Here we are, back with the Literary Ladies interviews! I kind of dropped the ball on December, what with Christmas and everything, but now we're "back in business, boys and girls," as Butch Cassidy says. :-) Today it is my very great pleasure to introduce to y'all one of my dearest friends, who is also my cousin, Mary. Let's give her a hearty welcome! *applause*
(By the way, all photos in this interview were taken by Mary, except the one from Fried Green Tomatoes and the one below, which was taken by yours truly.) ;-P
Introduce yourself! Tell us your name, your age (if you don’t mind sharing), three of your biggest passions and one thing you love about January.
Hullo, my name is Mary Williams, and I am very happy to be interviewed by my dear cousin Emma Jane! (But that all sounds too formal, so y'all can just call me Idgie. Idgie Threadgoode (from Fried Green Tomatoes) is absolutely my favourite movie character EVER, so I've adopted her nickname)
I am sixteen, going on seventeen years old, in June.
Three of my biggest passions? I'll have to say photography as the first, with music and drama directly behind. I play piano, (I'm learning guitar and accordion soon) I sing, (not very well, but who cares?) and I have absolutely NO idea how to dance but I like to move about and pretend I am an accomplished dancer. (If I'm left completely alone with my imagination, it's great fun!) I suppose I must be a huge dreamer, a romanticist, and I think I have quite an avid imagination! (which I'm sure will someday get in me in a whole heap o' trouble) And of course I love reading and writing and was born into the wrong century, which is why I can be correctly interviewed at as "bluestocking"!
I want to thank Emma so much for choosing to interview me! You ARE such a darling, and I love having you as my cousin and friend! Really, I suppose I must be the luckiest out of all your blog readers, for I get the pleasure of talking with you face-to-face! (And we'll make the best memories this summer, won't we? I'm so looking forward to it, and I thank you for being the wonderful, genuine girl that you are!)
Well, going on about January-- I love the omnipresent beauty about January. It's the coldest of the winter months, and thus the prettiest. The sky has colours and textures and patterns that don't show themselves at any other time of the year. Where I live, the atmospheric conditions are unbeatable.
Where is home for you? (Be as vague or specific as you like.)
I live in the rolling hills of rural New York State. A medium-sized city is about fifteen miles away from my house, but people still say that I "live in the middle of nowhere". I am surrounded by redneck American farmers, and the rest are all Amish homesteads. The sound of the whipping wind, and the rattling clip-clop of horse-and-buggies means home to me.
What is your current situation academically? (For example, what grade are you in, are you homeschooled, out of school, go to public school, or take lessons from an elderly spinster aunt.)
I am in the eleventh grade. I am technically homeschooled, but I'm currently taking two classes at the local community college. English and history-- who would have guessed?
What would you describe your writing style as?
Relatively detailed and very blunt. I try to sound grand and flowery, but then I find that my work is unauthentic. I also like using the present tense, versus past. It makes things seem more real to me.
Is there one author who has particularly influenced you in your writing?
Her name is Michelle Harrison, and she's a young British author who writes teen novels about old English manors, grumpy groundskeepers, and faeries. Sounds gross, right? But I fell in love with her books because of her writing style. It is unique, and the best writing I have encountered to date. Her content is amazing, too, despite the preconceived notions people have about all fantasy work being trash. (I tend to agree with this view, but her series is a major exception.) I have also have had some personal correspondence with her via email. I once entered a writing contest she hosted, and won the 'honorable mention' title. :)
Favorite book series?
As briefly described above, the Thirteen Treasures series, by Michelle Harrison.
Favorite childhood book?
Um, I really liked all of Bill Pete's works when I was REALLY small. Has anyone heard of him? I think he must have been a genius stuck in a man's body.
And if you're asking about a non board-book, then it's definite the Warriors series, by Erin Hunter. I devoured those books.
I know it can be hard sometimes for us bookish personalities to pick a favorite author, but if you had to choose just one, who would you pick?
That IS hard. Hmmm. Well, Margaret Mitchell e is definite the most talented author I've ever read, so I'll choose her.
