Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Authorsday - Pearl Wolf

The lovely and gracious Pearl Wolf has stopped by today to answer a few questions.

That cover looks pretty steamy to me! Maybe this interview will be also.

Welcome Pearl!

Q. --How long have you been writing?
A. —I wrote fantasy stories when I was a child, as a way to escape the torture of two much older brothers and a much older sister, all of whom thought they were in charge of rearing me. I got even with them on paper, by making them all villains.

2. Q. —What was the name of the first novel you wrote? Did you try to publish it?
A. —SONG OF MIRIAM. I tried and tried and tried, for this was the book of my heart. I had so many ‘almost’ sales, I could have papered my living room walls with the rejection letters. I finally found a small press (Hilliard and Harris) willing to take it on, so in 2003 my first adult ‘baby’ saw the light of day at last.

3. Q. —What do you know now that you are published that you didn’t know pre-published that you wish you knew.
A. —I wish I knew about the business side of writing when I began to sell. My first publication was a children’s book, GORILLA BABY: The story of Patty Cake c1974, published by Scholastic, Inc. It was a chest-thumping (excuse the pun) success that sold 250,000 copies. Their publicist called me to tell me I had been invited to appear on a popular TV show called, “To Tell The Truth.” I panicked, took fright and turned the offer down, too stupid to know that my appearance might have sold many more copies! Don’t bother to interrupt me when Oprah calls and asks me to stand on my head and whistle Dixie!

4. Q. --Tell me one thing about yourself that very few people know.
A. —I’m a secret slob who can’t bear to face the mess. After a day’s work, I clean up by opening my desk drawer and shoveling everything on top into it, so my desk looks clean in the morning. The rest of my apartment receives the same treatment. Don’t bother to look into my closets!

5. Q. —What do you consider your strengths in terms of writing?
A. —Snappy dialogue, for one, because it grabs the reader’s attention. For another, what writers calling ‘plotting’ but what I call my lesson plan, since I’m a former teacher. After I make my lesson plan and first my agent, then my editor accepts it, I am free to ignore it when necessary and write from my characters’ varied points of view.

6. Q. —What’s your favorite quote?
A. -- Edna Ferber wrote: “Writing is not an amusing occupation. It is a combination of ditch digging, mountain climbing, treadmill and childbirth. It may be absorbing, racking, relieving, but amusing? Never.” (From “A Peculiar Treasure”)

7. Q. —What authors do you admire?
A. —William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer and Eloisa James.

8. Q. —What three things would you want with you on a desert island?
A. —A virile sex slave with a magnificent body and few words, a laptop with unlimited power and eternal access to the Internet, all trouble-free.

9. Q. —What do you do when you’re not writing?
A. —I play duplicate bridge in the evening whenever I can, because it relaxes me and, I’m proud to say, I am an American Contract Bridge League Life Master.

10. Q. —What would you like to learn to do that you haven’t?
A. —Two things. First, I would love to manage my workday more efficiently. Second, I’d like to learn to accept the things I cannot change with good grace and continue to take pleasure every day in the sheer joy of living. For a 79 year-old who thinks she’s still 39, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Pearl, as always, a pleasure. Good luck with Too Hot For a Spy!

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