I left a trail of dictionary pages along the hidden path to see what it would attract. D.K. Snape shuffled in, her arms stuffed with papers. The only one she missed was glued to a chipmunk. Don’t worry, I used nut butter. No animals were harmed in the procurement of this week’s victim.
Why writing? What drew you to it? Why do you continue?
I breathe to live, and I write to stay sane. I have a vivid imagination. Because I love to read other authors’ fantastic tales, I had to try my hand at it too. Hubby darlin’ calls me a Renaissance Artist. See, I don’t just write to soothe my imagination. I draw, paint, embroider, quilt, sew, work in stained glass, sculpt (not very well), make lace in many ways, act in movies and shows, sing, and garden – all artistic expressions of the passion within me.
If you were freezing to death and the only thing left to burn were the books in your library, what 5 books would you burn last? (And yes, everything else burnable has been burnt.)
Burn books? Horrors! I cringe to even think about this. Ok, I can keep 5 till the end? I’d keep my Oxford Dictionary. I love that book, so full of words and history. Can’t let that go. The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam because I love its evocative language, how the poems call to my imagination and how it makes me feel tingly inside when I read it. I’d keep my Joy of Cooking and one of my homesteading books, for reference. One left? Gosh, this is hard. I think I couldn’t bear to part with my Lord of the Rings by Tolkien, one book with all three parts, to read and reread, to fire my imagination.
What’s the most challenging thing you’ve done (in life or in writing (your choice))?
I raised four bright children and never killed any of them. Let me explain. I am selfish. I prefer to live in my imagination, my hours, my expressions, and my dreams. I never planned on having children – I had too much planned for my life. My brothers and sister could breed to keep the family name ongoing. Not me.
Kids happened anyway. Suddenly their imagination became forefront in my daily life. Their needs came before mine. Their artistic expression borrowed my art supplies. Not borrowed, took. Stories for them took precedence. Sure, I told them, and wrote them down. But they weren’t in the area I wanted to write. The kids consumed most of my time for years, leaving me only snippets to follow my dreams. Bright kids leave little leftover energy. Country schools don’t cater to bright kids’ needs, so I homeschooled them on and off for years. I used my imagination to keep up with them, sometimes I managed to keep a step ahead of them.
Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t trade my kids for all the tea in China. Now that they are grown, I can get back to me time, to uncage my imagination in ways I want to expand.
What’s one word or phrase that drives you nuts? Why?
I was raised with ‘correct’ proper usage of the English language. My parents corrected how I talked. Often. They didn’t allow slang or improper forms of sentences. My teachers in middle grades were sticklers for proper usage as well, teaching grammar with a yardstick. I enjoyed the structure of the English language in all its irregular forms.
So, when authors use that instead of who when talking about people I go nuts. I shudder, cringe and want to holler at them. I have other improper formats I detest, but using that instead of who is my Waterloo.
Do you have a favorite character you’ve created? If so, who is it and why?
So far, in my short writing career, I don’t have any one character who appeals to me more than any other. I’m sure one day I will have a preference, a favorite. But, sorry, so far I like them all about the same.
Creepiest place you’ve ever been? Has it appeared in your fiction? Why or Why not?
It was one of those overcast, gray days when, wandering miles from the cottage through a deep northern Ontario forest, my brother and I came across the burned husk of a massive house. Charred, massive beams, anchored by crumbling walls, hung over nothing waiting for a finger to give the final push and send them crashing to the ground. Flagstone floored one area, with saplings thrusting up, marring the tight fit of the stones. A stone fireplace, maybe three stories tall stood alone at one side. A child’s doll swung off the upper stones, its clothing flapping in the breeze. And all around the wind swept through tiny crevices in what was left of the building, singing the creepiest song I’d ever heard. Like the house cried, sobbed in a thousand voices, pleaded for the owner to come back and rescue it.
I’ll never forget that scene, or those sounds. Gave me nightmares for years. One day I’ll use it in a story. But it has to be the right story.
What’s the best rejection you’ve ever received?
I wrote a story once from the viewpoint of a book. The book has been abandoned on a coffee house table, amid detritus coffee stains and a pool of coffee that is almost touching the book’s pages. I sent it in to some magazine that said it looked for unusual POVs. The rejection said that although the editor loved the story, having a book sound that sensual was more than his readers could handle.
