Wednesday, February 8, 2012

My Interview with DeAnna Knippling

Today I'm interviewing DeAnna Knippling, who along with being a certified genius, a prolific writer, and a just all around fine human being, was instrumental in getting my recent novel to print.  Because of her busy schedule, I was lucky DeAnna could find time to let me ply her with my questions. 

1.  I noticed you use different names (DE Kenyon and your own name DeAnna
 Knippling) for different literary pieces.  What's the story there?

De Kenyon is my pen name for kids. While I'm convinced that kids can handle a lot more than most adults think they do, I do write some things in my adult stories that just aren't for kids.  Plus I do write a bit more blah blah blah in my adult work, which I make a serious effort to avoid in my stuff for kids.  I'm writing for kids who don't like to read more than anything else, so I don't dare slow down and get too "poetic."

2.  I've always had a problem with moldy things, so I found your tale, The
Vengeance Quilt particularly spine tingling.  What was your inspiration in
 writing a story about satanic mold?

I agree that mold is bad.  The water tank in the story came from the farm I grew up on.  The tank had long, green strings of algae crowding through it and all kinds of mold all over everything, the wood, the dirt surrounding it, and even some of the plants nearby.  I hated going anywhere near it, but if you wanted to sneak out of the garden and into the cattle pens, that was the way to go, so we went past it while going on all kinds of adventures, as kids.  Until I wrote the story, though, I had no idea it had stuck in my head so strongly.

3.  I thought I could hear whispers of the 'The Pancake Man' and more recently 'The Smelly Cheese Man' in your tale of the demon zombie sushi man (50 foot no less).  Was I just imagining that or was your short story a homage to these children's tales?

Well, homages have to be on purpose, and I didn't mean it, so I suppose it's just lucky coincidence. The story actually came from a brainstorming session I had with my daughter (9 at the time) while we were eating sushi.  I had to tone it down; in the original version, many people are eaten in disgusting and violent ways (fortunately, the sushi chefs there are used to us), and I figured I'd be giving people enough nightmares with just the idea that sushi would be getting up and running around.  I have people (adults) who track me down on Twitter just to tell me that they've always been scared of sushi but that it was a good story.  Cathartic, maybe?  I hope I haven't scarred anyone for life. 

4. At what age did you start writing?  Do you remember your first completed story?

I wanted to be Crystal Gayle when I was younger and treated the whole storytelling thing as a lark that I would do to keep my cousins and brother entertained.  It wasn't until one of my teachers in ninth grade decided I was meant to be a writer that I finished a story, which I can't remember now, because she wanted to send me to writer camp and I had to submit a story to do it.  I was aghast:  how was I supposed to know how to write before they taught me?  It makes more sense now, though, and I'm glad she did.  I wrote poetry at the time.  Short stories?  Pfft.  It wasn't until after college that I realized my poems were turning into short stories, so I gave up the fight and switched over to fiction.  Plus, I hated to *read* most it was kind of hypocritical to continue to write it.

5.  You are known for being prolific.  What is your writing schedule like?

I'm currently in my personal penalty box; I have to get the stuff I've already written edited and self-published before I get to write new stuff, except I get to take a break in March for a class, and of course I sneak in some short stories because I get nightmares if I don't write new stuff.  When Stephen King was like, "I'm done writing forever!!!" after he finished Dark Tower, I could sympathize, and when he started writing again, I could sympathize with that, too.

My routine is, "get child dropped off, do all outstanding freelance work, then write until I have to do something else in one-hour bursts:  write an hour, take ten minutes off, write another hour, etc.  I set the oven timer, which makes me feel like I'm a witch of some kind.  "Get your writing done or in the oven you go!"  Often I vary this routine by doing my writing first and the freelance stuff later.  I find that blowing off the thing I least want to do for as long as possible makes me more productive:  I work on what I want to work on (productive), and then I have a tight deadline for the things I don't want to work on (also productive).0
6.  What are you currently working on?

I'm editing a SF tale of aliens and blue beer (Alien Blue) for self-publishing.  Just as I didn't particularly want to listen to detailed explanations of how to brew beer over a cube wall when I was working out at Schriever with a bunch of engineers, Bill Trout doesn't particularly want to hide an alien in his small town, because it's a pain.  But I wrote the book, so he has to save the world using fast talk and beer.  So it goes.

After that, I'll get the next book in my kids' series out (The Exotics), and then after that probably Slaughterhouse Jane, a tale of some very unkind fairies in 1890 South Dakota.  I have enough backlog to put me through to June [grumble grumble].

7.  Who are your favorite authors and who would you say most influenced (or is even now influencing) your writing?

Lewis Carroll is my favorite author, but I'm a big fan of Jorge Luis Borges, too.  I like stories that are philosophical puzzles as much as anything else, and that's what I've always wanted to write.  But they're both dead, and I read compulsively, so I also like Terry Pratchett, Steven Brust, Neil Gaiman, Douglas Adams and more...I find that I'm reading a lot of manga of late and that One Piece is a big inspiration for my kids' stuff.  It's weird, violent, and all about never giving up and fighting off bullies; I can stand behind that.  Plus my daughter is reading it at the same time.  So nice :)

8.  Where can folks learn more about your books?

At a secret warehouse in the middle of nowhere (South Dakota), packed up in a stairless sub-sub basement in a crate marked "Beware the Leopard."  Or at, which is my own small press.

I have a scad of other places, too:
DeAnna is at, @dknippling, and at DeAnna Knippling on Facebook.
De is at, @writerde, and the Facebook fan page for De Kenyon.
Wonderland Press is at, @wonderlandpress, and the Facebook fan page for Wonderland Press.
Deanna please give the addresses of all your blogs, your website, Facebook,Twitter, etc.

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