Hola, party peoples. Today Tag Line Tuesday welcomes the effervescent Laurie Boris.
Hi, Laurie. As I hear writers are creative people, please answer the following biographic questions twice, once with the truth and once with a lie.
LB: Laurie Boris, or Roxie LaRue
Ed: Where you from, Roxie?
LB: Hopewell Junction, New York. Third door on the left
Ed: Day job?
LB: Writing and editing. Lion tamer.
Ed: Often the same skill set for both of those. How about your Dream job?
LB: Naming nail polish colors, or political spouse.
Ed: Now the inevitable – Why do you write?
LB: The voices in my head tell me to. The voices in my head tell me to.
Ed: Spooky. Feel free to return to full honesty for, THE LIGHTNING ROUND! (zap, pow)
Quick! What is your favorite:
Piece of clothing: Jodhpurs
Movie: When Harry Met Sally
TV show: The Big Bang Theory
Drink: Pinot grigio
Line from a song: “The movement you need is on your shoulder.”
Pizza topping: Eggplant
Quote: “A man has to know his limitations.”
Ed: Three random things about yourself, please.
LB: I can juggle. I know enough German to be dangerous. I throw up when I eat raw garlic.
What’s the biggest consideration when you are deciding what book to read?
LB: Author, mood, genre, time of day. For instance, I can’t read thrillers or edge-of-your-seat adventure novels before bed. That’s when I’ll want a lyrical, literary novel. Proust is as good as an Ambien.
Ed: What genre do you enjoy most?
LB: Historical fiction
Ed: What genre would you read only if you lost a bet?
LB: Celebrity tell-alls. I’d rather stick hot needles in my eyes than read about who did whom in the bathroom of Studio 54.
Ed: Do you have a favorite author, and do you think they influence your own writing?
Ed: Dang, this is getting eerie, I love Coraghessan. 🙂
Do you have a favorite book, and how many times have you read it?
LB: Lolita. I reread it at least once a year. How Nabokov makes me empathize with a pedophile astounds me.
Ed: Seriously, we’re on the same wavelength. Most of my favorite authors are dead and Russian.
What’s the first book you remember buying with your own money?
LB: I usually swiped my mother’s books or went to the library. The first I remember buying was A Separate Peace (by John Knowles), because it was on the AP English test. To prepare, I’d skip school with my boyfriend and we’d just read all day. Yeah. Read. I was a geek like that.
Ed: Heh. There’s a character in my series named Phinneas, though he goes by Phinny instead of Finny. 😉
Any books you have been told you should read, and know you probably never will?
LB: The Notebook. With apologies to Nicholas Sparks and his fans, it’s just not my thing.
Ed: Ever lied about reading, or not reading, a book?
Ed: Ever read a book you were sure you were going to like, and not liked it?
LB: Anything I ever picked up by Jonathan Franzen.
Ed: Ever grudgingly read a book, and loved it?
LB: The Life of Pi. I lost interest after a bit, when he was floating on the ocean, but a friend kept encouraging me to give it another chance. I’m glad I did. I loved it.
Ed: What’s your favorite line from a book? (not your own)
LB: “She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.” -Louisa May Alcott, from Little Women.
Ed: And now on to books which you did happen to write.
How, and when, do you tend to come up with titles?
LB: Often something will pop up when I first start writing. One really weird title popped up when I was watching Olympic platform diving. It was a term the announcers used when a diver muffs his or her entry: Sliding past vertical. It fit my protagonist, a constant but well-intentioned screwup. I don’t know if it’s a good title from a marketing standpoint, though. Agents I queried at the time didn’t get it.
Ed: How do your characters get their names?
LB: They choose them. If not, I get out the International Baby Naming Book.
Ed: If you could live in the world / with the people of one of your stories, which one would it be and why?
LB: Oh, I want to live at the Goldberg sisters’ holistic health retreat. I need a break. I want to do tai chi in the backyard and look at the mountains and have someone cook healthy meals for me.
Ed: What do you think your books say about you?
LB: Have they been blabbing again? Little brats… Seriously, they say this is a writer who loves dialogue, likes to make readers laugh (or cry, depending), and feels comfortable in different genres.
Ed: Is there anything you have written which you would now like to change or revise, wish you had written differently, etc.?
LB: My lawyer advises I not answer that question.
Ed: Tell me about your favorite character.
LB: I love Frankie! (from The Joke’s on Me) She’s confident even as everything’s falling apart, she’s funny…a thirty-seven-year-old woman in a teenager’s body.
Ed: Have your favorite character tell me about you.
