Weekend Coffee Share – Blogger Award Q&A

Liebster LogoIf we were having coffee, we’d tell you winning a blog award – the Liebster Award – made our week. It’s a fun award and came to us from a blogger we adore. Big shout-out to Sara Letourneau for nominating us. If you don’t read her author blog, or one of the many blogs she contributes to (like DIY MFA), make plans to correct this oversight ASAP.

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The rules of this award are simple: thank the nominating person (Thanks, Sara!), answer their wonderful questions, and pass some questions on to other deserving bloggers.

So grab a coffee and some biscotti and get ready to learn all about us!

Here we go:

1. Why do you blog?

R: Heather and I were in a critique group together for about a year and a half before we decided to give blogging together a shot. It was mostly my idea, and I did a tad of arm twisting. I didn’t relish the idea of running a blog alone; I didn’t feel confident enough to jump off the blogging cliff without a friend holding my hand. Now we both love it. There’s nothing better than the wonderful friends we’ve made in the blogging community.

H: Yep! Robin definitely twisted my arm, but I’m so glad she did for the reasons she mentioned above. Plus, I like the way blogging about writing forces me to keep learning and evaluating my craft.

2. What was the last good book you read? Why did you enjoy it?

bc-twistedR: Heather and I both read mostly YA books (since that’s what we write) and our tastes are similar. I just read Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson. It wasn’t so much that I enjoyed the story (it’s very dark and unsettling) but it had power! I felt emotionally drained after finishing it, as if I had lived the experiences with the characters. That is good writing!

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H: I just finished UNWHOLLY, the second book in the Unwind series by Neal Shusterman, and I loved it! A lot is going on in both of these novels (many characters and many plotlines), but Shusterman manages to weave them all together in ways that are exciting, surprising, and thought-provoking. I wholeheartedly recommend these books!

3. In your opinion, are film adaptations of novels as good as the original? Not as good? Or better? Why?

R: I think any time you pull apart a huge novel and try to tease out the 90 – 120 minute highlights version, things tend to go wrong! It seldom comes close to a well-loved book for me. But as long as the essence of the characters stays true, I’m willing to overlook a lot. The Hunger Games films have been darn good. Great casting, (with a few unnamed exceptions) striking sets, and can I just say, fabulous costumes.

H: A question close to my heart! As a screenwriter now writing a novel, I’m learning firsthand the differences between the two mediums. Some novels are easy to adapt to film, while others are not. My favourite adaptation of all time is HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON. I read the book first, and it’s a cute, fun and adventurous read, and though there is action, a lot of the hero’s journey is internal. Internal journeys do not translate easily to film. But the screenwriters who adapted the first Dragon film did it perfectly – they kept the novel’s heart and characters and setting, but rewrote the story to create a more filmic, action-orientated plot. And it was brilliant! If they’d tried to write a faithful adaptation of the novel, it would not have worked as well.

4. What is the kindest or most compassionate thing someone has done for you?

R: My husband is my rock. When we started dating my parents were getting a divorce. He ended up helping my whole family through what was one of the worst times in our lives. He did everything from moving furniture, to helping my mom figure out her finances. By the time it was over I knew he was a total keeper.

H: This is a tough question, but I’d have to go with something my grandmother acknowledged was happening in my life during my teen years. I won’t get into the whole story, but it meant the world to me and kept me sane.

5. Do you use bookmarks while reading? What are you currently using for a bookmark(s)?

R: I mostly use an e-reader, but I have a few bookmarks my kids made that I love. One of my favorites is a bookworm. It has plastic eyes and loads of gooey green paint. It’s a total mom magnet!

H: Uh, I generally just use the slip of paper from the library with the due date on it. 😉

6. What is your favorite book cover design of all time? Why? Share a picture / image of it, if it’s possible.Hobbit_cover

R: I’m a sucker for illustrated covers. I think they’re more interesting than most photo covers. One that stands out for me is the old green cover of The Hobbit. There is something iconic about it.

