Thursday, May 8, 2008
Dr. Missy's Almanac
May 11: Throw a Hex Nut Wrench Through Your Neighbor's Window Day in Deland, Florida
May 15: Snicker at a Republican Day in Pittsburgh, Kansas
May 24: Follow Someone You Don't Know Until They Get Nervous and Call the Cops Day in Boston, Massachusetts
May 25: Refer to Your Best Friend as Albert Even If That's Not His Name Day in Lansing, Michigan
May 30: National Claim to Have Eaten a Deadly Black Mambo Viper Day in Madagascar
Great review for moi!
For some odd reason my big people novel has shown up at Amazon France. Not only that, it received a four-star review! Unfortunately, I don't read a lick of French but I did pick out a few phases, like monde de la perversion, que chaotique, and beaucoup amusée. Hooray for me!
People always ask, why do you keep your book a secret? I don't, not really. In fact, this very blog sat around for a month with a picture of me wearing a Santa hat whilst reading my opus and declaring it to be the best book ever written, or some such thing. No one said a word.
In other news, I am seriously considering creating the world's first DMI, or Dead Mother Index. It would consist of examining whatever books come my way and then summarizing how the parental units fare in said books. Of course, you readers are welcome to make submissions as well! The more the merrier!
The DMI so far:
THE TRUE MEANING OF SMEKDAY: Absent father, missing mother
THE DAY MY BUTT WENT PSYCHO: Dead mother
ENDYMION SPRING: Parents separated
BLACK BOOK OF SECRETS: Parents alive but creepy and homicidal
TUNNELS: Missing father, deranged mother
FLORA SEGUNDA: Deranged father
ATTACK OF THE FROZEN WOODCHUCKS: Dead mother
AIRBORN: Dead father
AIRMAN: Parents alive and reasonably normal
PURE DEAD FROZEN: Parents alive but odd in a cool way
You get the idea.
Bev Cooke tears the roof off the sucker!
Bev Cooke is the author of KEEPER OF THE LIGHT: SAINT MACRINATHE ELDER, GRANDMOTHER OF SAINTS from Conciliar Press, the newly released FERAL from Orca Books, and the forthcoming KEEPER OF THE LIGHT, also from Conciliar Press.
Dr. Missy: Looking at these titles, I would say they are about a
lighthouse keeper, a wolf, and a different lighthouse keeper. Am I right?
Bev Cooke: Close - very close! the third book is "Royal Monastic" about a snooty princess who has a secret identity as a nun and works as a spy for Interpol.
Seriously, Keeper of the Light is about St. Macrina the Elder, an early Christian saint who was exiled for 7 years into the wilderness (and she had about as much woodlore as a life-long New York City native who might be able to identify a squirrel in Central Park) then, once she returned to her city, became destitute when the Roman Empire took away all she owned. She was basically a street person for a few years, then when Christianity became legal, got all her belongings back.
Feral is about a cat who lives in the subway and the street kid who befriends her.
Royal Monastic is a biography of Princess Ileana of Romania - who was not your typical princess and her life was not what you'd call a typical life of royalty, unless of course, being exiled, broke and sick all your life is your idea of how royal people live.
DM: What moved you to write these particular books?
BC: This little guy sneaked into my office and held some kind of weird ray gun to my head and promised that if I didn't, he'd take me into his space ship and forcibly marry me to Elvis. I figured anything was better than that, and besides, I'm already married, so I wrote the books.
Seriously, the first two have to do with my faith - in the first, I was drawn to St. Macrina, not just because of what she suffered for her faith, but for the fact that she taught her grandsons about the faith. Her grandsons went on to become giants of the Christian religion - the work they did still affects us today, and monks and nuns still live under the rules St. Basil the Great wrote down for monastics. But without Macrina's teaching, they wouldn't have been able to take the steps they did to make the discoveries they made.
Royal Monastic was suggested to me by my publisher - and the more I learned about Ileana and what she went through in her life, the more impressed I was by her - her courage, her good humour, her ability to get up and keep going when things knocked her down.
Feral is about belonging and acceptance and what you'll do to belong. Since I spent a lot of my younger years feeling very much an outsider, the book was an exploration of that. And a lot of kids spend a lot of time feeling like they're outside - I think because they're not really kids anymore, but they're not adults either, and so they don't quite fit into either 'box.' And I like cats a lot - so it was easy to write about a cat.
DM: Which of the following words describes you best?
A. Gangsta rapper
B. International weapons dealer
D. Mixed martial arts fighter
E. Washed up soap opera actress
BC: Oh, you know, I'd love to be a combination of a gansta rapper, a zookeeper and and mixed artial arts fighter, but I'm probably more like the washed up soap opera actress.