How did you get that scar?
It’s a matched pair of scars. One on each ankle. The only ones visible when I’m fully dressed. I was minding my own business, quietly bleeding out when the emergency room nurse said, “We’re losing her,” directly into my ear. The ER doc grabbed my toe, shook it and told me “Don’t move. This will hurt” before he sliced my ankles, one at a time, shoved burning cold catheters deep up my legs and ran molten nitrogen into my veins to keep me alive. Can I tell you how unnerving it is to hear a medical professional state, in your presence, you are dying? Or listen to them fight to save you? Not an experience I will ever forget. And one day I will use it in a story.
What song would precede your entrance into a room if we all had personal soundtracks?
I think I identify most with ‘Ruby Tuesday’ by the Rolling Stones. That’s what I think should be played when I enter a room. I never accepted my name, just doesn’t feel like me. I change daily, not only my clothes but my identity, depending on who I’m writing as. I’m told I’m missed by my friends.
Promote yourself and/or your writing
I wrote Kin Ship: Moustache on the Moon – Part One – more to come I promise.
I have to set up my d.k.snape Twitter account, and tweet on a semi-weekly basis. I have a blog site on WordPress, for Moustache on the Moon, which I must populate. But what to say. See, I grew up before the Internet, before the immediate social networks. So all this is a learning experience for me. All these social experience sites are still new to me. Yes, I’ve had an email account for forever, but I consider that for writing letters. Now I have to expand my horizons and get with it. Please give me a wee bit of latitude as I bring myself up to speed.
And now, a word from the publicist: – RS
We believe in life on other planets. We believe they visit us from time to time. What if life also evolves in the vast empty space between galaxies, among the very stars themselves? What would it look like? What would you do if it showed up in our skies?
Marnie is your average teenager. She goes to school every day, hangs out with her friends, and tries to stay out of trouble. One morning, while suffering through another boring class, her world is turned upside down when two intergalactic strangers come to collect her.
And it’s not just Marnie’s world, but her whole family’s too. It seems that random kids and their moms and dads have also been scooped up and taken to the hidden mountain valley far from their homes. No one knows why they’ve been selected or what’s really going on…
I grew up in a small town just north of Toronto. I always had a vivid imagination. Ask my mother. It’s not that I don’t like to tell the truth. But isn’t the world a brighter place when fairies and aliens populate the local neighborhood? Being an intelligent, non-girlie girl, I didn’t fit in well with my peers. Instead I found books! I read everything I got my hands on. And I mean everything. I contracted some ugly balance-affecting disease at twelve. Stuck in bed for months, my family and neighbours rallied, bringing me books of all kinds once I finished the encyclopedia and dictionary, cover to cover. They just wanted me happy. And quiet. But boredom struck. You can’t just read all the time, I tried copying some of my favorite stories, embellishing them as I saw fit. And one day, I wrote one of my own, all by myself. Personally thought I’d done a good job. When it didn’t receive rave reviews from my family, I decided to try harder, not give up and leave it to the experts like my parents wanted. I’m finally ready for the world to decide.”
Now, back to our regularly scheduled torture…um…program… – RS
Final thoughts before you run screaming for your life?
Moustache on the Moon, the first three books, took over three years to write. Ok, the story didn’t take that long, but the research did. As it formed, bit by bit, on the computer, it became my mind-baby, holding a cherished chunk of my heart. Sure, I’ve given birth to four children. And I love them. But I didn’t imagine them, or struggle to pull their words out. So Kin Ship: Moustache on the Moon – Part One, and all its forthcoming brethren are very dear to me. I can only hope that these stories will find a spot in some readers’ hearts, become a favorite series, and be passed down through the generations to come. Happy reading.
Thank you, Ms. Snape, for your gripping rendition of a Hamlet. Oh, wait. That wasn’t you. Or maybe it was. There was a bit of swordplay involved. However, I would like to thank you for an entertaining and informative interview. I wish you much success with your novels and with your escape. The choice of doors is yours. As a precaution, don’t go for the obvious. If it says, “eat at Joe’s” or “exit here,” don’t.