For those just tuning in, here’s the history behind these posts:
I love reading about the Publishing Journeys of my favorite writers.
I love the long, soul-searching interviews that reveal every obstacle and triumph: the author whose agent made her do three revisions before signing her … the author who gets up at 4:30 a.m. to write, because it’s the only time she has to herself … the critically acclaimed author who spent nine years trying to get published … I never tire of this stuff!
Long, luxurious interviews aside, don’t you sometimes find yourself wondering: “But do you like Thai or Chinese food better?”
Reader, I asked them.
I assembled a grab-bag full of random questions and emailed them to some of my favorite writers.
And now, without further ado, please welcome Robin Benway!
Robin Benway - http://www.robinbenway.com/ - is the author of Audrey, Wait!, a YA novel so packed with fresh dialogue that it feels like it was written a couple of months ago and printed up last week.
Audrey falls out of love with her guitarist boyfriend, but after she breaks up with him, he writes a song about their breakup, which goes viral. Suddenly Audrey is being quoted out of context by journalists and stalked by the paparazzi. Her sweet parents do their best to protect her, but their idea of help makes Audrey feel like a prisoner. All she wants to do is go to concerts with her feisty best friend, Victoria, like they’ve always done, and get to know James, her cute ice cream-scooping co-worker, better. But her world has been turned upside down … will it ever be normal again?
Music is the strongest theme in the book, and aspiring songwriters should know that Robin is hosting a contest to find the best song to match the fictional lyrics of “Audrey, Wait!”:
The grand prize is $1000! Anyone fourteen and older is eligible to enter.
One of the pivotal songs referenced in the book – LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out” – is now in heavy rotation at my house. My son and I sing variations of the song to each other almost daily. When he was practicing his pitching the other day, I cheered him on with, “Mama said strike you out! I’m gonna strike you out!” (I do have enough restraint not to yell it out at actual baseball games. ☺ ) Even though I loved this book already, I will always think of it fondly now because the author refreshed my memory of a terrific old song.
Oh, and I swear I saw “James” working at 31 Flavors yesterday. So adorable!
Favorite movie snack?
I'm a traditionalist. Popcorn and a Diet Coke, no ice. A long time ago, I was really into Junior Mints, but those days are gone.
What are you reading right now?
I just finished a really long spell of writing, and it's hard for me to read fiction when I'm working, so it's like Christmas right now, as far as my reading list is concerned! I'm restarting "The Children's Hospital" by Chris Adrian and I just finished The Penderwick books by Jeanne Birdsall. (LOVE the Penderwicks.) I'm also working my way through a stack of magazines that are about six months old, but I might just give up and recycle them.
What's the last song you listened to?
I'm listening to a playlist of naptime-y songs that I made for my friend's baby, and Serge Gainsbourg's "Ballade de Melody Nelson" just came on. And now that I'm listening to it, I'm realizing that this is kind of a creepy song for a baby! Sorry, friends!
Dogs or cats?
I really want a dog, so I'll go with dogs, but I'm neutral on cats. Sometimes I housesit for my friend's parents and their cat always sleeps on my back, which is cozy, but cats always look like they're plotting something, even when they're just lying in the sun. I try not to get on their bad side.
What's your cure for the blues?
I try to go for a drive and listen to music, get some fresh air, but honestly, I really just like to sulk. If I'm in a bad mood, I'm in a bad mood and I want to stay that way for a while. (But I've noticed that if I don't get enough sleep for several days in a row, I get really snippy. So maybe my cure is more sleep.)
Snorkeling or skiing?
Oh, God, neither. I've never skied because I have a rule about not zipping down giant mountains or through large groups of trees, but I went snorkeling once when I was 15. According to the people way back on shore, they could hear me screaming through the snorkel mask. I guess I wasn't expecting that many fish to be so close to me at one time.
Ever wish you'd studied a different subject in college?
Never once. I was a sociology major and I loved it. My personal theory about college is that you should major in something as broad as possible because it gives you more freedom to change careers throughout your life.
Spring or fall?
Fall! So much fall! I love leaves and pumpkins and all the holidays and when it gets dark early. I used to hate it because it meant I had to go back to school after summer vacation, and then I finished school and suddenly loved fall.
Pick three words to go on your tombstone.
"This Is Morbid"
Your five favorite movies.
The Royal Tenenbaums
Singin' in the Rain
A Hard Day's Night
Early bird or night owl?
Early bird, but I really love being up late at night, too. Unfortunately, no matter what time I go to bed, I always wake up around 7am. It's so frustrating! So I guess I should say I'm a reluctant early bird.
None, with no plans to get any, but I think they're so cool. It's like writing a story on yourself for other people to read.
Where would you like to travel that you haven't yet?
Italy, Tokyo, the coast of Maine, Puget Sound, Reykjavik, Prague, Alaska, Nashville, and Switzerland, just to start. My passport has just one stamp in it--one stamp! That makes me sad.
What's your favorite childhood Halloween costume?
I was a fairy princess when I was 4 or 5 years old, but a few days before Halloween, I was riding my new bike down the street while trying to hold on to my Monchichi (a stuffed animal-like thing). Things went awry, I lost my balance, and ended up scraping the side of my face. So in all the Halloween photos, I was a fairy princess with a huge scab. But the costume was really cute. I had a little tiara and everything!
Beach or mountains?
Beach. I was raised really close to the water and I live at the ocean now. The air smells cleaner here, it's cooler in the summer, and at night you can hear the waves. It's perfect.
If someone made you sing karaoke – you couldn't refuse! – what would you sing?
Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" because I would do such a horrible job at hitting the high notes that they'd beg me to stop! Hee!
Thanks for indulging our curiosity, Robin!