Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Conversation between S.B. Knight &
Small Footprints

We're continuing our Born of Blood celebration today with an interview ... an interview with a twist. S.B. Knight asked me 5 questions about books and reading ... I asked him 5 questions about environmental issues. I hope you'll have as much fun reading our responses as we had writing them!

Question to Small Footprints: What are your top 3 genres? Why?

My favorite genres are historical fiction, mysteries and non-fiction spirituality. I find historical fiction fascinating ... it gives me a glimpse of what life was like in another era. Since we typically define our history in terms of dramatic events such as war, religious persecution, etc., the story lines are often about how people overcome tragic events ... and stories about the indomitable human spirit are truly "feel good" experiences. When I find a really good mystery, I can't put it down ... I'm anxious to solve it but disappointed if I can do so too quickly. A talented mystery author can weave a story with intrigue and make my jaw drop when the puzzle is finally solved. It's exciting and I like the mental workout! Non-fiction spirituality is the only genre of books that I'll actually buy, keep and read over and over again. I'm especially interested in Tao ... the fundamental nature of the universe. It's a fabulous concept!

Question to S.B. Knight: Writing and publishing books has historically been environmentally expensive. As an author, how do you reduce your environmental impact throughout the writing process?

This is a very exciting time to be an author. With the introduction of eReaders and the availability of computers in virtually every home it allows writers to really cut back on the environmental impact. In earlier times writers would use stacks of paper to prepare one manuscript. This is not true anymore.

During the writing of my first manuscript I printed out a copy each time I edited it. That soon evolved to printing two pages on one sheet. Now I don't print my manuscripts, I write them on a laptop and complete my edits without wasting paper. My publisher and editors do a great deal of work on the computers as well which saves a great deal of paper.

I also like that I write on the laptop. With it fully charged I can write for up to six hours which allows me to unplug it from the wall, write, and save power.

Question to Small Footprints: Who are your top 3 authors?

Well, S.B. Knight is #1 on my list!! I also enjoy Susan Wittig Albert ... she writes The China Bayles Mystery series. I'm currently enjoying the Earth's Children series by Jean Auel ... I suppose one might call her books historical fiction since they offer possible theories on how humans evolved. In the non-fiction arena I really like Thich Nhat Hanh ... his work is beautiful and has the power to change the world.

Question to S.B. Knight: Do you incorporate green living into your novels? In other words, are any of your characters seen as Eco-friendly or do we find them protecting the earth in any way?

Well, would saving the earth from unimaginable evil qualify? At this point in time I would say no. I mean, my characters don't harm the environment in any way. In the Blood Chronicles the characters are fighting for survival and to basically save the world.

As my writing evolves and expands I plan to incorporate more aspects into my character development. Being Eco-friendly is very high on that list.

Question to Small Footprints: If you could have dinner with your favorite author, what would you talk about?

Oh ... knowing me I'd probably talk about vegan food, veggie gardening and living green. But I'd also like to know about their background ... where they've lived, what their family life is like, where they go for vacation ... things like that.

Question to S.B. Knight: Many people say that the environmental actions we take today have no benefit ... that it's already too late. Do you believe that statement to be true?

This response may seem harsh but I am speaking honestly. I believe the people who say things like this are using excuses not to change their lifestyle or take responsibility for what they are doing. To say something like this is equal to saying you're not taking cold medicine because you're already sick.

No, this statement is not true. As long as we inhabit this planet there is always hope. We may be running out of time but we will never run out of hope. Sometimes that is all you need to make a true impact.

Question to Small Footprints: When you read books do the characters remind you of people you know? Do you picture people you know as the characters?

Hm ... that's an interesting question. No, I don't believe I've ever read a book with characters who remind me of people I know ... or pictured anyone familiar in the story lines. I'm not sure that I'd enjoy the book if it touched that close to home ... and it would certainly jade my perception of the story.

Question to S.B. Knight: I know that you have children. How do you get them involved in protecting the earth?

Right now we are teaching the importance of turning off lights so it saves energy and the amount I'm charged on my electric bill. We also practice recycling cans, paper, cardboard, and plastic. I have a garden every year that everyone helps with and that is really good because they appreciate where the food is coming from. Finally, I change the oil in my vehicles and recycle the oil which they observe as well.