If I Stay covers

H: I don’t have a favourite cover, though I prefer graphic covers over people photos on covers. I am so over the girl’s-face-on-a-book trend. It makes all the YA books look the same! In fact, I bought the more expensive hardcover version of IF I STAY just to avoid the paperback version which has a girl’s face on it.

7. Have you ever read about a real place on Earth in a book (fiction or non-fiction) and wanted to visit it afterwards? If so, which place?

R: Yes, too many places to name them all. I’ll go with Alaska. It made for a perfect adventure vacation, and it’s one I will never forget.

H: Do imaginary places count? Because I wanted to go to Hogwarts!

R: Can I change my answer? I want Hogwarts!

8. What is your favorite season? Why?

R: I would say Fall. The days are cool, but not cold. There is still enough daylight for all the outdoor things I like to do, hike and camp. Plus there are apples and nuts to harvest, perfect for my baking. I tend to bake a lot in the cooler months. Yum! Also, Fall is a hopeful and happy season; the holidays are coming and the kids are so excited.

H: Summer. All my best hand-me-down clothes are for the summer season. Sadly, with two measly months of summer in Canada, I rarely get a chance to wear them. Plus, I hate being cold. The only good thing about winter is bragging rights (I survived biking in minus 30 degrees Celsius!) and the fact that it makes you really appreciate summer.

9. Do you have a “hidden talent”? By that, I mean a talent that you haven’t had a chance to share with others online or in your blog yet. What is that talent?

R: I would call it more oddball than hidden, but I’m a low visibility (black water) SQUBA diver, and I have worked on archeological teams looking for shipwrecks.

H: Robin’s talent is awesome! Um, there’s not much about me that I haven’t shared on this blog, unless we want to dig into my childhood on the farm. Then I would confess that I am a darn good cowgirl. I had a pony who used to spook at any loud noise (so, like, every time we went for a ride) and jump very suddenly sideways, throwing me out of the saddle, but I always landed on my feet. Always. I guess you could say that’s a hidden talent that. Until now, only my mom knew. 😉

10. Are you picky about the writing utensils you use? Do you prefer pens or pencils? Any specific brand or style?

PenR: I like pens, in particular the ones with ultra fine tips and gel ink. My two favorite pens are a Mont Blanc my late mother-in-law gave me, and one covered in Egyptian hieroglyphs and pictures.

H: Pens over pencils, but no specific type. Whatever still has ink in it will do.

11. What is one thing you’re grateful for today?

R: A break in the heat wave. It might sound insignificant to some, but after several days in the 110 range, I’m a mess. Stepping outside everyday was like living in a hot yoga session that never ends!

H: My health. It’s been a rough month mentally and work-wise, but no matter what else is going on, at least I’m healthy.

Now for our questions:

1. If you could instantaneously master one writing skill, what would you choose and why?

2. What author’s style do you admire the most?

3. Have you ever revealed too much about yourself or family in your book or blog, or is every topic fair game?

4. What is the most memorable writing comment you’ve ever gotten? It can be the best, or worst; you decide.

5. When is your muse most active? Are you a night owl, or a member of the 5am club?

6. Have you ever given a book a 1 star review? If so, why? No book titles, please. : )

7. What is the next big thing you want to write about?

8. Do you have any writing rituals? If not, name one thing that always makes you excited to write?

9. What is the single most important quality in a novel, what must an author do to win you over?

10. If you could magically fix one problem with your current WIP, what would you fix?

11. If your blog, or a book suddenly made you rich and famous, what would you do with your success?

Finding a blog without a Liebster Award is no easy trick. Today, we are just throwing open the nomination. Pick one of these questions and tell us a little bit about yourself in the comments. After all, the best part of awards is finding out fun facts about other bloggers.

Thanks for having coffee with us!

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If We Were Having Coffee is a blog hop inspired and run by the lovely and talented Diana at Part Time Monster. Please drop by her place for coffee. You can also see what other bloggers are up to by checking out the hashtag #WeekendCoffeeShare on Twitter.

