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I'm a writer and library worker who wears many hats. I believe a good book and a good piece of chocolate are the keys to a happy life.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Chat with Lael, Carroll, and Nancy

Well, the Surprise Packages blog tour is winding down, so I brought in the three authors, Lael Littke, Carroll Hofeling Morris and Nancy Anderson, for another engagement. Yeah, I reviewed the book already, but this time you get a peek into the kinds of things that go through my tiny brain as I’m reading a new book and a peek at what kinds of answers these three awesome ladies gave my random notions. Happy Reading!

If you were to have a “theme” color of ink that represented your own creativity and writing style what would it be?

Lael: A soft pea-green.

Carroll: Celery green or a cheery yellow.

Nancy: Any color you can find in a garden.

You have mentioned before that chocolate plays an important part in your writing sessions, so name your favorite type.

Lael: Peanut M&Ms. Are you sending some?

Carroll: Add some peanut butter cups!

Nancy: Right now my default chocolate choice is a mini Snickers bar, preferable frozen.

One of the greatest messages of The Company of Good Women surmises that the defining characteristic of a COB is an ability to “pull up her socks and go on". While this is certainly true, I think your readers can tell you’ve each done your share of “sock pulling”, so describe for us please, your favorite pair of socks.

Lael: Don't have a pic. Maybe I can take one. But they are knee high orange and black socks that I always wear at Halloween parties. They look very witchy.

Carroll: Mine are very Arizona, with saguaros and pictographs. But to be honest, in SE Arizona, I go sockless most of year, which necessitates pedicures and painted toenails.

Nancy: Micro fiber sleep socks! My feet are always cold. Even in the summer. My favorite pair is a friendly spring green and just baggy enough they feel like foot sweaters instead of socks.

Describe the moment when each of your characters finally “came alive” for you.

Lael: When she tripped over the dog and burned the corn chowder on the first page of the first book. I thought, "I know this woman!"

Carroll: The Erin character didn’t jell until I realized she was a convert who had an absent father.

Nancy: Deenie was alive and kicking from the get go. But the minute she insisted on making lists for everything I knew exactly how she was.

Tell us about your favorite scene that got thrown out, or didn’t make it through revisions and edits.

Lael: Nicole and Beto's wedding. DB wouldn't let me have a returned missionary (Nicole) marry a Catholic.

Carroll: For me, it’s not a scene so much as the details, interactions and minor characters who had to be cut from a scene in order to be within my allotted words. I feel a lot of juice got pressed out in that process.

Nancy: I'm with Carroll on that. But I also regret the loss of all the intricate and deeply developed story lines for the secondary characters that had to be cut.

Where is your absolute favorite place to write— alone and together.

Lael: My favorite place to write is my own cluttered little office with one of my cats on my lap.

Carroll: I’ll always go for a timeshare where I can look out the window to the beach and ocean, but I also like writing on my laptop while sitting in an overstuffed chair in my living room with my feet up on an ottoman. Doesn’t see so much like work!

Nancy: In my office. I have a bird feeder station that attracts everything from hummingbirds in season to finches to scrub jays and it’s right outside of my window. The finches nest in the ivy around the window so I have a constant stream of feathered friends to keep me company when I write.

Long-hand, short-hand, typewriter or computer? Which mode allows you to be the most productive?

Lael: Oh, computer by all means. I had too many years of typewriter!

Carroll: Let’s, see. I have tendonitis and don’t know short-hand, so the first two are out. Corrections were a pain on the typewriter, although retyping a chapter always led to tightening and revising, which was good. That leaves—ta-da!—the computer.

Nancy: Computer! It’s the spell check!

What is the one lesson your character learned during the trilogy that you wish she would teach you how to master?

Lael: How to get rid of obsessive guilt.

Carroll: Not to be so hard on myself.

Nancy: How to give my whole heart to God.

Writing a book is tough business. Writing a book with more than one author just multiplies the complexity. I bow in honor of your greatness for accomplishing this, but…. Fess up ladies, what was your biggest pet-peeve, or frustration, while writing a series with each other?

Lael: That we couldn't get together more often. We live in three different states, and somebody has to fly in whether we meet in Utah, Arizona, or California.

Carroll: Technology. When we first started out, technology was the biggest frustration. Nancy and Lael had older PCs (Lael’s only accepted old floppies!) and I had a Mac. When they upgraded and we began sharing files via thumb drives, life got a lot easier. Getting MacLink Plus, which makes virtually any kind of text file readable on a Mac, was another big help.

Nancy: Keeping pace with two more experienced writers.

Thanks for sharing ladies, it was fun! (I promise to bring chocolate to the next Storymakers conference)

Other interviews from the Surprise Packages blog tour can be found at these links.







Return to the Neighborhood


Tristi Pinkston said...

Awesome interview! Make sure to tell me where you're handing out the chocolate and I'll come too!

Carroll said...

It was fun reading our answers to these interesting questions, Alison! I appreciate you giving your readers a chance to know me, Nancy, and Lael better.

We signed at the BYU Bookstore today (it's Education Week), and we handed out little packs of M&Ms to people who stopped by our table. I don't know what was the bigger draw, us three Crusty Old Broads, the recently released Surprise Packages, or the M&Ms!

Alison Palmer said...

Oh, M&Ms have a definite pull! Congrats on the successful signing.