Tuesday, September 16, 2014

ANN HOWLEY- Twelve Question Tuesday

Please join me in welcoming author Ann Howley to Twelve Question Tuesday.

1.  Please tell me the three most important things people should know about you. 
A.  I see humor everywhere and find reasons to laugh every single day. If something makes me burst out in a gut-busting belly laugh, then that qualifies as a bonus day.
B.  I’ve run 16 marathons so far and I’m trying to coax my middle-age mom legs to make it to 20.
C.  I am a very non-violent person unless I see a big, hairy spider in the house, and then my vengeance is swift, explosive and complete. I am willing to train US Navy Seals or Special Forces if asked.

After a 10 mile run
2.  Are you a dog person or a cat person?
At the moment, my dog Sparky is sacked out at my feet, but when he’s awake, he will confirm that I am hopelessly devoted to dogs. However, I love those funny videos where cats cram themselves into something tiny like a Kleenex box and then practically dare you to think it’s abnormal.

3.  Tea or coffee?
Every morning: Coffee. Black. Bold.
Rainy days: Tea. Hot. Sometimes with honey.


4.  Boxers, briefs, boxer-briefs, or commando? (Either what you prefer or what you prefer on others.)
I regret to inform you that I am so acutely unfocused on male undergarment choices, I had to think hard to envision a boxer-brief. So men, wear whatever you want. And plumbers, just please keep the crack covered.

5.  What was the first thing you ever wrote?
At the tender age of 9 or 10, I wrote a letter to the editor of National Geographic Magazine to express my shock over a story about rats that are considered holy and are allowed to overrun a famous temple in India. I distinctively remember telling the editor that the article made me feel sick (which was true), and that I could hardly bear to look at the magazine (which was a lie, because I couldn’t stop staring at the appalling photographs of rats and humans living, dining and sleeping together.)

My heartfelt missive must have made an impression, because several months later I received a response, not from the editor, but from the publisher of National Geographic Magazine, who said that my letter had come to his “particular” attention. He thanked me for writing and said he was glad I “enjoyed” the article.

I think my rat letter gave him a good laugh.

6.  When did you finally decide to call yourself a writer?
When skirt! Magazine sent me a check in the whopping triple-digit range for my unexpectedly heartwarming story about the 3 days I spent in the Orange County Jail in 1984. 

7.  Which of your works are you most proud to have written?

I am proud of every paragraph and every word in my new memoir, Confessions of a Do-Gooder Gone Bad, except maybe the part about getting revenge on an angry driver by using the Five Pound Booger Look, which, by various Facebook comments, appears to be a fan favorite anyway.

8.  What is the scariest thing that has ever happened to you?
To quote my excellent stepson who just finished reading my book: “Between Turkey, Israeli army outposts, East LA, Bakersfield and various randos in your apartment, it is my unprofessional opinion that you are incredibly lucky to be alive.” 

Good thing I was too young and naïve to realize it!

9.  How did you end up getting published?
It took 3 years to write Confessions of a Do-Gooder Gone Bad and one year to edit and revise it before I even started sending queries to agents, editors and publishers. Out of the 24 query letters I sent, I got 3 requests for the full manuscript and a contract from Oak Tree Press!

10.  Would you be food or fighter if the zombie apocalypse were to happen?
I would KICK ZOMBIE BUTT. Let me at ‘em!

11.  What is the most daring thing you have ever done?
When I hit the send button to email my first query letter to a literary agent, I felt so scared and nervous I thought I was going to be sick. Nothing made me feel more vulnerable than exposing my work to the outside world after sitting in solitary writing confinement for so many years. That felt very daring.

12.  Would you rather be rich or famous--and you could only have one-- and why?  The fame would be based on something good, not something like being the best serial killer or anything like that.
When discussing what we would do if we won the lottery, all my friends talked about buying a new house or car or traveling the world, but the only thing I could think of was that I needed new underwear. This proves that a) I am not meant to be rich, and b) although I don’t pay close attention to men’s undergarments (see question 4 above), I know enough to know when I personally need new underwear. I would choose fame, but even then I would rather live in obscurity than be famous in a Kim Kardashian or Honey Boo Boo kind of way.

From the Author:

Confessions of A Do-Gooder Gone Bad is a wry, humorous coming of age memoir about a well-intentioned “problem child” raised by conservative, evangelical Christian parents in Southern California during the Sixties and Seventies.  As she naively stumbles through her youth and young adulthood, one misadventure after another, she also struggles to reconcile her ultra-Christian upbringing with women’s liberation, prejudice, protest and poverty during this turbulent era, eventually gaining a different perspective of faith in a world more complicated, funny, terrifying and wonderful than she expected.

Find out more about Ann Howley:


Buy Confessions of a Do Gooder Gone Bad by Ann Howley:


Holli Castillo said...

Thanks so much for joining me today! We are alike in many ways, but I have to admit to overthinking the boxer-brief issue. And I like a little coffee with my sugar and cream-- it's how I learned to drink it as a toddler--so I'm not sure they would even let us into Starbucks together at the same time. (Who has a million dollars for a cup of coffee anyway?)

Ann K. Howley said...

Thanks Holli! What fun I had answering your 12 Questions. Today I shall purchase some boxer-briefs for my husband AND indulge in a cup of Starbucks coffee in your honor!

John M. Wills said...

I dodged that underwear question also, Ann. I'm interested in your OC jail stay--mandatory or voluntary?

Great interview, as usual,Holli.

Jackie Taylor Zortman said...

Let me just echo John's question about your jail stay. I'm very curious to learn more. Is that in your book? I enjoyed your wonderful sense of humor in answer to Holli's questions. Both of you did a great job on this interview.

Ann K. Howley said...

John and Jackie, I would say it was voluntary in a mandatory kind of way. I devote an entire chapter to that experience in my book, but here is a link to the abbreviated story that was published in 2012. I have to tell you that when my mother read this story, she said she always hoped going to jail would teach me a lesson, and she couldn't believe it was such a great experience for me! Ha ha!


Eileen Obser said...

I enjoyed reading this, Ann and Holli. Ann -- you and I are in touch -- the OTP memoirists (there are very few of us) and I love learning more about you and your book, which I'll be reading shortly. Thanks, both of you.

Nancy LiPetri said...

Fun interview, as expected. If those of you who haven't read "Confessions..." enjoyed any of the answers, you're guaranteed to adore the whole fun read, chapter about the jail experience and all.