Friday, January 6, 2012

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR, M.S. SPENCER

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR OF "TRIPTYCH", M.S. SPENCER

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Thank you so much for allowing us to do this interview. You have lived, literally, all over the world it seems. Out of all the places you've been, which ones are your favorite and why?

That’s not really a fair question! If forced, I’d probably say Paris, Istanbul, and the Amazon. And Egypt. Maybe St. Maarten. Or Chichen Itza (Mexico). Chincoteague?


How much of your travels have been an inspiration on your writing?

All of it! I have so many experiences to weave into my stories. I’ll be tootling along on a story & suddenly find my heroine in the middle of one of my real adventures (DISCLAIMER: ALL characters and situations are fictional. Yada yada).


It seems your life has been and continues to be very busy, where do you find the time to write?

I am fortunate enough to work at home and have several small sources of income (mainly pension) so I can write when I’m most productive—in the morning. As many writers know though, it can be a lonely business (plus my butt gets antsy after an hour or two), so I take frequent breaks, and that’s when I get other work done. The system works very well for me—I call it the toddler schedule, or SAS (Short Attention Span) plan.

I have to ask this, because you state in your biography that you 'had' three cats but now only have one, but you also have a dog, snake and hamster... did the snake eat the other two cats (>.<)?

Funny you should ask, but no. One cat had a full and active 19 years before deciding to “rest awhile.” The second cat is with my daughter in Chicago. The snake (Phoebe, a variegated King snake) died of a broken heart (literally) when my daughter left for college—which should tell you just how sweet snakes can be. Iggy Pop is my remaining faithful companion, when he’s not out saving the world from birds. The hamster…ah, the hamster, which I named Cat Food, was.


Now your main writing genre seems to be romance and murder mystery, is there another genre you have ever thought about writing in?

I have written several children’s stories. One recounts the adventures of Edward the Fly (he visits Atlantis, the North Pole, a rodeo and other venues, rescuing humans from predicaments along the way). Another is (IMHO) a beautiful tale about the dove that Noah sent off to find land. It is long, written in rather old-fashioned poetic language, and doesn’t fit well into any category, which is why I’ve never found an appropriate publisher. I also have a great Christmas story that I unfortunately never seem to get edited in time for Christmas.

After reading that you have two grown children do you ever look to them for advice about your books, allow them to critique you perhaps?

Just asking them to BUY one of my books gets me “that look.” Being in their twenties, I don’t think they want to deal with Mummy’s 3-flame spicy romances.

I just can't get over all your many accomplishments, you must tell us more about some of your experiences.

It’s all my father’s fault. He had a series of interesting jobs that took his family to Turkey, France and Morocco (one choice was between Paris and Nigeria—I actually voted for Nigeria! Boy was I dumb). It spoiled me so that after that I couldn’t spend more than two years in any one place (could it be to avoid washing windows?). Academia allows many opportunities for cheap travel & I took advantage of them all. Later, working for a Senate Committee and Dept. of the Interior took me on trips that included inspecting the bowels of Hoover Dam and flying a helicopter over the sloughs of North Dakota. Once I settled down and had children I had another excuse to travel—taking them to exotic spots including Phoenix, the Everglades, and Peru.

When did you first start writing and what was it that inspired you to begin?

Like most writers, I’ve written all my life—journals, stories, poems, endless poems. I wrote a full-length murder mystery maybe twenty years ago, which languished in a drawer until my husband inadvertently threw it out. The real start of a serious career came only in 2007. I had had surgery that kept me in bed for several months. During that time inspiration--whether a deus ex machina or a muse I’m not sure—dropped by regularly and I managed to transform a vivid dream into a full-length romance. Lost in His Arms was published in 2009 by Red Rose Publishing. I now have 4 books published and one on the way. It’s funny how quickly they start coming once you’ve birthed the first one, isn’t it?

Who are some of your favorite authors, some that have inspired you?

Jane Austen, Iris Murdoch, Christopher Buckley, Douglas Adams, Isaac Azimov, L. Frank Baum, Thomas Hardy….et al. Jane Austen’s perfect prose leaves me in awe. And the imagination and humor in Buckley and Adams are amazing. Isaac Azimov was a master at creating a complete, coherent universe as was Baum (when I finished my BA thesis, as a reward I borrowed every Wizard of Oz book the library had, a remarkable number for a fancy university). Iris Murdoch inspired me to insert a little fillip of magic in a story.

Do you have any advice you'd like to share with other aspiring authors?

I’ve given lots of advice, warranted & unwarranted, wanted & unwanted. One absolutely crucial point is to be open and willing to accept criticism. There aren’t many writers (or people) who can produce a perfect piece of prose the first time around. Never assume your work can’t be improved upon. If someone takes your writing seriously enough to help you find your voice, look on it as a gift and thank him.

6 comments:

  1. Thanks for having me Kitty! This has been so much fun. M. S. Spencer

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  2. What wonderful places you've visited. Maybe next you could come on down to New Zealand, we're more than just Hobits.

    Jane Beckenham
    www.janebeckenham.com

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  3. Hi Jane--hope everything's okay after the last earthquake! I would LOVE to see NZ (and Australia and and and). Thanks for reading, M. S. Spencer

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  4. You are so welcome Meredith! Thank you for allowing the interview it was my pleasure, I truly enjoy learning so much about all the authors I correspond with!

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  5. Very interesting post. I'm jealous of all your travelling

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  6. A wonderful interview and I admit taking rejection is tough, but it is part of this profession. Good luck!

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