Author: Writeonsisters.com

Straight talk from the Sisters about blood, sweat and ink. Find us on Twitter @tweetonsisters and follow us on Facebook.

18 thoughts on “Weekend Coffee Share – Blogger Award Q&A”

  1. Congrats on the award! What a fun coffee post. 🙂

    Let’s see…I’m going with question 1. I’d really like to master the art of writing at length in second person. It’s so rarely done and done well, but I do enjoy it when someone does a great job.

  2. I think I will answer #4. I actually wrote a blog post about this way back in 2008 (https://corinajoyc.wordpress.com/2008/03/04/catching-fire/). It was in college. I had a professor that, on the first day of class, told us that what he wanted for each of us to do with our writing was to “catch fire”. Each class meeting he would send us away and ask us to “go write and catch fire”. One day, after sharing what I thought was either the best piece of writing ever or the worst ever, he looked at me sitting at the opposite end of a filled classroom and said, “Corina, you caught fire.” And I was lost…to writing.

    1. Corina,
      Wow, you studied under Arturo Islas!

      *mouth hangs open in stunned silence*

      That is a writing coach (and praise) worthy of being proud of!

  3. Heather likes using library slips for bookmarks and Robin likes fall. Y’all are my kind of people.

    My answer is for question 3: Have you ever revealed too much about yourself or family in your book or blog, or is every topic fair game?

    I write memoir and creative nonfiction so this comes up for me, though I try to keep it out of my head during the writing process. I did write and have something published once that embarrassed someone, but it was because what they told me, that ended up in the story, was a lie. So they were caught publicly in a lie. Now I remind family and tell people everything is fodder. What I see, what I do, what you do, how you treat me.

    If everything fair game? If someone asked me not to write something, I’d consider it. Otherwise, the only rule I work with is that I would NEVER write something out of spite or to hurt others. If an experience affects me and ends up being part of a work, I tell the story as truthfully as I can. I think Anne Lamott is the author who said if people want to be seen favorably, they should have treated you better. I agree. Advice: Treat people kindly, always. 🙂

    1. This is a great answer, Tara. When you write about yourself and others, remembering to keep in check any angry feelings is so important. Blog writing shouldn’t ever be a tool for hurting others out of spite.
      However, I don’t share your total openness. I like to keep my home life mostly quiet. But I also have kids, and they deserve to have some privacy.

  4. 😀 Loved reading your answers, Heather and Robin! It was a great way to get to know you both a little more. Robin, you’ve gone SCUBA diving? That’s awesome. I’d love to try that someday!

    Um, if you ladies go to Hogwarts, can I go with you??? *lol*

    As for your questions, I’ll answer your #11. If the WIP is a success, there are two things I already know I would do as a result:

    1) Write more books, of course. *wink*

    2) I’d love to be an in-person writing coach or teacher of some kind, maybe starting with occasional classes through non-for-profit creating writing organizations like Grub Street in Boston. That might not happen right away, but I want to “pay it forward” by sharing my knowledge and lessons with others and helping them make their stories as compelling and strong as they can be.

  5. I’ll pick number 6. Have you ever given a one-star review? No! And I would never, either. I know from experience how hard and time-consuming it is to write a book, how much passion and pieces of an author’s soul goes into their words. For that reason alone I would never trash someone else’s work.

    Robin: I love a series on Netflix entitled Twisted. Do you know if it was based on the book? If you’re not familiar, it’s about a high school boy who was accused of strangling his aunt (?) with a jump rope and sent away for years. He returns to his small town, hooks up with his two childhood best friends (both girls) and the story goes from there.

    Loved learning more about the two of you!

    1. Your Netflix Twisted sounds like it has the right vibe to be an extension of my book’s world building, but it’s not from the same story as far as I can tell.
      The book focuses on a boy returning to high school after being convicted of vandalism. He goes from being the kid no one knows (the gamer geek) to being the focus of too much attention. His life spirals out control. Every school crime is pinned on him, including a rape he didn’t commit. His family is also falling apart, his parent marriage is over and they have lost faith in him. They want to send him away to military school and forget about him. He wants to kill himself and end the pain. It’s very dark stuff!

