Today, we find Laurel Anne Hill entertaining us with her internal organs. Believe me, I had nothing to do with it. Internal organs are just that….internal. Unless my harvesters have arrived. Hmmm….they weren’t due until NEXT week. But I’m still wondering if they were supposed to make a plant hanger and how she added beads.
Why writing? What drew you to it? Why do you continue?
I started writing stories before I learned to read. My older sister put them on paper for me. She wrote stories, and I wanted to be like her. I cut pictures out of comic books and magazines to illustrate my tales. As a child, I also carried on conversations with imaginary friends—mostly pirates and vampires. Now I chat with the swarm of varied characters who invade and populate my mind. I’ll write as long as those characters want me to and as long as I can still craft engaging stories. Writing is a compulsion.
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.)
To tell the truth, at my age, I might decide to freeze to death instead of burning my favorite 50-100 books. My home contains a lot of burnable material. Torching items to stay warm would either draw the attention of any would-be rescuers or mobilize the local air quality control district. If no one responded or the icy weather didn’t shift by the time I turned most of my possessions into ashes, roasting my favorite books would not extend my life for long. I’d be better off using those books for personal insulation.
Having said all this, the following five books would be some of the most difficult to part with.
Gigi: The Story of a Merry-Go-Round Horse (Elizabeth Foster, 1943); Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook (1950); Tehachapi (John R. Signor, 1983); my novel, Heroes Arise (2007); and the King James Version of the Bible given to me in 1952.
What’s the most challenging thing you’ve done (in life or in writing—your choice)?
Talking or performing in front of an audience tops the list. I’m comfortable doing so now but wasn’t for much of my life.
What’s one word or phrase that drives you nuts? Why?
Reading that a character rolls his or her eyes invokes images of people casting eyeball dice. Better to turn that cliché into a fresh idea, such as: Angie rolled her eyeballs so far back, she must have seen her own brain.
Do you have a favorite character you’ve created? If so, who is it and why?
I particularly love Zydra, a minor character in my debut novel, Heroes Arise. Zydra has a physical disability, yet she dares to challenge warriors. And how could I not love my point-of-view character, Juanita, from a novel I’ve been working on for ages? Juanita brushes aside realities that return to attack and torment her. Yet she risks her life to save the innocent and those she loves.
Creepiest place you’ve ever been? Has it appeared in your fiction? Why or Why not?
The Haunted House in the Enchanted Forest is major creepy. The place is located in Turner, Oregon, seven miles south of Salem. This theme park attraction is the only walk-through haunted house that has ever made my skin tingle and my stomach try to do internal-organ macramé. I’ve incorporated some aspects of my creepy experience into various pieces of my fiction. How could I let good story material go to waste?
What’s the best rejection you’ve ever received?
I received a rejection from Su Llewellyn, the editor of Mystic Fiction, back in the mid 1990s. Su informed me that Mystic Fiction had folded, then wrote me a lengthy letter on how to improve my writing. Needless to say, I took Su’s advice.
How did you get that scar?
I’ve got a scar on the middle of my right arm. Once upon a time in grammar school, an impulse drove me to climb a chain-link fence after hours. I slipped atop the fence. A metal spike punctured my arm. What a mess! My scar remains a good reminder about ill-advised actions and possible consequences.
What song would precede your entrance into a room if we all had personal soundtracks?
Only one song to fit all my moods? Well, I guess a bagpipe wailing “Scotland the Brave” would work. But if I could rotate songs according to my state of mind, I’d select the following. (RS – I’ll let the reader search the rest)
- Joyful: “Louie Louie,” “La Bamba,” or “Viento del Arena” (Gipsy Kings)
- Silly: “Ain’t We Crazy”
- Artistic Inspiration Needed: The “Widor Toccata” recorded at St. Sulpice, Paris.
- Pensive: “Yesterday Once More” by the Carpenters or Respighi’s “Ancient Airs and Dances.”
- Searching for Inner Strength: The hymm, “Be Thou My Vision”
- Most Other Moods: “Scotland the Brave”
Promote yourself and/or your writing
KOMENAR Publishing released Heroes Arise, my award-winning novel, in 2007. Two-dozen of my short stories have appeared in a variety of publications, most recently in the anthologies How Beer Saved the World, A Bard in the Hand, Horrible Disasters, Fault Zone, and Shanghai Steam, a steampunk-wuxia collection. In April, Shanghai Steam was nominated for an Aurora Award in Canada. I write science fiction, fantasy, steampunk and horror. For more information about me, visit my website and podcast.
Final thoughts before you run screaming for your life?
Thank you for interviewing me, Rebecca. I don’t feel like running and screaming at all. By the way, if I sprinted for any reason I’d probably trip and break a hip. I’ve been clumsy all my life.
Thank you, Ms. Hill, for being so kind and accommodating. As a parting gift, you’re getting an armload of firewood to save your final books for another frozen day. However, you’ll have to hoof it out of here by climbing several chain link fences while chased by hungry chihuahuas. Don’t you roll your eyes at me…