Question to Small Footprints: What is the number 1 thing that attracts you to a particular book?

Actually, I think I'm initially attracted by the physicality of the book ... the size, the color and the title. I will typically pass on small books because I don't want something which I can read quickly. As strange as it sounds ... some colors make me want to read a book while others definitely don't. I've probably passed on some great stories simply because of the title and, in truth, I can't really say which words entice me. After the physicality, there are two more "tests" I put a book through ... the gender of the author and the first few lines. I will almost always choose a book written by a woman rather than a man (I know ... it's an unfair bias) ... and if a book doesn't "hook" me in the first few lines, it loses me. I'm pretty sure, SB, that reading your book is going to debunk some of my book prejudices.

Question to S.B. Knight: You often participate in our Change The World Wednesday challenges, offering terrific ideas. What factors, in your life, have encouraged you to live "green."

I was raised in the country. My parents planted a garden, cut wood to burn in the fireplace, and took good care of everything they owned. They did this because we lived on a tight budget. These practices saved a great deal of money and still hold true to this day. I follow in those footsteps.

Why do we recycle as much as we do? After designing landfills I understand how quickly they fill up and I also know what takes up the most space (cardboard is on that list). Recycling also saves money by limiting trips to the landfill which saves on gas. Honestly though, we understand that recycling and being Eco-friendly is the right thing to do. We want to pass that on to future generations.

That was fun ... thanks to Brian for both answering my questions and challenging me to think a bit about my reading preferences.

Now it's your turn ... how would you answer these questions? Leave us a comment ... we're dying to know! And here's a little "heads up" ... I can't say for sure ... I make no promises ... but SB has been randomly rewarding those who leave comments this week so ... leaving one on this post just might bring you a surprise.

Join us tomorrow for the grand finale of our week ... it's going to be a lot of fun complete with prizes.

Born of Blood by S.B. Knight is available at:
MuseItUp Bookstore
Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk

Don't have an eReader device? No problem ... download a free application HERE for use on your computer, iPhone, etc.

5 comments :

  1. Oh what fun! I love how you created this interview. I can’t resist joining in of course:

    What are your top 3 genres? Why?

    I’m going to sound a bit like SF here but historical fiction because I find something transporting about ‘the old days’ and I love some of the simplistic ways of being (not saying it was easy, but it was simpler if you know what I mean), spiritual development because I’m in awe of our humanness and capacity to be multi-dimensional beings and green / natural health for gaining knowledge, for research and being empowered.

    Writing and publishing books has historically been environmentally expensive. As an author, how do you reduce your environmental impact throughout the writing process?

    Same as SB, I use a laptop, work with my editors online and use teleconferencing rather than meeting in the flesh. Some of my work is now on ebooks which I feel comfortable about. I DO print work off to edit, I just can’t ‘see’ mistakes on the screen (hence a lot of my posts and comments are full of errors LOL!) but I print in 10 point, close all the white spaces and either print double sided or print one sided and use the other side for scrap. I use draft quality settings and a laser printer which I believe is slightly better. Oh, and recycled paper if I can get it 

    Who are your top 3 authors?

    Marion Zimmer Bradley, and then I get stuck on choosing the others because there are so many wonderful writers out there

    Do you incorporate green living into your novels? In other words, are any of your characters seen as Eco-friendly or do we find them protecting the earth in any way?

    I write non fiction and all my titles are ‘green’ based 

    If you could have dinner with your favorite author, what would you talk about?

    HA! I have no idea; I tend to be someone who can talk about any topic; I love hearing about people’s passions; what drives them, what they jump out of bed for, what keeps them awake at 3am because they are SO motivated by it. I love passionate people…I'd probably like to hear about their movie and music collection too ;)

    Many people say that the environmental actions we take today have no benefit ... that it's already too late. Do you believe that statement to be true?

    I absolutely loved SB’s comment on this. It felt so calming, so safe, so reassuring. It was perfect; so yeah – that!

    When you read books do the characters remind you of people you know? Do you picture people you know as the characters?

