Friday, April 27, 2012

(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 friend is the lovely Amy McArthur. She's a wife, a mom, a reader, and, I discovered, a fabulous person. I should perhaps warn you, we're about to engage in a lot of "Mom Talk." You have been warned.

SME - Welcome to I Need Friends Friday!

Amy McArthur - My husband is standing over my shoulder and making me very nervous.

SME - Doesn't he know this is a "No Boys Allowed" club right now??

Amy McArthur - I have made that clear, to no avail.

SME - Tell him we're going to talk about shoes and chick flicks and potty training. That might scare him off.

Amy McArthur - Sounds great, except for the potty training. I HATE potty training.

SME - I have been out of the potty training phase for 6 years and I still have nightmares about it. *shudders*

Amy McArthur - I still have one more to go.... Excuse me while I blow my nose and wipe my tears at the mere thought.... I envy you.

SME - My youngest was also my hardest. If I so much as suggested she use the potty, she would look me dead in the eye, stick her chin out defiantly and "go" right there in front of me, no matter where we were.
I guess what I'm saying is, if that child can be trained, any child can.

Amy McArthur - Oh... wow. If it makes you feel better I was THIS close to having 3 kids in diapers because my oldest girl refused to cooperate. She was almost 4. and when I went to the hospital to have baby number 4 she still wasn't potty trained.
Thankfully, Grandma had taken care of it before I got home from the hospital. Too close for comfort.

SME - And the baby I'm sure wouldn't cooperate and wait to make its debut until after the oldest figured that out. Babies are so stubborn!

Amy McArthur - I know, right?!

SME - And, on the topic of child-indused insanity, I have a child who is a "hair cutter," something I know you know all about.

Amy McArthur - Hee hee... I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy.
That was a laugh of insanity by the way... not amusement.

SME - Oh, I recognized the Mom-Crazy laugh. I know it well, my friend. My daughter has cut her own hair 13 times.

Amy McArthur - NO WAY!
You are not making me feel better. I was hoping this would kind of be a one time thing.

SME - My dearest child has finally reached the point where she will come find me and say, "I have the urge, Mom. I have the urge." And that means it's time to take her to the salon to get a new haircut.

Amy McArthur - Hmmm.. I'll have to teach my kids that phrase. Right now we have neighbor kids telling their parents about how the McArthurs have scissors at that house.... I'm losing friends rapidly.

SME - That is my one comfort--she has never cut anyone else's hair. *knocks on wood*

Amy McArthur - I'll knock too... you need it.
13 times? for real? I'm still laughing... it could always be worse.... and it's nice not to be the person people say that about.

SME - Yep. Her record was three times in a single month. I even hid the scissors, she just managed to find them again. Sometimes I don't think I will survive raising that child.

Amy McArthur - We could run away to some kid-free country and try to be human beings again... what would that be like?

SME - I don't even know. Bliss. Utter bliss. (although given enough time, we might actually miss the little munchkins.)

Amy McArthur - I suppose... but sometimes I like to imagine...

SME - The imagining is what keeps me sane.

Amy McArthur - Some people say it's an escape... I say it's a coping skill… emphasis on skill.

SME - I have my suspicions that we have officially lost all of the male readers of this interview.

Amy McArthur - I can hear them snoring.

SME - So, Amy McArthur, what is your favorite continent?

Amy McArthur - Definitely North America... I have very little experience with the other 6... none, actually.

SME - I'm a fan of North America, myself. Other than Australia, I can say it's the only continent that I can name every country it contains off the top of my head.

Amy McArthur - True. Yet another reason to love it. The list is very long.

SME - I have a fabulous portrait of you, if you're interested in seeing it.

Amy McArthur - interested? I'm dying to see it.


Amy McArthur - wow... is that a bow in my hair?

SME - It's a lovely hair decoration of some kind or another. Bow. Clip. Ya know, something cool.

