Thursday, November 4, 2010

7 Questions For: Author Tricia Springstubb

Tricia Springstubb is the author of What Happened on Fox Street

And here to tell you more about Tricia Springstubb, Tricia Springstubb:

I was born a looong time ago, when girls had to wear dresses to school and no one had heard of soccer. I was the oldest of five kids, and there's a rumor I was very bossy, though you shouldn't believe everything you hear. (It's true that when we put on shows, I was always the director.) Our neighborhood was a little like the Wild West–no sidewalks, fences, or street lights. We played baseball in the street, with our mailbox for first base. One of my favorite things was going to the beach. My father taught me to swim in beautiful Long Island Sound.

When I was small my mother, who loved to read, took me to the library. When I was old enough, I rode my bike there by myself. I'd fill my bike basket with as many books as I could. I learned to write by osmosis–absorbing one story after another.

When I grew up, I was a (really bad) waitress, a (really fun) Headstart teacher, a (really really lucky) mama, and some other things, too. The stories I wrote were just for me. It was my husband Paul who urged me to send them out into the world (he's a teacher and very smart). In the beginning, no one wanted to publish me. I got buried in The Avalanche of Rejections. But like anything else you practice, writing gets better the more you do it. The day I got a letter saying my first story had been accepted, I performed The Dance of Joy beside the mailbox.

The world is full of wonderful things, but it's got lots of gritty bits, too. For me, writing is like a window–every day I look out and discover something new. I hope my books are step stools my readers can climb on and look out with me.

And now Tricia Springstubb faces the 7 Questions:

Question Seven: What are your top three favorite books?

I get it-- you start with the impossible questions first, right?
If you asked me when I was seven, I'd have solemnly sworn on The Bobbsey Twins at Snow Lodge. A few years later, I was swooning for A Girl of The Limberlost, supplanted by Jane Eyre. For a long while, the answer would have been To Kill a Mockingbird. Nowadays I'd go with To the Lighthouse, or A Friend of My Youth--wait, is that more than three?
Question Six: How much time do you spend each week writing? Reading?
As much as my weakling brain can bear, which is up to five hours a day of real writing, and maybe two hours of reading books (as opposed to a screen). I'm waiting for them to invent an external hard drive for the brain.

Question Five: What was the path that led you to publication?

I began publishing back in the '80's, when "over the transom" was very common. My first few stories and books were pulled from slush piles. I still submit my adult short stories and essays to literary journals the same way. But now I have an agent for full-length work, and that is a dream come true.

Question Four: Do you believe writers are born, taught or both? Which was true for you?

I certainly wasn't born one. My earliest ambition was to be a dog, and then for a long while I was a Dale Evans wannabe (I guess I'm sort of giving away my advanced age here). Becoming a Writer never entered my head till I was nearly thirty and had no intention of going back to school. I learned to write--I'm still learning-- through osmosis, and through much trial and error, while working at various other jobs, including mothering three kids. But I'm pretty sure the drive to create something was in me from the very beginning--I've always been restless with having just one life.

Question Three: What is your favorite thing about writing? What is your least favorite thing?

I love being perpetually on the alert to possibility. My husband and I were in a cheese store the other day and I saw a cheddar made at a place called Twig Farm. Right away I started imagining the many incarnations of a place with that name. It just makes life so much more interesting!

What I hate is the point that inevitably comes when I'm not sure if I'll be able to finish something. I walk around weighted down with the soggy lump of anxiety and self-doubt. If that sounds revolting, it is.

Question Two: What one bit of wisdom would you impart to an aspiring writer? (feel free to include as many other bits of wisdom as you like)

Have writer friends. Talking to them is the only way to keep from wondering if you are just really, really weird. They will reassure you, and if they are really good friends, they'll gently criticize your work, too.

Question One: If you could have lunch with any writer, living or dead, who would it be? Why?

I'd love to have Virginia Woolf over. I think my husband and I would get on very well with her and Leonard.

1 comment:

  1. Tricia Springstubb sounds amazing. Thanks for the introduction, MGN. (I particularly liked her saying that when she was young she wanted to be a dog!)


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