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 Linda Urban!
Linda Urban - lurban – is the author of the middle grade novel A Crooked Kind of Perfect , which struck me as (yes, I’m going to say it) pretty darn PERFECT.
The story of Zoe, who longs for a piano and ends up with a “Perfectone D-60” organ, is told in language that is spare, yet complete. Although Zoe is surrounded by richly imagined characters while enduring a series of tragi-comic scenarios, there are no extraneous words in this narrative. As someone whose greatest weakness is writing too much, I stand in awe of Linda’s mastery of evocative language.
And there's so much sly humor! This is one of my favorite passages:
"People in movies only quit the piano when their wife dies or they get amnesia or they lose their arm in the war.
And even then, they don't quit forever, because one day they are sitting there thinking about the good old days when they still had a wife or a memory or an arm and they notice that there is a piano in the room and they walk over and press a key, a single key, and then another and another and suddenly they're playing the piano again and they decide that life is worth living." (Copyright 2007 Linda Urban)
I can't wait for next year's Newbery nominations ... I expect to find this title on the list. :-)
What are you reading right now?
Mokie and Bik, by Wendy Orr. Love the language, love the play. I’ve got Miss Spitfire on deck and Louisiana’s Song just under that.
What's the last song you listened to?
"Backdoor Santa" – the Clarence Carter version.
If you couldn't write in your current genre, what would you write?
I don’t know. I think it would be fun to work on a sitcom writing team, but I suspect I’d crumble under the pressure.
Thai food or Chinese?
Chinese, though I love me some Pad Thai.
Not bad enough to be funny, not good enough to be cool. A grey Ford Tempo, used.
Snorkeling or skiing?
Um. What? Is Scrabble an option?
Do you speak a foreign language?
I studied French for five years. I can ask for directions to the beach and order a ham and cheese sandwich. After that, I’m done. Fini.
Ever wish you'd studied a different subject in college?
I wish I had taken more history classes and maybe even a philosophy course or two, but my undergrad degree (Journalism/Advertising) prepared me for my bookstore marketing job, which I loved.
My first real job was at a K-Mart. I was the only one who was not afraid of the microphone, so they had me announce all the blue light specials.
Which celebrity shares your birthday?
Your five favorite movies.
Impossible! Can I just tell you five I like very much?
It’s a Wonderful Life
It Happened One Night
The Hallmark Hall of Fame production of Sarah Plain and Tall
Furthest you've ever been from home.
Tell us something weird about you.
Dear me. It would be easier to tell you something that is not weird. Here’s one thing: I am totally creeped out by that little piece of cotton in medicine bottles.
I have a serious fear of heights. It started when I was 23 and driving with all my worldly possessions from Detroit to L.A. to move in with my boyfriend (now spouse) and start my ill-fated Ph.D. I had never lived anywhere but Southeastern Michigan and I was making this enormous life change – but I hadn’t really processed it. So, there I am behind the wheel and my heart starts racing every time there is a rise in the road and I can’t see the pavement beyond it. Now, there is some serious mountain driving between Detroit and LA and I’d like to tell you it was just the Rockies that made me sweat, but my fear of heights began in Nebraska. All it took was a tiny little hill. If I couldn’t see what was coming next on the road, I was in terror.
Where would you like to travel that you haven't yet?
I’d love to go back to London. I feel like I didn’t see it the first time. I was young and so determined to be cool and not be like a tourist that I missed everything.
I’d also love to go to the little town in Quebec where my grandmother was born.
Johnny Depp or Orlando Bloom? (Or suggest your own.)
John Cusack, please.
Thanks, Linda, for indulging our curiosity!