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I love when people ask me questions about books, writing and reading.
10 Questions for Susan Wiggs
1. What was your favorite book as a child?
SW: I loved so many books as a child, it’s hard to narrow it down. Yertle the Turtle by Dr Seuss was the first I bought with my own money. I sobbed over You Were Princess Last Time about a girl whose mean sister cut off her long, beautiful hair (I had long, beautiful hair.). Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White was one I read again and again. The whole world is in that book–life, death, friendship, family, loyalty, humor, pathos, suspense, drama and an uplifting ending…everything I hope readers find in my own books.
2. What is your favorite book right now?
SW: An unfinished novel called Daisy+Logan+Julian, by my favorite author (me). I’m not being facetious; I really do love this book and I’ve wanted to write it for a long time. It’s about continuing characters from past books, and I can’t wait to write their story. But I do have to wait, because I have other deadlines to meet. Soon, though!
3. What book do you like to give away as a present?
SW: I Like You by Amy Sedaris–it’s everyone’s childhood in one big, funny book. Meeting God In Quiet Places by F. LaGarde Smith is a comforting book about walking, meditation and prayer. And Literary Feasts, a cookbook with photos and recipes by famous authors with an intro by chef Greg Atkinson; the proceeds go to raise money for libraries.
4. What book are you reading right now?
SW: The Reserve by Russell Banks, about privileged families at an Adirondack Mountain retreat in the 1930s. It’s wonderful! And Save the Cat by Blake Snyder, who passed away suddenly this August. Wonderful book on storytelling.
5. What book have you always wanted to read, but haven’t yet gotten around to?
SW: The da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. I believe I’m the only person on the planet who hasn’t read it yet.
6. What book would you have liked to have written yourself?
SW: Same answer as #2 above–the book about Daisy from my series, The Lakeshore Chronicles. I wish I was already done with that book! I feel so much pressure to do a good job, I’m almost afraid to start it. I don’t want my readers to feel let down.
7. What book (not your own) should have made the bestseller lists?
SW: Love in Bloom by Sheila Roberts–a book about all the loves that fill a woman’s life. It’s wonderful, the kind of novel you want to share with all the women you know. And Oxygen by Carol Cassella, an absorbing page-turner with a huge heart and many intriguing twists. Both books deserve a wide audience. In the children’s arena, Looking for Bapu by Anjali Banerjee and Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors should have been bestsellers.
8. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
SW: David Copperfield (I’m a sucker for writers in novels), Huckleberry Finn, Edmond Dantes (The Count of Monte Cristo) and Frodo Underhill from The Lord of the Rings. All of them were such strivers; they never gave up. My favorite romantic hero is (no surprise) Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. Restraint can be so sexy. I wish someone would explain that to Barkis.
9. Who is your favorite fictional heroine?
SW: Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh–she inspired me to be a writer. Jo March from Little Women –another writer who never gave up on her dream, even when her bratty sister burned her manuscript. I cried harder then than I did when Beth died! And Jane Eyre, who never gave up on love.
10. What is your “guilty” reading pleasure?
SW: I never, ever feel guilty about reading anything. All reading is good. Books that are dismissed as frivolous by some readers can be life-changing for others, so I would never want anyone to feel guilty for reading anything. I sure don’t!
I’m a tough sell when it comes to movie adaptations of books. When the book is a beloved children’s classic–even tougher. When the adaptation is a feature-length film based on a 32-page picture book…well…. But the good news is, the director is Spike Jonze and the story was adapted by Dave Eggers. And the trailer is very watchable. See for yourself here. What do you think? Will it be the next Wizard of Oz?
Another Q from Deborah: Back in ’89, you wrote a picture book, The Canary Who Sailed with Columbus. How did that book come about? Have you considered writing more children’s books?
SW: I wrote it for my daughter, who was five at the time. I’d been researching a historical novel about the first Columbus voyage, and we made a family trip to Spain, so it was a way to give her a glimpse of the process. I didn’t really expect to publish the children’s book, but the illustrator and I put something together and we sold it to a small Texas publisher. I loved it, because I got to do school and library visits and meet adorable young readers. It would be fun to do another one day, but there’s nothing on the horizon at this time. Children’s book publishing is tough–a bunny-eat-bunny world out there!
How about you? What writing project have you tackled just for fun, or for your kid?
2007, like every other year, is the year of the book. Fully confident that none of my friends or family read my blog (really, they don’t), I’ll post a partial list of some of the books I’ve bought as gifts this year:
- Rabbit’s Gift by George Shannon. The ultimate pay-it-forward story, it is my pick for Picture Book of the Season.
- Ultimate Horse Barns by Randy Leffingwell. Bonus! This came signed by the author. Glorious coffee table book.
- On Strike for Christmas by you-know-who. The men take over the holiday preparations. Squeaky clean fun!
- Where Angels Go by Debbie Macomber–the annual Christmas tradition continues.
- The Edge of Winter by Luanne Rice. Nobody–but nobody–writes about the beach like Luanne.
- Street of a Thousand Blossoms by Gail Tsukiyama, signed by my sweet friend Gail.
- Rolling Paper Graphics. A curious art form, for sure.
- To Catch a Mermaid by Suzanne Selfors. A brilliant fantasy adventure for the middle-grade reader.
- Twilight by Stephenie Meyer for the teenage nieces–the book every teen is reading.
- Grace in Thine Eyes by Liz Curtis Higgs. A stirring Scottish historical by a very special author.
- Manspace: A Primal Guide to Marking Your Territory. A decorating book for guys.
- Loving Frank by Nancy Horan. A novel with an interesting premise involving Frank Lloyd Wright.
- Manners by Kate Spade. I knew there was a reason I love this woman!
- Ya-yas in Bloom by Rebecca Wells. Warm, tender and nostalgic, and it ends with a Christmas pageant!
- Meeting God in Quiet Places: The Cotswold Parables by F. LaGard Smith is the ultimate comfort read.
- The Year of Living Biblically by AJ Jacobs. I bought this after listening to his podcast on Amazon.
- Leave Me Alone, I’m Reading by Maureen Corrigan. The book you need after all of the above.