Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I'm delighted to kick off Author Spotlight Week with an author I truly admire.  I've read one of her books and currently have three on order from B&N.

Louise Hawes was the person who inspired Authors with Heart.  When I started reviewing books, I sent the reviews via email to authors.  When I didn't ever receive responses, I quit sending them.  Then I posted my review of Black Pearls: A Faerie Strand.  A few days letter I received a lovely email from Louise.

This communication not only endeared Louise to me, but gave me the confidence to seek out interviews with other authors.  Granted, Cindy Pon and Stuart Neville, whom you'll also meet this week, agreed to do interviews so I would quit stalking them.  But others, like Julie Berry and John Marco, are direct results of my newfound faith in Authors with Heart.

While I'm pleased to offer you this interview with Louise, I also encourage you to check out her writing.  It's sensorial, intelligent, graceful....much like Louise herself.

Step #1
  • Mac or PC? PC
  • keep or toss?  I don't speak toss. I still have clothes I wore in high school!
  • aisle or window? Aisle
  • LA or New York?  Sorry, I'm not a city girl, not any city. I like my air without smog and my mornings filled with bird songs, not honking horns and squeaking brakes.
  • pen or pencil? Pencil for free writes, pen for contracts. The first need to flow, the second need to last!
  • Bronte sisters or Louisa May Alcott?  I read Jane Eyre every year. It's among my all-time faves; I even wrote a novel, Waiting for Christopher, about it!
  • cake or ice cream? I thought they were a set :-)
Step #2
TELL US about any of your weird writing habits or idiosyncracies. (ie, What’s one “thing” you need to write, the thing without which the creative juices would cease to flow?)
I like to work on more than one kind of project at a time. If I'm working on a novel, it's like R and R to take a "break" and develop a picture book. If I'm writing a short story, building a poem is a fun "vacation" and helps tighten my language at the same time. Each piece feeds and is nourished by the others. So if I get stuck on one project, I often find the solution by working on something else.

Step #3
TEACH US one or two of your favorite vocabulary words.
You're talking to someone who reads the dictionary for fun! I love the history of words as well as the music they make. One of my favorites I've worked it into several books is OTIOSE. It sounds just like what it means -- lazy, slow, useless. It can describe a river, a person, a mood. It comes from the Latin word, otisosus, meaning idle.

Step #4
  • The last book I finished reading was Specimen Days by Michael Cunningham.
  • I gave it unlimited stars.
  • One word to describe it is brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. (You said one word, right? But you didn't limit how many times I could use it :-)).
Step #5
Describe what you’re doing/where you are as you’re taking this interview. What project are you working on while you’re there?
I'm a Writer in Residence at an Arts Center in southern North Carolina. It's an elegant, historically preserved mansion with beautiful gardens, lovely writers' quarters named after NC writers (I'm sleeping in the Thomas Wolfe room, which comes complete with ghost :-)), a gorgeous sun porch (with WiFi, of course!), and blissful quiet everywhere. I'm working on a new novel and putting together a lecture for the July residency at the Vermont College MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program. Can't think of a nicer setting in which to work my buns off!!

Step #6
From the beginning of your writing career through now, what are one or two lessons you’ve learned – about the writing/publishing process, marketing, or, you know, just life in general?
We're in this together. No one can be objective about her own work; we all need readers (preferably other writers) whose eyes and hearts we trust to give us honest responses to our writing. A good writers' group is priceless!

I've learned over time that some of the roughest patches in my life have made me a better writer. I hope they've made me a better person, too. Hard times have a way of tenderizing us.

Step #7
GIVE US THE SCOOP. Tell us something about yourself that’s exclusive to In Search of Giants (ie, has never been publicized in print or podcast interviews.)
You mean besides the fact that I'm allergic to chocolate? (Weep for me...) Okay, here's a real scoop: I've just finished a story for a new graphic novel being put together with four other writers. Fallen Angels comes out with DC/Vertigo next year, and includes Holly Black on the writing team and the gifted fantasy illustrator Rebecca Guay, who did the gorgeous illustrations for my last book, Black Pearls, a Faerie Strand. I can't wait for everyone to see this project--it is amazing!!

Thank you so much for letting me interview you, Louise!


  1. Otiose. I can certainly see why you love that word. It's so fun to say and type. Otiose, otiose, otiose ... now I'm gonna look for someplace to use that word!

  2. Great interview! I loved Louise's book Black Pearls when I read it last summer. I loved some of Louise's answers to the Lightning Round questions- pretty funny.

  3. Loved the interview... loved Otiose. But more than anything loved the answer to Pen or Pencil.

    So much said in so few words and a big lesson taught with a smile. :D

    Allergic to chocolate?? That sooo awful! (And I thought mine being allergic to Onions was bad!)

    I love to read graphic novels/manga/comics. Can't wait to read her's.

    Love 7SS. :)

  4. I know I shouldn't be commenting on my own interview, but I just wanted to tell everyone what FUN I had doing it. This blogger makes it easy, and she's a real book junkie, my favorite kind of addict :-) Thank YOU for this site!

  5. I love Louise's interview. I don't know her personally, but she is my Facebook friend. I just received her book, Black Pearls, in the mail. No doubt, I'll be up late tonight reading it. The cover is calling me now.

  6. Wow! that intelligent, mysterious, unique, present and exciting word-sleuth of a woman is my sister!



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