Saturday, July 11, 2009

The giant eyeball talks to Quinn Cummings.

This is the coolest thing ever – I got to interview Quinn Cummings. How cool is that? Coolest thing ever right?

So welcome, Quinn, to my little corner of cyber space ... ignore the BIG BLUE EYEBALL. I promise it doesn’t follow you as you move.

You’ve come quite a distance to be here today – please try not to jump around too much least you fall off the bottom on the world. (That would be messy and embarrassing.)

Having read your blog on several occasions, (and giggled like a loon), I am delighted to be able to have you over for a chat.

Any erroneous commas are safe with me – and mine will enjoy the company. (I was away the day they taught punctuation and grammar in high school)

So with no further ado here is my interview/chat- with the talented Quinn Cummings (and she wasn't even freaked out by the Giant Blue Eyeball!)


I know how I juggle life with kids, husband, and animals and still find time to write… but how do you get through the day and find time to write? Do you have weekends off? Have a structured workday? Or wing it and hope you get all you need done by the end of the day and everyone makes it to bed unscathed?


Some days I write after the kid goes to bed. Although she's a night person and it's the summer holiday and sometimes her bedtime only precedes mine by about fifteen minutes. Some days I write when she's watching "Sponge Bob Square Pants," and I then I wrestle her away from the television when I'm finished writing, because "Sponge Bob" never actually stops playing. Right now, I'm writing because we have a four year-old over and my daughter is enjoying the simple pleasure of being revered as a deity by a smaller girl. I think they're having a tea party in my daughter's room, and I believe the tea party includes, among other things, capers and cold pasta. As long as no one actually vomits, this will qualify as "Quinn time."


Book promotion is one of those necessary evils: no matter how good the writing, books don’t sell themselves. Do you have a set plan in place for promotion? Are you enjoying the promotion side of the business? (Do you find the demands of promotion eat into everything else and begin to take over your life… or is that just me?)


This week, promotion is definitely the high-maintenance second child. But, the advantage of nearly all of it currently being blog-book tours is that I'm at home. It's hard to take anything too seriously you can do while telling your child she doesn't need another popsicle. Oddly enough, I'm kind of liking these question and answer sessions, but let us all note I'm in day four. Ask me again in week four.


What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked? (I will of course see the answer as a challenge.)


"Do you know Quinn Cummings?" It seemed this person thought it was an uncanny coincidence that my name was Quinn Cummings and there was this child actress whose name had been Quinn Cummings, and since we were just about the same age and lived in the same city, maybe we had crossed paths.

Some moments, you just want to feign a coughing fit and pretend the lose consciousness. There's no other way out of the conversation.


Every time I hear the name Quinn (which, by the way, I love!) I hear Bob Dylan singing Quinn the Eskimo in my head. Is there a story behind your name? (And should I know this already?)


You shouldn't, as no one has asked this yet, you clever antipodean. My mother wanted her then-unborn child to have a name which was androgynous and didn't lend easily to a nickname. My parents were at a dinner party when she was about eight months gone, and the hostess found her two year-old son doing something two-ish. In frustration, she shouted "Thomas Quinn McCoy, I swear if you don't get back into bed..." My mother internally placed "Quinn" with "Cummings" and voila, a name was born.


I recently discovered an interviewer had a misconception regarding one of my characters and I had to correct her. I felt awful, it took me ages to figure out how to do it tactfully. (People who know me well, know tact doesn’t come naturally.) How hard is it for you to correct someone like that?


It's not easy, because if they get something wrong, they're not only misinformed about a character, they're misinformed about a loved one of mine. I try to sigh only inside my head, but total honesty would force me to admit that a few exhalations of annoyance have slipped out.


There are people out there who actually believe books are written perfectly first time without the benefit of a loving caring editor. (I kid you not I have met people who believe this. They scare me.) How do you cope with making editorial changes? Do you enjoy the process? Is there anything you will passionately fight for in your writing? (For me it’s dialogue – how my characters speak is non-negotiable – mostly and within reason, I mean I’m not totally pig-headed or anything.)


