Nicole: Bonjour Leaguers! So, Jaye and Mark have been so busy SCHILLING THEIR NEW RELEASES that they forgot to pay the League’s crack team of resident lackeys. Therefore the lackey union has pulled all of our muscular, oiled, minions. Not only does this mean that I have to brave Texas to be their lackey at Dreamin’ In Dallas this weekend, but it also means that I have to conduct an interview without lackeys even though our guests still expect a certain level of hospitality. We at the League are famous for our mixed drinks, fondue, and slathery massages. And we have a recently signed debut writer waiting to be interviewed and I got bupkis, people. My drink making abilities peak at pouring whisky into a glass (or down my throat). I always forget to scrape the bottom of the fondue pot so it doesn’t burn. And my massages? They’re slathery, all right, but that’s about all that can be said for them. Yet I can’t let Kari Stewart come and go without the full League treatment. What if she’s the next Stephanie Meyer? I will let no opportunity for brown nosing go to waste. So I gotta pony, er, lackey up. Wait . . . here she is. Everybody act like it’s just a normal day here at the League . . . shit, did I just put plastic explosives in the freakin’ frackin’ fondue? Oh hell. . . Hi Kari! How are you? Can I get you anything? Just a Coke? Phew . . . I mean, coming right up! While I get that, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?
Kari: Sadly, I’m a bit boring. I’m a wife, and a mother of one. For fun, I play online MMORPGS, read, and practice my archery when I get time (which is rarely anymore). Oh, and I once spent an entire summer as a mermaid. (long story)
Nicole: Boring, huh? That doesn’t sound boring, that sounds like a lot of work. Awesome on the archery. Would you like me to fan you with this giant ostrich plume?
Kari: Um . . . no.
Nicole: Are you sure? Okay! Why don’t you tell us about your project?
Kari: My book, A Devil in the Details, is the first in a new urban fantasy series, following the adventures of a modern-day samurai who spends his days retrieving people’s souls from the demons they sold them to.
Nicole: That sounds awesome. Can I feed you grapes I peeled with my teeth while you nestle your head in my bosoms?
Kari: Thanks, I think. But no thanks.
Nicole: No sweat! Go ahead and tell us “your story,” i.e., how’d you become an author?
Kari: I read The Hobbit when I was in first grade, and it not only turned me into a fantasy fan for life, but it made me want to write stories that would pull people into a world of my making. I’ve been writing since I can remember. The first stories were fanfic (though I didn’t know the term then) involving my friends in the world of my favorite comic book. I wrote two entire novels in high school (neither of which will ever see the light of day), a couple more in college (again, not fit for public consumption). I don’t think I could quit writing, even if I tried. And why are you taking off my shoes?
Nicole: Just giving you the League treatment, hot stuff! So, what’d you do when you got “the call?”
Kari: *eyes Nicole warily* Before or after I stopped screaming? I actually think I got up from my desk and jumped up and down in a circle, doing these silent little squeals (‘cause I was at work and they already think I’m crazy).
Nicole: Girl, I’m gonna show you crazy . . . crazy slather! Unless Strout’s run off with the baby oil again. GODDAMMIT PEOPLE, REPLACE THE UNCTUOUS FLUIDS WHEN YOU’RE FINISHED WITH THEM. No worries, Kari, we’ve got olive oil around here somewhere. . . In the meantime, what have you learned over the course of your career that you can share with others?
Kari: Uh, oil? *watches Nicole dig through cupboards* Well, you are allowed to write utter poo! So many people say that they got so far into a novel and never finished it because it was crap. FINISH it, even if it IS crap. Crap can be fixed. Unwritten novels cannot.
Nicole: *from inside the cupboard* Who are your major influences?
Kari: I worship Jim Butcher, because of his ability to create characters you genuinely care for. I want to be able to do that, to make people ache when the character hurts, to cry when they finally get their heart’s desire.
Nicole: *still rummaging, starts to chuck things out of the cupboard* What’s something really bizarre that you worry about in reference to your writing?
Kari: *dodges drained blood bags, broken swords, empty Schlitz cans, and what might be a chewed on human femur* I get obsessive about my “props”. Where are they, who had them last, who has them now? For instance, my hero has a cell phone in my book, and I finally had to make a flow chart with chapter notes so I would know when my hero had it and when he didn’t, because I was SO afraid of a continuity error.
Nicole: HA! Olive oil! So, If you make a bajillion dollars on your books, what would you buy?
Kari: *eyes olive oil and Nicole warily* I’d buy land. I grew up on 50 acres of pasture and forest, and this suburban/city living is just too crowded for me.
Nicole: Awesome. Now are you ready for your slathery massage?
Nicole: Your slathery massage. It’s a League thang. We make them extra slathery. Are you ready?
Kari: No. Not so much. Stay away from me with your slathery, slathery hands.
Nicole: Really? No massage? *Kari shakes her head* Are you sure? Some people just don’t appreciate the slather. Anyway, what’s your greatest fantasy regarding being a writer? What’s your worst nightmare?
Kari: My greatest fantasy is getting on the city bus and realizing that there’s a person sitting across from me, reading my book. Worst nightmare…hmm… I guess having the above person just laughing their butt off at something that wasn’t supposed to be funny at all.
Nicole: Finally, what couldn’t you live without, in terms of your writing?
Kari: My husband. He is the single best sounding board I’ve ever seen. I’ve even had to loan him out to writing friends to help them brainstorm their own projects. (and apparently, brightly colored pens. Sparkly ink is a plus. I can’t edit without them.)
Nicole: Would you like to see me in my loin cloth?
Kari: What the hell? No.
Nicole: Dude, I waxed just for the loincloth! Lemme just slip it on! It’s like a sexy diaper! *picks something up off the couch and goes behind one of the changing screens*
Kari: *picks up her shoes* I am so out of here. You’re a freak. *slams the door on her way out*
Nicole: *peering from behind the screen* Kari? Kari? Where’d she go? *peers down* Looks like it’s just you and me, you sexy, sexy diaper . . . . . . . . . . . .Now where did that olive oil go?