RJ Keller is one of the creative brains behind Inside the Writer's Studio.
(You may have read me mention this hilariawesome thing in yesterday's interview with Kristen Tsetsi. Here is the link again: http://www.youtube.com/user/PaperRats)
A coffee guzzling professional and an author to be reckoned with, you can find out more about her work here:
I know her in cyberland to be warm, witty, smart and fun. I have her novel, "Waiting for Spring," next to my bed, which I just now realized is weirdly appropriate given how much I have been grumbling about my desire for winter's end. Spring cannot come soon enough to my Pennsyltuckian mountain. Maybe this interview will help usher it in sooner. If anyone can bring it, RJ Keller can! You go, girl!
Q. What’s the best/worst piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
A. Best: Take your writing seriously, but not yourself. Books are important, but writers are only people like everyone else and nobody likes an arrogant ass. Also, don't skip your coffee break. It's the most important meal of the day.
Worst: The idea that I should keep on plugging away on a book that I'm not feeling and/or that isn't working. Sometimes that's good advice, but not always and I spent years working on and reworking a novel that I am completely blocked on. I've gotten to the point where I hate it. I'd punch it in the face if I could. Finally, about a month ago, I decided to put it away temporarlily to work instead on a book I started during last year's NANOWRIMO. The new book is pretty much writing itself. It's making me remember why I loved writing in the first place. After I'm done with this, I'll probably tear apart the other book and start from scratch and see what I can make of it.
Q. Alliteration or onomatopoeia?
A. Onomatopoeia, for sure. BAM! POP! SQUISH! How can you not love "squish"?
Q. Would you describe yourself as a writer who plans or a writer who explores?
A. Sort of both. I find I do best when I start a project with no concrete idea of where the story is going. It's fun to just create a character in my head, then give him or her a character to butt heads or other body parts with, and let the plot develop from there. Once the story starts to gel, I'll stop and make an outline, then keep going.
Q. Writing wardrobe?
A. My pajamas. I don't know what I'm gonna do if I have to get a job that requires me to actually get dressed and run a comb through my hair.
Q. What were you doing right before I started asking you a bunch of inane questions?
A. Looking under my armchair for a curtain rod bracket. My cat pulled the curtains out of the wall this morning and one of the brackets is still missing. Using Occam's razor, I've deduced that she must have eaten it.
Q. What’s on your desk right now?
A. A cup of coffee, a water bottle that I probably need to refill, a dirty coffee cup, my notebook and three pens. Also a broken ponytail holder. Where the hell did that come from? My hair hasn't been long enough for a ponytail for years...
Q. Favorite beverage of the moment?
A. Fireball cinnamon whiskey. And Country Time pink lemonade. But not at the same time.
Q. E-shopping or brick and mortar?
A. Both. I love, love, LOVE shopping at bookstores, especially those that are locally owned. (Shout out to Bull Moose in Bangor Maine!) I love everything about browsing through books on a shelf. However, e-shopping is not only convenient, but a real money saver when you live in a poor, rural area - like I do - where the nearest city is a forty-five minute drive, with gas prices being as high as they are. Brick and mortar stores that haven't opened themselves up to e-commerce already should really get on it.
Q. Argyle or plain white socks?
A. I like mixing argyle with stripes. It reminds them who's boss. (The boss is me.)
Q. If you could collaborate on a project with anyone living, dead or imaginary, who would you pick?
A. My Impossible Dream would be to work on a book with Australian writer/poet Luke Davies. I'd sit there quietly and fetch him coffee and fresh pens if that's all he needed me for. Also, it would be SO cool to snag John Green for a cameo in a Paper Rats video. And I would love it if Nathan Fillion would sit on my couch while I'm writing. I'll bet he smells really nice. He could fetch me coffee and fresh pens.
Q. Tell us about your current creative project/s.
A. I'm working on a novel that is tentatively entitled Winging It (the odds are good that this will change). It's about a single mother in her late thirties who is struggling with Empty Nest Syndrome after her only daughter moves to New York to pursue an acting career. It's filled with humor, sex, angst, and Wikipedia Article Envy.
UPDATE: The curtain rod bracket was lying on top of my sneaker.