Amy McArthur - Very cool.... probably a clip I picked up off the floor while I was cleaning, and just put it in my hair and forgot about it until after I had spoken publicly or something... hypothetically of course. You nailed it.

SME - Dude. I've done that. And then forgot I was wearing something on my head and answered the door. The things moms endure, I'm telling ya!

Amy McArthur - It's a brutal profession.

SME - Could you imagine the worker's compensation claims we could file. Sheesh.

Amy McArthur - The world can't afford us.

SME - That is the quote of the day, my friend. "Moms: The world can't afford us."
Of course, out of context it makes no sense whatsoever.

Amy McArthur - Wow, now you're quoting me... who cares if it makes sense?

SME - More or less my life philosophy: "Who cares if it makes sense"

Amy McArthur - As long as it makes sense to me.... I have a similar life motto, it comes between "do it tomorrow" and "you can never have too many napkins."

SME - I do believe that brings us to the final question of the interview: Top 5 reasons this is the best blog interview you've ever done. Ready. Go.
Amy McArthur - 5-I met my mother twin, who also puts random things in her hair, has difficult to potty train children, and has even worse children hair-cutting-stories than me.
4-It's also my 1st blog interview... 1st is the best right?
3-I got to "talk" to one of my favorite authors, ever! (Does that give me extra credit if it really is true?)
2-I was quoted by one of my favorite authors. A dream come true, for sure.
1- I didn't mess it up too bad, I think.

SME - Mess it up? Not at all. Two moms talking about their children--what's to mess up?

Amy McArthur - True. It's the recipe for greatness. Everyone knows that. But few can pull it off the way we just did.

SME - Amen, sistah.
Well, thanks for joining us for INFF!

Amy McArthur - You bet. Hope you haven't lost you male audience for good on my account.

SME - *fingers crossed* Well, that's INFF for today. *cue exit music* Join us next week when I'll make a new friend!

If you'd like to be interviewed for I Need Friends Friday, shoot me off an email: friends at sarahmeden dot com!
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!
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Friday, April 20, 2012

(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 Friday Friend is author Natasha Yim. Natasha is originally from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and later moved to Singapore and, at ten, to Hong Kong. She writes picture books, "fact books," as my daughter would call them, and is working on a Young Adult novel.
Natasha can be found on the web at her website.

Let's get to know Natasha!

SME: Welcome to I Need Friends Friday!

Natasha Yim: Thank you, Sarah. I'm thrilled to be here.

SME: The way you came to be this week's INFF Friend is, quite possibly, my favorite yet. You stumbled on INFF completely on accident & in a moment of absolute bravery, volunteered to play along!

Natasha Yim: My husband calls it my "shameless self-promotion". I'm always looking for ways to get my books and my name out there. Thanks for agreeing to interview me.

SME: Oh, as a fellow author I understand this self-promotion requirement quite well!!
I always, and I do mean always, ask my interviewees a few very key questions. Among those is something about food. So, here's your food question: What is your absolute favorite cuisine?

Natasha Yim: You'd think it'd be Chinese because I'm Chinese, but it's actually Italian. LOVE my pasta!

SME: Perhaps someone will open an Italian-Chinese restaurant and you could have both. Think of the possibilities: Won Ton & Gnocchi Soup! Sweet and Sour Ravioli!

Natasha Yim: I like where you're going with this, Sarah! I've thought about opening up a restaurant myself. Cajun, though. Very few Cajun restaurants here in California, but then it wouldn't leave me ANY time for writing.

SME: I perused your website a bit and discovered you write books that kind of perfectly fit my daughter's age group. (Which, believe me, was a very welcome discovery.) Tell us a little bit about what you write.

Natasha Yim: I have written mostly picture books, although my books, "Cixi, The Dragon Empress" and "Sacajawea of the Shoshone" are for the tween age group, 9 - 13. I'm also currently writing a Young Adult novel.

SME: Yes the tween books caught my attention, since I am currently living in the same house as a tween. But I didn't realize you were working on YA as well. Do you have a favorite age group to write for?

