In this version of twenty questions, I send a list of questions to a willing author and they choose their own interview by handpicking the questions (and how many!) they want to answer. E.B. Moore is the author of An Unseemly Wife. Here is what E.B. had to say about reading, writing, and how family stories inspired her writing.
Would you give us a bit of introduction and let my readers know who you are, how you got started writing, and what kind of books you like to write?
I came to writing by accident. After college and art school, I worked as a sculptor hammering and welding large bronze sheets, but the body can only put up with so much, before it gives out. Mine did, and returning to college, (at the same time as my youngest daughter), I stumbled into another creative outlet— poetry, always with narrative, mostly with a farm theme mirroring how I grew up.
Finishing Line Press published my twenty-six page chapbook, New Eden, A Legacy, the chronicle of my Amish great grandmother’s catastrophic trek west in a covered wagon. Readers wanted more of “Ruth’s” story, and much to my horror, a novel seemed the only answer. After years more sweat and schooling at Grub Street Writers, I finished An Unseemly Wife.
I am often struck by the different ways writers respond to the process of writing a book. Linus’s Blanket refers to my use of reading and other activities as a means of escape and comfort, can you share with us any routines, food or recipes, or favorite books or rituals that help you thorough the writing process?
Stoking the furnace is an important part of writing. You’ve got to eat. The biggest problem is limiting the time spent surfing the frig. I’ve been known to rationalize eating as research. Pickled pigs’ feet appear in my book, so to get the exact flavor and the feel of its gelatinous substrate housing the meat, I needed a sample. Hard to find unless you’re in Amish country. I went to Lancaster PA, and more appealing things beckoned: sour cherry pie, pecan, shoofly, custard, whoopee pies, not a pie at all.
Reading is actually more useful, serving as inspiration when I get bogged down. I keep special books on a handy shelf so I can read snippets. Sometimes just a paragraph or two is enough. These are at the top of my pile: March, by Geraldine Brooks, Grapes of Wrath, Lord of the Flies.
My day starts early. 4:00am is the sweet spot; I’m sharpest then, and it limits interruptions. The only problem: when my friends go out to dinner, I’m ready for bed.
People live in stories, we are surrounded by them. What was it about this the story that made it the one you had to tell at this time?What impact did telling this story have on your life? Did you find that it had changed you?
When I was a kid, my mother told me her family’s story often. One was how Aaron bundled his pregnant wife Ruth and their four littles into a covered wagon, and against their Amish faith, joined the dreaded English heading for free land in Idaho. On the trek, they faced Indian attacks, pestilence, and prejudice leading to betrayal, and they were left alone on the trailside fighting for their lives.
Mother wanted to write this story, but a brain tumor took her memory before she wrote more than a cryptic list of incidents. Living with me after her operation, she’d ask over and over to hear about Ruth. My kids would cover their ears and run from the room. “No, no, not the wagon of death again.”
In the end, the characters nattered at me until I wrote them down. And yes, my life has changed. I’m now a slave to new characters who intrude whenever it suits them.