From Cats and Mice to Coffins…

13700223_651737858309642_6288678901775249964_n[1]Interview Question: When did you start writing? Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?

Author Brea Behn: I have been writing stories since I was in elementary school, full length books since I was fifteen. The first story I ever wrote had no words. It was a series of drawings I drew for my twin brother about mice secretly plotting against a cat family who lived like people. It was dark, but he loved it. I wrote the last one when he died and put it into his coffin with him. The first book I ever wrote took around eight years. It was a mess of emotion and grief over his sudden death. While recovering from surgery, I pulled it apart and put bits and pieces of it into the first non-fiction book I wrote and published: Death Sucks, Life Doesn’t Have To. I had been holding on to so much for so long, it only took me three days to write it.

Space for the mom of the Butterfly Whisperer…

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Interview Question/request: Please describe your desk/workspace:

Wisconsin Author Brea Behn: My workspace is a computer desk in my living room. I am a stay at home mom, so it’s a nice central location where I can keep an eye on the kids while I am working. Someday when they are older I have plans for my own office, but I have learned where you write is not as important as just getting some writing done!

Rubber Duck Dressed Like a Pirate

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Interview Questions: Sue Wentz (author from Wisconsin), please, describe your desk/workplace.

Sue Wentz: I actually have two writing desks, but this is the one where most of the action takes place. It was purchased from St. Vinnies for the princely sum of $30. As you can see, it’s equipped with all the standard writing essentials: Computer, monitor, keyboard, mouse, phone, spare glasses, stapler, subwoofer and speakers, notepad, pens, business cards, scented candles, M&M’s, acoustic guitar, rubber duck dressed like a pirate, pink flamingo, bobble head moose… you get the idea.

 

Now there’s a scary thought, my desk!

upstairs desk area

Interview Questions: Julie C. Eger, please, describe your desk/workplace.

13239068_883125348480155_1450664143635699166_n[1]Julie C. Eger: My first response was; which one? I have two main desks where I write. The main one is in my therapy office, and I try to keep it looking half-way respectable, because, you know, people are coming in and they look around. They see what’s there. But it’s hard to write there because I have to keep putting all my ‘ideas’ away, because, well…my desk would look like what’s going on in my mind, messy! When I’m in writing mode, I like to sprawl out. And that is what I can do at my other desk, which is upstairs. With a door. And a lock. A sign that says “No Admittance – Author at Work! PS: I still love you but I’m not coming out until I finish this scene…” And a Don Williams CD. For some reason I’m most comfortable with Don Williams singing in the background. There are papers everywhere. Things taped to the wall, as though the whole wall is my personal ‘storyboard’. There is a bed next to the desk, and I’ll hadowny circledve all sorts of research papers and maps scattered about. Pens. Pencils. My Acer laptop. The window. Where I watch the Downy Woodpecker pecking away, same as I’m pecking away on my keyboard, searching for something good, something worth digesting. Alice, the housekeeper on the Brady Bunch, would have a field day trying to make heads or tails of the mess in my office!

You’d think it would be about politics…

under someone's thumb 3Getting to Know You Interviews

Interview Question: Julie C. Eger, what is the most recent statement you’ve heard that has stopped you in your tracks and why?

Julie C. Eger: What with everything going on, you would think it would be about politics, but it was something a man said in the middle of a conversation we were having about being creative and the ideas some people had about our creativity. He said, “There is a big difference between being under someone’s wing and being under someone’s thumb.” I immediately had a vision of myself under a huge thumb, arms and legs flailing as I desperately tried to crawl out from under it. I wondered why his statement affected me so profoundly. I thought maybe it was because I often have a hard time following directions, let alone rules. Even when I was a little girl. Sometimes when I’m supposed to follow a rule, it feels like I’ve been backed into a corner, and when I’m backed into a corner, my Grandma Carolyn taught me to come out swinging. And then I thought maybe it was because I have been accused of being highly creative. Highly creative people seem to tune out of reality and the rules are different there. It’s a world where anything goes. If being under someone’s wing starts to feel like I’m under their thumb, that creativity becomes stifled or interrupted and that’s where things can get less than pretty. (she says with a raised eyebrow and a smile.)

