"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Authors Unplugged

Friday lunch was a blast with these three fab writers:

Here we are in our lunch glory. (Jody on left, Jo in center, me on right, Cyn behind the camera).

Can I just say this: Lunch with other writers is a blast. Especially since all three agreed to my mini interview idea. And especially since it was Friday afternoon and wine was totally acceptable.
We each brought questions for the others. I agreed to do the abridged version, though those around us at Z-Tejas on 6th Street definitely got the unabridged version. I think we were getting a few strange looks.


First up: Cyn. She brought the same question for all.

Q from Cyn: What is your condiment of choice: Salsa, Guacamole, or Pico de Gallo?

(With a bit of indecision creeping in, we decided this would be “if you had to have only one for the rest of your life, which would it be?”)

PJ (Me): Salsa but not too hot

Jo: Salsa because you can put it on more things

Jody: Salsa, but guacamole is a very close second
(We think Jody just wants to move to Texas.)

Cyn: Guacamole because it has vegetable like qualities and it’s green

* Insert sidenote here: The avocado most definitely is a fruit.


Next up: Jody Feldman. She brought the same question for all.

Q from Jody: Name one or two of your guilty pleasure movies.

Cyn: (1) Xanadu; (2) The Lost Boys
(insert me exclaiming Lost Boys is in fact one of mine)

PJ (Me): (1) The Lost Boys; (2) Logan’s Run; (3) (added later) Journey to the Center of the Earth – the original version

Jo: (1) The Bird Cage; (2) Hot Fudge (OK, edited to say Jo tells me this is really Hot Fuzz, but Hot Fudge is kind of funny.)

Jody: (1) War Games; (2) 16 Candles


Next up: Jo Whittemore

Q from Jo for Jody: How do you manage to market yourself in an area not very dense with writers? (Jody is from Saint Louis, Missouri)

Jody: She claims nobody knows her in Missouri :) She travels a lot. Texas Bluebonnet Award is awesome! Class of 2k8 was enormous.

Q from Jo for PJ: During the upcoming summer, how do you plan to manage your time to take care of your two kids and write?

PJ (Me): Day camp for 2 weeks! Late nights when kids are home. Naps during day. Maybe even get neighbor girl to watch kids a couple times a week.

Q from Jo for Cyn: Your background is in law. When you write for MG/YA, how do you manage to keep the language simple enough for the readers?

Cyn: Keep it authentic to individual characters. Choose intelligent and mature characters for their age.


Next up: Me (PJ Hoover)

Q from PJ for Jody: Love Boat or Fantasy Island. Any favorite episode?

Jody: Love Boat at the time. Now Fantasy Island. Love romantic comedy. Can’t remember a single favorite episode. All meld together.

Cyn (wanted to answer this one, too): This is a deep personal question for her. She and her husband bonded over Mr. Roarke vs. The Devil. It's how she knew he was "the one".

Jo: Never watched either (she’s too young)

Q from PJ for Jo: What is the most embarrassing this you’ve done in public that you can laugh about now?

Jo: Missing the dinner boat for junior prom. Went alone. No date. Boat had pulled away already. Standing on dock in her prom dress. Everyone is watching. Steamboat had to go all the way out and turn back around to come get her.

Jody: While playing softball on company team and tripped over second base.

Q from PJ for Cyn: What possessed you to throw out your first draft the first time you ever did that, and did you cry?

Cyn: Whole first draft is to psych herself up. She knew going in that she was going to throw it out afterward. Put her whole heart into it. And no tears.

(The rest of us decided we didn’t have the guts to do this).


We then went to Cyn’s house after lunch where her husband, Greg Leitich Smith (of Ninjas, Piranhas, and Galileo and Tofu an T.Rex acclaim), decided to join us for the fun. So we posed some questions to him.

* Insert brief discussion on Scatalogical humor. We had the hardest time remembering this word.

Greg’s guilty pleasure movies: (1) Ratatouille; (2) Spiderwick; (3) Galaxy Quest; (4) My Cousin Vinnie (though in fairness, he didn't phrase these as guilty pleasures. We think that's a girl thing.)

Greg’s condiment of choice: Pico de Gallo – because you can make salsa out of it.

Greg: Fantasy Island, Mr. Roarke vs. The Devil (he passed the marriage test here with no coaxing from Cyn)

Greg on simplifying language for MG/YA: He doesn’t think he does. Characters would know the words he uses.

Thanks so much, guys, for playing along!


Solvang Sherrie said...

What fun questions!

I can still sing the whole theme song for "The Love Boat." Obviously, my Saturday nights in high school were not very active...

The author luncheon sounds like a blast!

Miriam S.Forster said...

Mmm... I really want to watch GalaxyQuest now. But if I do then I'll want to watch the whole first series, and it'll just go downhill from there.


