Thursday, July 14, 2011
Interview with author Ann Carbine Best: Part II
On Tuesday author Ann Carbine Best talked about her new book In The Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets (WiDo Publishing, 2011). Today she’s back to talk about what it’s like to be a writer as well as give a sneak peek of her upcoming book.
By the way, Ann would like to send a signed copy of In The Mirror to one lucky winner. Contest details are at the end of this post.
Did you miss the first part of the interview? It’s available at http://michellefayard.blogspot.com/2011/07/interview-with-author-ann-carbine-best.html. And now for the second part ...
Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so, what is your most effective cure?
I really don’t experience this. I just have to “make” time to write!
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
The best compliment, from more than one reader, is “I couldn’t stop reading it.” The toughest criticism was years ago from my departed friend, who is in the book. Susan Ream said, “You get to the edge of the emotion, and then you pull back.” Seems simple now, but for a long time I just couldn’t see this.
If you had to choose, which writer would you like to have as a mentor?
Abigail Thomas, daughter of writer Lewis Thomas (The Lives of a Cell) and author of three wonderful memoirs. When I read A Three Dog Life, I fell in love with her gems of wisdom and her understated writing style.
Can you share a little about your current work with us? Will you be writing more memoirs?
I just finished and sent to a contest a story that’s based on my life but reads like fiction. I intend to write more such stories. But my current book in progress is another memoir. Over the past six years or so, I wrote parts of it. It’s about my relationship with my mother, and especially with my brother whom I rescued from the homeless shelter. Many times before he died in March of this year he told me that I “saved” him. Originally, I called the memoir Rescue Mission; this is an actual place in Salt Lake City where he lived. But now my working title is The Other Side of the Mirror: Learning to Love My Brother Again. I just need to decide how to structure it. I find this the most difficult to do.
Following is a scene from The Other Side of the Mirror: Learning to Love My Brother Again:
“How do you feel?” I asked (my brother) the day I drove him from the homeless shelter to Valley Mental Health to get his medications.
“Disoriented,” he said, settling himself in the back seat of my van with his sack of prescription drugs.
I turned the key in the ignition and headed for the freeway. These trips back and forth across town were costing me time and money, but I wanted to help him. Was he disabled? If he was, how disabled was he? Was he one of the mentally ill that wander homeless through our cities? Organizations try to help them with shelter, clothes, food and medicine. Some of them find work, but often they don’t. They lose their room and are back on the streets, a cycle that repeats itself over and over again. They usually have no family for support.
Danny’s oldest daughter, in Seattle, wanted to pay for a room, but only for one month. One month, she figured, was long enough for him to find a job. She would send me the money. That meant I would be keeper of the money. If she wanted him to stand on his own feet, I told her she should send the money to him. She didn’t want to do that, but she wanted him to have his own room.
Melinda and I argued cell phone to cell phone.
“How can he get a room if he doesn’t have a job?” I asked her, my voice rising in anger.
It was a stalemate. I hung up.
What do you do when you aren’t writing?
I have an aide for my daughter Monday through Friday, six hours a day. Otherwise, I’m her aide. She’s high maintenance since she can’t walk, but despite the brain injury her thought processes and verbal abilities are high. It isn’t like caring for a child you have to watch constantly, so I have wonderful blocks of time when I can write/read/blog. At least once a month I also see my other three children and grandchildren, and Sunday is church.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Read, read, read.
What is something about you or your writing that might surprise your readers?
No one knows I once wanted to be a concert violinist or pianist. I played both when I was a teenager and went to numerous concerts. I loved the music! But when I signed up for music theory my freshman year in college, I knew I wasn’t good enough to major in music. In fact, my professor said I wasn’t and suggested it as a minor. Music, I discovered, is a very difficult major. But then, I stayed with my first loves, which were literature and creative writing.
Visit Ann at http://anncarbinebest.com/.
WIN A COPY OF IN THE MIRROR!
Would you like to have a copy of this inspirational book? Here’s how you can enter for up to eight chances to win:
+1 Become a new follower. (+2 If you’re already following.)
+1 Subscribe to Bird’s-eye View. (+2 If you already subscribe.)
+1 Tweet this contest.
+2 Follow my tweets.
+1 Post this on your Facebook wall.
+2 Like my Facebook fan page.
Then comment on this post with your point total and your e-mail address! If you commented on last week’s book review and/or the first part of this interview, commenting on this post will give you an additional +1; give yourself another +1 for retweeting and another +1 for a new FB wall post.
The contest will be open until midnight July 17, and the winner will be announced July 20. Good luck!