Here we go. Everything you need to know for anything, in yet another installment of AXE the AUTHORGUY!!!!
A duel to the death. You can have two of the following items with you and nothing else. Which would you choose and why:
a cardboard tube a sponge a spork a skunk an old shoe a slinky or this guy from Willow: ANS: I considered this for a long time, then decided on a spork. I even put it in the new book. The exchange goes thus: “What are you going to do with that spork?” “Well, if we run into any bad guys, I’m going to spork the fuck out of them.”
AG, Pie or cobbler? Why?
ANS: Pie. Because I like the crust. I grew up with Bisquick cobbler, and while it is certainly a respectable way to defy the laws of physics and pack two pounds of carbs into a one pound package, it always felt like the crust was trying to be a biscuit. Like if it were not constrained by special fruit energy fields, it would mutate into something with ham gravy on it. Pie crust is good though.
Why are there so many songs about rainbows and what’s on the other side?
ANS: I can only think of two, and that line is from one of them. Maybe you need to get a radio or something. J
JennyO Axes: Hey, AG, what do you do once you finish a book? Do you just collapse for a week, have a party, what?
Well, now I’m going on five days since I finished the new one, and the immediate change in my routine was that I went kayaking one day, I went to Home Depot one day and bought concrete, and I’m feeling very guilty about having done nothing today, despite the fact that it’s a gorgeous day here. Generally I come out of a book with a huge to-do list that I have to catch up on. This week I’ve done the twelve hour fast thing for three nights so I could go get my cholesterol tested in the morning, and for one reason or another, it hasn’t worked out. (Once I forgot my papers when I went to the doctor and twice I had a peanut butter toast at midnight and blew the whole thing off.) I know, I should have my doctor check to see if I have a pulse when I get there, just to see if someone this boring gets one. _________________
Freaky Mojo writes:
Your main female characters always are *very strong women*.
Is this because your main exposure is to these types of women (growing up and/or in current life)?
You prefer strong – self-sufficient women (it appeals to you)?
Or its easier to construct self-sufficient (if not testosterone loaded) strong women from a guy’s perspective than to delve to the bottom-most depths of femininity (which is even a scary place for most women)?
Also, you consistently give them an achillies heel that directly relates to their romantic interest. I like this a lot because it is SO true to reality. Did you do this to prove the point that strong women can be consistently turned to moosh by their love/sexual interests? Or is it because your leading men are often a little goofy, somewhat off-center and need to have a means in which to get the girl? (BTW it is true – we love goofballs)
I write women characters who I would like to meet. Generally they’re self-determined and outspoken, but also truly women. They also tend to be smart asses, which is simply fun, and very sexy, I think. The goal in creating characters of that sort is simple – I figure if I like spending time with these quirky, outspoken, self-determined women, so will the reader. Mind you, this goes for female villains as well. You may not want to hang out with them, but they should be fun to watch and listen to.
Like all my characters, my women characters tend to be composites of people I’ve met, or people I’ve read about. If I write a romantic Achilles heal into my gals, it’s because I’ve seen that so many times among real women. (What was the book? Smart Women, Stupid Choices?) Plus, I think that women tend to relate to that part of the characters.
As for what’s easier to construct – that really speaks to the type of book I write. I think it takes a more ponderous, nuance-prone writer to portray the in workings of anyone’s mind, including the female mind. And I can’t claim to understand what it is to be a woman, a mother, a daughter, a wife – any role defined by a woman’s biology and character. I think that it would require a writer who applies the bulk of his or her imagination to the subtleties of personality. I tend to apply my imagination to finding funny stuff, and revealing what character I can through that.
It really comes down to what one likes to write and what one is good at. I tend to be good at writing funny material, so I create characters that can be foils for that skill. I did a reading recently with Sue Miller, who writes very dark books about women and their inner and outer personal conflicts (forgive me if that’s an oversimplification.) I was very impressed with Sue’s ability to put that material on the page and make it viable and entertaining, but I couldn’t spend ten minutes in that headspace. Which is not to say I want my characters to be simple, but that I have more of the action happening externally, as what’s driving the story, rather than the conflict within the character’s heads.
It may also be a Mars/Venus thing. My females tend to be proactive toward their problems, which not only helps move the story, but is the way that guys (like me) look at things.
For example: Woman says. “I feel bad about yesterday.” Nother woman says: “Awe,you poor thing. Tell me about it in mind-numbing detail.” Guy says: “That was yesterday. Now it’s today. Cheer the fuck up. See, all better.”
I think we can see two different ways of addressing a problem. That may be what happens in fiction as well.