Author Interview - Lauren Willig
Author I draw inspiration from: Do I have to pick just one? So many authors have inspired me in different ways. Margaret Mitchell, M.M. Kaye, and Karleen Koen tutored me about blending history with fiction. L.M. Montgomery showed me that you don’t need grand drama to create a strong story. Elizabeth Peters, Angela Thirkell, and Georgette Heyer taught me about comic timing. And Judith Merkle Riley and Diana Gabaldon showed me how a historical narrative could be leavened with a judicious touch of humor. I’ve learned so much from so many authors—and I find new authors by whom to be inspired all the time. It’s one of the joys of my job. Getting to read constantly and call it work!
Favorite place to read a book: Prone on the couch, with a cup of hot tea balanced on my stomach. Sadly, that doesn’t happen much these days, since it’s hard to find couch time without small people intruding, but, when it comes down to it, I suppose anyplace one can read a book is a good place to read a book, no? And one day, that couch will again be mine. Oh, yes. It will be mine.
Book character I’d like to be stuck in an elevator with: The obvious choice is Lizzy Bennet, but since she’s already in such demand, I hate to add anything else onto her busy schedule. (Pemberley doesn’t just run itself, you know.) I’m going to go with Elizabeth Peters’s Amelia Peabody. Not only will we have a great deal to discuss (so many antiquities!), but I’m guessing she’ll find some way to use her trusty parasol to get us out of there before the tea in our flasks runs out. (And by tea, I mean whisky. Because it’s Amelia Peabody.)
The moment I knew I wanted to become an author: Do you know those memories where you can picture the moment perfectly? Not the ones you “remember” because you’ve seen a photo or been told the story by someone, but those moments that are imprinted on your retinas and in your brain. I must have been about five years old and I’d made a construction paper “book”, with text and illustrations. It was a story about a princess, very directly inspired by a picture book I’d had from the school library (my version was very nearly the same, but with a twist ending). I can still see, as if I were holding it now, that last page, with my sprawling writing on it and a very badly drawn picture of a princess, and I can remember thinking, “THIS. This is what I want to do.”
It was that or be a princess, and since no one was offering me a kingdom…. Writer, it was.
Hardback, paperback, ebook or audiobook: I’ve always been a strong partisan of paperback. Takes up less room on the shelf, easy to slip into a bag or prop up against a bowl of soup.
But, recently…. I’m ashamed to admit, but I’ve become a reluctant fan of e-books. With a Very Small Baby at home, it’s been such a book being able to read silently over the small person’s head and to magically make books appear out of nowhere when I’m trapped in that chair in the nursery for hours on end.
Will I go back to paperback once I’m no longer the Prisoner of the Grey Chair? We’ll see.
The last book I read: As I type this, I’m finishing up a re-read of Trisha Ashley’s A Winter’s Tale (British chick lit about a woman who inherits the ancestral family home and the secrets and assorted characters who go with it), and about to start Jamie Brenner’s The Forever Summer. Hmm, I seem to have a seasonal theme going on…. Shall I head forward to spring or back to fall next?
Pen & paper or computer: Computer for writing (after years and years of writing books, they keyboard/brain connection is visceral), but pen and paper for outlining and thinking through plot problems. I’ve tried to write longhand, but my pen can’t keep up with the words in my head. And I’ve tried to plot on the computer, but something about the screen stymies the flow of ideas. So it’s a little bit of this and a little bit of that. And a lot of talking to myself in both cases!
Book character I think I’d be best friends with: Anne of Green Gables, of course! We’d be kindred spirits. But not in her Green Gables phase (although Middle School me would have absolutely been friends with that Anne). Right now, I have a feeling that Anne of Ingleside would be my bosom friend. Pass the raspberry cordial, please!
If I wasn’t an author, I’d be a: Does not compute…. I can’t imagine life without writing fiction.
But, if I have to go there, I’d say that if I weren’t an author, I probably would have remained a professional historian. I love living in other centuries, whether it’s through fiction or footnotes.
Favorite decade in fashion history: the 1730s. Love those gorgeous brocades!
Place I’d most like to travel: India. I’ve written a book set in Hyderabad, but I’ve never actually been.
My signature drink: for day, strong tea; for night, a kir royale. Who can go wrong with pink bubbly?
Favorite artist: Van Dyke. Because, Cavaliers.
Number one on my bucket list: Find a bucket. Make list.
Anything else you'd like to add: Thanks so much for having me to visit! If anyone wants to know more about my books, just pop by my website at www.laurenwillig.com, or my author Facebook page at www.facebook.com/LaurenWillig. Happy 2018 and happy reading!