Tuesday, April 1, 2014

PPWC 2014 Q&A - Becky Clark

Becky Clark, Author

1. What was the defining moment that made your realize you wanted to be an author?

When my kids were very young, not only was I a stay-at-home mom to them, but I was also Mom to a passel of squatters and interlopers whose own mothers skipped happily off to work each day, leaving us behind in a quivering mass upon the floor, fighting for scraps of paper and crayons like so many tiny Lord of the Flies wannabes. (I kid. Everyone knows I would not be bested in a fight over crayons. Especially the sharp ones.)

Every nap time, to escape this mind-numbing slice of daycare (in)humanity, I skipped happily to my computer where I wrote personal essays and light-hearted opinion pieces to save my sanity and salvage my few remaining brain cells. Hearken back to the days before blogs or even the internet. I wrote for me, never really expecting anyone to read my scribblings. Ever. But then I stumbled on a regional magazine seeking submissions. I readied my favorite piece. Before I could change my mind (because who was I kidding; me, a writer?) and retrieve the envelope from the clutches of the mailbox (kids, ask your parents), it sunk into the dark abyss. I have a brain like a sieve [see above comment re: my few remaining brain cells] so I promptly forgot all about it. Until the day I got a letter offering $50 and a contract. In that moment it occurred to me I might be able to do something I enjoyed and appeared to be good at. And maybe strangers would continue to send me money as a small token of their thanks. I’m grateful every day for that editor.

2. What is the one thing you cannot work without? What is your creative vice?

My computer. How in the world did people write 200 page manuscripts with benefit of copy-and-paste, global searches for passive verbs, and red highlighting for passages you know you need to fix later? But that’s more of a tool than a vice, so I’ll say copious amounts of booze. I am a writer, after all, with an image to maintain.

3. If you could 'revive' any literary figure from the past for a one hour conversation, who would you choose?

If you’re talking about a real person, I’d like to chat with Dorothy Parker. I think she and I would be fast friends. I’d sit next to her at the Algonquin and try to keep up with the martinis and the bon mots. I’d like to know how much of her persona was real and how much was myth. Strike that. I don’t ever want to know if it was myth. If you’re talking about someone fictional, I’d like to push that awful Life of Pi kid overboard. Not much of a conversation, I admit, but it would make me happy.

4. What is one of your more notable or unusual conference or convention experiences?

At my very first PPW conference at the turn of the century — my first conference at all, in fact — I was so green I gave my book to the bigwig agent I was interested in. I had self-published it back when that was a dirty word and I asked if she’d take a look and tell me what she thought. Without hesitation she agreed, saying, “I’ll read it on the plane.” She did and a couple weeks later gave me some good advice. Subsequently I learned that agents never take manuscripts or books from conference-goers. Pish.

5. If we asked your friends and family to compare you to a cartoon character, which would they choose, and why?

Let’s see. My husband would be looking to score points, so he’d say Jessica Rabbit. I think a good case could be made for Woody Woodpecker, because of the hair, the laugh and the relentless optimism. Perhaps the Tazmanian Devil because I’m always a whirlwind of activity. My kids might see me as Linda Belcher. I wouldn’t disagree. She loves to dance.

6. What is one thing would you like aspiring authors to know about the road to success?

There are bad drivers, gaping potholes, crumbling bridges, blown transmissions, skeevy rest stops, and sun glare so bright it makes you want to become a mushroom. But do NOT miss this journey. There’s nothing else like it. And when you get where you’re going, load up the car, grab your sunglasses and do it again.

About the Author: Becky Clark is usually pretty funny. Sometimes clever. Often silly. She writes and publishes low calorie cookbooks and novels. Well, the novels aren’t low calorie. Wait. Yes, they are. People say generous things about her and her writing. Mostly. She blogs irregularly at http://www.BeckyClarkBooks.com and http://www.LazyLowCalLifestyle.com to connect with readers who like her style and to hear interesting, eclectic things from them. She’ll never overwhelm you with big words or good nutrition. Like a doughnut frosted with delicious loquaciousness. She is firmly of the opinion writers should make money from their writing, which is why she loves being in control of her own career. She takes all the risk so she feels entitled to all the reward. If you buy her a beer, she’ll tell you all her secrets. Like how she’s #7 in a long line of eight siblings, whose progeny could populate an entire town. It would, of course, be Lord-of-the-Flies chaotic. They’d forget to organize trash collection and none of them would want to be in charge of wastewater. They’d have a majestic and enviable library, though.

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