Pump Up Your Book Chats with Vila Spider Hawk author of Hidden PassagesAuthor Interviews — By Becky Camarena on November 24, 2010 at 2:33 am
Thank you for this interview, Vila. Do you remember writing stories as a child or did the writing bug come later? Do you remember your first published piece?
A: I have been writing since I could hold a crayon. Even before I learned the English alphabet, I would write little stories. I was always disappointed when no one else could read them. When I finally learned the standard alphabet, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven! People could actually read my words!
Oh yes, I remember my first published poem. I wrote it in French, and my teacher loved it so much that she submitted it to a periodical. I could not get over seeing my name in print. I’m afraid I was insufferable for about a week.
What do you consider as the most frustrating side of becoming a published author and what has been the most rewarding?
A: The most frustrating part of actually being published is promoting. Marketing the work leaves me very little time to follow my passion, which is writing.
The most satisfying experience by far is getting notes and email messages from readers who have enjoyed my work. Often these people become friends, and I treasure their friendship.
Are you married or single and how do you combine the writing life with home life? Do you have support?
A: I am married, and it is difficult to balance my work with my home life. I usually do my promotional work through the day during a standard nine to five time block. And then I take care of the household chores. At midnight, when my husband is asleep, I sit down to write. I usually go to bed at around one or two AM.
What do you like to do for fun when you’re not writing? Where do you like to vacation? Can you tell us briefly about this?
A: Oh I haven’t had a vacation in decades. I live in the woods where I have always longed to be. Where would I go that could possibly be as satisfying? Besides, my husband really isn’t able to travel anymore.
I take a great deal of pleasure in cooking. I also love playing in the dirt. I take such joy in planting and nurturing beautiful things. And, of course, I enjoy playing with the cats.
If you could be anywhere in the world for one hour right now, where would that place be and why?
A: Home. I simply adore our house. We spent twenty years designing it and then five years searching for just the right plot of land on which to build. I take enormous pleasure in waking up each morning and seeing the woods right outside my window. To me this is perfection.
Who is your biggest fan?
A: My friend Helen is. She is the person who reads through my manuscripts before I submit. She closes the quotes I invariably leave open and inserts the silly little words like “the” and “a” that I have left out. She has literally called my writing brilliant.
Where’s your favorite place to write at home?
A: I have a corner of the sofa in front of the hearth where I love to sit and write. I rest my laptop on the arm of the sofa and the end table and, in winter, lose myself in the fire. It’s quiet there once everyone is asleep, and I can focus.
Do you have any pets?
A: I have four cats: Freckles, Puck, Cadeau, and Callie. They are the joy of my life. They also keep me humble, as only felines can.
Tell us a secret no one else knows.
A: If I tell you, then someone will know. And then it won’t be a secret anymore.
What’s on your to do list today?
A: Do the internet work, prepare lunch, go back and figure out a blogging thing I want to participate in, talk to my publisher, continue the internet work, prepare dinner, dose my cats (one has a thyroid condition and another has arthritis), clean up after dinner, tackle Mount Laundry, finish up the internet work, and then sit down to write.
Now I’ve got a couple of fun questions for you. If Tom Hanks, in the movie Cast Away, unearthed a copy of your book, how would that help him find a way off the island?
A: It wouldn’t. But if he found one of my books, he wouldn’t care. At least he wouldn’t care until he had read the book a few times.
You have a chance to appear on the hit talent show for authors, American Book Idol, with judges Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, Kara Dioguardi and the newest addition, Ellen DeGeneres, to determine whether your book will make it to Hollywood and become a big screenplay where you’d make millions of dollars. What would impress them more – your book cover, an excerpt or your author photo – and why?
A: Well they certainly wouldn’t find my author’s photo impressive. I’m a pretty average looking person. And, while I love my book covers, you know what people say about judging a book by its cover. No, what would impress them would be an excerpt from the book. I do two things very well: write and cook.
You just got word that your book has received the 2010 NY Times Bestselling Book Award and you have to attend the ceremony to give an acceptance speech. Anyone who’s anyone will be there and it’s your shot for stardom. What would you say and who would you thank?
A: I would thank all the grandmothers in my life, be they my biological grandmothers, the elder neighbors I grew up with, the teachers I had in school who seemed ancient at the time, or just the old women with whom I have developed a friendship. They were the inspiration for this book.
I understand that you are touring with Pump Up Your Book Promotion in November via a virtual book tour. Can you tell us all why you chose a virtual book tour to promote your book online?
A: The idea of doing a virtual book tour intrigued me, and I checked into Rebecca’s work and very much liked what I saw. She strives for excellence, and I deeply respect that.
Thank you for this interview, Vila. Good luck on your virtual book tour!
A: Thank you so much. It is a privilege and a joy to have met you.