For those of you not familiar, this award is given from one blogger to another to help him or her gain exposure and recognition for their work. I can’t say enough about how honored I am to have been nominated by Sandie. We met almost a year ago now on Twitter because our first names were spelled the same, of all things. Since then, I’ve grown to admire Sandie for her writing. She has also received the Liebster Award, so make sure to check out her blog too: Sandie Docker - Writer of Contemporary Australian Fiction. She can be found on Twitter as @SandieDocker.
The award requires writers to answer 10 questions and nominate a new round of writers to answer 10 new questions. So first, here are the answers to the questions Sandie asked of me.
1. Which literary character do you wish was your best friend?
Well, the first character I thought of was Huck Finn from the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. I’m sure most of you are familiar with this masterpiece, but it’s about a teenager who embarks on a journey from Missouri on a raft down the Mississippi River with his friends, Tom Sawyer and Jim. The original version of the book was published in 1884, and the story is set in pre-American Civil War times. There are several underlying messages between the struggles with his abusive father named, “Pap,” and the social conflict he faces as he tries to save Jim from slavery. Despite this underlying conflict, the story felt very light-hearted to me and filled with all the antics and pranks of typical teenagers. My life can be filled with stressful days between the pressures of work, writing and general life. If only I could travel back in time once in a while and hop on that raft with my best friend, Huck.
Funny. Now that I think about it, I think I married Huck. Charlie, my husband and best friend, grew up with a river and a canoe. He’s now an avid rower who loves to take me on frequent kayak trips. Guess I already have the opportunities to escape on a river. Go figure.
2. Do you have any funny writing rituals?
I prefer to write early in the morning in my back porch with a hazelnut coffee and my dog named Jewel. I usually sit in front of the computer for hours, losing track of time. Sometimes Jewel’s snoring snaps me back into reality or sometimes it's the battle between the pets and the prize position on my writing desk. If your interested in the how and why, see "The Writing Desk Saga" on my blog:
I also like to run plots and scenes by any member of my family who happens to be around and will listen. Sometimes I offer baked goods as rewards. They will usually bribe pumpkin pie from me - see “For the Love of Pumpkin” on my blog: http://www.sandiewill.com/blog/for-the-love-of-pumpkin
Oh yeah, and usually the characters follow me around for a while before I start outlining — usually a couple of months as I create the plot. Sometimes I don’t know who they are at first, but eventually, it turns into a story of some kind. These days, I have a blonde guy in his mid 20s interrupting my daily routine. He’s easy-going and carefree until he sees something. I’m still trying to figure out what that is…but it feels dark.
3. What’s the worst book to film adaptation you’ve seen? Best?
Worst: The worst one I have seen in the past few years was, “The Cat in the Hat.” It didn’t bring me back to childhood.
Best: I tend to focus mostly on YA fiction, so my vote would be, Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. All during the book, I kept thinking that the story is so wrong, so warped, but I was too hooked to stop. The movie captured the intensity just as well as the book. From the past, one that has stuck with me has been The Exorcist, by William Peter Blatty. I can remember shaking through the book and movie the first time I saw/read them, and the movie still creeps me out! Misery by Steven King is another good one, especially the crack of the sledgehammer against the imprisoned author’s legs. Yeah, I tend to like thrillers.
4. What’s your favorite season and why?
I love late fall. In Florida, there’s only a hint of colored leaves this time of year, but the summer temperature starts to cool slightly, and I know it’ll soon be the holiday season — a time of year I look forward to with family and friends.
5. Money and logistics are no object — where would you like to travel and what would you do there?
Alaska is definitely on my bucket list. The first thing I would do is get a roadside geology book and follow it throughout the trip. I would also schedule time on a cruise, train and helicopter to see the geologic processes related to the glaciers and mountain-building, all the while torturing my husband with having to listen to all of these important facts. Good thing he still loves me. There’s nothing like the experience of traveling the country with a geologist, I’m sure. I don’t have the pleasure of seeing mountains out of my back window every day, so when I do, I am pathetic.
6. Dark, milk or white chocolate?
I cannot resist the taste of fine milk chocolate in any variety, and I can be pretty selfish about sharing. It’s a curse. I have given it up several times in the past, only to be tortured by Nutella in the grocery aisle until I finally succumb to its decadent taste. At least I dip fruit into it to make it healthier. Wait — are marshmallows a fruit?
7. Where do you stand on ebooks vs printed books?
I only read printed books. There’s something about the cover that feels right, especially the newer books with the soft covers. Also, there’s something about the smell of the pages that draws me in. I’ve tried to read ebooks but have never been able to finish — just feels too distant somehow. I also like having the books on a shelf for me to glance at the ones I’ve read and the ones that are waiting for me. The last one I read was Forged in Death by Jim Melvin - the first book of a terrific fantasy series. Next up will be The Dawlish Chronicles by Antoine Vanner - a Victorian naval fiction series.
8. What’s your least favorite household chore?
Cleaning the cat box. I’ll spare you the details.
9. Do you have a favorite character from the books you’ve written?
I’m secretly in love with Liam Healey from my time-travel YA book, Angle of Incidents. His strength and conviction to escape his terrible conditions are attractive character traits. And besides, who wouldn’t love a handsome, Irish guy from the 1800s?
I plan on moving this book to publishing after my YA psychological thriller (title pending) is released from Damnation Books. In this book, I have a soft spot for, Jeannie Kynde, a young woman who’s imprisoned in a mental hospital against her will. Her strength flourishes as she tries to free herself from the atrocities of the hospital and memories of the past.
Updates on the status of my books and blog can be found at www.sandiewill.com
10. Which of the characters you’ve written do you wish you were more like and why?
Brendan Miller - again from Angle of Incidents. He’s witty and doesn’t take himself or life too seriously. I tend to be a focused perfectionist, and I wish I would remember to be more silly sometimes. Maybe that’s why I tend to write YA and remember Huck Finn!
To carry on this series, I nominate the following talented writers: Antoine Vanner, Rachel Stirling, Jim Melvin, and Tamara Ferguson. Follow their blogs and support their books. You’ll enjoy the adventures!
New nominees of the Liebster Award — here are your questions:
- Do you write about what you do or what you love?
- Are there hidden messages in any of your stories? If so, what is an example?
- A house on the beach, a cabin in the mountains or a condo in the city?
- Have you been on a trip over the past year? Where? What did you observe?
- Do you find social media to be an effective resource to spread the word on your book? Which platform is the best?
- What do you want your readers to take away after reading one of your books?
- What was one of the most interesting research subjects you studied to write your book?
- Do you remember the first time you read your favorite book? Which one was it and how did it make you feel?
- Do you like to write or do you have to write?
- What’s coming up next?