(Every Friday I interview a different person and share that interview with you. Perhaps they will be a fellow-author. Perhaps one of my neighbors. Maybe the bagger at the grocery store. A member of my family. A follower of this blog. Maybe it will be you! Hey, it could happen.)
Today's guest is Annette Lyon, author-extraordinaire. Her latest literary offering, Band of Sisters, hit shelves this week. She is also monumentally cool enough to be 1/3 of the upcoming "Three Book Launch Party!" Annette's blog features the interesting and informative "Word Nerd Wednesday," in which Annette answers grammar and language questions so baffling that one understands immediately why she is The Word Nerd.
Let's get to know Annette.
SME: Welcome to INFF!If you'd like to be interviewed for "I Need Friends" Friday, shoot me off an email: friends at sarahmeden dot com!
Annette: Thanks! I've wanted to be part of this illustrious event ever since your very first interview. I feel so cool.
SME: Yes, the coolness factor is significantly high here at INFF. As you probably know, I delve into deep and insightful topics during these interviews. Topics like... chocolate.
Annette: Chocolate is deep. *wipes some off chin*
SME: I happen to know that you are something of a chocolate expert. (A very cool area of expertise, by the way). What's your favorite chocolate dessert?
Annette: Tough one. So many to choose from, really. But when I need to bury my woes in chocolate, I usually turn to French silk pie--with a chocolate crust, of course.
SME: Of course. And if you had to bring a chocolate "offering" to some kind of dinner party or event and it was imperative that you impress your hostess, what would you bring?
Annette: My orange chocolate fudge. I've been told it's better than the chocolate oranges you get at Christmas.
SME: *taking notes* And what, would you say, is your easiest chocolate recipe--you know, one that a person completely lacking in kitchen skills could probably successfully make? *attempting to look like I'm not describing myself*
Annette: That's easy--chocolate bark. Best part: It looks really impressive, but it's ridiculously easy. My 7-year-old can make it (and has). And it's quicker than chocolate chip cookies.
SME: *begins a triumphant shout of "eureka" but restrains herself just in time* Very interesting. Amazing how this worked out so well, but this topic of discussion leads me to mention that you will have a chocolate cookbook out later this year.
Annette: Wow--what a coincidence! I do. It's called "Chocolate Never Faileth!" (exclamation point part of the title) and will be out in October.
SME: (It's like I planned it, huh?) So, October. Fantabulous! In the meantime, though, you have a brand new novel that just hit shelves. (Nice smooth segue, eh?)
Annette: You're absolutely brilliant in your transitions. My brand new book is called "Band of Sisters," and it's about five women as they deal with the deployment of their husbands. But it's not just a deployment book--it's also about women and friendships and deep stuff like that.
SME: What inspired you to write this book?
Annette: It started out when a friend's husband was deployed. I interviewed her and 4 of her Army wife friends for a magazine article. The things they shared were eye-opening and had me in tears. After the piece ran, the topic wouldn't leave me alone until I gave in and wrote a book about it.
SME: It's such a timely topic and, I think, will bring attention to an aspect of our nation during wartime that too often is overlooked.
Annette: I hope so. The soldiers need our support, but their families all too often slip through the cracks. And I learned that many of our assumptions about what deployment is like are WRONG.
SME: In conjunction with this book, you are doing some great work with a charity that I hadn't heard of before learning about it from you.
Annette: I stumbled on a blog called "A Year with Flat Daddy" and learned about this charity that creates life-size photos of a deployed parent. They help ease the pain of the parent's absence, and little kids have a shot at remembering Dad. The charity helps raise money to pay for Flat Daddies for families.
Now we're working together so people can donate and make a difference--and in smaller increments than was possible before.
SME: I think that is absolutely fantastic.
Um... what's your favorite continent?
Annette: Europe, definitely. First because I've lived there (more cool points), but also because all my favorite dead authors lived there.
SME: Europe has a plethora of dead authors.
Annette: Exactly. (Also, I couldn't say my *favorite* authors, because some are 1) still alive and 2) not from Europe. Such as one whose initials are SME.)
SME: Look, I'm blushing!
As is tradition here at INFF, I have a game for you--if you're courageous enough!
Annette: Let's do it! I'll pretend I'm courageous.
SME: Pretending counts. That's pretty much my mantra here.
On a recent blog posting I mentioned that the author world is kind of ridiculously interconnected and rather flippantly suggested that I would someday play the "5 Degrees of Separation" game (you know the one with Kevin Bacon), but author style. Guess what?
Annette: We're playing the 5 Degrees of Sarah M. Eden?
