A few goofy facts: I have an overflowing bookcase in every room of my house (including the laundry room); I think my treadmill attracts spiders because the two times I got on it (in my current house anyway) a spider dropped down from the ceiling right in my face - so I don't touch the thing.
I am also excited to be able to share a fun interview with Sandra Ulbrich Almazan, who just released her novella Lyon's Legacy.
If you were marooned on an island and Pots & Pens granted your wish for only one book and one food, what would you choose?
It’s harder to choose a single book than food; for food, I’d say chocolate. I can probably find more nutritious food on the island, but there aren’t too many wild candy bars roaming around. If I was going to bring a book to read (not just to use as a survival manual), it would be the complete works of Shakespeare. You could read that over and over and see something new each time.
When I read that question, Joanna immediately popped into my head and asked for sushi. It must be hard to get good sushi on a spaceship.
If you could borrow one person's zest for writing and/or life, whose and why?
I’d like to borrow my four-year-old son’s zest for life. He has such enthusiasm for things like Halloween, and he has a great imagination too.
Hot out of the oven: What inspired your latest book, and what ingredients do you hope make it a tasty treat for readers?
It was inspired by a friend’s story about a woman who heard the Beatles perform in the Cavern, a club in Liverpool where they performed many times before they became famous. I wanted to add a science-fiction twist to that, so I came up with the idea of a time traveler going back to the past to listen to a concert by a famous musician. I asked myself who she was, why she was there, and how she got there, and eventually I came up with Joanna, sent on a mission to get DNA and clone the musician. Instead of using the Beatles, I created a single musician who lived in Chicago in the early sixites to be Joanna’s great-grandfather, the man she’s supposed to help clone.
I hope my readers will enjoy Joanna, a science geek with an attitude; George, the geneticist she falls in love with; the spaceship they travel on; and the old-fashioned Chicago Joanna visits to complete her mission.
What's cooking? Can you share a bit about your next project?
I actually have a three-course meal in the works. The appetizer is “The Fighting Roses of Sharon,” a standalone fantasy story about three generations of women in a small town with an unusual annual ritual. Next comes Twinned Universes, the sequel to Lyon’s Legacy. Both of those are in the revision stage. Finally, I’m drafting a fantasy novel called Scattered Seasons, about a group of four women called Season Lords who must combine their various magics to protect their country.
Half-baked ideas: Not every idea is a winner. Written or not, what's the most ill-conceived story idea you've ever had?
I once wrote a story about a woman who wrote birth announcements for people who would become famous at some point in their lives; the announcements were supposed to be the opposite of obituaries. (She had some way to look into the future to predict what they would do.) But I couldn’t explain the concept clearly or fill some of the plot holes, so that story is staying on the shelf where it belongs.
Thanks so much to Sandra for hanging out with us today! If you'd like a copy of Lyon's Legacy you can find it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. Be sure to check out Sandra's blog for more info on her and her books.
Recipe Time! Chocolate Cake in a CupThis is one of my all time faves and my kids absolutely love it. It's very fast, very easy, and perfect for a chocolate lover :D It's especially perfect for Nanowrimo (which is coming up TOMORROW!!) since it takes about a minute to throw together and only 3 minutes to bake. Can't get better than that for a writer with a deadline :D
4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
dash of vanilla
dash of baking powder (optional)
handful of chocolate chips or nuts (optional)
Mix everything together in a big mug
Microwave for 3 minutes
I usually top it with whip cream or powdered sugar. You can also make a healthier version of this by using almond flour and Stevia in place of the regular flour and sugar. This is a fast, fun chocolate fix and fun to do with your kids. They can mix and cook everything themselves so it's a blast for them.