Spring is here and things are looking up! Our intrepid hero, Mina, has a new car. Well–it’s new to her. And she even has a boyfriend or two lined up. But that’s because her BFF, Trixie, signed her up on Cupidsbow.com behind her back. Some prospective dates appear a bit odd, but never mind; it’s good to make new friends, right? All hope of smooth sailing vanishes when Mina hits another bump in the road: she loses her part-time job. And Chef Jack hasn’t been scheduling her at Squirrel Run Acres lately, and her catering for James’ massage gigs are replaced by a new, full-time (and gorgeous) assistant. WTH? The grim mortgage reaper looms, when suddenly Mina’s solvency is rescued as she stumbles upon a full-time job. A rather peculiar job, with some definitely peculiar co-workers. Who try to kill her–and Chef Jack.
Lizz, you’re back! This is the fourth time that we’ve chatted and so far you’ve made me laugh through every other interview so I hope we can continue that trend today. For those in our audience who haven’t hear your book ‘Perfectly Pickled’ can you give them a little introduction as to where the idea for this novel arose?
The germ that grew this idea: giving up on your dream; taking a steady job (you don’t like) to pay the bills because, well yeah–you have to.
How did you get that germ to grow? Did you pepper in some of your past steady jobs?
A bit from my former life working in hospital.
Out of curiosity, what are some of the other steady jobs you’ve held in the past?
I’ve been everything from a legal secretary; hospital staffing coordinator to telemarketer. Crazies abound–thank God. Use them in your stories (fact is funnier than fiction.)
And those strange funny stories are awesome. And what kind of research was required to support these funny, strange stories?
Yes; lovely interview with funeral home director (thank you’s to him and his staff in the front matter.)
The process of working with some many influences and people must be fun. Is this the most rewarding aspect you found writing this boo, or does something else stand out as more satisfying for you?
Playing out the scenes, dialogue in my head. Laughing out loud when they prove funny. But especially for having a valid reason to be listening to the voices in my head–and talking back to them–without being committed.
If you’re working at home I doubt you’ll be committed, but maybe you should put some kind of headphones or Bluetooth speaker device on if you’re working in the wide world, as we can’t afford to see you committed. What would happen to Mina! The next time you play out the scenes in your head, can you think of which actors could do each of the characters justice? Who are your top picks?
Sandra Bullock as Mina, definitely. Woody Allen as Sheldon. George Clooney as Chef Jacque. Jury’s out for the rest…although I hope I could fit Carol Burnett in there somewhere (cameo role??) ;)
A cameo role would be good for her I think. Would you have a cast party with the characters in your book if they could come to life?
Oh my yes. Except you’d have to toss Vito’s casserole out at the door.
Of course, Chef Jacque should be in charge of all catering. Apart from getting Chef Jacque to do all catering, what is the most important thing that you wanted to say in your book?
Don’t give up. Live your life–have FUN. And, drink more beer.
Speaking of more fun, can you tell us which of Mina’s adventures you’re currently working on?
#6 Mina Kitchen novel, “Diabolical DC.” Also, final edits to the 2nd in my new Young Adult/Science Fiction series, “Kingdom of Dread” – part of the Chronicles of Thaddeus McPhee. The first in this series is, “Star Surfer.”
Progress in two series, that’s very exciting! What keeps you writing?
I like to eat.
That has to be one of the best motivations I’ve heard. How does the process of writing for more food unfold for you? Are you very structured about how your next project unfolds when you start?
I’m abysmally undisciplined. Creating my outlines are the hardest and is the first thing I do. If I find I’ve stumbled upon a “better” idea I stop my writing, go back to the outline and think it through to either a) re-plot or b) go back to the plan.
And when your outlines are in place it is just a matter of furious typing to get all of the words on the page?
I tend to write in spurts. When I hit a “bump” in the creative road, I stop to think it through (this is how our laundry and cooking gets done).
You don’t try and work through these bumps?
I don’t. It’s too frustrating. I do something else, and mull it over. And I give myself an “outside limit” to get back on track after a few days.
There’s no music that gets you in the zone?
None. NPR/news in background as white noise I can barely hear. I don’t like being distracted from listening to what Mina and her crowd are trying to tell me.
How do you approach editing that your characters have told you?
I read through the entire book after it’s done its first draft. Then, I pass onto my husband; and maybe another trusted friend. Then I work with suggestions/feedback. Go through again, re-reading again. Then, I pass onto my editor, Teresa Kennedy of Village Green Press. Re-work, re-write per her edits/comments. Re-read again. Have husband re-read major re-worked sections. Send back to Teresa for final round of edits. After she sends back the “final” to me, I send out to 1-2 beta readers. Once they’re done? Publish and hold my breath.
Does anything help keep you sustained while you’re holding your breath? Do you have any tips out there in the newbies in the industry who want to get started?
Pay attention to the GOOD reviews. There are so many “trolls” and negative Nellies out there–ignore them. You DO need criticism, but by the very nature of the word means acknowledging what is RIGHT from what needs worked on. Ask for beta readers. Gift them with a hard copy of your book (or next book.) Set goals–and work toward them (1 book a year? or 3?) Keep on, keepin’ on. Keep writing. Move forward. YES YOU CAN.
Loving the strong positivity! Now we’ve sadly finished with all of our serious questions today. Which is AWESOME, as we get to start of the mad round of quick fire questions. I’m looking for some fast funnies here, Liz. Let’s start with: Are you a valuable asset on a quiz team?
ME! Do you have any philosophies that you live by?
*Laughs* What is your favourite quote?
“Never answer an anonymous letter.” –Yogi Berra
Oooh, I like that one! What is your favourite ocean?
The wet one.
If you invented a monster what would it look like and what would you call it?
Unfortunately he was just voted into office…
*Laughs* At least you don’t have to worry about tidying up the orange fur anymore :). Have you ever danced in the rain?
So it was YOU watching? #embarrassed
Yeah, it was me but I didn’t record it so it’s all good. If you ruled your own country, who would you get to write the national anthem?
If only Earth, Wind and Fire still were…
Surely they have a tribute band who might be able to give it a go! Are you left or right handed?
I have one of each.
And here I was thinking that you were part cybernetic! How are the colours in rainbows made?
Cosmic paint brushes. And crayons. Lots of crayons.
Can I get those cosmic paint brushes on Amazon cause I want one. If you could breed two animals together to defy the laws of nature what new animal would you create?
A sponge and a porcupine: Porcusponge – great for scrubbing dishes.
What color socks are you wearing?
Do they function like Harry Potter’s invisibility clock? What’s the most unusual name you’ve ever come across?
Bob. It’s spelled that same way backward and forward.
*Laughs* See most people aren’t looking for that kind of versatility when they pick baby names, and I just can’t understand why. That is such a brilliant point you’ve made. What is your favourite word?
Simple and understated, just like Bob. What is your favourite line, quote or statement from your book?
“Lucky for you, you have this hole.”
*Laughs* Ahhh, the benefits of holes. And finally I have to as you as you’ve come up with good questions to add in the past, is there a question that you haven’t been asked that you’d like to be, or anything that didn’t come up?
Favorite jelly bean: black/licorice.
I like that. Both the black jelly beans and the question. I will add it into the new question set that I’m hoping to have up and ready for when the 200th interview is reached. Lizz, thanks for joining me today and I hope to see you for a fifth time soon!
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