Wednesday, September 01, 2010
I think I would have to say little or none. Depending on the story, of course, I probably tap into my emotions for a degree of realism to story events, but otherwise not. In some stories, my heroines live in other time periods, other countries, so their fictional reaction has to be their own. They do things I never have done (which is why we write, isn't it?) so I can't contribute much to their situation in, say lying to KGB and getting away with it.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Christmas 1979, during the Cold War, I almost put McGuire Air Force Base on red alert. I was writing a story set in Afghanistan, and I called McGuire, which is about ten miles down the road from me. Like most writers, I'm painstaking about research, and I was refueling troop planes in Russia to invade Kabul. My knowledge of aviation fuel is zip. I didn't want to gum up the engines and have some smart reader call me on it. So, knowing nothing about Soviet aircraft, I called McGuire and asked if they'd put AvGas or diesel in an Antonov An-22 troop transport. The operator didn't know, so she switched me through to the guys with the hoses and the trucks. I explained all over again to the young airman answering the phone that I was writing a book and needed information on fuel. He said he'd find out for me and called across the terminal.
"Hey, Sarge, lady on the phone wants to know if we can put AvGas in a Antonov An-22?"
There was a pause, and he came back. "My Sarge wants to know what kind of plane an An-22 is."
"It's a Russian troop carrier, the biggest plane in the world," I answered, a little miffed that my Air Force didn't know that.
The airman shouted my answer back. "Yeah, she said Russian."
I heard a commotion, boots running, shouts, and my little airman hollering, "No, no, not here. Not here. She's writing a book!"
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
It must've been in third grade when Miss Irving read aloud a poem I wrote : "I love the little hens that lay the little eggs that hatch the little chickens with hardly any legs." And aren't you sorry you asked?
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Especially like action stories, historical or contemporary; I love Diana Gabaldon and Larry McMurtry.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Unless it's important that I keep up, I shut the door and try to keep it out.
Sounds like a plan to me. How do you choose your characters’ names?
I like to name the heroines something recognizable and current. For heroes, I look for something short and ending with a masculine, hard K sound and never ending in an S or Z. I like Jake, Marko, Nick, Luke. I had a Luis once and the ending causes unnecessary stumbles, like Luis's gloves, Alvarez's hat, etc. etc.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Having a foreign embassy endorse a book I wrote a long time ago.
That's wonderful. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A Burmese cat because they're affectionate and talky and climb way, way up in the tops of trees to get away from this run, run, run world.
What is your favorite food?
Chicken and dumplings, the long flat kind.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Tell us about the featured book?
The Vigilante's Bride is based on fact. There really was a vigilance committee in Montana in 1884 known as Stuart's Stranglers. A name like that, and they were all good men. With no sheriff or marshals for 400 miles, decent citizens went after criminals, rapists, and rustlers themselves. The gun was both judge and jury, trials were unceremonious, and executions were swift, sometimes within the hour. In the story, Emily, a young teacher, loses her job and needs either a job or a husband. Since there were no jobs, she answers a wealthy rancher's ad in the Chicago paper for a mail-order bride. The hero was a member of the committee and quits for a life where someone else is the law. One "knight" on his way to the new job, and wearing a Stetson instead of shining armor, he holds up a stage-coach and kidnaps Emily to keep her from marrying the wealthy rancher, an evil man. It's a rescue all the way. This was a fun book to write.
Sounds intriguing. Please give us the first page of the book.
THE VIGILANTE'S BRIDE
December 17, 1884
"Marry him? I most certainly will not. Why, I've never laid eyes on the man!"
Emily McCarthy jumped to her feet and threw the copy of the Chicago Daily Tribune on the desk. It was folded open to a page of bride advertisements, one of them circled in red.
"What kind of man advertises in the newspaper for a wife, anyway? Is he crazy?" With hands folded tight to hide their trembling, Emily stared across the desk at an unsmiling Elvira Beecham, director of Aldersgate Home for Girls.
"Indeed not. Sit down, dear, you're white as a sheet. Our solicitor checked his references and gave a most favorable recommendation to the board. Bartholomew Axel is a wealthy widower in Repton, Montana. I'm sorry, Emily, but the Board has decided it's time for you to leave."
"But not to marry a total stranger. I won't do that. I'll
We must rush out and get the book to finish that sentence and much more. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Thank you, Yvonne, for the delightful interview.
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