I write stuff for kids...and muse on writing, children's books, and the publishing industry in general

Monday, May 9, 2011

Interview with Bess Weatherby (It's the world, dear)

Today I'm interviewing Bess Weatherby from It's the world, dear. I've been following Bess for ages now and I love reading her blog posts. They're so descriptive and "in the moment" - I always feel like I'm right there with her, wherever she may be.

Take it away Bess!

Question 1 - Tell us about yourself (to make it a little harder, I’ll give you 10 words exactly)

Post-college writer avoiding 9-5 by nannying, novels and New York.

Question 2 - Which genre do you prefer to write in? Would you ever change genres? Children’s or Adult fiction?

I have an unhealthy relationship with Lord of the Rings, so I started out writing fantasy. Two Middle-Grade books and then a YA. I tend toward epic, high-fantasy, but I'm trying to ground my new book closer to home. One day, toward the end of high school, I was sitting in my room, alone in my cloak, looking out at a field of sunflowers. I realized that, as much as I love Tolkien and Lewis and George MacDonald, I'm an American; I'll never be able to write kings or queens without cringing, elves don't live in corn fields and pioneers are simply practical. American epic fantasy isn't really a genre, but that's the genre I'm writing in now.

And the story about the sunflowers isn't true. But everything else is. Scout's honor.

Question 3 - Describe your current WIP. What stage are you at – drafting, revisions, etc?

My new book is the first of a series involving multiple characters. Usually I just write, plot be darned, but this time, knowing how involved the story was, I created a thorough outline first. Working from that, I’m at about 50,000 words on the first book, and am fine-tuning the outlines of the other books, one a month. At this rate, I should have a polished draft with extensive outlines of the sequels by November. That’s the goal, anyway. Then, quite possibly, Book Two during NaNoWMo? We’ll see.

Rach: A great goal! Best of luck with it.


Question 4: Answer these in a sentence:
  • I’m happiest when...
I'm with my siblings. I fall smack in the middle of five kids. They're the reason I write. And if any of them read this they will punch me for being corny, but it's true. All my characters have big families. That’s the “Write what you know” part of my writing.
  • My biggest quirk is...
I would really prefer to never wear pants.
  • I blog because...
The same reason I write: I'm really awkward in person.
  • The thing that most annoys me is...
In New York there are many, many things to be annoyed with. I usually channel this annoyance into my blog. Mostly rants about hipsters. Or pigeons. Or people calling me a bad mother because I let the kid I nanny chase pigeons. While he attacks, I yell at them that He is not my child! and Mind your own business!
People in New York never do.
  • One thing you’d never guess about me is...
I never wanted to move to New York. In fact, I always wanted to live in a cabin in the woods. As a child I even imagined lying to my children, convincing them that it was the 1800's. Unfortunately, M. Night Shamalyn stole my idea and I realized that I was unlikely to find a guy who would go along with this plan. Also I look really bad in a braid. So from there, with no car, I ended up in a closet in Manhattan. Go figure.
  • The writer I’d most like to be (and why) is...
William Faulkner. He would sit on his porch and shoot the breeze with his buddies, drink good whiskey, yell at passersby, then go inside and write books like The Sound and the Fury. Anyone who can drink while writing the most accurate portrayal of a mentally ill person in the history of America has my vote for president. And life-best-led.
  • If I knew my books would never be published, I would...
Storm the Flatiron building. Not really. I think I'd actually relax. I might move back to Texas, sit on the porch with my best friends, drink Manhattans, yell at passersby and write books for the important people in my life.
Question 5 - Where would you say you’re at in your writing journey? What still lies ahead of you?

I’ve written three books, so that should mean something impressive, eh? I like saying that. Three novels. Well, three manuscripts. Three doorstops. I used to be ignorantly confident, but the more I write, the more I'm daunted and humbled. There is so much to learn, so I’m concentrating on seeing and capturing. New York is the perfect place to do that; there is so much strangeness and beauty here. With my blog, I’m teaching myself to keep my eyes open, to spin a story from subway rats and debutantes, the way they bump into each other here. That gives me richer fodder for my books. It’s seeing what’s already in the world. That’s all writing is really: making sense of things.

I can remember so clearly the first time I closed my eyes against that computer-screen headache and thought Writing is, like, hard. But that's part of the process. If it wasn't hard, the result wouldn't be any good, and if I didn't like it, I wouldn't do it. For now, I see no other way to live my life.