SME: Close. "5 Degrees of Separation, Annette Lyon (Author) Edition"
Annette: Even better. (My coolness factor just went up a notch.)
SME: I'm going to give you a name of an author and you have to figure out how to connect yourself to him/her in 5 d of s or less (although bonus points if you can do it in exactly 5).
Annette: Lay it on me.
SME: Restrictions-- (oh, yes, I'm making it hard) you can't simply use the "I'm good friends with..." connection. I need something solid like "I am in a critique group with..." or "I attended a writing conference in 2007 with..." Aaah. It's getting harder, isn't it?
Annette: I *knew* there was a catch. Okay, what's the first one?
SME: This first author I was able to link myself to in only 2 steps. Made me feel very cool and famous until I realized it didn't actually MAKE me cool and famous. *sigh* Author #1: Stephenie Meyer
Annette: I think I can do it in 2 as well (so no bonus points for 5 degrees, alas):
1. I edited some of Janette Rallison's work.
2. Janette Rallison participated in a charity event with Stephenie Meyer to raise money for a breast cancer patient. Booyah.
SME: Yes. Janette is my connection to pretty much everyone in the author world. Thanks, Janette!
Author #2-- Orson Scott Card
Annette: I wish this made me uber-cool:
1. I attended a League of Utah Writers workshop taught by Orson Scott Card. The end. (Dang, I'll never get 5 degrees! I should purposely find extra steps . . .)
SME: Extra steps isn't a bad idea. hint, hint. Maybe on this last one. And it will take some creativity to make it more than one step (but you should try, 'cause I don't offer bonus points often).
Author #3: Sarah M. Eden
Annette: *rubbing hands together* Okay, here goes:
1. Valerie Holladay was the editor who first championed my work
2. Because of Valerie, I met Angela Eschler, my first editor, who gave me the acceptance call on my first book.
3. Because of Angela, I met Kathy Jenkins, managing editor at Covenant.
4. Kathy invited me to an LDBA event, where I met Rob Wells.
5. Rob Wells created the Whitney Awards, and I met Sarah M Eden at the Whitney Gala!
SME: Ding, ding, ding!! Bonus points, bonus points!! And because I'm feeling so generous... I have a "bonus" author. Connect yourself to her (in however many steps you can) and you get a truckload of bonus points!
Annette: Rock on! A TRUCKLOAD of bonus points?
SME: You got it, sistah! The bonus author is: JK Rowling
Annette: This one might take a minute . . .
1. I met Chris Bigelow through the AML-list, and he asked me to edit an issue of Irreantum, their literary journal.
2. It was editing that issue that I first met and edited Janette Rallison (Yay, Janette again!).
3. Janette gave an honest criticism about Harry Potter #5 on a national online forum she was on.
4. Arthur Levin was on that forum and got annoyed.
5. Arthur Levin is JK Rowling's editor.
SME: One truckload of bonus points coming your way, Annette. I believe that makes you our INFF champion! *hoozah!!* Perhaps the only thing that can top winning today's game is seeing your portrait. Wanna see it? It's pretty cool.
Annette: Absolutely! I love your portraits!
*pulls out the "magic" markers--magically amazing!*
Annette: Oooh! Boots! And curly hair too!
SME: The boots are my favorite. Definitely cool.
Annette: Definitely. And they make me look taller. People assume I'm taller than I am, so boots help me pretend.
SME: Again, pretending is definitely allowed. So... traditional final question: Top 5 reasons this is the best blog interview you've ever done. Ready. Go.
Annette: 1) I got to discuss chocolate while eating chocolate.
2) I got to do it in my pajamas and no one could see my ugly morning face.
3) I realized I'm super cool because I'm w/in 5 degrees of JK Rowling
4) I discovered I look super skinny in tall boots.
5) I finally got to join the ranks of INFF guests--a group I've been yearning to join.
SME: Welcome to the group--we're a fun bunch!
Annette: ANY group with you at the helm is going to be fun. That's sort of self-evident.
SME: Thanks for being my INFF friend today!
Annette: Thanks so much for letting me play . . . I mean PARTICIPATE!
SME: *cue exit music* Well, this has been "I Need Friends" Friday. Come back next week when I will make another friend!!
I am looking for anyone and everyone, whether or not you think you are interesting. You'll get a fantastic stick figure portrait of yourself, a little promotion (if you're looking for that sort of thing) and the opportunity to tell your friends and family that you've been interviewed by SME, er... by ME!
(Annette gets 2 extra entries in March's giveaway if her interview receives 5 or more comments!!)
(ignore "Read More!")