So here it is. My #AskLinnie blog post thingy in honour of getting to 555 followers on Twitter. Not that many questions, but I’m more than ok with that. There are a few non-bookish questions and a few book-and-writing ones.
Hope you’ll find the answers as nice as surprising. It felt good to be able to say things in more than 140 characters for once. Maybe I should do this more often. Or maybe not.
Star Trek or Star Wars? (This is a very important question, take your time.)
Ehm… I think I’m going to have to turn in my geek-card over this one. I’m not a big fan of either one. I really don’t watch TV all that much. If you would twist my arm, I’d probably say Star Trek. I like the more human story lines in that. There have been times when it appeared to be all there was on the telly. So I did catch quite a few episodes of it. I never actually sat down to watch a Star Wars movie, but Husband has watched some (all?) of them in my presence, so have seen a parts those. Couldn’t really get into it.
I’m not into big bombast movies that value special effects over the human interaction and growth arcs. There you have it. Geek ungeeked.
If you could crossbreed any two animals, which would they be and why and also name your creation.
I’m not very much into crossbreeding. I think that’s much more the forté of fantasy and SciFi writers. But if I would, I’d make it something very useful. Something like a cow and a dog. So it would give milk, mow the lawn, And you could teach it to fetch you things and stuff. A cog? Dow?
What is the best advice you would give a novice writer?
Easy one. Write! Write until you find out what you want to write. Until you find your voice and your comfort zone. And when you’ve found out about that, you can think of styling your craft, getting out of your comfort zone. Be curious. Wonder about things. And write.
For me writing is a good way to figure out how things work.
Write first, judge later!
What's your favorite book EVER?
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brönte Now there’s a surprise, right? A romance writer loving Jane Eyre. I love how Charlotte painted the story and the characters nearly minimalistic. It’s not a big story in terms of settings and characters. It’s a very small story, but magnificently painted against a backdrop that for me leaves enough room to fill in for myself. I don’t like books where every detail is worked out (Lord of The Rings f.e.) Give me something to go on and I’ll work out the rest for myself.
And I won’t withhold my nr. 2 book. The Commitments – Roddy Doyle. Lots of cursing, strong story telling. Again not overly descriptive. (that’s probably why I never make it beyond novella length with my own stuff) So well written that you can hear the music and the voices in your head. Made into one of the greatest movies of all times by Alan Parker. Go see it, if you haven’t yet.
Two very different books. But that’s me. A few more from the top of my head:
Holy Fools – Joanne Harris (everything by her, really)
Any of Roald Dahl’s children’s books. JK Rowling’s writing sometimes feels like it’s Roald Dahl.
Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood
The Dwelling – Susie Moloney
This list really goes on and on… Spent nine years in a bookstore that carried mainly second hand. We got to borrow the books and it was awesome.
I do prefer reading books in English when that’s the original language. I find that translations often mean that a certain quality gets lost.
Where do you work?
I work at a local nursing home as a night nurse. But I don’t think you’ll want to hear about the poop I scoop, so I’ll focus on the writing.
I write on my couch, in my living room. Having a view of my small and messy garden. My house is pretty messy as well. (see pics in answer of @JohannaHarness’ question) Both Husband and I aren’t very domestic and cleaning and clearing isn’t very high on our priority list. Usually one or both cats will keep me company. Either lying at my feet or in the windowsill beside me. Or they’re constantly nagging for me to open the door to let them in or out.
Why do you write?
My first answer will always be: Because the plot bunnies will eat my brains if I don’t.
I don’t know how not to write. I started writing at a very early age. I never had a lot of friends (or any until the last years of high school) and writing was a good way to clear my head. I’ve always written fiction/romance. I’ve never been any good at keeping diaries. I still write romance, it’s the form I like most.
Ideas pop up in my head and will not leave me alone until I’ve thrusted them into a story. Sometimes that ends in writing a scene and that’s it. Or, like the story I’m currently working on, ends up being an entire story and character arc.
Most of what I write will end up in The Vault. (the ‘please delete this within minutes after my death’ folder on my computer) They are either not good enough to share or too personal. Things I do want to share end up here.
What do you write?
Romance, baby. I mostly write contemporary romance. I like messing about with my characters while they resolve issues from their past and let them face the choice. Stay safe and alone or take chances. Resistance to change is a very basic human trait. We tend to want to stay safe and in our comfort zone. We need to get out to really feel alive though. And we don’t all have to go sky diving to do it. Sometimes having coffee with someone we don’t know all that well already seems like a giant leap of faith.
Usually there’s a lot of music involved as well. I am also a musician (not a good one though) and I know a lot of musicians. Music is a very good way to show character transitions.
And sometimes, not often, but sometimes supernatural elements or historic romance happen.
What do you think is the biggest advantage and biggest disadvantage to being a European writer as opposed to North American?
This is a very good question. My first instinct is to say it doesn’t matter. But on second thought it does.
One of the most distinctive differences of course is language. Europe has a completely different language every few hundred kilometres. Going with an entirely different cultural and historic background. It makes that a lot of writers, me included, choose not to write in their native language. I’m not sure if this makes things easier or harder. It’s a rich well to pull from though.
Of course I am aware North America isn’t one culture either. (ignorant, elitist European here) Different cities, different states all have their own way of saying and doing things. Their very specific backgrounds and history. But there is one basic language (almost) everyone understands and one can draw from when writing.
I am not a publishing writer. That makes it pretty easy on me. I write, I edit and if I like it well enough, I’ll park it here. If not, well, who cares. When publishing it does make more of a difference I think. I mostly use UK English. With a bit of US and Int. thrown in the mix to keep it interesting. When you publish, you have to adapt your language to the market you want to be read in. Readers don’t like the feeling words are ‘misspelled’.
So what are your characters up to today?
My characters are finally getting it on today. They’re holding in suspension semi-naked on the couch while I’m writing this. They’ve spent a few months driving each other out of their minds and are finally heading for the pay off today.
What does your writing area look like? And please, will you show me the view from your window?
As portraid above, my writing area is my messy living room, with my messy couch. Usually there are clothes lying around, because when not going out I move around in my pjs. (yes, I do, don’t judge me.) The cats are trying out a few of the boxes we left around just for them. I’m sitting sideways on the couch, pillow on my legs to balance the laptop. Beside me is a window sill with enough room for the cats to sleep in. And beyond that is the yard.
The cat had just conquered this box that I was ready to get rid of. It's sitting in the place I usually sit.
What I would like to know from you:
What’s the most recent thing you’ve learned? Doesn’t have to be a big thing. Small teachings can be very cute.
My answer to my own question: Blended cottage cheese with banana and honey-cashews is yummie, but would be even more delicious if I wouldn’t be spending ten minutes cleaning the blender.
Thanks for playing. Now off you go! Go be excellent!