On Monday I posted the first few questions I asked Connie and now it’s time for the rest. The first part of the interview is here. My review of her book, Laughing Through Life, and a giveaway is here. Connie’s website is here. Enjoy!
2. You love movies. Who are your favorite actors working today?
Yes, I loves my movies! Every year, we have a traveling trophy Oscar-predicting contest with friends and predict ALL categories. (I hold the trophy, this year.) Ryan Gosling is one of my favorite male actors working today. I also like George Clooney. “The Ides of March” was wonderful. [Two for the price of one!] My husband kids me about my Richard Gere phase—[which, actually, secretly endures today]— where my college roommate and I rented every film of his with a love scene and watched just the love scenes one summer when we were vacationing together. However, “King David” was a horrible film of Richard’s (Sorry, Richard) and we quit after we rented that one. I just saw Tilda Swinton in “We Need to Talk About Kevin” at the Chicago Film Festival, and she turned in a truly powerful performance, with John C. Reilly starring opposite her in the film. On TV, I like Julianna Margulies in”The Good Wife” (which I regularly review for Yahoo) and Cate Blanchett in “Homeland.” I recently met Chicago native John C. Reilly who sat and watched his own film with us, and he couldn’t have been nicer to me, as were Colin Hanks and Forrest Whitaker when I met them. I’ve been following Colin’s story arc on “Dexter.” [I don’t want him to leave the plot!]
3. I love quotes. Do you have a favorite?
On the top of my blog (www.WeeklyWilson.com), [on which I often review film], I have a Shakespeare quote: “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.” Or, as the Bard also famously said, “We must take the current when it serves or lose our ventures.” Those quotes really speak to me, because, even today, I have risked to get where I am, giving up a tenured 17 and 1/2 year teaching job to write for a living (in 1985), starting 2 businesses from scratch in wintry economic climates (in 1986 and 1995, after the writing job pretty much crashed and burned). Selling two successful businesses while really too young to retire to (try to) come full circle and write “one of everything” before another of my favorite poems applies (Edna St. Vincent Millay), “Dirge Without Music:”“I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground. So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind: Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned with lilies and with laurel they go, but I am not resigned. Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you. Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust. A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew, A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost. The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,—They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve. More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world. Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind; Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave. I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.”So, now that I’ve cheered everyone up with that poem.
6. You are from Iowa, went to college there and I need to read a book set in Iowa for a reading challenge. Can you help me out by telling us a few of your favorite books set in Iowa?
I’ll give you a couple of “Iowa” book references/recommendations. The obvious choice (and a good one) would be Jane Smiley’s “A Thousand Acres,” which is based on King Lear. She’s also written Ordinary Love and Good Will, which is also set in Iowa, but I haven’t read it yet, although I hear it is excellent. There are also references to “Iowa Bob” in one of John Irving’s books, but the book, itself (The Hotel New Hampshire), is set in New Hampshire although that character is based on former University of Iowa football coach Bob Commins, I’m told (now deceased: see poem above). For fine nonfiction, try Methland by Nick Reding, a searing documentary-style look at Oelwein, Iowa, 12 miles from where I grew up and how meth labs have destroyed the town. (It’s a quicker read, and a worthwhile one.)
And, if you want to read something by a struggling genre author trying to gain a foothold at least in E-books, I will happily send you The Color of Evil, which is set in Cedar Falls, Iowa absolutely free! It should be out in 2012. It is the first book in a trilogy about a boy with paranormal abilities. The second book, Red Is for Rage, will take Tad McGreevy on into his senior year of high school, just as the first book focuses on his junior year in high school. [You could tell others that you are “a beta reader” for a struggling novelist who has just completed her second novel. It’s strictly genre reading with echoes of Stephen King. And, after I publish the first one, I’m thinking of writing up my political adventures in 2004 and 2008 (nonfiction) to coincide with the upcoming presidential campaign. I’m a movie and a political junkie, I guess, and it’s just as addictive as meth, I fear.
Thanks for the excellent questions!