Another set of five questions, and again, feel free to ask or be asked. jsgbits asks :
1) Have you ever used parts of your real life as launch pads for your stories?
Yes, definitely. Very rarely is it an event, although there's one notable event that sparked my first light-of-day story, "In the Gardens and the Graves." There was a classmate, a friend but not a close friend, who had just disappeared off the face of the earth after graduation. No one I'd talked to had heard from her or had any idea where she'd gotten to, and I was told she didn't show up at the university she'd said she was attending, when fall classes started. And then I saw someone who looked just like her and even had her favorite flannel shirt on, and I hurried up and greeted her, and...nothing. This was clearly not that girl, and yet it clearly was. And I went around pondering it (this was the summer I was in Oregon), and then I went to a coffeehouse that night to write and listen to open mic night, and there was this singer, and...yah. The story fell on my head.
Mostly it isn't like that at all. But images, lines, dynamics, all of them feed the storybrain. I checked with my dad to make sure that some of the family dynamics are okay in warped fictionalized form, and he said somebody might as well get some good out of them, so I will.
2) What do you think influences your writing (that is, if you have influences)?
Oh, gosh, everything. Seriously. Things I eat, things I cook, things I drive past, things I see when I walk the dog. Things I read, of course. Movies I watch, music I hear, jewelry I wear, paintings/sketches I see. Everything.
I have to be careful reading Dumas, or his voice will leak into wholly inappropriate places in my writing, but most writers -- even the writers I like best, even the ones who are the strongest influences -- don't have that effect. Mostly the written influences on my work are a good deal more indirect than that. My brain is a Rube Goldberg machine, where you feed the dog and the full dogdish tips a seesaw to ring a bell and so on, and then at the end you have a story.
Some things influence me to go, ack, ick, for heaven's sake, not that. Even in books I like. I'm enjoying Trickster's Queen a good deal more than I did Trickster's Choice, for example, but my brain started poking at the idea of subverting the Evil Regents Trope, and now it's turning things over and going, oooooh, shiny. Not that I'm going to rehabilitate Richelieu, but...but. But. One becomes a Richelieu-related motorboat, apparently.
A girl Richelieu. A retired girl Richelieu, with an herb garden and a Great Dane and, hey, A., remember the bat thing I was talking about in e-mail? I think I'm around to that.
3) Would you prefer snow or sun for most of the year and why?
Hmmm. See, that's not a choice we make here. We get snow with sun a lot of the time, painfully sparkly. I'm not sure how I'd feel about snow with no sun. I had the chance to experience how I would feel about lack of snow, though, so I'm going to have to go with snow.
My brain now feels settled and comfortable again, because outside is where we keep the cold, and now it's behaving itself properly.
4) What's your favorite nut?
What's, not who's? Hazelnuts. Mmmmm. When I was little, I discovered Toffifays in a gas station on a family road trip, and I could not figure out why this wonderful flavor was not more widely available. (Toffifays are often the only way you can get hazelnut candies in an American gas station.) Then we went to Sweden, and the hazelnuts were everywhere. It was wonderful. And also confusing: why don't we have more of these here?
5) If you could not live in Minneapolis area, what would be your second choice homeplace?
The St. Paul area.
I suppose that doesn't really count, especially as some people reckon we live there already. Sigh. I really don't know. Rochester, Duluth? Maybe Eau Claire, WI? Chicago area? All of those are kind of angling towards being Minneapolish, is the thing: either a relatively short drive here or a major feature or two in common with a slightly longer drive. I liked Corvallis for a summer, and if the Upper Midwest fell off the map, maybe I would make do in Oregon. We've had good times in Portland. Or maybe I'd just head north and stop driving when someone complimented my Sundin jersey. (Hmm. That might end up meaning I'd live in Mendota Heights, which is not an answer to this question.)
I like lots of places. I have enjoyed lots of places, and will likely enjoy them again. But there's a big difference between enjoying somewhere and calling it home.