Thursday, 14 November 2013


Writers chatting to each other on writing. Tedious or devious? Let’s have twenty questions, and find out. In this guest-spot, READ TUESDAY participant Misha Burnett delivers the answers...
1. Fire rages in your house. Everyone is safe, but you. You decide to smash through the window, shielding your face with a book. What is the book?

Mystery of the Ages by Herbert W. Armstrong.

2. Asleep in your rebuilt house, you dream of meeting a dead author. But not in a creepy stalkerish way, so you shoo Mr Poe out of the kitchen. Instead, you sit down and have cake with which dead author?

G.K. Chesterton, and I break out the good wine for him.

3. Would you name six essential items for writers? If, you know, cornered and threatened with torture.

Coffee, cigarettes, whiskey, cats, music, and a mindless game to play when you're stuck on a scene.

4. Who’d win in a fight between Count Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster? If, you know, you were writing that scene.

Dracula. People tend to forget that he was a soldier before he was a vampire. Frankenstein's monster has no experience in combat with anyone other than defenseless women and children.

5. It’s the end of a long and tiring day. You are still writing a scene. Do you see it through to the end, even though matchsticks prop your eyelids open, or do you sleep on it and return, refreshed, to slay that literary dragon another day?
The day job takes precedence. I'd get some sleep so I don't kill myself at work the next day.

6. You must introduce a plot-twist. Evil twin or luggage mix-up? 

Luggage mix-up--involving multiple bags like the plot of What's Up, Doc?

7. Let’s say you write a bunch of books featuring an amazing recurring villain. At the end of your latest story you have definitely abstively posolutely killed off the villain for all time and then some. Did you pepper your narrative with clues hinting at the chance of a villainous return in the next book?

No. It's more fun to make new villain from scratch.  

8. You are at sea in a lifeboat, with the barest chance of surviving the raging storm. There’s one opportunity to save a character, drifting by this scene. Do you save the idealistic hero or the tragic villain?

The idealistic hero, of course. He'll save me.

9. It’s time to kill a much-loved character – that pesky plot intrudes. Do you just type it up, heartlessly, or are there any strange rituals to be performed before the deed is done? 

The last time I did that it took me a week to get through the chapter, and a lot of booze.

10. Embarrassing typo time. I’m always typing thongs instead of things. One day, that’ll land me in trouble. Care to share any wildly embarrassing typing anecdotes? If, you know, the wrong word suddenly made something so much funnier. (My last crime against typing lay in omitting the u from Superman.)

I can't think of any fun typos. Mostly I tend to leave words out.

11. I’ve fallen out of my chair laughing at all sorts of thongs I’ve typed. Have you?

Again, not so much. I don't have much of a sense of humor about my own work (which I do realize is a flaw.)

12. You take a classic literary work and update it by throwing in rocket ships. Dare you name that story? Pride and Prejudice on Mars. That kind of thing.

The Moon is Down and the Stars are Here. Substitute aliens for Nazis in Steinbeck's The Moon is Down.

13. Seen the movie. Read the book. And your preference was for?

Usually the book, although there are exceptions. Jumanji comes to mind.

14. Occupational hazard of being a writer. Has a book ever fallen on your head? This may occasionally happen to non-writers, it must be said.

Not that I remember, although if it fell really hard, I might not.

15. Did you ever read a series of books out of sequence?

I read The Tombs Of Atuan before I knew it was the middle book of Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea trilogy. Generally, though, I try to read books in sequence.

16. You encounter a story just as you are writing the same type of tale. Do you abandon your work, or keep going with the other one to ensure there won’t be endless similarities?

I don't think any two people will ever be able to write the "same" book, no matter how close the plot lines are. I don't worry about a story having been done before--all stories have been done before. They just haven't been done by me.

17. Have you ever stumbled across a Much-Loved Children’s Classic™ that you’ve never heard of? 

All the time.

18. You build a secret passage into your story. Where?

As it happens, I am doing that in my current WIP. It goes all over the place, since it exists outside of conventional space-time.

 19. Facing the prospect of writing erotica, you decide on a racy pen-name. And that would be…

Josef Naamaire.

20. On a train a fan praises your work, mistaking you for another author. What happens next?

I explain that I am not this other author, and then we get into a discussion about the other author and how good he is. Maybe the fan will check out my work if I like someone else he likes.   

For more about the author, go to MISHA BURNETT.
   I answer the above questions and twenty more of Misha's HERE.

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