Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Won’t You Be My Neighbor—Peggy Eddleman

I thought after such a HUGE break from blogging I needed to bring you a HUGE interview. So I have none other than the uber talented Peggy Eddleman! I'm a little in awe of her knowledge of writing, so I'm hoping to get some great tips from her.

Angie: So Peggy, I'm still in my PJs and it's already 90 degrees in Orlando, but I will put on a Mr. Rogers sweater just for you. 

Peggy: It's only 73 degrees here, but I will put on sunglasses and a swim suit just for you. And I just stuck a little umbrella in my Diet Coke, since in my mind, we're sitting next to your new pool. Um... Why are you wearing a sweater when we're poolside?

Angie: Good question. It does seem like a fashion misstep now that I think about it :) We can sit by the pool, but I'm going to cover up because I'm super sunburned! We went to Daytona Beach on Saturday and evidently spray on sunscreen doesn't work as well as the traditional kind, but I will wear shorts :)

Are you ready for the first question? I'll make it a fun one.

Peggy: *Dips toes in water* Ready!

Angie: Ooo...I've got a good one. Which Sesame Street character are you most like and why?

Peggy: Ahem. Okay... It's been a while, so I'm going to have to go with the ones that have been around forever in my decision making. Let's see....

Should I go with the obvious-- Cookie Monster? Me do love cookies. In fact, I've been known to write for them. ;)
Or should I go with the Count? I am a huge fan of math.
Oh! My sister-in-law grew up in Mexico, and she said that Big Bird is named Peggy there. So there's that.... (Unless she was just yanking my chain.)

But I'm going to go with Elmo. Why? Because he's always happy!

Angie: LOL! I didn't even think of Cookie Monster when I asked that question. That is too funny. Elmo is an excellent choice! He is shockingly happy. Another way you are like Elmo is that you teach kids just like he does :)

Peggy: And who doesn't like speaking in third person?

Angie: Angie knows she does. Here is another fun one...If I gave you $100 (I'm not going to btw :) and you had to spend it right this second, what would you buy?

Peggy: This second? Then that means I don't have time to think practically. :) I'm going to go with shoes! Red 4" heels. Peggy likes red.

Angie: Good choice! You look great in red.

Peggy: Doesn't everyone look great in red? It's because RED IS AWESOME.

Angie: Agreed :) Next question. What non-writing activity do you do that helps you the most with your writing?

Peggy: Hands down, hanging out with people.

I hang out the most with my kids and my hubby, but quite often with my extended family, my friends, other writers, nine-year-old cub scouts, neighbors. I think that sometimes we like to hunker down in our writing (or revising!) cave, but really--- it's the NOT being in your cave that helps you the most when you ARE in your cave.

When you write about people, it helps to be around people, right? (Even when you just really, really want to hang out in your cave because it's actually quite nice there, and you don't get to see those cave walls nearly often enough and oh my gosh, can people please stop needing me this much and let me write?!t me write?! Haha! Oh, come on. You’ve thought that. We all have.)

Plus it adds a layer of normalcy that definitely helps balance the *ahem* non-normalcy of shoving our characters up trees and throwing rocks at them. Or, you know, even crazier things like revising a story for the billionty-second time.

Angie: That is an excellent advice. I've often thought that writers need to be armchair psychologists. You can only find out about human nature by being around people.

Peggy: Speaking of being around people, you are really rockin' that sunburn! 

See? Everyone looks great in red. It's just usually less painful if you wear the red as clothing, versus skin.

Angie: You are just full of wisdom today! The fact that I'm strung out on Ibuprofen helps the pain :) 

Because you are so freakishly successful and most of us bloggers have a bit of a writer crush on you, I have a question I know the people would ask if they were so lucky to be sitting pool side with you ...What do you wish you had know about publishing before starting the process?

Peggy: Wow. Now I’m the one wearing red! *fans burning cheeks*

A few weeks ago, I was updating my mom on everything over the phone, and she asked, "Would you have ever done this had you known what you were getting yourself into?!" Of course my answer was yes-- I did know what I was getting myself into. (Thank you authors who write blogs!)

