Saturday, March 30, 2013

Interview w/the Author: HELEN DOWNING

It’s time to tell the truth…but don’t forget the fun part! Lie Lie Lie! (But only once.)  

-I have six tattoos, one of which is in Elvish (JRR Tolkien) and one is the TARDIS from Doctor Who.
-I had been fire walking, sky diving, and bungi jumping before the age of 30 but I was terrified of roller coasters, and had never ridden one until I turned 40.
-After touring a chicken plant, I became a vegetarian at age 15 and have not eaten meat since then.

Oh my gosh…how fun is this. Um…I would like to believe you had a tattoo of the TARDIS. How cool would that be? I can see someone being afraid of roller coaster, but not after doing all that you’ve said. I could completely understand becoming a vegetarian after visiting a chicken plant. I watched a few films and have trouble eating much meat and poultry now. I’m going to have to go with never riding a roller coaster until 40.  

Why don’t you tell us something about yourself.
I love Wales. First, I adore Celtic men. Second, the weather there is conducive to wearing big, forgiving clothes. I feel at home when I’m there.  I particularly love the authors Christopher Moore, Tom Robbins, Neil Gaiman...authors who bend the English language to their will!  When I was nine years old I wrote a short story that me and a few classmates turned into a film. It won a bunch of awards, and we got to take it on tour, got our picture in the paper...That was probably when I knew I wanted to write. The color orange  makes me happy!  My mom and my dad have always been my Dad is the best with people. Every social skill I have I owe to my father. My mom is the bravest person I know. She lives her life fearlessly. I wish I could be half as courageous as she is.  About eight years ago I had a massive stroke. It took away my ability to speak and to write. That was the scariest time of my life. For a couple of years I was stuck in a body that did not always listen to my brain...and did not always cooperate with me. The thought that I may never get it back was terrifying.

 I love the Highlander series by Moning…does that count for loving celtic? I was about the same age when I realized writing was going to be in my life forever. Hmm…orange is a good color. Much better than yellow. And that stroke…wow, I can’t even begin to imagine how scary that was. Well, let’s talk about your book. What was the most difficult task for you while writing it?
The discipline of writing every single day. You can always come up with good excuses about being busy...but you’ll never accomplish anything. I had to get past that and just write. I work full time, so I try to write in the evening. Every once in a while I get on a roll and I find myself still writing when my alarm goes off. That makes for some real interesting days at work. When I’m not working, I’m the primary caregiver for my mom and dad, and I’m a single parent. Writing is the only fun I get to have...LOL.

Even I have trouble writing every single day. You really do that? J So what were you doing the moment you conceived the idea for your book?
Believe it or not, I was sitting on my best friends couch watching some reality talent show like American Idol or You think you can dance or some crap like that...I adore my friend Michelle, but one thing we do NOT have in common is she LOVES those programs. I’d rather take a beating than watch them. So I had my laptop open and I was prepared to go on facebook or something when suddenly I got an idea, opened up my office program, and started to type.  The first chapter just poured out, and when I was finished I gave it to Michelle who read it and said “Do you know what happens next?”  I answered “Yes, I think so” and she replied “Then keep going!” became Awake In Hell.

Don’t you just love when things come so easy? Of course it doesn’t always happen like that. What suggestions might you offer to others who write?
Having characters that are accessible and relatable. Whether it takes place 200 years ago, or on a spaceship in the future...the characters have to have something in common with the reader, otherwise no one will care what happens to them. And write every day. And be prepared to sell yourself and your work unabashedly. If that makes you a little weak in the knees...start getting over it now. No one will ever promote you as well as you do.

That’s some pretty heavy advice…Thank you so very much for visiting with us. Before we sign out it’s time for the 
                                                        Rapid Answer Zone

What is the best age to be? 
 The age you are right now.

 What was the last movie you saw?
I rewatch Harold and Maude quite often. Favorite Movie of all time!!

Where was the last tattoo you got?
 On my wrist

Best fictional character?
Doctor Who could possibly beat a 900 year old time lord who travels around in a blue box saving us from monsters all over time and space??

What is in your pocket right now?
 My phone (aka: My brain)

Well, any friend of Doctor Who is a friend of mine for life. :) Now, which one of the three was the lie?
I’ve seen chicken plants, I’ve seen sausage being made, and I’ve been on a pig farm in the middle of August – NOTHING will make me stop eating meat! Smile...

Dang…wrong again! That’s fantastic though. J You’ve been great fun today and we can’t wait to see what endeavors you take on next!

-Helen Downing
Author, Awake In Hell
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