Natasha Yim: I don't think I have a favorite age group. Ideas for stories come to me in many forms. I have several ideas bouncing in my head right now that is definitely for the picture book set, but then I'm also interested in writing for the older audience.

SME: That is fantastic, truly. I have always been sort of awed by authors who can write across genres and age groups. I have tried, bless my little heart, but historical romance is what I am apparently meant to write.

Natasha Yim: Well, I can't quite claim to write across genres and age groups yet until the YA gets published. But I'm hoping I can claim this soon! And who knows, I might find that YA is what I'm meant to write.

SME: Well, let us know when your YA is published and the INFF Nation will celebrate with you!

Natasha Yim: Thanks. As slow as the publishing process is, it might be a few years yet.

SME: Believe me, I understand! And yet we do it over and over again. Writers are either the most patient people in the world or gluttons for punishment.

Natasha Yim: Ha. A little of both, I think. Which is why my blog is titled: I Must be a Masochist—A Writer's Life.

SME: Perfect. That should also be printed on t-shirts. You would sell a bundle!

Natasha Yim: Great idea! Gotta supplement that writing income somehow.

SME: Wait. You mean all authors aren't disgustingly rich? That was the rumor I heard.

Natasha Yim: That's definitely the life I lead in my head.

SME: So very true. It's like we're characters in our own personal novel.

Natasha Yim: Then we crash-land back to reality.

SME: Every author reading this is now nodding their heads in mournful understanding.

Natasha Yim: That's why I love to go to writing conferences. Nobody knows the angst and pain of writing, rejections, and trying to get published like another writer going through the same thing. My husband is still in the "your book will make us rich" fantasy.

SME: My daughter once told her brother that someday "Mom will be a rich and famous author," to which he replied, "Mom's not that kind of author." I didn't know if I should laugh or cry.

Natasha Yim: That could be a great title for a book! I think we really need humor in this business which is why I like to write humor into a lot of my projects. Not the non-fiction, obviously. But my plays, and my YA has humorous/comedic elements.

SME: Another very traditional INFF Question for you: What is your favorite continent?

Natasha Yim: To live in, I would say North America. To travel, definitely Europe. I'm going to Italy and Ireland this summer.

SME: I am absolutely going to pretend I didn't hear you say you were going to Europe-especially Ireland. Otherwise I will be insane with jealousy!

Natasha Yim: My brother is getting married in July. And fortunately for me, he chose a romantic setting in an Irish castle. So, I couldn't really make an excuse to not go to my brother's wedding now, can I?

SME: And a castle even! I am going to have try very hard to have charitable thoughts about you from now on. (But, seriously, that is fantastic.)

Natasha Yim: Yes, I am very excited! My husband and I honeymooned in Italy, but I've never been to Ireland.

SME: I may have to invite you back for a follow-up INFF in which you share with me in great detail everything you saw there.
I do believe we have reached the portion of the interview when I show you the mind-bogglingly amazing portrait I have drawn of you.

Natasha Yim: You have been a great hostess. Would love to come back.

Natasha Yim Cute!

SME: My portraits are kind of amazing, huh? If the whole writer thing doesn't work out, I may go into art.

Natasha Yim: Let me tell you, it's better than anything I can draw!

SME: Well, Natasha, that leave only the traditional final question of every INFF interview: Top 5 reasons this is the best blog interview you've ever done. Ready. Go.

Natasha Yim: 1. It's very casual and stress-free.
2. I got to talk about food.
3. I got my portrait drawn, and it didn't cost me a cent.
4. I love this IM chat box thing for doing an interview. You'll have to tell me how you set it up.

*Sarah here! To explain, my interviews are conducted in a chat box on a private blog. And it is every bit as exciting and nerdy as you are imagining. Okay. As you were.*
5. I got to visit with the very rich and famous, Sarah Eden.

