Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Awesome Author: Interview with Alice Kuipers

Welcome to the very first post for Awesome Author, where I do interviews with writers of some of my favorite books, and some of the most fabulous authors out there!

This idea was formed when one author commented on a review I posted on my blog and apparently, he liked it so much that it gave me the courage to ask some of my favorite authors to do an interview.
I read Life on the Refrigerator Door (review here) and immediately fell in love with it.  That automatically made its author officially one of my favorites.  I added her on Facebook and posted the link of my book review so she could read it.  She liked it and that was when I decided that when I finally do author interviews, she is going to be one of the first on my list.  I actually just sent her a request for an interview via Facebook and also put in the questions there, and she replied with her answers.  She's very smart, nice and approachable - pretty too!

So for the first AA interview, let's hear it for Alice Kuipers!

Tell us about all your books

I've published two - Life on the Refrigerator Door, which is written as notes between a mother and a daughter during a tragic year, and The Worst Thing She Ever Did, which is the diary of a young woman recovering from a terrible event. My third, Forty Things I Want To Tell You, is coming out in a year. It's the story of a teenage internet advice columnist who makes a stupid mistake. As for the unpublished books, well, there are too many to tell you about them all, but I wrote lots of novels before I wrote anything that other people would want to read.

What was your inspiration that made you decide to write Life on the Refrigerator Door?

I'd been writing for several years and I felt like I didn't understand what elements made a story different from an anecdote. I decided I wanted to write something with very few words and see if the essential story could be found when I didn't have all the gorgeous tricks of long sentences and paragraphs to hide behind.

How did you come up with the idea of using notes left on the refrigerator door as the vehicle for the story?

My boyfriend left me a note with six words on it. I realised that anyone reading those words would know something about our relationship together, and so I was intrigued to see if a whole book could be written only with snippets of information about the two main characters. Sometimes ideas just pop into your head and you know as a writer that they'll work. So it was with the idea of using notes for that book.

How did you prepare yourself before you began writing Life on the Refrigerator Door?

I did lots of research into breast cancer; reading, watching videos, talking to survivors and those who had lost family members to this type (and other types) of cancer.

What do you do when you are experiencing writer’s block?

Drink tea, phone someone I haven't spoken to for ages, play with my baby, go and nap, read a good book. I don't really believe in writer's block, actually, I more just think that some days I have something to say and other days I don't. The days I don't, I go and do something else.

What is one book that you think everybody should read?

There are so many books I've loved, it's hard to pick just one. I suppose for anyone interested in writing, they should read The Elements of Style. And for a book that just takes you into a world with great characterization, Of Human Bondage. And my favourite book is A Glass Bead Game - which is a strange book for me to love so much, but I think it's perfect.

What do you love most about writing?

When I'm so involved in a story that I forget about everything else (which is the same thing I love about reading, by the way).

What do you love least about writing? 

Most of the time it's really hard. Someone said, "You earn the good days." I believe that.

What is your reading guilty pleasure? 

I'm completely indiscriminate as a reader. I read everything - romance, vampire novels, murder mysteries, classics, plays, poems, non-fiction (anything about exploring, I love). I think everyone should read whatever they want and not feel guilty for it.

If you could go back in time, would you change anything in your life?

Um, I might take a bit better care of myself during my University years. I dread to think what all the late night partying did to me. I'd read more. I'd listen more when people were talking about things I thought were boring.

What do you do before writing? Do you have a ritual that you must do every time before you write?

I fiddle around checking email and Facebook. I make myself a cup of tea. I chose the music I'm going to listen to. When I feel like I'm completely wasting the few precious work hours I get, I start working. Normally, my son wakes up exactly at that point from his nap.

When are you able to write best, mornings or evenings? 

With a toddler, I write whenever he sleeps - if I'm awake. I don't have the morning/evening choice anymore. Although, saying that, I'm soooo tired by evening, I normally just watch a movie or read.

When you were younger, did you ever see yourself as a writer? If not, what did you see yourself doing in your age right now? If yes, did you picture yourself writing young adult fiction or you used to favor other genres?

I used to write a lot, and read a lot, but I never imagined that I could write a book and publish it. I wanted to be a police officer for a while - a detective, maybe. I still wonder if I should have done that first and then written books later, but the lifestyle of a writer is so great, I wouldn't switch jobs now. As for the genre, I didn't really think about it too much, I just wrote books I wanted to read with characters I found interesting. I think genre is often determined by the marketing department at a publishing house - they know which readers to approach with which books. I found it so hard to imagine anyone ever reading any of my book, I didn't actively make a decision about genre.

If you were given the opportunity to become a character in any book, which book would it be and which character would you play?

Oooh, I don't know. Um, I wouldn't mind being someone who does some major exploring of somewhere mythical and new. Maybe one of the men in Homer's Odyssey, being lured by sirens and fighting monsters etc etc

What advice can you give amateur writers? 

Write lots. Read lots. Accept that rejection is a big part of the job. Have a look at my website: www.alicekuipers.com - I write it for you.

Thank you so much for doing this interview.  

Thanks very much, Nina. You're doing a great job.


To find out more about Alice, check her out on the following websites:

1 comment:

  1. hi nina! wow, you've gone a long way with your blog! what a nice interview. great job and more power! Yay! You have facebook already. keep it up!!! xoxo


I just have to tell you, ARGH feeds on awesomeness, so if you can, drop him some awesome here, and I promise to give some awesome back :D

Right now, because of my really busy schedule, I'm cutting back on receiving awards. So until further notice, me and ARGH would not be accepting awards. But thank you for thinking of us, we really appreciate it!