  6. That was fun to read; thanks for sharing it. That SCUBA (SQUBA?) thing is pretty cool. I’ve dived a lot but never helped an archeological team with shipwrecks, and I have no excuse because there are a ton of shipwrecks in Florida where I live!

    And Heather, how do you say you grandmother sensed you were having a tricky time – and then not tell is what it is??? Talk about baiting a reader.

    Okay, here goes. You said pick one question so I picked at random.

    What author’s style do you admire the most?
    Mark Twain. Lame, right? Yawn. How many of us were forced to read Tom Sawyer in school? And why does a book tend to suck when you’re forced to read it in school? Anyway, if what somebody wrote during the Ulysses S. Grant administration can still make people laugh on their iPads, they’ve done it right, and that’s my take on Twain. Not freaking Tom Sawyer, which I first saw as a musical, for god’s sake, but the stuff he did after that, the hilarious essays and speeches. The man is still quotable and timely today even if you don’t attribute the quote to him.

    Why Twain when there are so many other – hipper, trendier – writers?

    I was working on a story and happened to need a bit of inspiration, and I remembered something funny I thought he’d said. I didn’t think to Google it, because why make life easy, so I went to Amazon to see if he had eBooks. I could buy the eBook, look up what I needed, and if the eBook was expensive, I’d just return it. Don’t look at me like that. You’ve kept the tag in a blouse for the same reason, and didn’t even get a story out of it.

    Anyway, I was 100 pages into an eBook of his essays before I realized it. I didn’t find the quote, but I debated returning the book because, well, I’m a good Catholic boy and it’s wrong to do… just about everything. So I took a deep breath and happened to glance at a bookshelf about five feet from my writing desk (Doesn’t it sound nicer when I call it that instead of the coffee table? I think so, too.)

    There, encased behind glass my five year old had yet to break, was a colorful display of classic books I’d bought right after college and had probably only recently paid off. Physical books that had more or less become the paper equivalent of wall art. I opened the case and sure enough, next to Edgar Allen Poe and the Brothers Grimm (a lot of their stuff is different from the Disney version. Who knew? The Rapunzel is actually kinda slutty.) was The Complete Works of Mark Twain. I opened it up and saw on glorious cellulose the very information I’d been looking for. And, having paid for the words once, I had no thoughts of burning in Hell for returning the eBook. (Sorry, Sister Mary Ann. God understands overpaying.)

    In the “complete” works – which it wasn’t, and it even said so right after you opened the book, so I felt even less guilty about the eBook return – was an essay titled How To Tell A Story. Well, I thought, let’s see if the old guy’s still got it. Maybe I can learn about writing from one of the masters.

    It was a rambling piece explaining about why humor is so hard to do, and since humor is what I usually attempt, it seemed especially fitting. The best part was when he explained that some southern gentlemen types will tell a rambling story, going on and on sometimes in great detail about a particularly small segment of the story, wandering off the main vein trying to recall a man’s name who plays a small bit in the overall piece, and to explain that while his role is small it was also not super important (I think that may be a direct quote – Twain actually said super important) and then after going waaaaaaaaaaay down that road, he gives up and ABANDONS IT, goes back to the main story, remembers the man’s name a few minutes later, and as the reader or audience takes a collective sigh for taking us down a blind alley dead end that he subsequently un-dead ended, he stops and admits Oh yeah, that guy wasn’t actually in this story, forget about that – and goes right on with his main piece.

    I was rolling. I think audiences have been rolling in the aisles over that one for 150 years. I’d love to do something like that in a book or a speech, just to see the reaction. It was almost performance art, and it was brilliant – even 150 years later. So I’m a bit more respectful when people wax poetically about F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (another forced read) and his green light shining over the water of East Egg, or my cousin’s irrepressible thirst for all things Hogwarts or whatever, because when a particular itch has been scratched, it is a thing of relief, but when something beautiful and amazing happens, opening the eyes of your imagination in ways you never knew possible, it might be a defining moment in your life as a reader or author, and it only leaves you wanting more.