SME: All excellent reasons! And, trust me, the chat box is easy to set up.
Thanks for joining us for INFF, Natasha!

Natasha Yim: You're welcome. Thanks for having me, Sarah!

SME: *cue exit music* Well, this has been “I Need Friends Friday.” Join us next week when I will make another friend!

If you'd like to be interviewed for I Need Friends Friday, shoot me off an email: friends at sarahmeden dot com!
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!
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Friday, April 6, 2012

(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.)
My guest to day is the uber-talented, extra-uber-awesome Luisa Perkins. She and I first "met" this last year while we have worked on the Whitney Awards committee. Luisa lives in New York state, which is pretty cool in and of itself. Her debut novel, Dispirited, hit shelves this month and is receiving absolutely fantastic reviews. Luisa can be found online at her blog and on Twitter: @LuisaPerkins


SME: Welcome to INFF!

Luisa M. Perkins: Thank you! I feel so honored to be here.

SME: There is nothing quite so "honorable" as being asked to waste an hour of your precious time answering inconsequential questions.

Luisa M. Perkins: I am sure your questions will be of DEEP consequence.

SME: Like this one: are Boston cannolis or New York cannolis better?
Because this is a debate I have had with a neighborhood deli where I grew up.

Luisa M. Perkins: Everything New York is better. Except New England clam chowder is better than Manhttan-style chowder.

SME: Agreed on the clam chowder. My husband grew up in Maryland and that man makes the best clam chowder.

Luisa M. Perkins: Mmm, now I want some chowder.

SME: Chowder. Yum. (See how deep and ground breaking this interview is already!)

Luisa M. Perkins: Haha! You know, I've admired you from afar lo, these many years.

SME: I am best admired from afar. I look taller from a distance.

Luisa M. Perkins: This is true.

SME: Another thing that is true... you have been to London and I have not. Tell me how much I would love to visit!

Luisa M. Perkins: Sarah! You, of all people--you, one of the very few people who knows the difference between a brougham and a curricle--YOU MUST GO.

For those of you who are curious
SME: *sigh* And between a curricle a barouche and a landau. And the difference between Hyde Park, Covent Gardens and Regent Street. And the difference between Neoclassic Architecture and Georgian. *sigh again*

Luisa M. Perkins: See? You are a fount of knowledge that begs for real-life application.

SME: Let us speak of happier things than my recently crushed dreams of going to the British Isles. You, my newest Friday Friend, have recently had your authorial debut!

Luisa M. Perkins: Yes! It has been thrilling! Thank you for mentioning it.

SME: I have heard such amazing buzz for Dispirited. AND, I got to hear the first chapter at the "Life, The Universe, and Everything" symposium in February. Fabulous!

Luisa M. Perkins: It was so kind of you to attend the reading. And others have been kind as well in praising the book.

SME: For those readers who aren't familiar with your awesomeness, give us a quick blurb!

Luisa M. Perkins: Dispirited is about a little boy who teaches himself astral projection--how to get out of his body--in order to go looking for the spirit of his dead mother. One night while he is out, another being takes over his body. For years, he is forced to watch an impostor live his life. Then his father remarries, and he hopes to find help from his new stepsister, who has some unusual gifts.

SME: Unusual gifts? You mean like the Little Professor calculator I got for Christmas when I was 10?

Luisa M. Perkins: SPOILER ALERT! How did you KNOW? (The actual unusual gift: she can see things that others cannot.)

SME: I have a great deal of experience with "unusual gifts."

Luisa M. Perkins: Really? DO tell.

SME: One year for Christmas I gave my husband things he already owned--his favorite shirt, his brown shoes, his toothbrush. 1-because it was funny, 2-because we were poor

Luisa M. Perkins: That is both thrifty and imaginative.

SME: I think it should become a tradition.

Luisa M. Perkins: Oh, absolutely. You could vary the theme with inventive wrappings.

SME: Speaking of traditions, it's time for our most traditional question: What is your favorite continent?

