Topic: Author Interview
Madeline Urban the person:
1. What three words do you think describe you as a human being?
Educated. I've got two degrees and ten years of writing and editing experience... that's on top of a lifetime of working to get my imagination down on paper. Creative. I love reading, writing, imagining, music, art, crafts, graphic design ... the list goes on. Pragmatic. Although at odds with my flights of fancy, this is the me the outside world sees: Mature, responsible, level-headed, pragmatic. I have to find that balance!
2. How do you think others would describe you?
Responsible. Imaginative. Skilled. Helpful. Supportive.
3. Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.
4. Do you have any pets? If so, introduce us to them.
Nikita is my baby girl. She's a black pug, and she'll be eight on June 1, 2008. She's actually small for a pug, not really pudgy at all at about 19 pounds. She's a lap pup, and just my speed. She snores when she breathes, even when awake, but I'm so used to it I can't sleep at night away from home when it's really quiet. Her favorite toy is a chew bone. Her favorite food is cheese. Magnum is his Dada's boy. He's a Boston terrier - a Viking terrier! - and he'll be eight years old on June 30, 2008. He is big for a Boston, 30 pounds, and all muscle! You should see him drag me around the court. He's all action, run and thud. His favorite toy is a tennis ball. His favorite food is broccoli.
5. What is your most precious memory?
My husband coming home to me after he was injured in a truck accident.
6. What is your most embarrassing memory?
When I was a kid, I went roller skating and split my pants - but I didn't know it and kept on skating!
7. If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?
I honestly have no clue. I've always been a writer. I guess I'd be working in a book store somewhere.
8. In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.
Madeleine Urban, 80, of Kentucky, died happy March 1, 2055, at the Challenger Resort at LunarDisney on Earth's moon after having far too much fun with life. Survivors include a highly supportive and still kicking husband, two immortal loving dogs, a semi-conservative family (they think Madeleine was secretly adopted), and a host of crazy-ass co-authors and friends. She was a longtime journalist (by accident), writer (from birth), and editor (because she was good it) who was published uncounted times in newspapers (for work), magazines (for education), short fiction anthologies (for luck), and novels (for God's sake, hasn't she been published enough after 50 years?), and she really could have cared less about being "professional."
She had also been a high school teacher (six months and never again, those people should be sainted), a convention organizer (science fiction and fantasy conventions rock!), a musician (it's in my blood), and an animal lover. There will be a proper Irish wake in four time zones, check Madeleine's Web site at http://madeleineurban.livejournal.com for details and directions. Expressions of sympathy may take the form of donations to the Earth Cancer Society or feedback at her blog.
Madeline Urban the writer:
9. Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?
I'd been managing editor at a weekly newspaper for almost a year when the state press association awards came out. I'd been working my ass off at the paper to turn it around, and we entered all the categories. Not only did my paper win, but I won 17 awards, nine of which were for writing. You probably thought I was going to say when my first book was published, huh. No, not really. That was certainly satisfying, but I already knew I could write at that point. As for being a "real" fiction writer, the closest would be when I posted an odd little fan fiction story that mixed some genres and didn't have any sex in it. None. One kiss. I posted it, figuring maybe five people would read it. Instead, people went absolutely crazy. They read it, they recommended it to friends, they posted on blogs about it and people kept coming and reading and leaving me compliments and I about keel over in a heart attack. So I figure, after that, I'm not too shabby a fiction writer.
10. What is going on with your writing these days?
I'm actually editing more than writing right now. I've got two books in revisions for publication, and two more to consider to submit for publication. I'm still writing a little fan fiction, just to keep my hand in. I'm feeling the niggle, though. I'll be writing something new (and hopefully fabulous) any time now.
11. What are your future goals for your writing?
To enjoy it. It's great if it sells, and even greater if people enjoy it. But I want to enjoy writing it and expanding my imagination. The day it becomes work is the day I go back to fan fiction.
12. Can you describe a typical writing day for you?
Wake up, shower, breakfast (read something for inspiration), e-mail, music, write. Lunch (read something for inspiration), e-mail, music, write. Dinner (read something for inspiration), e-mail, music, write. That's about it. No magic formula, no real routine. I just sit down and do it. I suppose I'm different in that I rarely plan out a story. It just doesn't work for me that way. Some of my co-authors will do that for us, but I generally just go along with what comes out of my head spur of the moment. That's how Abigail and I write our original fiction, we just get with an idea and start writing and see where it goes. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But with a co-author I'm much more motivated to stay with it, and it's much more likely to be novel length. Once we get going we'll start planning, expanding, revising, etc. It's much harder for me alone. I work best if I find music to carry me along. It's critical for me. Ideas come mostly from music, but also from things I see and read around me. After a lifetime in sci fi and fantasy, I have a hell of an imagination. Usually I'll write straight from beginning to end. Only occasionally will I skip ahead and write a scene, usually if it's SO real in my head that I have to get it out before I can do anything else.
13. Why do you write?
I guess you could say I'm driven to write. To keep my head cleaned out. So often, it's not me doing the writing, it's the character in my head, or the situation writing itself. I'm just the tool.
14. What writer most inspires you? Why?
Besides dear, close friends who would barbecue me if I listed their names here, there's a lady I know by the name of Raven. She's incredibly creative, and I love to read her stories and be transported out of this world. I come away wanting to be creative. She's also a friend, and she's challenged me to write several times. It helps!
15. How do you define your writing?
I don't. I can't. It's never the same twice, in my opinion. I guess erotic romance is the catch all.
16. In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?
I was entertained.
Madeline Urban the details:
17. Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website? Blog?
My professional blog is at http://madeleineurban.livejournal.com . If you want to know about how I started writing and progressed to where I am now, you can read my fandomography, hosted at my personal blog: http://sileya.livejournal.com/119194.html. I keep track of it because I want to know where I've come from, what I've done and not done, what I liked and didn't, basically, what made me what I am now, as an author.
18. Is there a place where readers can reach you?
19. Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?
All available from http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com
Far From Home by Madeleine Urban
Caught Running by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux
Bittersweet by Madeleine Urban (short story) in Death Beyond Desire anthology
The Proposition by Madeleine Urban and Rhianne Aile (novella) in Mr. Right Now anthology
Short stories: Bargaining, Be My Valentine, How It Should Be, and Through the Garden (all with Rhianne Aile), and Room to Run, available for purchase and download at http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com
20. For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?
Characters who are alive and real, despite fantasy settings. Emotional investment. Entertainment.
21. Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?
Honestly, I don't write to make money. I don't write for other people. I write for myself, what appeals to me, what I find sexy, what I need to get out of my head. If other people read it and enjoy it, that's icing on the cake. Sure, I'm glad people like my writing. I'm very flattered, and I'm very humbled. But when it all comes down to the bottom line, I write because it's who I am. I write what I write because I enjoy it. I don't feel like there's a trick to it. It just is, and it can't be forced. I guess that makes me uneven as a writer, because I can't (and won't) consistently produce. I will never be a "professional" writer - a full-time writer. It just isn't in me. The muses don't work that way. For all of you who have muses - I hope you have better luck corralling yours than I do! It's always a challenge.