    I’ve never experienced that as times have changed and none of my friends reflect Jane Austen characters much! I prefer the fantasy of not associating people I know. I do get disappointed however, when I’ve visualised a character in my mind and an actor in a film looks nothing like them. I experienced that with ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and the film almost destroyed my love of the book – powerful stuff..

    I know that you have children. How do you get them involved in protecting the earth?

    Making eco actions ‘normal’. SO it’s NORMAL for LMG to recycle rather than toss stuff, to not litter, to grow food, to give unwanted things to charity shops. If we do this as parents the next generation are taking care of right? And they can really help make a difference to the world – it’s an empowering place to be…

    What is the number 1 thing that attracts you to a particular book?

    The cover – a cliché I know and something I shouldn’t admit to, but there we are …

    You often participate in our Change The World Wednesday challenges, offering terrific ideas. What factors, in your life, have encouraged you to live "green."

    Being caught in flash flooding where 100 people had to be airlifted to safety. It was terrifying; I thought I might lose my husband and it put everything into perspective.

    Wow,thanks for that! Enjoy tomorrow's instalment :)

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  2. This a new twist on the interview idea, great. I am not going to do as Mrs Green did, rather I'm just going to pick on things I thought about during the read.

    What are your top 3 genres? Why?

    Historical fiction, that's why I was drawn to Born of Blood; Science fiction, because one day, it may not be so fictitious; I guess the last genre would have to be philosophical fiction (does that exist?) books that challenge or present an alternative to the status quo.

    Writing and publishing books has historically been environmentally expensive.

    I cannot proof read effectively on the screen; be it my own work or the work of others, it has to be in hard copy.

    Do you incorporate green living into your novels?

    No, I don't. I don't write novels, rather grammar books that often have stories and/or exercises that could well have a green slant. An excellent idea for the future.

    Many people say that the environmental actions we take today have no benefit ... that it's already too late.

    I agree that this is often a cop out. But, I have to agree that it is already too late; the damage has been done, the actions we take today can only serve to minimalise that damage, they will not reverse it. We have already guaranteed the extinction of our species.

    What is the number 1 thing that attracts you to a particular book?

    Initially the cover, then the title, then the blurb. I have been known to open a random page and read. If I'm not hooked by then, it would go back on the shelf.

    What factors, in your life, have encouraged you to live "green?

    Age, and with that the growing awareness of what we have done. Blogging has also played an important role in my awareness, particularly Reduce Footprints which I have followed almost since its inception and eventually prompted me to have a 'green' specific blog myself. I have become an antagonist of the 'throw away' society that we have become; I am equally antagonistic about the changes we see taking place in agriculture, and hence what we feed ourselves. The greed for profit unbalances the equation. We have to change the whole paradigm of society if there is to be hope.

    LOL, I wrote more than I intended, or thought I would... I do tend to waffle on a bit.

    AV

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  3. Mrs. Green - I really enjoyed your responses. I too am a fan of the simple life as seen in the early days. I know it was hard work but it seems to be less hectic. I can't imagine what it was like to be caught in a flash flood to that magnitude. I bet it does put everything into perspective. Thank you for sharing.

    AV - I enjoyed your responses too but I really like your thoughts to "What factors, in your life, have encouraged you to live green?" I don't agree with throwing away either. I like keeping stuff as long as possible. I also have a problem with what is used to grow and produce food. Thank you for your insight to some of these questions.

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  4. Love the back and forth interview style!

    I read all kinds of genres and often become obsessed with certain ones for a time. I always love to read about vampires. :)

    I love that the publishing process has become more interested in eco-friendly practices, but I do wonder what the analysis would be if we considered the entire supply chain of an ereader versus a book made the traditional way.

    If I could have dinner with an author, that would be such a tough choice! I would say Ken Kesey or Dr. Seuss and I would certainly talk to them about the dynamics of green living in the West and how to encourage children to be more eco-conscious as they grow up.

    I really think that children learn through modeling, action, and discussion. If we can incorporate all three in a positive way, I think they will grow up with a very different view of the world.

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  5. Brenna - You love vampire books...you are in the right place. Dr. Seuss would make for some very interesting conversation during dinner.

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