Friday, August 13, 2010

E is for Erica

You might recognize the picture on the right from our Book Drive for Merry.  I spent nearly two years in awe of my next 7ss author, Erica Orloff, before realizing she's accessible, kind, and that the only person funnier is her elementary age son.

After publishing 20 novels for adults, including Freudian Slip, nominated for best contemporary romance of 2009 by Romantic Times, Erica Orloff took to her Russian ancestry to write the middle grade children’s fantasy series, The Magickeepers, under the pen name Erica Kirov.

Although I've not yet read either of The Magickeepers, I have read Freudian Slip, which involves characters that might seem familiar to persons from a Christian tradition. Angels, demons.  People-who-have-yet-to-cross-over.  The story in Freudian Slip is fine - enjoyable, well-written, solid characters, blah, blah.  It's the theology that blows me away.  This has to be the most intelligent contemporary romance since...ever.

A native New Yorker, Erica is a rapid Yankees fan in baseball season, which is really just the warm-up for football and the NY Giants. A mother of four (not to mention the three dogs, cat, hedgehog, python, and parrot), she balances writing with motherhood, with varying degrees of success and a large amount of chaos.

She maintains a writing blog at her website:

Step #1
  • music or gym class? Music
  • high school or college?  College
  • school lunch or sack lunch?  Sack
  • crayons or markers? Markers
  • first crush: 
  • favorite subject: English
  • favorite teacher: Hmm, tough one. So many. Ray Wingrove—a class on Dying, Death, and Grief in college . . . and one of my dear friends today
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 have four kids. I write in chaos. I long ago learned not to NEED anything to write (oh, like quiet, long stretches of time, SLEEP). I have a lucky bathrobe for when I am at my most desperate hour on a deadline. And I do drink a lot of coffee. And the idiosyncratic thing about that? I brew a whole pot. I only drink MAYBE two cups all day, but it SEEMS like a lot because I am always dumping and refilling all day long.

Step #3
TEACH US one or two of your favorite vocabulary words.

My favorite word in the English language is Fata Morgana, which is a very complicated sort of mirage, having to do with thermal inversion. But of course that it is tied to Morgan le Fay—just love it.

I also like Schadenfreude . . . deriving pleasure from other’s misfortunes. Not that I LIKE that, but it’s such a weird phenomenon in our culture right now. Something I loathe actually . . . the word is perfect for American society right now.

Step #4
  • The last book I finished reading was The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson
  • I gave it 3stars.
  • One word to describe it is dark.
Step #5
QUESTION: What's your favorite school-age memory?

It’s a sound actually. My grandparents owned a little cottage in upstate New York, and they were early risers, and so was I. There was nothing like the sound of their spoons hitting the sides of their tea cups, like this little bell sound, almost, and then I would know I could jump out of bed and go see them and the day would begin.

Step #6
QUESTION:What effect did school (elementary through college/grad school) have on your writing?

I think it helped me know I was a writer. Writing came so easily to me. Term papers. All of it. When other kids had to struggle with those essays (you know, write an essay of 500 or more words . . . where kids would pad them with adjectives just to make the 500-word mark) . . . I could write for pages and pages. Words just came to me all the time.

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.)

Hmmmm . . . . My father likes to steal things from restaurants and hotels. Silverware. Plates. Anything. And if we pass the chambermaid’s cart, he’s taking almost everything on it—like 50 washcloths. I furnished much of my college apartment from the Hyatt hotel chain. And from the most expensive Hyatt restaurant, Hugo’s, my father wanted to take the silver sugar caddies. I told him I didn’t (at the time) drink coffee, and I had no use for the sugar caddies. Nonetheless, he stole four of them for me. And I used them for the feeding bowls for my gerbils. I had very classy gerbils.



  1. LOL. I love the pictures you added, like the towels. ROFLMAO.

    And I'm so glad you liked Freudian Slip.

  2. heh, great interview! I think, honestly, my husband could someday steal from hotels. It just fits his personality...

  3. Starbucks:
    When I look around my cabinets, I'm always laughing. A lot of stuff my dad stole. :-)

  4. Nice interview, sis! Funny, you must have gotten all the illicit booty. I ended up with nada in my cabinets. I love the idea of a lucky robe.

  5. I wonder if the hotels ever caught on to him... I know my parents have hotel towels and pens, but your dad must have had some serious cajones :)

    I really like your favorite schoolage "sound" memory - it reminds me of when my grandparents would get up and I'd smell the delicious coffee brewing and instantly want one too (though I never did)! Otherwise it would be the sound of my mom opening all the blinds in the house to signal it was time for school.

  6. I generally didn't have much trouble with term papers either. I had others ask me to write theirs but I never did. I think back now about how I should have charged them.

  7. Erica is so nice that a native Bostonian (the suburbs anyway), and naturalised Floridian/Rays fan, can't hold the bit about the Yankees against her.

  8. What a sweet memory of that "little bell sound" ringing in the ears of a young girl. So warm and inviting! Thanks for that and for the 7ss interview.

  9. I loved #5! I used to watch "Inside the Actors Studio" and James Lipton does the questionnaire at the end and one of the questions is "What is your favorite sound?"

    In 1996 (I was still living at home) I wrote a page in my notebook with answers to each of the questions and my favorite-sound answer was "the sound of tea being stirred." Both my parents are big tea drinkers.

  10. Great interview! I would love to see these gerbils eating from the sugar caddies.

  11. Alan:
    It was "our" grandfather's. Plaid. Ugly as sin. But when I put it on, I like to think he envelops me. I am sad all my grandparents died before I published.

  12. Epic Rat:
    My mom once went with my dad to a jazz club. They liked the beer pitchers and steins. She went in looking normal, winter coat. Came OUT as a "pregnant" woman with tons of glassware under her coat. To know my parents is to love them. :-)

  13. Charles:
    Additionally, I would do my term papers a month ahead of time. LOL!

  14. Nadine:
    How cool . . . And I used to love Lipton for precisely those last few minutes. And of course Will Farrell's version is PRICELESS.

  15. Melanie:

    :-) Yes. Pretty silver caddies in amongst the gerbils. When I think about it now, it really cracks me up.

  16. Funny stuff about your dad. I love a little larceny.

  17. Tena:
    His favorite expression is "A day without larceny is like a day without sunshine."

  18. No first crush answer. Now I feel cheated out of that bit on knowledge.

  19. Travis:
    LOL! I actually wrote something and not sure what happened. It was Randy Mantooth on TV's "Emergency" show.


    And also Patrick Miehle. My first-grade boyfriend.

  20. I love the pictures you added, Love the towels!



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