A.E. Welch, in my comments today, I was very pleased! Sunshine is a wonderful thing to find on your blog, especially today when it's cold and rainy outside.
The way the award works is this: you copy the above award picture into a post and link back to the person who gave you the award. You then must either answer 10 random questions or give 7 random facts about yourself. Then spread the award along to 10 other bloggers by tagging them!
I shall do my best to think of interesting things to say and then pay it forward. Here's 10 random questions...feel free to use them, or not, in your own blog.
1. Did you always want to be a writer? Nope. Actually, until I was about 17 I was quite positive that I was going to be a veterinarian. This was a bit ironic because I started writing when I was 9 and was much better at it than all of the academics necessary for the vet thing. You'd think I would have caught on sooner, but sadly no. I can be a bit slow on the uptake that way.
2. Plotter or Pantser? Pantser. I want to plot. I try to plot. I make these beautiful outlines. And then the story never turns out the way I think it will anyway so it's a big waste of time. So now I just write really, really messy quick first drafts and call them "outlines."
3. Best day job you've ever had? In college I worked for the local PBS station as a Master Control Operator. Basically that's the person who makes the TV shows go on the air. It's the coolest job title I've ever had, and whenever you're doing anything live (like news or a televised pledge drive) you get to wear a headset and talk to the director and they call you "Master" which is pretty cool. Also a huge portion of your eight hour workday is spent watching PBS.
4. Fictional character crushes? Mr. Rochester is my #1. *swoon* Other contenders: Iago from Othello, Mr. Darcy, Smedrick the Magician from The Last Unicorn, Justin from The Rats of NIMH.
5. Besides writing, what's your best talent? Making food appear out of essentially nothing. I pride myself on my ability to look at a nearly-empty cupboard and come up with something delicious. Every day kind of feels like Iron Chef: Welfare Edition (which would be such a great TV show to pitch). People ask me about it all the time, and I realized there's actually a whole art behind it. I definitely learned this skill from my mother, and it's one of the most useful talents anyone can ever have. Anyway, it keeps you from starving when paychecks don't come in on time.
6. Any hobbies? Cooking, definitely. I get totally into it, sometimes I go a little overboard. Homemade pickles! Churn your own butter! Distill wine into vinegar so that you can use the vinegar to make pickles! Etc. When not cooking or writing, I spend a lot of time (more than I should) roleplaying online and playing video games. I also read, but that pretty much goes with the territory. Oh! And I rescue rats. I can't leave that part off :D
7. Do you listen to music while you write? Definitely. Music is a huge influence on my whole creative process. I've written several stories (like "Jenny") that were based almost entirely on songs. Whenever I start a long project, one of the first things I do is compile a soundtrack. Sometimes the songs I choose are very plot-related, while others are more atmospheric. For Tagestraum, I listened to a lot of classical music, creepy choral stuff and Celtic music.
8. Who are your biggest literary influences? Neil Gaiman is a big one. I read Neverwhere in 9th grade because my English teacher realized I was extremely bored in class and wanted to give me something to do when I ran out of work, so she handed me a copy. It was eye-opening. I ate up a ton of Stephen King and of course J.K. Rowling. My literary hero as a youngster was Robert Cormier, who wrote some of the most totally brutal, beautiful, masterful stories ever written for teens. I also owe a lot to poets, especially T.S. Eliot and Robert Browning.
9. Why do you write in the genre that you do? Because that's what all of the ideas I get are usually for? *grin* I honestly don't know. I'm interested in magical things, and fantastic things, but most especially what happens when real people with real problems do when they're confronted with the magical and fantastic. I think some of the horror elements come from having an anxiety disorder. When you have a lot of anxiety, life sometimes feels like a horror movie and I think that bleeds over onto the page. Either that or my love of horror movies has just infected my writing.
10. What's a word that bothers you a lot to hear misused/overused? I'm not a word maven or grammar Nazi. I'm in the "descriptive grammar" camp, so I don't get too mad at people for making grammar mistakes (unless they're being Nazis about it themselves, at which point I will swiftly knock them down a peg). A few things bug me, though. There's a girl I know who says "random" all the time and I'm positive she has no idea what it means; she tends to use it to mean "awesome" and it really, really annoys me. I also have a friend who sans "brang" instead of "brought" and every time she does I kind of grimace.
And now, to tag people! I choose:
Life in a Notebook
....Ok, that wasn't 10 people. But come to find out, I don't really *know* 10 people. Oh dear. Well, anyway! Those of you who were chosen, go forth and spread some sunshine!