Rach: Amen

Question 6 - Lastly but not least, chocolate or cupcakes?

Cupcakes. With coffee. For breakfast.

Rach: Ooh, what's not to love!

It was lovely learning more about you Bess! If you're not already following her, pop on over to It's the world, dear and say hi!






22 comments:

Jules (The Great, The Good and The Bad) said...

This was a really interesting interview to review!

Rogue Mutt said...

I like her blog because then I can vicariously feel like a New Yorker without actually having to deal with all the traffic and hipsters and stuff.

Colene Murphy said...

Fantastic interview! She and you both rock! And if kids won't chase the pigeons...who will?

Wendy G. Ewurum said...

Rach what an awesome interview. In fact i find all your interviews captivating. Thank you, she sounds intriguing.

Zan Marie said...

Hey, if they chase pigeons, who cares? My puppies like to chase birds and squirrels and possums, Oh My!

Great interview. Thanks, Rach and Bess.

Margo Berendsen said...

Oh, I love this new genre: American Epic Fantasy!!!! And wow, I wonder if I could sum myself up in 10 words like that. Very impressive. Very quotable: "that's all writing is: making sense of things"

lbdiamond said...

GREAT interview! Thanks for sharing!

Alleged Author said...

Awesome interview! How funny that she'd prefer never to wear pants! If I had to wear anything else, I might murder someone. :P

Bess Weatherby said...

Yay! It's posted! Thanks so much Rachael. This made my week :)

And thanks for all the kind comments.

In hindsight, I probably should have explained that I prefer skirts or shorts or leggings. Not that I don't wear anything below the waist. That would just be WEIRD.

Although in New York? Who knows . . .

A viva la revolucion against the pigeons. They are AWFUL.

catherinemjohnson said...

Brilliant interview, so much personality shining through. I would have let my au pair kids chase pigeons too :)

Ann said...

Great Interview Rachael. Enjoyed learning more about Bess. Already a follower.

Chris Phillips said...

Fantastic interview.

Sophia Richardson said...

Awesome interview, I think I'm going to have to stalk Bess over to her blog.
- Sophia.

Car Title Loans said...

I'm almost am positive that Bess and I are the same person. I'm incredibly awkward and wanted to live in a cabin, not Los Angeles. I don't know if I could handle New York though...
ava

CherylAnne Ham said...

I loved reading this interview! Fantastic. :)

I love learning about other writers, it makes me feel less weird (or sometimes more wierd) so I guess I should say it puts me in the middle of weirdom, which works just fine. :)

Adina West said...

Loved this interview. I'm also one of five!

Aaah, pigeons. I think we've got something in common Bess. My daughter (yes, my actual child, I admit the relationship) chases pigeons whenever opportunity offers...though she never catches any.

Pigeons are best as part of a Chinese banquet I reckon - don't knock it until you've tried it! And apologies to the vegetarians out there.

Here in Sydney some local council areas have been so overrun with pigeons, which of course aren't native to this continent, that they've instituted culling programs. These involve feeding birds drugged grain, waiting until they fall asleep and topple off their chosen perches, collecting them all and making sure they never wake up by freezing them in industrial freezers. A little brutal I suppose...but emphatic. One wonders whether New York is peopled by pigeon lovers, or whether they've already tried the above method and the birds just kept on coming?

San said...

Thanks, Rach, for introducing one of your favs to us :) Bess seems FAB and for so many reasons :)

I must go calling :)

*Hugs*

Margo Benson said...

Thank you both for a great interview! I'm a fan and follower of Bess and wish her all the best with the epic :-)

Susan Kane said...

Sounds like a person I would like to know, and read. Good interview.

Deniz Bevan said...

Great interview! I'm the same with The Lord of the Rings - as much as I love it, that sort of world and characters never seem to flow from my pen. The wordiness sometimes does but I know I'm never doing Tolkien (or Lewis or MacDonald or Morris or...) justice :-)

Madeline Bartos said...

Fun interview, Rach! I wished I lived in a closet in NYC, but apparently it lacks daylight. ;) I chased the pigeons when I went to New York, they love licorice and jelly beans. Bess is awesome!

Persian Poetess said...

Her answer to "I’m happiest when..." really resonated with me. I'm a single child but I have a hefty sized family. We're pretty close and they have kindly embraced my passion for writing and poetry. Every now and then they make subtle appearences in my work.

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