It’s the final question of the first month, and it has been a big success. Last week’s question had a great response from both the contributors and readers. This week, I asked the authors a question about asking authors a question.
This is actually a tough one because, although I have several authors in mind, I don’t think I would want to meet any of them. You see, I’m the kind of person who doesn’t want to meet their heroes, because that’s how heroes fall from grace. Call me cynical if you like, but I think that if I met any of my favorite authors I would leave the conversation thinking that they were total jerks, or too crazy even for me to handle.
That said, if I had access to some of the best (in my opinion) authors out there, my question would be: “How do you do it? How do you force yourself to sit down and write every single day, whether you want to or not, regardless of what else is going on in your life?” Because that’s the big thing, I think, the thing that holds many of us back. I have a full-time job, a husband and a daughter, and lots of other responsibilities in my everyday life, so it flummoxes me how some authors find the time to just sit down and not rise again until they have a thousand or more words. That is the wisdom that I would like imparted upon me.
Anne Rice! She wrote so many dark, disturbing stories, and people love her for it. I’ve only read one or two myself, but the kinds of things this woman’s created make me wanna know more about what goes on in that noggin when she writes.
If I could interview ANY author, I would ask Roger Zelazny, “Do you like the band King Crimson?”
If I could interview any author, I would have to choose Anne Rice. I’d lover to know where her vampires came from, and whether or not she knows them in real life.
I would ask George RR Martin how he keeps so many plotlines straight through his Song of Ice and Fire series, especially considering all the years it has taken to write them.
Eek… I’ve never really thought about this. Maybe I would interview Robin Hobb, and ask what kind of insane deal she made in order to be able to describe characters’ mundane lives with such skill and grace that they’re as interesting as any cinematic fight scene. Seriously, there’s magic involved. I’d swear to it.
Can we hypothetically interview authors from the other side? Because I would love to interview Isaac Asimov. The one question I’d want to ask more than anything is “How were you able to write so much?” It’s been said that he had writer’s block once and it was the worst ten minutes of his life. (Harlan Ellison) I envy that kind of productivity. Meanwhile, I’m sitting on a 3 year old manuscript that isn’t finished.
There are several dead authors who I’d like ask “What do you think about (adaptation or derivative made after their death)?”, but if I only had one question I think that would be a waste.
Actually, there is something I’ve always wondered. Isaac Asimov famously came up with the Three Laws of Robotics and wrote a lot of stories where they were mentioned, many of them actually based on issues involving the Three Laws. So I would ask him why he seemed to avoid getting any use out of conflicts between the Second and Third Laws, or really, much in general involving any potential problems with the fact that the Second Law requires a robot to follow orders from any human being.
Really, do I have to narrow it down. Let me think: Mary Kay Andrews, J.R.R. Tolkien, …. I would love to go antiquing with Mary Kay Andrews. My twisted brain would love to have a tea party with Stephen King to discuss the craft of writing. I think anything longer than tea would be too much, he really scares me. Tolkien wins. That may sound odd to you, because I don’t write epic fantasy. But I love Tolkien and the world he created.
I can see it now. The two of us sitting in front of a stone fire place, drinking tea, while a storm rages outside. Honestly, I don’t have specific questions I would ask him. I am interested in his process of world building. I’ve read a little about how or when he was writing Lord of the Rings, but not much. The amount of world building he did is just mind boggling to me, and I want to know more. I want to know what little secrets he has that aren’t in the books. Actually, I just want to live in Middle Earth.
As any true introvert would have to admit, the thought of interviewing anyone makes me a bit nauseous! I’m just going to pretend this is an email interview so my stomach will relax, if that’s okay with all of you!
With that out of the way, I’m going to reach back into history a bit to interview Charles Dickens. Most people come to Dickens by way of torturous high school English classes, and they’re very glad to be finished with him. Admittedly, I felt that way a bit, too, when I first read A Tale of Two Cities in high school. I couldn’t believe how long it took Dickens to describe the simplest things and just wanted him to get on with it already.
I came to greatly appreciate Dickens’ use of description and his storytelling after that first encounter, but what really captured my interest was the final book he wrote, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Dickens actually died before the novel was complete, leaving the world to wonder who killed the eponymous character.
As with many great mysteries, writers have tried to finish Dickens’ work, choosing from a host of possible suspects described in the book. However, no one knows for sure “whodunnit.” So, if I had the opportunity to have an email interview from beyond the grave with Charles Dickens, I’d begin by asking him to tell me what he had intended the ending of the book to be. I may also have to ask him if he knew a “Princess Puffer” in real life, as she’s the kind of character who sticks in a person’s brain long after the book ends.
I’ve already interviewed some authors, but if I were to ask a single question to one of my favourite authors, I would ask one who is no longer with us. I’d like to ask Anne McCaffrey a question. She’s famous for her Dragonriders of Pern series of novels, and she initially got me interested in worldbuilding. I’d like to ask her, “How did you come up with the idea for Pern?” This is something that interests me for any fantasy and sci-fi author, but since she was the one that inspired me to make my own world, I want to ask her.
How about you?
Now on to you, the reader. Who would you like to interview, and what is the one question you want to ask them? Last week’s responses were great. I look forward to your answers this week.