Monday, February 4, 2008

Her Fearsomeness, Esther Friesner

What is this?!? What is this, you may inquire? Why, it's an interview! A shiny, exciting, joy-inducing interview right here on the Maelstrom. Now to you foolish mortals unfamiliar with Ms. Friesner I would have to ask you to scroll down a bit and read our review on Nobody's Princess. Surprise surprise, she wrote that book, and the sequel which is coming out on April 22nd (a bit of shameless advertising). So without further pomp, circumstance, or mindless rantings I give you our review with that Spartan glory herself, Esther Friesner (plus some victorious occasional commentary by Aella).

  1. When you were growing up did you have a particular heroine, either fictional or no, who you looked up to?
    • I don't think I had -one- particular heroine I looked up to when I was growing up, though I did have a number of these. I loved Pippi Longstocking because she was unique, independent, and even though she had to take care of herself, she didn't let the day-to-day chores get in the way of having fun. I always enjoyed the fantasy novels of E. Eager like HALF MAGIC and KNIGHT'S CASTLE, which includes all of the girls in those books.
    • I love Anne from ANNE OF GREEN GABLES and Eloise from (of course) ELOISE and the sequels, but for some reason I did not discover these books until I was in my late teens! It only goes to show you that just because something is called a "children's" book does not mean (-way!-) older readers can't enjoy it.
    • In real life, my mother was most definitely a heroine to me. She was a teacher in the New York City public school system for decades, getting her job during the Depression when times were hard and competition for the few available teaching positions open was fierce. She treated others with kindness, fairness, and insight. If I turn out to be half as good a person as she was, it will be my greatest achievement.

2. E-books (*cough* scourge *cough*). What say you?

    • I like deadtree books better than e-books, but I know lots of people who prefer e-books. It's a matter of taste and preference, which is always a great Mystery. (Really, it is. I mean, were you aware that some people don't like -bittersweet chocolate?!- More for me, but still. . .go figure.)
    • I find it more easy on my eyes to read a book than to read text off a screen. I also feel much better knowing that if I lose a book I won't berate myself as much as if I'd lost an expensive e-book reader. And some books are simply beautiful works of art.
    • My choice: traditional books. Everyone else, make your own choices.
    • One more thing: Whether you prefer traditional books or e-books, always obtain your reading matter legally and ethically. It's like old Miz Higginbotham's Homemade Pies, the best pies ever in the history of the universe: If you filch them instead of buying them, old Miz Higginbotham is going to -stop making them- altogether because old Miz Higginbotham can't cover the mortagage, the taxes, and her health insurance payments if no one -pays- for those pies! And then where will you be? Pieless. And up to your nostrils in bad karma.

Karma is a tricky tricky thing *nods sagely*. Don't mess with karma. Example A: It is sure to be a major karma slap-down if you read e-books. There.

  1. Currently, do you read any YA novels? Is there a particular author who you enjoy?
    • This isn't the best time to ask me about reading other YA authors' works. I'm so busy working on three new novels of my own that most of my reading time is devoted to research. (Though I admit to enjoying -manga- when I get the chance for a work break).
Manga is fun. Bleach, Death Note, Emma, Full Metal Panic, Clover, Yotsuba&!, Azumangah Dioh *ramble*...

  1. After your success with Nobody’s Princess, can you tell us what it was like to get your first good review? Or your first bad one, gods forbid?
    • I've been publishing stories since 1983 and novels since 1985, so it's hard to remember what it was like to get my first good review. It was probably a major "You LIKE me! You really LIKE me!" moment. I'm just happy that the first was not the last. Who doesn't like to have her work appreciated?
  1. Where do you find inspiration for your work? The Himalayas? Your basement?
    • Inspiration is -everywhere-. Including during a dentist appointment. And sometimes, believe it or not, from typos. That's where I got the idea for another of my YA novels, TEMPING FATE. (I tried to type the phrase "tempting Fate," missed typing the second "t," and a book was born!
The only good thing I can recall about dentist appointments is those little disc-like floss containers. You can tie things very securely with that waxen tooth tool *suspicious grin*...

