6 Questions with Elaine Calloway:
1. What are your favorite and your least favorite words?
My favorites are probably muse, serendipity, loquacious, leisurely, moseying, and any others which instantly create a picture in someone's mind. Some words just sound like what they are, you know? Veranda (specifically in the South) brings a fresh image immediately.
On that note, I will tell you my least favorites. Vomit ranks number one. Why? Because it sounds like what it is. Anything descriptive that sounds and creates a disgusting view in the mind ranks for my least favorite - vomit, regurgitate, necrosis, flesh-eating, etc. As you can probably guess, I'm not a big fan of horror movies where these things are shown in vivid detail :)
2. What turns you on creatively, spiritually, emotionally?
Great question! I will say that the things which inspire my spirit tend to be the same across creative, spiritual, emotional lines. So my answers could probably be applied to all three :)
Works of art, particularly beautiful works of art, seem to reach into my soul and inspire me to join in the band of artists who have been plowing their way through rejection for years. A painting with bright and unique colors; a photograph which has a unique angle and captures something emotional; a soulful movie that does everything right and makes me smile for hours afterward, a book with language so beautiful it makes me cry -- these are all examples, but there are many more.
Music is a big part of my creative process. I create soundtracks for each manuscript since each book has certain themes. Sometimes there are just general songs for the book itself; other times there are specific songs for specific characters. Listening to these book soundtracks helps put me in a writing place much faster. I wish I could explain how I know which songs to pick and which ones to delete. It literally is a feel-it-or-not process. Sometimes I'll hear a song on the radio and go home and purchase it because I know it would be great inspiration for a character. Other times I'll add in songs I enjoy, but as I'm writing, it just doesn't feel right. So I remove those and add others. This entire thing has always interested me because I know some writers who prefer absolute silence. I can write that way, but it's much better to jump right into something which sets the mood.
The best part about the creative process for me is the magic. That moment in which I surprise myself and little threads tie together in ways I never expected.
3. What gets you up in the morning?
An alarm clock. LOL. Nah, seriously, I like to try and think of every day as a stepping stone toward a goal. That could be a finished book, a project for my family, etc.
The writer Isaac Asimov once said, "If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I’d type a little faster." I like to try and view each day as an opportunity to keep moving forward with something.
4. What is the closest you have ever come to giving up your craft?
There were many times, but the closest was when my new laptop (let me stress again: NEW laptop) gave me the blue screen of death as I was finishing my first book. While I had backups of my material in various phases, I didn't have a recent backup of everything I had worked so hard on. In total, I had to retype 100 pages (I had a print backup but not electronic) and worse, I had to completely recreate the last 60 pages of the book from memory.
It took me six weeks after the computer crashed, after learning from expert recovery firms that my hard drive had melted and there was nothing that could be saved, for me to even try to return to that book and finish it. Very difficult time. Those weeks made me question why I had bothered to do anything.
However, in the end, I learned a few things. First (and most obvious) is to always back up material, especially when close to the end. Second, even though I didn't crack a book or write a word in those 6 weeks of gloom, I did continue to enjoy other forms of creativity: I saw movies, went to museums, browsed craft galleries, etc. I continued to let my brain absorb what other artists had done. I thought of their bumps along the way, and it inspired me to get over mine.
5. What is the most fun you have ever had?
This question required the most thought, and I still don't have a specific answer. There were many fun times growing up, in college, with family. The one thing that all these memories have in common is that they were shared with other people who I enjoy being around. Friends and family are precious things, and the activities always change, but the happy feelings remain consistent.
6. Assuming heaven exists, what would you like to hear God (or Allah or Yahweh or Odin. Generally the Supreme Being of your choice.) say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
Welcome home. Your table with all your favorite people is over there.
Hard drive crash. Yep. Been there. Thanks Elaine! Fascinating answers! Want to know more about Elaine Calloway? You can follow her on Twitter, catch her on MySpace or read her Blog.
And that's all for today. Thanks again to Elaine for graciously participating and thanks to you for reading!