Before the end of last year, my Twitter friend, fellow author Amy Elizabeth Miller (find her website here), messaged me to ask if I’d be interested in doing an author interview as part of a series she’d planned for her blog. Amy has an amazing work ethic. She’s a talented artist. She blogs about subjects I wouldn’t have the nerve to touch with such depth and passion it often takes my breath away (I’ve been a subscriber for some time). She writes The Endeavor Series: captivating, imaginative fantasy novels that feature a host of magical creatures and endearing (or hissable!) characters (find them on Amazon here). As if all that weren’t enough, she homeschools her four kids! That alone is sufficient to inspire my stunned admiration. (Don’t take this the wrong way, Katie, but after teaching you how to read, I was tapped out.) We’d never met in person, but I knew from reading Amy’s words that she’s the best kind of friend to have: generous, kind and supportive, and when she tells you she’s going to do something, you can take it to the bank. So of course I told her, “Yes, please, I’d be honored to do an interview!”
As most of you have probably deduced over the past 105 (!) posts, I’m a gabby person by nature, and I really enjoy gabbing about writing and the way I do it. Even more, I love reading interviews with other writers about how they do it. (Especially their writing schedules. Probably because I can never stick to one.) Every writer’s process is different and to me, they’re all fascinating. But Amy had something a little out of the ordinary in mind. She sent me a list of twenty-five questions, and only five had anything to do with my writing. Answering them, I found myself laughing as well as tearing up. And it was a blast.
Below is Amy’s interview. For space reasons, it’s only the Q. & A. To read the whole thing, which includes her wonderful intro and review of The Realm Below, see the full post here.
INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR: SUSAN ROOKE
1. Introduce yourself. Name. Nickname.
A. Susan Rooke. No middle name. I’ve had several nicknames over the years (“Rookie,” “Monkey Arms”), but my favorite is still the one my older brother (by 8 years) came up with when I was just a little girl. He called me “Bug,” because I was an annoying little sister; I bugged him. And it stuck. In time I became “Aunt Bug” to his kids.
2. If your Wi-Fi name was a reflection of you, what would it be?
A. WhenIGetAroundToIt. I’m an awful procrastinator.
3. What personality trait has gotten you into the most trouble?
A. Probably the mistaken notion that I’m going to last forever, so what’s the rush?
4. What genre (of collection) do you write in and why?
A. I write all sorts of poetry, but the fiction I write (short stories and novels) is always speculative. I don’t know why, though, because I read in any genre.
5. Who is important to you?
A. My family and friends. Plus our animals: Australian Shepherd Lucy; our part Maine Coon Phoebe, aka Tatonka or Jabba the Catt [oh lord, here she comes now. It must be time to feed her again]; and our dear grandcat, Tsuki.
6. Where do you call home?
A. Central Texas.
7. What books are/have you written?
A. The Space Between: The Prophecy of Faeries, and The Realm Below: The Rise of Tanipestis (which is brand new, even as we speak). I’ve just started writing the third book in the series.
8. If you are having a rotten day, what do you do to conquer that?
A. If it’s not something that I’ll probably find humor in eventually, I just try to soldier through. Then that evening, I’ll pour myself a stiff highball and turn to my husband Glen for solace. Poor man! (He gets a stiff highball too.)
9. If you were invisible for a day, what would you do?
A. I’d walk our property trying to get some incredible, close-up nature photographs without nature being any the wiser.
10. Your life is made into a musical. What is the title of at least one of the songs?
A. “Better Late Than Never”
11. What are your sleeping habits?
A. Nonhabitual. The lack of consistent sleep is annoying. And fatigue makes my lazy eye skew a bit, which is weird.
12. What would you name your boat?
A. The Slithy Tove
13. What’s your biggest kitchen disaster?
A. At bedtime one night I was prepping a 14 lb. brisket for Glen to put in the smoker at 5A.M. the next morning. I had the brisket in the kitchen sink and was hauling it out of its vacuum-wrap using a pigsticker: a sharp steel skewer with the pointy end curlicued like a pig’s tail. I was tired and not paying close enough attention. The pointy end wasn’t all the way in the meat. It ripped loose and flew up and hit me in the forehead, right above the bridge of my nose. This was followed by a trip to the ER, a tetanus shot and some glue to close the wound. I was lucky not to lose an eye.
14. Tell me about one of your characters. Would you get along in real life?
A. I can’t pick just one to tell you about. When I tried, they all came crowding into my head, wanting to have their say. I’m grateful to have their trust, and it’s an honor to be able to record their stories. (Don’t tell any of them, but Lugo is my favorite and we would get on famously!)
15. If you were arrested with no explanation, what would your friends and family assume you had done?
A. They would assume it was a case of mistaken identity. I haven’t even had a speeding ticket since 1984.
16. What are your favorite clothes to wear?
A. Around the house, T-shirts and knee-length yoga pants, or fleecy long pants and long-sleeved henleys in cooler weather. Running errands, jeans and linen blouses.
17. If someone asked to be your apprentice and learn all that you know, what would they end up learning?
A. They’d learn how to put off until tomorrow what they could have easily done today. And then how to freak out over it. There’d also be some cooking, baking, cocktailing and playing Cards Against Humanity.
18. What are your future writing plans?
A. There will be at least a third book in the Space Between series. As for a fourth, I don’t know. I’m not a fast writer, and the books are somewhat intricate, requiring my careful thought and close attention because of their interweaving storylines and timelines. I’ll continue to write poems and short stories/flash fiction. And there’s always the possibility that there’ll be another book that’s not in the series.
19. What’s one thing you absolutely adore in life?
A. Leaving aside beloved people and pets, I absolutely adore Glen’s barbecue pit. It’s a combination grill and smoker. After much research, he designed and built it in his shop, working late several nights a week for months. With this contraption and his mad pitmaster skills, he makes the best Texas-style barbecued brisket and pork ribs I’ve ever tasted. No barbecue sauces, no fancy dry rubs. Just salt and pepper, heat, time and smoke.
20. What is one of your pet peeves?
A. Hearing people end their sentences with “at.” “Where are you at?”
21. You’re in the middle of a wizarding duel. What animal do you transfigure into?
A. Why be an animal when you can be a cosmic entity? Cthulhu, of course!
22. Would you survive if you were a character in your own books?
A. Maybe. If I got too gabby, the author might kill me off just to shut me up.
23. You are putting on a dinner party. What do you serve and who do you invite?
A. The weather would be mild, low 70s, with just enough cloud cover as the sun sinks, and a soft breeze. We’d be eating outside on the patio, digging in to Glen’s brisket and pork ribs, or, for the pescatarians, grilled swordfish with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and capers, prepared on the grill side of the pit. There would be sides: a gratin of potatoes, a cucumber-cherry tomato-kalamata olive salad and feather-light yeasty rolls. A selection of cocktails and beers/wines. Coffee macadamia brickle ice cream for dessert. And everyone we love would be there. Including a handful who can’t be there under any circumstances anymore.
24. Would you rather relive the same day for 365 days or lose a year of your life?
A. I can’t relive the same day for 365 days. I wouldn’t be here at the end of that time anyway, so I might as well pick the other option.
25. You are transported to one of your favorite books. Where are you?
A. I’m in T.H. White’s The Sword in the Stone. Learning, as the Wart did, how to live as different creatures under the instruction of Merlyn and his owl, Archimedes.
Thank you for everything, Amy! This was fun!