DM: Tell us about your favorite book. Or not. It's not like I have any power over you or anything but if you don't tell us about it, I will probably do something awful to you. I hate to be that way, you know? Being an interviewer is hard, so very hard. I didn't sleep at all last night, knowing I would have to write these questions. I thrashed around in bed, bathed in a cold sweat, and occasionally I would cry softly to myself. It's a far greater burden than anyone should have to bear. It's not like I'm asking for pity, you understand. It's just that it's so bloody stressful trying to get people to answer simple questions! Tell us about your favorite book! Is that so hard? No! I don't think so! Just do it already!
BC: Oh, Dr. Missy, it's too bad you stayed up all night - you missed the greatest dreams in the world. But do I feel sorry for you? Mwhahahahahahahaha no! Because that meant *I* got them all. And I'm keeping them and not sharing - not at all! Mine, all mine, I tell you! I have all the best dreams in the entire world and nobody else can have them!
My favourite books: it's more like my favourite authors. Once I find a book I like, I search out other books by the same writer. Beth Goobie, Carrie Mac, Tim Wynne Jones, Kenneth Oppel, and Arthur Slade are about my favourite Canadian YA authors. Chris Crutcher, Dotti Enderle, Diana Wynne Jones, Arthur Ransome, and CS Lewis are some of my favourite US & British YA authors. Adult writers: Terry Pratchett, Peter Straub, Stephen King, Shirley Jackson, Stephen Brust, Barry Hughheart, Andre Norton, Anne McCaffrey. Anything by any of them.
DM: Have you done any book signings? How did that go? If you haven't done any book signings, tell us about latex catsuits or whatever.
BC: I've done two book signings. One was nice and quiet and straightforward - they gave me books, I signed them. Unfortunately, at that one, I met a fan who then showed up at the next one, and between the weird guy in the brown leather bear suit, my reclusive next door neighbour who only comes out when the moon is full and howls at it, the stranger who was only in the bookstore to buy the latest around the world cookbook and myself, we managed to overpower him and wrestle him to the ground before he was able to do more than torch the travel section of the bookstore. But frankly, if it hadn't been for the gold miner from the north part of the island, who drove everyone away with his smell, I'm not sure we'd have succeeded.
DM: What's the best part of writing for children?
BC: Being a kid in my head - I don't think I ever really grew up and this way I get to be a kid all the time, without having to spend time in my local institution and take lots of medication.
DM: Who was the better Catwoman, Julie Newmar, Eartha Kitt, or Lee Meriwether? Discuss.
BC: Julie Newmar - she originated the role and that black shiny plastic just works.
DM: What words of advice do you have for the beginning children's writer?
BC: Stick with it, read everything you can lay your hands on, write constantly, and write what you love and moves you.
DM: Dead mother books: Cliche or not?
BC: Cliche unless the mother is a zombie (but zombies are kinda cliche too), or the entire book is about dead people.
DM: What's the weirdest thing in your office or writing space?
BC: My four foot high stuffed raccoon, who doubles as my social secretary.
DM: What's next for Bev Cooke? And by that, I mean a writing project and not what you usually do next, which I can't mention on a family blog.
BC: Mwhahahahahahahahaha! I can't tell you anyway, it's top secret, but I will say that involves latex cat suits, international spies and a gold mine in the north part of the Island.
Seriously - I'm working on three projects - one is about a bioengineered troll who likes music and hair ribbons, one is a story told from the point of view of an insane teenager (I mean more insane than they usually are, and in different ways. Teen insanity is usually pretty cool, but this won't be), and a collaboration with a friend about a Fool for Christ.
DM: Ask yourself a question. Go on, do it. Don't make me angry.
BC: What are you going to do when you get to the gold mine?
(None of your business, you nosy parker, Bev.!)
Email of the day
Dear Dr. Missy,
What's the deal with you anyway?
Susan (but not the one you know)
What's the deal with me, you ask? I'll tell you. We swim in deep and treacherous waters, my friend, where behind every corner lurks one of those giant squid things with nasty suckers. Yes, we must face the fact that the driveway of freedom is cracked and in need of repair and the seven-point inspection plan of courage often omits step five. Why is it that we can rip a CD but we can't rip our hearts out to show our compassion? Why is the money-back guarantee of intelligence often sent in too late to receive a manufacturer's refund?
Now is the time to step back and ponder how we can return to a time when the hair of wisdom gleamed with protein conditioners, when the six-pack abs of caring were ripped and well-defined. But that's not enough! We must stop buying things where the little plastic bits are going to break off after a week's use, just as our souls have broken off and lie strewn in the leaf proof gutter of despair. I think you know what I mean.