being all cozy in my house and obsessing about characters and plot thrills me. So at this point, I’m avoiding the stuff that scares me and focusing on the fun stuff. When I’m ready, I’ll move on. Slowly.

(She also goes to quite a few conferences and has started going to SCBWI meetings. Watch out! The snail train is leaving the station.)

How far would you go to get your book published?

If it meant being published, I'd eat all the Skittles in Canada. I know they're bad for me (and my hips), but it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.

(See, I told you she cared.)

A couple of special, agent inspired questions for you. Ice or no ice? Can or glass?

Absolutely ice, unless it’s milk. And it’s kinda tough to put ice in a can, so I’m sure you can guess that my answer is glass.

And here’s what I really want to know, if you could live in any book which one would it be and why?

My automatic response is Harry Potter, but when I give it serious thought (and trust me, I’ve dedicated far too much time to this), I’m not sure I could handle the whole Voldemort thing. So after rethinking it some, I’d have to say I’d love to live in the book, Savvy by Ingrid Law. I’d be eager to know what my Savvy is and frankly, Mibs would make an awesome friend.

You can read more from Linda at her blog, Jumbled Ramblings and you can follow her on twitter. She’s @sbklinda.

Thank you, Linda, for being my guinea pig today and being the first to answer questions for The Unread. I loved making you answer... I mean, getting to ask you questions.

You’re welcome! It was fun and I didn’t obsess about the answers at all! Nope. Not one bit. True story. :-)

Readers, watch out! You may be next…


  1. I loved the interview, and the idea behind your blog!

    If I had to sacrifice my hips to be published, anything chocolate would do. :-)

  2. Heather, what a fun interview! Is this an on-line critique partner, or somebody I might meet someday over in the Okanogan?
    Great questions, FUN answers, and wonderful running commentary. :-)

  3. Fun interview! Thanks for being the guinea pig, Linda!

  4. Thanks, Natalie--and I agree, chocolate all the way!

    Linda lives up in Calgary, Susan. You might see her if you're going to the WWA conference this year. I might get her to come visit me someday though. :-)

    Glad you all liked the interview. It was alot of fun--for me anyway.

  5. Heather and Linda, great interview. I love hearing how other unpublished authors keep themselves going! I've posted a number of interviews on my blog also. Mostly because I love doing them I learn so much about other authors by asking those interview questions.

    Great to 'meet' you both.

  6. Thanks guys! I had a blast!! :D

    And watch out Heather. I might just have to interview you when your book comes out and I'm going to ask tons of really tough questions so I can see you squirm.


  7. Great premise and awesome interview! This was lots of fun!

  8. Linda is cool and she has a new washer and dryer to boot. But her fellow Calgarian writer stood her up for a SCBWI meeting and still feels bad about it.

    Your story sound tres awesome Linda. Can't wait to hear about the conference.

    Great interview both of you!

  9. Thanks, Kimmie!

    Aw Janet - I really didn't mind that you stood me up. It's just so fun to torment you about it. Honestly, you don't have to feel bad anymore. :)

    And even more important than that - YES!! I do have a new washer and dryer and I can't wait for them to be delivered! Woohoo! (I'm embarrassed by how excited this makes me.)

  10. What a fantastic idea for a series of posts! And you couldn't have started off with a better pre-published writer!!

  11. Very cool idea and great questions!

  12. Awesome idea! It's so nice for you to do this. :-) And Linda's book sounds great; I'd love to read it!

  13. I think this is a great idea for a blog. But how are you going to choose who future interviewees will be?

  14. Thanks J. So far the search for interviewees has been easy, I've interviewed my critique partners and writers I've connected with online in one way or another, or lots of ways(we all seem to be in all the same places). I'm certain the search will get more difficult eventually. Then I may have to rally the troops.