“Swap” or “20 Questions with Tirzah!”

You all remember Tirzah, right? My bestie and partner in literary crime? If the name’s not ringing a bell for you, worry not; you’ll be hearing plenty from her today, just as her blog’s audience will be hearing plenty from me. Ever On Word and The Ink Caster are hosting an interview “exchange of one thing for another”! 20 questions mostly more to do with writing than not, 2 writing buddies who had way too much fun answering them. Read on below for Tirzah’s responses, and then zip on over to her place to compare and contrast my thoughts!

The notorious Ink Caster, still at large.

1) What’s one of the first stories you remember writing? — “The Ugly Gril with Pretty Hair”, a one-page chick-lit complete with envy, judgment, revenge, and crayon stick figures. I believe I was under the misconception that “girl” was pronounced “gril”, at the time, and spelled accordingly.

2) Name a book you read that you wish you’d written. — Oh man, I’m torn between the “Trickster” books by Tamora Pierce and “Prince of Foxes” by Samuel Shellabarger. The first two are fantasy intrigue, masterfully executed by my favorite author. The latter is a rich and captivating historical fiction—intrigue again. Both of them have charming, sneaky main characters. Those of you who know anything about my Syawn will not be shocked at these choices.

3) Name someone else’s character you wish you’d created. — Oh, there are so many characters out there I revel in knowing… But if I must narrow it down… I wish I’d come up with Darken Rahl, a villain in the “Sword of Truth” series. (NOT THE SHOW, PEOPLE, just the books.) I have never feared any villain more than that blonde, blue-eyed bi-polar maniac of a wizard ruler.

4) Name a character you wish you were.Butler, from “Artemis Fowl”. A sad, world-shattering truth: I will never be a 6’6” Eurasian bodyguard with an Irish accent, a Sig Sauer P220, and a loyalty to my charge that goes beyond the grave. I will never be the epitome of understated efficiency. I can only shave my head, learn martial arts, wear a Kevlar vest under my suit and hope for the best.

5) Who is your favorite side character that you wrote? (Because the main characters are always hogging the love.) — Hmmn. I have to say Harn; a surprisingly friendly fellow in a race of notoriously unfriendly giants. A widower with a death wish and a soft gallantry in his pursuit of vengeance. A poet and songster whose verses flow as easily to my fingertips as his character.

6) Who is your favorite character that I wrote? — Gant-o’-the-Lute. I’ve been in love with him for the last year-and-a-half, as none who know me could escape noticing. A minstrel arrayed in skiest blues, a lutenist with a voice that calls to mind flaming golden bells and sunbirds. A lad with an unconsciously commanding nature and the capricious carelessness of a breeze. I’ve only written him, what, several poems, a slew of love notes, and 15,000 word fan fic? Yes, suffice it to say, he is my favorite.

7) What were your early thoughts of me? — It was National Novel Writing Month. You’d spotted me on a forum and, intrigued, asked to read my work as it came; I was gratified and nervous. Then you sent me your writing, and I remember thinking “Oh—dear, I didn’t agree to read your work, too. Gah, a first draft in a headlong word-scramble like this is bound to be horri…ble…” my mental protests trailed out as I read, and realized that, good Lord, this was gold. So yes, early thoughts: Unexpectedly great writer.

8) If you had to describe Stranger Than Truth to a stranger in three sentences, how in the world would you? — An over-the-phone RPG club with 50-ish members, four of which are on our plane of reality, the rest of which are awesome people we would refer to as “fictional”. We act out hypothetical dramas, deal with real drama, ask poll questions, giggle over nonsense, develop improv skills and a deeper understanding of our characters without even trying, and talk about feelings (to the horror of the fellows… and a couple of the chicks, for that matter). Two sentences, HA!

9) You get to have a monument erected in the middle of San Francisco! Describe it! — I think I would have to pick the statue “Life” from “Faith of the Fallen”: mankind, as the powerful creators our Powerful Creator meant us to be.

10) Who’s your favorite poet? — The great creator of “MacPherson’s Rant”, “Scots Wha Hae”, “Loch Lomond”, “Ye Banks and Braes”, and many more of my favorite auld Scottish songs. Robert Burns groupie forever!

11) Name some specific someone out there that you’d really love to love your book. (Fellow author, celebrity, friend/family member, real or fictional, living or dead…) — Tamora Pierce. I think I would cry with pleasure if she loved my book; she is one of my greatest influences, and though I never try to emulate her, her fingerprints are fairly evident throughout my work. Heck, I’d love to have a book of mine signed by her!

12) What are your thoughts on realism in fantasy? — While I hate it when magic has no explanation and few rules, I can put up with it in the work of others. I think the most important piece of realism in fantasy is this: humanity. Culture variation, sure, but if you’ve got humans or human-based (or anthropomorphic) characters, they must act like humans, both as individuals and as a society.

13) What are your thoughts on vampire-infested chick lit? — Eh. In spite of vampiric pheromones or what have you, it doesn’t draw me in. Dracula is more up my alley. Though after hearing one-too-many intriguing excerpts from Roh Morgon’s “Watcher”, I had to pick it up… and now I await the sequel as eagerly as any fan. As for “Twilight” — I may touch the series with a ten-foot pole, once the craze has faded.

14) What is your deep, underlying desire for why you want to be a successful author? (Not just “money/fame/etc.”, but “why-y-y money/fame/etc.”.) — It’s fairly simple, when I dig to the heart of it. Writing is what I love to do. If I can make a career of it, then why would I do anything else? Not as glamorous as wanting to make an impact on the world (which I do) or immortalize myself in the written word (which I do) or get fan letters from ecstatic readers (which I do), but when you boil down the stock this is what you get: I want to do what I love to do, for the rest of my life.

15) When would you consider yourself to be a successful author? — Now and never. Success comes in degrees, some of which I have attained, some of which I will never gain, because I will always be setting the bar a little higher than I can jump. The bar “write a novel to your satisfaction” has been leapt; I now adjust it to “novel is published and in the market”. Ever upward (or On Word)!

16) If you couldn’t write fantasy, what would you write instead? — Gritty lit-fic, probably action-adventure. I plan to write historical fiction anyway, so I’d do that. As it stands, I shy away from sci-fi, but if you took away my fantasy, that’d be the best way to scratch my world-building itch.

17) If you couldn’t be a writer at all, what would your dream job be? — Oh, I’d be bound to pursue business of some sort. I wouldn’t mind being a high-powered executive in the corporate world… or a bodyguard! Or a cop! Or a mercenary!

18) Popcorn or potato chips? — Depends on the flavor, quality, and arbitrary preference. Kettle sea salt and vinegar chips over microwaved popcorn any day, but if it’s Lays vs. a tub of freshly-popped, buttery, cheese-powdered theatre popcorn, popcorn wins.

19) Top hats or capes? — Well dang, what top-hatted be-caped villain is making me choose? Well, I don’t have a top hat (though I would dearly like one), and I get along. I’m not so sure I would survive if you snatched away my cape and cloaks; such are fashion necessities. The cape is the little black dress for geeks.

20) “Writing” is to “Tirzah” as…? — “Expansive gestures” are to “Storytellers”, as “Boasting” is to “Braggarts”, as “Lovebird” is to “Lovebird”.

~ Thank you, my lovely! If anyone out there has any more questions for Tirzah, leave ’em in the comments — or over at her blog — and I’ll bug her until she answers. (:

One thought on ““Swap” or “20 Questions with Tirzah!”

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