What’s your favorite book that’s been made into a movie? How do you feel about the film adaptation as compared with the book?
GONE WITH THE WIND! The film adaption swept me away! I only very recently watched it, after having read the novel through twice. It stuck to the book like glue, (for the most part. . . That statement assumes we forget all about Will, Archie, Wade, Ella, etc.) and I think it captured the spirit of the book as well as mere filming possibly could! I was very pleased with it, and I think it shall remain my favourite movie as long as I live. <3
Who is one literary character you feel you are most like?
Well. . . *Mary blushes to her toes* I like to compare myself to lots of fictional characters, so I hope y'all don't think me presumptuous. . . If I may list a few: Scout, from To Kill A Mockingbird -- Red (Rowan), from the Thirteen Treasures series -- Idgie Threadgoode, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe -- Elizabeth, Pride and Prejudice -- Tom, East of Eden -- child Gracie (I'm really probably more like Emma, but I relate so well to the wee young Gracie), Eve's Daughters -- and occasionally Scarlett, from GWTW -- . . . The list goes on and on, so I won't bore you. :)
Where is your favorite place to read? What about writing?
My favourite place to read (in warmer weather, that is) is up in a huge beech tree at the edge of my woods. It's perfect for climbing, sitting, sleeping-- yes, I've fallen asleep once in its branches-- and it's the most romantic place for finishing a good novel.
Writing is more difficult. I don't really have a good place. I think if I did, I might do it more often. (It's a lame excuse, I know. But is IS an excuse, none-the-less. . .)
Do you normally write first drafts on a computer, or do you prefer old-fashioned pen and paper?
I tend to write quickest on a computer, and when I have crazy thoughts trying to tumble out every which way, it helps to have the speed of a keyboard versus a pen. Otherwise I get bored, my thoughts fly out and away before I can capture them, and my fingers hurt. I DO love the romantic aspect of writing the old-fashioned way, but it's simply not very practical sometimes. . .
Be honest: what is your handwriting like?
My hand writing not very neat or refined-- instead it's floppy, smeared, and even rather unreadable at times! I've always been irrationally embarrassed about it, but recently a good friend told me that it is 'unique'. That statement actually meant a lot to me.
How long does it generally take you to read a good book? (Of course I know it depends on just HOW good it is, but in general.)
Oh, I read too fast! It is one of the saddest feelings to fly through a novel and think back, "Why on earth couldn't I have made that last longer?" Then I'll usually re-read the book and take a good long time doing so. The better the novel, the faster I go. If the novel is too heavy, though, I have been known to neglect my reading for days at a time. *gasp*
What’s your record time for finishing a book?
Once I read through Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (780 pages) in forty-eight hours.
Name five of the best books you’ve ever read that you recommend to other fellow bluestockings.
Eve's Daughters, Fire By Night, Wonderland Creek-- (oh whatever! Just go read everything she's ever written for pete's sake!) by Lynn Austin
GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Thirteen Treasures series by Michelle Harrison
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Tell about the things you think are most important in a good novel.
Characters that are 'real'. (As in, 'real' from the velveteen rabbit) They have to be able to sustain themselves, and not rely on the plot alone to make a good novel, you know? They should still be memorable to you long after you close the book.
Also, good chronology with order of events. (You hardly ever notice this important aspect of writing until you read a book without it!) And shockingly dramatic plot-twists always make a novel worth smiling about. : )
About what age did you start writing stories? Do you still have your early works?
Hehe, I wrote "The Amazing Creature" (a story about a white, mythical beast that could take any form) when I was six. I do believe my mum still has it.
Are you currently working on a novel/story/project?
Hmmm, funny you should ask. No, I'm not really writing anything formally at the moment. When the urge hits hard, I write whatever comes to mind just then. (Mostly scenes of passionate romance) ; ) Lately, I have been writing regularly in a journal, of sorts. It's little snippets of things that actually happen to me, and surprisingly, it's much easier to write than any of my fiction work. And there's no pressure involved to get anything perfect, because no one would ever read it. Funny how that works, innit?
Thanks Mary! :-)