Frankie: Seriously? That babe needs to get out more. No wonder she’s all tweaked about commas and stuff. Lighten up. Meditate, do some yoga, watch a baseball game. And someone ought to confiscate that stupid black hoodie she wears. Like she’s a ninja or something.
Ed: Back to Laurie, What’s your favorite line which you have written?
LB: “Faced with paying customers, who thought a two-drink minimum entitled them to become professional critics, I bombed, got heckled, got drunk, slept with the bouncer, and vowed to register for nursing school in the morning.”
Ed: Now to the “How do you write?” sort of stuff.
Plotter or Pantser?
Ed: Best/Worst advice you ever got as a writer?
LB: “Do it anyway” was the best advice I got. Screw the dishes, the laundry, the dust bunnies, and just write. Worst? “Write what you know.” Seriously? Isn’t this why we have imaginations? Sure, it’s easier to write what you know about. But did J.K. Rowling ever GO to the Hogsworth School? Had Asimov gone to Mars? Did Lewis Carroll have tea parties with talking rabbits? Well. He might have thought he was…
Ed: Best/Worst thing about being a writer?
LB: Best: People leave me alone a lot. Worst. People leave me alone a lot.
Ed: Inevitable question #2. Why Indie?
LB: I love a challenge. I love autonomy. Also, my stories often fall between genres. Many publishing types have a problem with that. They don’t know what shelf to put me on.
Ed: Is being a writer what you expected? How so or how not?
LB: Before I “came out” as a writer, I had a stereotype in my head of writers as this solitary, snarly lot, tucked away from “real” life and only fraternizing with each other around the Algonquin Round Table. What I’ve found is that writers are everywhere. They cannot be easily pigeonholed. Just like there are nice people and mean people, there are nice writers and mean writers. What binds us is that we are people who like to and need to tell stories. Most support their fellow writers. And we’re mostly crazy. I liked discovering that part. Knowing that there are other people who ignore a ringing phone or let things burn on the stove because they were writing or daydreaming about the imaginary people in their heads makes me feel less alone.
Ed: Have you, or would you ever, collaborate on a story?
Ed: If you were starting to write for the first time, what would you do different?
LB: Instead of continually putting away first drafts in favor of starting another book, I’d finish each and see them through to publication (or at least attempt publication.)
Ed: What is the most important thing you have learned about writing?
LB: Don’t edit while writing first drafts. Get it all out and shape the story later. And don’t give up!
Ed: What’s the moral of the story?
LB: Never trust a wolf dressed in Granny’s nightgown. Oh, wait, wrong story. I don’t know that there are any morals, really. Just write, if that’s your calling, your reason for getting out of bed in the morning. Otherwise, there are a lot of other jobs that pay better and don’t demand regular bloodshed.
Ed: And that reminds me of an Ani DiFranco lyric I am now bound to quote: “Art is the reason i get up in the morning, but my definition ends there.”
Your computer is smoking, wheezing, and sparks are shooting out of the back. You can save one thing off the hard drive. What is it?
LB: The ribbon cable. Or one of the spindles. I love spindles.
Ed: You are looking at the back of a book in a bookstore, reading on online blurb, or whatever. What sort of thing makes you say “yes,” what sort of things makes you say “pass?”
LB: It depends. If it sounds like a great story with kick-ass, funny characters, I’m in. I like a feisty protagonist. I don’t like books that promise I’ll stay up all night. I don’t want to stay up all night. Heck, I don’t like blurbs that “promise” anything. Let me figure it out on my own.
Ed: You have one perfect day of free time, no obligations, needs, or responsibilities. What do you do?
LB: You have to ask? WRITE STUFF UNTIL MY FINGERS CRAMP. Then eat cookies and watch bad romantic comedies.
Ed: Someone “in the business” suggests you change something you feel is a critical part of one of your books, and guarantees it will increase sales. What do you do?
LB: I’ve been at this long enough to know that there are no guarantees. But if the change made sense and would make the story better, I’d listen. I’m all for feedback that will make the story better.
Ed: You are offered just enough money to live comfortably for the rest of your life, if you will just stop writing. What do you do?
LB: Lie and publish under a pseudonym.
Ed: What question do you wish I had asked?
LB: If I’d like a hot beverage.
Ed: Thanks for stopping by, Laurie. Now go relax and watch a spring training game. 😉
Please do give Laurie’s works a look-see. As you might imagine, they are frequently funny, but with more to them than that.
The Joke’s on Me.
Failed comic crawls back home.
Release of new edition pending, read first chapter here: http://laurieboris.com/drawing-breath/
The Ring (A short story): New fiancé has some secrets.
(Ed note: This one happens to be free at the moment, so check it out.)