Stephanie Burgis
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And the 5 questions meme...
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Rules of the meme: leave a comment asking me to be interviewed, and I'll ask you five questions; when you post the answers on your own blog, include these rules. NOTE: this interview offer is limited to the first three commenters, because I only have limited 2-handed typing time nowadays and need to make sure to leave enough time for fiction writing and even occasional email replies! (Though my correspondents may not believe me on that point...)

Tim Pratt asked me:

1. How has having a baby changed the way you write (either practically, philosophically, or both!)?
Wow. I have SO many answers to that question! But I'll try to restrain myself from going on TOO much about it. ;)

Practically, there's been a huge effect in terms of time. Back when I was working fulltime, the only chance I had to write was in the 40 minutes I could sit down with my computer during lunch breaks. Then I had about a year and a half of being a full-time writer, when I had all day to write, if I wanted. Now I'm back to very tight time limitations, which means that I've had to re-learn the skill of being efficient in my writing sessions. (I really liked Caroline Hickey's post about this issue yesterday.)

Five months ago, it was common for me to spend the first half hour or more of my writing session just staring blankly at the computer screen before things finally kicked into gear, and I had a whole list of optional, luxuriant extras that were meant to try to ease myself into the perfect writing mood - a cup of tea, a decadent chunk of dark chocolate, ten minutes of just gazing out of the window at an inspirational, I might only have an hour to write, depending on the day, so I don't have time to make tea or spend time daydreaming before I start. (Although my morning walks with Mr Darcy are really good replacements - I usually spend them thinking through plot points so that I know exactly what I'm going to write that day.) Kind of surprisingly, I'm actually back to writing just as much now as I did before - it's just that nowadays, I'm writing 1,000 words in one hour instead of two or three. I don't think they're worse words, either - I'm just getting a much more streamlined writing process.

And philosophically...yeah. The easy answer is that I've got a whole new perspective on parent-child interactions and (duhh) how it really feels to have a baby (although, since MrD came in a C-section, I'm still going to try to avoid writing any childbirth scenes in future, since I remain utterly clueless about how that really feels!). And, hmm. I'm definitely already feeling the urge to write some stories or books in the future that might be aimed at what he might enjoy reading, so my target book audience may expand a bit when he's older. On a completely amateur, homemade level, I'm sure I'll be writing (and talentlessly illustrating) plenty of picture books for him in the next few years. On a professional level, the Kat books are pretty much exactly aimed at the kind of teenage girl I used to be, but in 10 or 11 years, I may also be coming up with some ideas aimed more at one particular teenage boy...

2. So you sold a first novel! How did you expect your life to change when you sold a novel? Did reality conform to your expectations?
Weirdly enough, reality did conform to my expectations - maybe because so many of my friends have published novels that my fantasies weren't too inflated? I expected to be really happy (check!) and to get more credibility as a writer from the non-writers I know (check! it became WAY less embarrassing to tell people I was a fulltime writer once I had actually sold my trilogy).

3. As an American living in England, what American food do you miss most?
Italian pasta! When I was growing up in America, Italian food was my favorite cuisine, and there were Italian restaurants everywhere and very good, ready-made Italian pasta sauces in the grocery stores. In England (or at least in Leeds and Bristol, the two cities I've lived in), it's hard to find good general Italian restaurants (although there are lots of good pizza restaurants), and I haven't been able to find any non-tomato-based Italian pasta sauces in the supermarkets. Sigh.

4. What's the WORST Jane Austen novel, and why?
Eep. This is a very hard question for me to answer, since I'm a die-hard Austen addict...I guess...hmm. Mansfield Park has my least-favorite Austen heroine, but then I've still re-read it for fun more often than Emma, despite the fact that I actually admire Emma more... Honestly, I love Austen pretty much indiscriminately, but I guess I'd have to say MP just because I decidedly DON'T love Fanny Price.

5. Which Bronte sister was the most courageous?
Another really hard question! I guess I'd have to say Charlotte, since she was the one who actually dared to go out and DO more things than her sisters...but then artistically, maybe Anne was the most courageous after all, since she picked a subject matter (in Tenant of Wildfell Hall) that even Charlotte found shocking...hmm. What do you guys think? (Surely I must have fellow 19th-century geeks among the people reading this, right? :) )

Thanks, Tim! That was really fun.

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