    Harry Potter may get there but Twain already did, and although they paint in different colors, that’s still something insanely impressive.

    1. I’m also a fan of Twain. You’re right, his work is just as funny today as it was in his own day. Even my kids crack up with I read Roughing It aloud to them. : )

  7. Congratulations on the award 😀 It was great to learn more about your history, what led you to blogging, and the things you enjoy. All your questions are great, though some of them are really tough! I’m going to answer question 4 – my most memorable writing comment came from Taylor Grace. It was a comment about how much she liked my characters in Hands of Evil, that she got the sense they would make awesome friends. She really understood them, saw them as I do in my head – it’s the best kind of compliment. Have a great weekend 🙂

    1. Wow, a fantastic example of how a single comment can make your day. It’s what all writers hope for, a perfect connection to the reader. Lucky you! : )

  8. Congratulations, I loved your answers! It really felt like an interview (I used to interview a lot of people, and well the interview feel comes across perfectly).
    I don’t want to ruin the fun, and will give your questions a shot 🙂

    1. If you could instantaneously master one writing skill, what would you choose and why?

    2. What author’s style do you admire the most?
    I think that I’d have to say Bruce Chatwin, combining fiction, history and own experiences in his travel books is just amazing.

    3. Have you ever revealed too much about yourself or family in your book or blog, or is every topic fair game?
    When I was on Facebook I do believe that I revealed too much, but well I left when I was 21, so I blame my age… No, on my blog I am not revealing too much I think, my family members and friends only get initials or nicknames (little one for my daughter), but that might change as I plan to share my mother’s website and my sister’s blog in the future…

    4. What is the most memorable writing comment you’ve ever gotten? It can be the best, or worst; you decide.
    During this years A to Z challenge, I received this commet “Will you be compiling these flash pieces into a book? Illustrated? (I’m hoping: yes, and yes.)”, what a compliment!

    5. When is your muse most active? Are you a night owl, or a member of the 5am club?
    When my daughter is sleeping and my fiancé is at work, so that means mornings or her nap time. But sometimes I cannot go to sleep as my muse is whispering into my ears.

    6. Have you ever given a book a 1 star review? If so, why? No book titles, please. : )
    One star? I don’t think so, I think that’S the type of book that I don’t continue reading and thus cannot review. I don’T give out stars, I just try to write a fair review.

    7. What is the next big thing you want to write about?
    I have a time traveling story unravelling in my head, don’t tell anyone just yet. And on my blog I’d like to talk about my thoughts on feminism.

    8. Do you have any writing rituals? If not, name one thing that always makes you excited to write?
    Erm, no not yet. But I think that I really enjoy writing into my moleskin.

    9. What is the single most important quality in a novel, what must an author do to win you over?
    I have to be able to relate to a character, I mean be able to picture them and want to accompany them in their adventure.

    10. If you could magically fix one problem with your current WIP, what would you fix?
    I would manage to transfer my thoughts onto paper without having to write them down.

    11. If your blog, or a book suddenly made you rich and famous, what would you do with your success?
    Oh that would be so nice, but that’s a bit far away at the moment, but a goal yeah. So what would I do, I think go on a nice book tour that will enable me to visit friends and family all over.

    Thanks for asking all of these great and fun questions! Have a great weekend!

    1. Hi Solveig,
      We actually had you on our list of three bloggers we thought might not already have a Liebster Award. I guess we should have just stuck with a super small list, because you come through like a champ! I think you totally earned the award with these fantastic answers.

      I hereby grant you the Liebster Award. Grab a badge and go forth and make your own questions for bloggers to answer. May you have better luck finding ten blogger to bestow the award on than we did. : )

      I love your answers. I would have the same basic answer to number 9 as yours. I need to feel eager about joining the protagonist’s adventure. If I don’t care, I don’t keep reading.

We love comments and questions.