Wednesday 13 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 Stephanie Stamm 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?

Well, it would depend on which window I was crashing through and which book was closest and sturdiest. If possible, hard cover over paperback, and it would be open, so there’d be more surface area for protection. A dictionary would be good.

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?

Flannery O’Connor.

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

Paper, pens/pencils, books, curiosity, imagination, a cat or dog or other pet (for company, warmth, and distraction). I use a laptop too, but you said “essential.”

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

Why fight? They would unite forces against the humans who want to kill both of them.

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?

If I’m that tired, I sleep. If I’m on a roll in a scene, I’m energized, so I keep going.

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

Luggage mix-up.

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 absitively 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?

If I’ve definitely killed the villain off, then, no, because s/he’s not going to show up again, and I’d just be misleading my readers. If I’m just pretend-killing the villain, then yes.

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?

Why not both? In their world, I’m not real, so I surrender my spot in the lifeboat.

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?

Type it up, but not heartlessly. There would be weeping.

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.)

My most consistent embarrassing typo is fuction instead of function. I think it’s a good word—you know for those “social fuctions” you have to attend but don’t want to.

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

Yes, fuction being one of them.

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.

I’m not so clever in that way. I’m much better at naming classic novel titles that sound like erotica or porn—you know, like Howard’s End or A Room with a View.

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

Usually the book. But there have been cases where I preferred the movie (and then I’ve most often seen the movie first).

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.

Oh, yeah. I’ve moved too many books too many times.

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

I loved the Hardy Boys and Trixie Belden books when I was a kid. Mostly I read them in order, but not always.

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 keep going. But when I’m in the middle of a story I find something that reminds me of it in almost everything I read—and I’m thinking “I wrote that scene (or named that character/place or created that line of dialogue) before I read this book, I swear!”—because I see similarities everywhere.

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

Probably, but if I did I didn’t recognize it.

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

Well, from the library. Where else? You can go anywhere with books.

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

If I told you, it wouldn’t be my secret anymore, would it? I don’t know. Maybe something like Anastasia Blue.

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

We have an embarrassed chuckle when I admit I'm not that author after all, then we talk about favourite books and authors for the rest of the ride.

To check out Stephanie's Young Adult fantasy novel, A Gift of Wings, visit Stephanie Stamm's blog.

   Here's Stephanie's Author Page at Amazon.
   My answers to my own questions can be found on Stephanie's blog here...TWENTY QUESTIONS.



  1. #4 - Everyone loves monsters these days. How about tailgating and tents to protect Drac from the sun.

  2. Setting up these blog posts uncovered a whole new world of Blogger gremlins at my feet, or I'd have contacted you yesterday Margaret. You were on my list of READ TUESDAY participants. Look to your in-box. A digital messenger approaches. Muddied, yet unbowed.