(My verification word is thedip, which I'm pretty sure is two words and cheating.) (But strangely appropriate for the post...)

D.A. Riser said...

Great interview. I'm with you on the original Journey to the Center of the Earth - love it. However, I will say that the 3D one that came out last year was pretty entertaining.

Carrie Harris said...

It sounds like you had a blast.

For years, I wanted to be Star from the Lost Boys. Minus the whole almost-vampire thing, of course. :)

Jody Feldman said...

That was the most fun. I can't thank you enough for being our cruise director, PJ! And picking me up at the airport (for the second time). And coming out to BookPeople and needing to sit on the floor. And ... and ... and ...
(and I'm still smiling).

Cynthia Leitich Smith said...

Awesome to see y'all there! Thanks for including me! Is it okay if I feature the pic to lead Cynsations readers your way?

PJ Hoover said...

We had fun with the questions, Sherrie! And it sounds like our Saturday nights growing up were much the same!

Totally understand what you mean about downhill from there, Miriam. Once I started watching the first Star Trek episode, I had to watch them all.

The 3D one did rock, Dan, but yeah, there is nothing like the original! I think I know every line.

Star was the coolest, Carrie. I wanted to be her also because I thought Jason Patric was the greatest thing around at the time.

You are more than welcome, Jody, and you were awesome on Saturday! The kids loved you, and talk about selling a ton of books! Whoo hoo!

Thanks for coming, Cyn! And yes on the picture!

Have a great week!

C.R. Evers said...

Wow! NOw that is an impressive lunch crew!

Luv the questions and answers! :0) Fun!


PJ Hoover said...

Thanks, Christy! We had a good time, and the weather was perfect!

Lady Glamis said...

Awesome interviews! I have to admit that I love Galaxy Quest. It's hilarious. A great spoof! I love well-done spoofs.

You have nice writer friends, I can tell. Such a great network!

Anonymous said...

Hehe. While I DO enjoy hot fudge on sundaes, the movie I mentioned is called "Hot Fuzz". It's a police spoof movie.

David Macinnis Gill said...

Lost Boys AND Logan's Run? Your husband is a lucky, lucky man.

PJ Hoover said...

Well-done spoofs are perfect, Michelle! I'd love to do one someday.

Hot Fuzz - too funny, Jo! You know, I had to listen a couple times, and even then, I obviously got it wrong :)

Thanks, David. I do try to tell my husband this on a regular basis, but I'm not sure he believes me :)

Thanks for visiting!

Lenore said...

Logan's Run!! Makes me laugh every time. And I am all about the guacamole.

Barrie said...

How fun to have such fun!!

lotusgirl said...

Sounds like a fun get together.

Kelly H-Y said...

Sounds like a FABULOUS luncheon get-together! Thanks so much for sharing all the great questions and answers ... it was like getting to be there!
My vote is for guacamole ... funny, considering I just started liking it about 2 years ago. Now I'm obsessed with it ... but only my recipe version! :-)

Kelly said...

Fun questions! It sounds like a fun girlie lunch!

Vivian said...

This is so fun! And I'd choose guacamole because the way I make it uses salsa...the spicier the better! Perfect snack food when watching The Love Boat.

Keri Mikulski said...


Thanks for sharing.. :)

PJ Hoover said...

Logan's Run does rock, doesn't it, Lenore!

It was fun, Barrie! Wish you would come to Austin!

Totally, Lois. It was a blast!

I bet your Guac recipe is delicious, Kelly HY! It is addictive, isn't it.

Totally a fun girlie lunch, Kelly! Gotta love that!

So you're a spicy girl, Vivian! And a Love Boat girl. Somehow I should know that!

You're welcome, Keri! It was a great time!

Hope you guys are having a great day!

adrienne said...

What a fun interview! Now I'm feeling a little nostalgic for The Love Boat.

beth said...

Is it bad that I've never seen any of these movies? :)

*so jealous of writerly drinking* So, does Austin have it's own version of the Bird and the Baby? Inklings? If so, I'm moving NOW!

PJ Hoover said...

And me for Fantasy Island, Adrienne! I loved that show!

Yes, Beth!!!! It is bad. Consider this your summer movie list. And Austin has nothing quite so prestigious, though we do have a good amount of fun. Yes, move here!

Caryn Caldwell said...

That sounds like fun! And I have to say, I enjoy a lot of the guilty pleasures movies listed, especially Sixteen Candles and Galaxy Quest

PJ Hoover said...

It was fun, Caryn! And I'm with you on the movies! There are some great ones.

Thanks for stopping by!

Christina Farley said...

Loved this! Great questions and lots of fun. I like your picture too and I'm very jealous.

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks, Christina! And it was a blast!