Wolves, bones and the old stories…

20160714_212731 (2)Interview Question: Julie C. Eger, If you could meet any author and sit down for a nice long chat about the writing craft, who would it be and why? (Note: Living or dead is fine, but it has to be someone you’ve never met before.)

Julie C. Eger: Clarissa Pinkola Estes’! I fell in love with “Women Who Run with the Wolves” the moment I saw the title. It struck a chord in me that is still twanging through the universe. I’m sure if you stop for a moment and cock your head to the side, you can hear the reverberation, as though someone deliberately plucked the E string on a bass DSC04683guitar. I read the words she wrote and fall into each paragraph. I would love to ask her what it felt like, all that research, all that ‘paying attention’ to what is really going on. I would hang on every word she had to say. I have lost count of how many copies of this book I have given away. I carry a copy of this book with me almost everywhere I go. If ever a conversation should lag, I will open to a random page and begin to read what’s written there. People lean forward. A light goes on inside. There is some kind of need to talk about the bones, the dark places and the old stories. We all seem to have an un-namable connection to the old stories.

Julie Eger’s copy of Clarissa’s book. Moon photo courtesy of Julie C. Eger.

A Horse! There should always be a horse!

Getting to Know You Interview with award-winning Wisconsin author Sue Wentz.

DSC04496 (2)Interview Question: Sue Wentz, when did you start writing?

Sue Wentz: Later than you might think. In the seventh grade, my English teacher introduced the idea of journaling and set aside about forty minutes every Friday for us to free write. Looking back, I think we were supposed to do diary type writing. But, for reasons unknown, I started scrawling down this awful clichéd meandering dystopian saga. There was a post-apocalyptic agrarian community ruled entirely by women. There was forbidden love. Oh, and there were horses. There should always be horses.
The saga was awful. I still cringe when I think about it. But, it definitely kicked open a door in my head.20150517_111128

 

The Rat Who Ruined Christmas

School daze 001 (2)Interview question: Julie C. Eger, do you remember the first story you ever wrote?

I would have to say the first ‘real’ story I ever wrote was titled The Rat Who Ruined Christmas. I was about eight years old. Before the rat story I was always writing stories about a princess who kept losing things, but those were more like lists than stories. But the rat story, it started out with The sun was shining high and bright on Christmas day…and then it went into how the family handled Christmas after they found out a rat had chewed up all the wrapped presents and ruined Christmas morning. The family went on to give each other ‘thoughtful thoughts’ as gifts and the rat wandered away hanging his head in shame until the youngest member of the family left him a piece of cheese even though he’d destroyed her present. The thoughtful thoughts the family gave to one another carried them through this sad time and the story ended with…The sun was shining high and bright the day after Christmas.

Julie C. Eger 7/11/16

If you only had a purple crayon, anything was possible…

Mini Interview with Julie Eger.

Interview Question: Julie, when did you start writing?

Interview Question 1Julie Eger: I started writing when I was about three years old. I was a copycat of “Harold and the Purple Crayon” by Crockett Johnson, a story my mom used to read to me, where if you had a purple crayon anything was possible. In no time, I had procured a purple crayon. My writing started as hieroglyphic-type writing on the walls inside my cardboard playhouse. It included letters, shapes and pictures. Archeologists would have been impressed if they could have broken the code to the meaning of my writing.

What I liked to write morphed into simple poetry after falling in love with the words to the song “Rhythm of the Rain…” by the Cascades back in the early 1960s.

I’ve written poems and short stories all my life. Always writing when the spirit moved me. I won a local poetry contest in 1974 with a poem titled “You’re Just You and I’m Just Me.” I was painfully shy, which I later learned was probably due to my severe dyslexia. But when I received a Smith-Cornona Coronamatic electric portable typewriter, Coronet Super 12, with a snap-in ribbon for my sixteenth birthday, my ability to string words together grew. I memorized the placement of all the keys and the words began to fly onto the pages day after day. Publishing my work? Well, that would come later. Way later!