Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Q&Q Writer Series featuring Rachna Gilmore

Hmmm, wondering what can I say about this latest guest on my blog which will adequately describe her warm, witty, intelligent, talented, fun-loving personality?

I give up. I think you better read it in her own words. Here is Rachna Gilmore, who has written everything from picture books to adult fiction. One of my favourites from her repertoire is A Screaming Kind of Day, the GG award winner in 1999!

Though I had been corresponding with Rachna for many months, I first met her in January this year when she attended OLA to promote her new book, That Boy Red. It was like discovering a kindred spirit. Here's a little bit about the book that is already garnering great reviews...

First came Anne Shirley–now meet Red MacRae

Eleven-year-old Roderick "Red" MacRae never has much spare time. It is the Depression and times are hard. When he isn’t at school, he’s helping Pa with chores on their P.E.I. farm or being nagged to do his homework by his older sister Ellen, who is also his teacher. Red tries to be responsible and help his family, but all too often he gives in to impulse – and lands himself in the midst of some hair-raising and hilarious misadventures involving runaway horses, cow dung, lost sisters, outhouses and even aeroplanes. But when Pa is seriously injured, Red must step up to the challenge to finish the tobacco caddies his father makes for credit at the local store. An episodic novel THAT BOY RED traces the coming of age of a resourceful, pig-headed young lad during a particularly difficult year, while celebrating the strength and spirit of a large, lively Canadian family living through the Depression.

And while you're browsing around, be sure to check out her blog; My Writerly Plarks. It's fun!
1) In one word, how would you describe your personality
One word? You ask a writer to restrict herself to one word? Besides, personality is contingent on circumstance, and weather...
Okay. Ahem.
Exuberant. That’s one word. But I have to say in February, when the light deprivation sets in, it’s more like Saggy. Or Trying, as in not-the-easiest-person-to-live-with and also trying hard not to be S. Otherwise, I’d also say Enthusiastic. Some would say annoyingly so. But what do they know?

2) What is your deepest desire?
Again, do I have to stick to one? Simply put, to be happy and centred, in the best sense possible. Which is a conglomeration of many factors. But one part of that is writing – writing from the place inside me that wants to create story, and not being caught up or distracted by the outcomes. Just being centred in the delight of story. In the white heat of that flow where time stands still. Oh, and to have a place by the ocean so I can write in-between long walks on the beach. Ahhh!
And then, having limitless chocolate to eat -- say a landscape of chocolate, or chocolate trees, or rivers of chocolate -- and no worries about weight gain would be pretty darn great, too.

3) Your greatest fear?
Being off centre and caught up in the illusions of life and the frenzy of life. Caught up in wasting more energy than I already do fantasizing about best sellers (mine!) etc. Snarled and knotted with needless worry. (Why bother, when there’s chocolate at hand?)

4) Your favourite colour?
Red. Not fire-engine red, but a deep, mellow red. Used to be blue. Oh, and on walls, yellow. Not shrieking, burn-your-eyes-right-outta-your-head yellow, but mellow yellow. Green’s pretty good too, in the garden...

5) A song you can't help singing along with, every time you hear it?
"The hiiiiillllsss are aliiiiiiveeeee weeeth the sound of musiiiiiiick! WAH, wah, wah wahhhhhhh!"

6) A movie that made you cry?
Mmm. BEACHES. It’s sappy, manipulative, but the minute they start up with "Wind beneath my wings" I’m gone.

7) A book you have read more than five times? Or a book that influenced you the most?
ANNE OF GREEN GABLES. Read it squillions of time as a kid, when I lived in India, and got to know P.E.I. and love it. That book was one of the reasons I came to Canada and even lived in P.E.I.

8) From your own oeuvre: your favorite child?
Come on. That’s like asking which of my kids is my favourite. Although, currently, perhaps Dilly. From THE TROUBLE WITH DILLY. Only because I’m not done writing about her. But I am, as we speak, plotting new stories with other kids, who will fill the slot of fave until they are pushed out of the nest as books.

9) One thing you hate about being a writer?
The biz side of things. The endless erosion of quiet writing time. The increasing frenzy and pressure put upon writers to promote themselves. I’m a writer, for gawdsakes. I’d rather leave the publicity to the pros, but no, I guess I have to do my share. It’s distracting. It eats up slices of my brain that would be better off dreaming up stories. On the other hand, I’m trying to see this part of the biz as creative too. Still working at it. Oh, and I also hate making squat-all.

10) One thing no one knows about you (and now will)?
(Panic! Do I give away something AWFUL? Oh my gawd! Gleep.)
Ahem. How about: I love to garden? I’m indecisive?
Okay, I confess. I AM AN ALEEEEANNNN from OUTER SPACE!!!!!!!!

Rachna, your answers were a hoot! Best wishes with your writing and thanks for dropping by.
PS: I looove Aliens!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Q&Q Writer Series featuring Lizann Flatt

So, back from Mumbai, a little tired but nevertheless ecstatic to have been back, and reconnected with family, friends and old haunts. Check out all my pictures on facebook.

But now to introduce the next writer in my Q&Q series, Lizann Flatt. She has written two fantastic books.

Bedtime Teeth appeared in Switching on the Moon, a poetry anthology by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters, published by Candlewick Press in September 2010.

Let's  Go! The Story of getting from There to Here was chosen as the TD Grade One Giveaway book for 2009.

She also voluteers as a regional adviser for the Canada East Chapter of SCBWI.  That takes a lot of committment and time!

Friends, here's Lizann Flatt...

1) In one word, how would you describe your personality?

2) What is your deepest desire?
Um.... (See above.)

3) Your greatest fear?
That would be ditto the above. I find it impossible to distill my thoughts and feelings into anything resembling a coherent answer for this type of question. But I could quip: liver.

4) Your favourite colour?

5) A song you can't help singing along with, every time you hear it?
"It's My Life." Mostly the Talk Talk version but I also like the one by No Doubt.

6) A movie that made you cry?
Almost all of them make me cry. Seriously. It's pathetic.

7) A book you have read more than five times?
Too many books I want to read to have read any one of them 5 times, but books I've read several times include the Lord of the Rings trilogy, most of L.M. Montgomery's books, Holes by Louis Sachar, and Kate DiCamillo's The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.

8) From your own oeuvre: your favorite child?
Let's Go! The Story of Getting from There to Here.

9) One thing you hate about being a writer?
The vast and ever-changing unknown of it all.

10) One thing no one knows about you (and now will)?
I would rather ask the questions than answer them. And my snack habits went to hell once Miss Vickie stopped using peanut oil.

Currently, Lizann is working on manuscripts on the War of 1812, the Islamic Empire, and a picture book involving nature and numbers. If all goes well they'll be books sometime in 2012.

Lizann, it was wonderful  reading your answers. Thank you for stopping by and  good luck!