Luisa M. Perkins: Atlantis.

SME: I do believe Mr. Robison Wells gave the same answer. From him it was obnoxiously cheeky. From you, Luisa, a most informed and intelligent response.

Luisa M. Perkins: He did?!? I am shocked and appalled. I am currently knitting him a Dr. Who scarf--but I may have to withhold it as punishment.

SME: I agree. He stole your answer.

Luisa M. Perkins: I just cannot countenance it.

SME: Let us shun him publicly!

Luisa M. Perkins: Indeed!

SME: And, whilst we deliver him the cut direct, I have a game for us to play!

Luisa M. Perkins: Ooh, I love games!

SME: This is one of my fave INFF games: Rapid Fire Q&A. The rules are simple. I will ask you a series of questions & you have to give the first answer that comes to mind:no explanations allowed.

Luisa M. Perkins: I accept.

SME: Favorite color?

Luisa M. Perkins: Purple.

SME: Favorite way to spell color/colour?

Luisa M. Perkins: British, with the "u."

SME: Favorite elementary school teacher?

Luisa M. Perkins: Mrs. Henry. First grade.

SME: Something you wanted to be when you grew up?

Luisa M. Perkins: Brain surgeon

SME: Highest grade you ever got in PE?

Luisa M. Perkins: A

SME: Average number of characters you use per tweet?

Luisa M. Perkins: 123

SME: Favorite author of Regency-era romance who is under five feet tall?

Luisa M. Perkins: That's easy: Sarah M. Eden.

SME: Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner. You are the INFF Champion of the week!

Luisa M. Perkins: YAY!

SME: And, as INFF Champion, you get to see your very own, hand-drawn portrait! (I am pretty sure I have ended 90% of my sentences during this interview with an exclamation point!)

Luisa M. Perkins: Oh, I have been waiting for this! *rubs hands together with glee and anticipation*
(Me, too!)


Luisa M. Perkins: It's perfection! I haven't looked that slim since sophomore year!

SME: Actually, I hope you have never looked that slim. Hello, Malnutrition.

Luisa M. Perkins: Well, I did grow up quite poor.

SME: I also drew you in sunny flip-flops because I am quite ready for warmer weather.

Luisa M. Perkins: The flip-flops are perfection. I actually wear flip-flops as often as possible.

SME: And, question of the day, do East Coasters call them flip-flops, or sandals? My mom always called them thongs, which just made us laugh uncontrollably.

Luisa M. Perkins: I grew up in California, and we called them "thongs." I fear this went out of fashion at the same time all around the country. We do call them "flip-flops" here so as not to offend by using the T-word.

SME: Oh the joys of an ever-changing language. I think we finally convinced my mom not to call them thongs.

Luisa M. Perkins: That's a relief.

SME: For everyone.
Well, that brings us to the final question of INFF: Top 5 reasons this was the best blog interview you've ever done. Ready. Go.

Luisa M. Perkins: 5. I have never been interviewed by such a knowledgeable Anglophile.
4. My portrait rocks.
3. I now know what I'm making for dinner: clam chowder.
2. I have been informed that a certain YA dystopian writer is stealing my interview answers, and knowledge = power.
1. Sarah M. Eden is the kindest, funniest writer under 5 feet tall that I have the privilege to know.

SME: Well, bless you. And, set an extra place for dinner. Somehow, someway I will be there for clam chowder.

Luisa M. Perkins: Yes! And then we'll take the night flight to Heathrow.

SME: Brilliant! (See how natural I would be as a Brit?!)

Luisa M. Perkins: I do, indeed! Blimey!

SME: Thanks for joining us on INFF!

Luisa M. Perkins: Thank you for having me. It has been a true pleasure.

SME: *cue exit music* Well, this has been “I Need Friends Friday.” Join us next week when I will make another friend!

If you'd like to be interviewed for I Need Friends Friday, shoot me off an email: friends at sarahmeden dot com!
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!
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