HEIDI'S PICK SIX
1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
2. Tell me about your travels.
My husband was a field engineer for General Electric for the first ten years of our marriage, and we traveled for most of that time. So, we've been to China, Hong Kong, Bali, Cebu, Singapore, Brazil, Canada, Buenos Aries, Holland, Belgium, France, Germany, and (the strangest of all) Indiana. During this long spate of globe trotting, I learned that the true definition of "adventure" is "cold, tired, hungry, wet, and why is everyone running the other way?" Actually, I learned that in the first day. We kept at it anyway, and it's the best education I could ever have had for writing.
3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
Tea. Great rivers of Twinings Lady Grey tea. Sometimes with frothy milk, always with cat hair.
4. What else can you do besides write?
I crochet like someone with OCD. I sing with the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra Chorus. I love to cook and bake. I do not claim to do any of these things well, but I do them a lot.
5. Who are you reading right now?
I like to graze non-fiction, a little here, a little there, magpie-ing bits of history (shiny!) and shamelessly using them to my own ends in stories. I'm reading The Hive: The Story of the Honey Bee and Us, by Bee Wilson (no kidding, that really is her name), A Needle in the Right Hand of God: The Norman Conquest of 1066 and the Making of the Bayeux Tapestry, by R. Howard Bloch, and Salt, by Mark Kurlansky. In a fit of self-improvement (these never last long, fortunately), I'm reading The Seven Basic Plots by Christopher Booker, The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum, and The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield. In fiction, I'm reading Gates of Fire, also by Steven Pressfield, and my husband just finished reading Terry Pratchett's Going Postal to me. (He now refuses to read Pratchett to me at meals, since tea came out my nose last time. Chicken.)
6. Pop culture or academia?
7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
9. Food you could eat everyday.
10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
11. What kind of music speaks to you?
12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
I do outline extensively before I write, but by the time I get to that point, I've usually imagined the story in great detail. I spend a lot of time daydreaming--before I fall asleep at night, while exercising, and a lot while driving (if you see a green Ford with Virginia plates trundling along the rumble strips of highway 81, it's probably me). I HATE to sit down to the computer without a clear idea of where I want a story to go. In fact, I won't sit down to write if I don't have that. I'll pet the plants, water the cats, drag race dust bunnies down the hallway, anything but face the blank page without a plan. I know some writers will not talk about a story they are working on, for fear of bleeding off their enthusiasm for it. I enjoy telling the story, usually to my husband, and the more I tell it and we talk about it, the more enthusiastic I am about writing it. So, I will have worked over a story a lot before I outline it, and I'll follow that outline very closely when I do sit down to write. The outline isn't set in stone, but if I make changes, I'll change the outline to reflect that before I begin writing again.
13. Celebrity crush.
Mighty Mouse. How can you resist a rodent in yellow tights? Hey, I was five.
14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
15. Do you still watch cartoons?
Susan Sielinski lives in the mountains of Southwestern Virginia with her husband Clint and their cats Mischief and Mayhem. She swears the next cat will be named Coma or Tranquilizer. Susan graduated from Seton Hill's Writing Popular Fiction Program in January 2006 and the Odyssey Writing Workshop in 2001. Since one summer of Odyssey wasn't torment enough, in 2003 she took a job as Odyssey Administrator and now spends June and July in New Hampshire making the workshop trains run on time. Susan's short story "Just Temping" is coming out this April in Fantasist Enterprises' poetically named anthology Bash Down the Door and Slice Open the Badguy. Check it out and see what happens when The Girl Next Door ends up temping as an Evil Overlord.