But I guess I wish I'd have known just how hard it would be. I mean I knew it would be hard, I just didn't know exactly what that meant. Or how often I'd have to sacrifice things I really wanted. How often I'd be slogging through mental exhaustion to meet a deadline, and then how I'd be asked to come up with answers to hard questions before recovering. Or how hard it would be to get revisions just right, when it is no longer just about me and what I like. Or how it feels like I could never possibly do enough, even if I did nothing but work.

I'm not going to kid you-- this is a VERY HARD JOB. Rewarding, yes! It's a job I love! But it's hard. Especially as a debut, because there's so many things that have to be built from the ground up. When you're writing and querying, it's so easy to want the shiny contract NOW, but really, now might not be the best time in your life.

Maybe it's all just about patience. Patience to get the book right, patience to get the query right, but most importantly, patience to get the timing right.

Angie: This is a brilliant answer! Nothing worth having is ever easy. I imagine books are just like kids. To raise a kid right requires EVERYTHING you have. I picture publishing being similar.

And as for timing, I know you and I have the same religious beliefs so hopefully I'm not over stepping or being inappropriate for an interview. But I believe that God does things according to his own time table and it is ALWAYS in our best interest. It may not feel like that at the time, but sometimes not getting exactly what we want when we want it is the best thing for us!

Peggy: I agree! Things always happen at the right time. Even when we might REALLY want it to be a different time!

But that waiting time is the perfect time to learn everything you can about the craft, so when the timing IS right, you can come out with a bang!

Angie: Well said! Here is your last question and since you are already in your swimming suit and rocking 4 inch red heels I'd say you are dressed for it too!

Peggy...What person do you most admire and why?

Peggy: And don't forget the sunglasses-- these are some stylish sunglasses! (I picked them up from your kitchen counter on my way out here. I hope you don't mind.)

Can I cheat and say two? My parents.

They have this crazy unfailing belief that my siblings and I can do anything. I'm not kidding! If I went to my parents and said... Oh, say... "Hey, mom and dad. I was thinking I'd run for governor." They'd totally believe I could. (They'd probably believe I could run for president, but that would involve me moving more than a mile from where I live now, and we all know that'd never happen.) If I said, "I think I'll open a restaurant," they'd totally believe I could.

When I said, "I'd like to publish books in the national market," they totally believed I could. It's an incredible thing to be able to fall back on! To know that when my faith in myself wavered, I could borrow theirs. (I'm actually triply lucky, because my hubby and kids are the same way.) That's how I want to be for my kids. To be that person who knows without a doubt that they can do whatever crazy thing they set their minds to.

Angie: I love it!!! I give you a 10 for the awesome answer and for looking super stylish :) You sure are blessed to have such wonder parents! I think we could solve most of the worlds problems if we had more parents like yours.

It's been so awesome to have you here today. I always love talking to you in the flesh and online. 

Peggy: It's been awesome to be here! Can I stay all day? Because your new digs rock. *Gasp!* We should have a pool party! What's better than hanging out at your pool than hanging out at your pool with everyone?! 

(But I call wearing your sunglasses.)

Angie: It's a date! Everyone is invited :) Thanks Peggy.

Peggy: Thank YOU! I feel like I hung out at the pool with you all day. :)

Isn’t Peggy great! Her MG book "Through The Bombs Breath" published by Random House will be out int the fall of 2013. I wanted to plug it here for her, but she is still working out all the details so it will have to wait. But you should all go check out her blog “Will Write For Cookies” and soak in all her knowledge.


Monday, July 30, 2012

I’m Back

Wow, that was a long sabbatical. I know for sure that I would rather be blogging than packing and unpacking boxes. Seriously! I thought I might drown in all the boxes.

But I’m back and super excited to be in a state where I can blog. I may miss a day here or there while I try and finish up my new house, but not months.

I REALLY missed you all. I feel so out of touch. I have no idea what’s been going on. I hope you all landed agents and lucrative book deals! If not I hope you have all at least been writing :)

Tell me how you are and any fun news (I mean “fun” and “news” very loosely).

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