I had some experience with an editor, as Consort has been functioning as my editor since the blog's inception. And look, we haven't killed one another! The enduring power of love. Anyway, my hard-working and talented book-editor, Brenda Copeland, gave notes which were a lot about "I think there's more here" and "Can we get here faster?" which can be summed up, "Make this longer" and "Make this shorter." That, I could do. The only thing I got mulish about was the placement of the last two stories; they couldn't move and they couldn't be separated. Wait, one more thing. Consort had to maintain that as his name, because I can't think of the written version of him as anything but Consort. Although it has led to people commenting on what an unusual name Consort is, because we here in the States rarely use the honorific for the non-royal husband of the Queen.


Does your family mind being blog fodder? Do people "recognize" them and mention blog entries to them? (This can be quite a concern especially with blogs being so public) I use my kid’s nicknames: Breezy – who is 3, Squealer – who is 10, the Boy-wonder – who is so close to his 18th you can spit on it. My husband’s first name gets bandied about – it’s so common we all know at least three and probably have one or two in the family – seriously how many Chris’s do you know? I rest my case.


Consort has the incredible grace to laugh when I goof on him in the blog. We've had a couple of experiences in the last year where someone has recognized me in public and turned to him and said, "You must be Consort." He beams. The cat already assumed she was world-famous and the dog is just happy to be noticed. As for the kid, she hasn't had someone say "You must be Alice" yet, and I'm not sure how we're going to handle it. I've had a couple of people try to talk around me to her, saying things like "You know you're Mom is famous?" which made me absolutely see red. I can promise you two things; in the near future, someone will recognize me and, by extension, her very soon and I won't be prepared. I'll probably also look a mess, but that's always a safe bet.


We’ve mentioned family – but what of the creatures that share your life? Are you primarily a cat or dog person? I’m a dog person with a cat and a rabbit. Our rabbit lives inside and loves the cat… it’s not right and we don’t discuss it, and we sure as hell don’t leave them unsupervised.


Oddly enough, I have a friend with a rabbit who has been trying to court her Golden Retriever for a year. As with you, everyone just averts their eyes and tries not to mention it in polite company. I think of myself as a cat person who must have a dog for balance. Were it not for Consort and his allergies, there would be an unseemly amount of cats around here; my allergies are just something we ignore and rise above, like rabbits lusting for Retrievers. For the moment, we have a cat, Lulabelle and a dog, who goes by Rupert. Usually each spring we have a foster-kitten or two, just to keep the cat irritated.

Thank you for risking a tumble off the bottom of the world AND the Giant eyeball to come by and answer my questions! The eye and I loved having you over.

Mind how you step on the way out, those eyelashes can be tricky.

Quinn’s smart and hilarious debut: Notes from the Underwire.

Quinn’s blog: The QC report.


Sara J. Henry said...

Cat, you rock! A great interview!

Karen from Mentor said...

Hey Cat,
Nice job on the questions. But you didn't ask Quinn about her PANTS!!! I wanted to know what kind of PANTS she was wearing. Sigh.
But her rabbit/retreiver story made up for it. Quinn totally saved your butt.
I smiled when Quinn said "the kid"..cause I don't know how many times YOU'VE seen the goodbye girl...but her character does NOT like to be called kid by richard dreyfuss's character.

Ok, now you've added ANOTHER author I must read. Cat, you're trying to get me to cut something out of my busy schedule aren't you? There just aren't that many hours in the day. And I'm not giving up making sparkly tiaras or sex. Well, ok if it comes down to it, I'll give up making sparkly tiaras.
Karen :)
woops....*I'm ok* tripped on an eyelash....

Tanya Egan Gibson said...

Great interview, Cat! Having read 3 hysterical blog interviews with Quinn now, I *have to* buy this book!

Cat Connor said...

Sara -Thank you! ;-)

Karen- Watch your step - those eyelashes are tricksy.
I think Quinn's story about the rabbit proves what sick little critters they really are. (mine is currently playing kissy-face with the cat)

Tanya- Quinn is awesome. And thank you for stopping by. :-)

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