Rae Dawn Carson
HEIDI'S PICK SIX
1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
I loved writing about Princess Lucero-Elisa in my novel Elisa's Belly. She's a complete failure as a princess--overweight and lazy, indifferent to court politics. When she was an infant, God chose her for an act of heroism by placing his living Godstone in her navel. She figures it must have been a divine practical joke, because she'd rather eat a cream puff than wield a sword.
I really relate to Elisa. Like most women, I have an Inner Fat Chick who lies in wait for that perfect moment of vulnerability to whisper in my ear about how unlovely I am. I think it's necessary for women to find a source of self-worth that's entirely personal and internal, and Elisa does just that. Her character arc from wimp to hero, from hesitant to powerful, inspires me.
2. Tell me about your travels.
3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
Coffee, and lots of it, thanks.
4. What else can you do besides write?
I'm a highly skilled procrastinator. Also proficient in web-surfing, sleeping in, coffee-drinking, and kitty-snuggling. It's a burden to be so talented, but I manage.
I also design wooden roof trusses for architects, but I'm not as good at it.
5. Who are you reading right now?
All the young adult novels I can get my hands on. I enjoy YA for its frank approach, its freshness, and its lightning-fast pacing. I think YA is the most cutting edge genre by far. In an iPod/gaming/internet-connected world, teens require constant change and challenge in order to give you (the novelist) their precious attention. Alas, a lot of novelists insist on talking down to teens or moralizing at them. It's rare to find a good novel that respects them and provides an escapist adventure. So I'm reading a bunch of it and trying to develop my own ideas on how to do it right. Oh, and while I'm at it, I'm writing a YA novel called Lemuria By the Bay about a teenaged girl surviving post-apocalyptic San Francisco. It's my toughest project to date.
6. Pop culture or academia?
7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
I have no inspiration to write ever. It's an act of sheer discipline. But I love that clicky feeling that happens in my head when character and theme and plot all start telling the same story. It's a rush, and totally worth all the agonizing I-will-sit-my-butt-in-this-chair-and-type-or-ELSE moments.
9. Food you could eat everyday.
I love pizza with passionate, unreasoning love. Also Thai food. And lobster! And flakey, sweet pastries! And... *sigh*
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?
13. Celebrity crush.
14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
15. Do you still watch cartoons?
Rae Dawn Carson was born in '73 to a Strange Family. Her Strange Mother read to her during the early years, instilling a lifelong love of the written word. To those around her, Rae seemed quiet and shy and scholarly.
Few knew the sordid truth: Rae's Strange Family was secretly teaching her essential adventuring skills such as noodling, the skinning of roadkill, hermeneutics, Mopar engines, basic midwifery, and the raising of wolves.
As a result, Rae became useless for anything except creating stories. (She tried everything else, but extreme character deficiencies caused her to give up on them all.) Rae grew into adulthood with profound reluctance. She is no longer introverted--her Strange Family wishes she were--and she holds down a regular day job, but her true passion is writing, and Charlie, of course.