  1. Choice time! Sparta or Troy (is that even a fair question)?
    • It. . .must. . .be. . .SPARTA!" (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
  1. Have you done anything crazy to procrastinate work on either your first title or its follow up (mark your calendars folks) Nobody’s Prize?
  • I am not very good at procrastinating because I work on more than one writing project at a time. That way, while I'm procrastinating work on one book, I'm doing work on another.

  1. However fan-girl-esque (ugh) this may appear we have to inquire. Will there be a third book on Helen’s exploits? Or is there something else brewing in Friesner-land?
    • NOBODY'S PRINCESS and NOBODY'S PRIZE (which is coming out in April 2008) are it for Helen's story, but the good news is I am now writing two more YA novels for Random House about young Nefertiti! No titles have been decided on for these books yet, however I'm also writing a YA historical novel for Penguin Books called BURNING ROSES.

Nefertiti goes hand in hand with Egyptian lore. Which is almost as fearsome as Greek myth.

  1. Maelstroms, tempests, or whirlwinds?
    • I'm going to say "tempests" because you can always fit one in a teapot and I like tea.
  1. Have you any wisdom to impart upon us before you go *weep*? On writing, life, gorgons, or anything else you see fit.
    • Advice? Here's a sample:
    • Never confuse snarkiness with real wit.
  • Never forget how to laugh, especially at yourself. It will get you through some really rough patches.
  • If you want to become a professional writer, make sure you keep your eye on practical matters as well as on the writing itself. You -will- need a day job. You -will- need health insurance. You -will- be able to write more if you are not frantically worrying about having enough money for necessities, and the more worry-free time you have for writing, the better your writing will become.
  • If you're going to pay someone else to publish your work, you might as well just take your work to the local photocopy shop and hand out copies on your own. It's cheaper. Or you could just remember the mainstay rule for professional writers (and those who wish to become professional writers) namely:
  • Money flows TOWARD the writer.
  • Getting your writing to come out right will not always be easy, but working on -getting- it right will be satisfying. If it isn't satisfying, maybe this isn't something you want to be doing.
  • Believe it or not, there are people out there who want to be published but who don't want to do what it takes to be writers. It doesn't work that way unless you are major paparazzi-bait.
  • It's possible to be serious without being grim. It's possible to to enjoy a dose of silliness without being completely inane. And--I do not care how mushy this may sound--it's possible to enjoy life but it ought to be -mandatory- that we do something, however small, to make life just a bit more enjoyable for others.

My grandmother used to tell me to "Stop being, snarky." So that's what it means...hmm...

  1. Say you had the opportunity to push someone off of Olympus and take his or her or its spot as a god or goddess. Who would you choose?
    • I'm feeling lazy, so I'm going to say I'll pick Hebe. She's the cupbearer of the gods, which means all she has to do is keep pouring the nectar. That's a pretty cushy job! I'll bet she gets to listen in on all kinds of -really- divine gossip. She's also married to Herakles (Yes, Disney got it wrong. What were the odds?) which must make her immortal life -very- interesting, to say the least.
I knew something was wrong about that whole "animated" version. Meg just wasn't cool enough for Herakles. Nowhere near it.

The end.

Thank you again for deigning to speak with us, Ms. Friesner. 'Twas an experience never to forget. Of course I must rate this interview at a 7 out of 7 Lightnings (How very appropriate.)!! Expect more tempestuous excitement from the Maelstrom soon. How could you expect less?

Constructing a Toga
and From the Shadows
*Aella Siofra*
and ~Medeia Senka~


Reese said...


Bri said...

Heh, heh, heh... "money flows TOWARD the writer." I like it!

Medeia said...

I really must read her book....

sera zane said...

hey, no disrespect of fangirls.
if you're too good to call yourself a fangirl, you're obviously too stuck-up in general. (not saying you are, because you aren't) some fangirling is good for the soul. cleanses it.

nice interview!

Aella said...

*cleansing* SQueeeee...OMGauthors... *cleansing* Haha. Thanks for the tip Miss Zane.


Medeia said...

Wow... too stuck-up, huh? I prefer arrogant or condescending, myself....

sera zane said...

well, it can be arrogant or condescending if done properly too. those rely more on glare and tone of voice though, things difficult to achieve over the internet.

Medeia said...

Difficult for mortals perhaps....