This might be the best author interview. Ever. For any future author interviewees… this is where the bar is set! Meanwhile, we all know Meljean Brook is awesome. If you didn’t know that before, you definitely know it now. And the following is why. Imagine – if she’s so hilarious and witty here, what her books are like! (For the some time visitors who are thinking “Hey! It’s not the first Tuesday of the month!” You’re right. But it’s June.)
So let’s get on with it, shall we?
1. What’s the best admonishment your mom ever gave you, or that you’ve ever given a kid? e.g. if you make that face it’ll freeze like that. or… if you walk from the kitchen to the table w/ a fork in your mouth you’ll stab yourself through the throat and die.
Honestly, I don’t remember. My mom worked all of the time, so she wasn’t often there to scold us. My sisters and I stayed at my grandma’s every day after school, and I do remember the time that she got us to stop fighting by saying that “Sisters fighting, that’s what witches do” — with the unspoken message behind it that witches were, of course, minions of Satan, and so any sisters who fought would end up in Hell.
My grandma was awesome, though. You wouldn’t believe how freaking amazing her cinnamon rolls were. Worth going to Hell for, that’s for sure.
2. What would you name a pet rock? Why? And how would you decorate it?
Dwayne. Then I’d dress it up like a chef and run around with it, yelling, “Can you smeeeelllllllllllllllllllll what the rock is cooking?” Then I’d try — and fail — to arch one eyebrow at my audience.
3. What two movies from different genres would you most like to see combined in a mash up?
An Abraham Lincoln biopic and a vampire slaughterhouse movie– Oh wait. (Right?! I watched the trailer like six times when I first heard about it a few months ago. In fact…)
4. Who would win? A Ninja or a Viking? Do you ever watch Deadliest Warrior? If so – which was your favorite pairing?
I’ve never seen Deadliest Warrior. But I’d love to see a T-Rex versus Chuck Norris.
A viking would totally win. The ninja would be sneaking up, all stealthy-like, and then the viking would suddenly toss his head, and the long, blonde hair streaming from his horned helmet would wrap the ninja up like a boa constrictor and squeeze him to death.
5. How’d you come up with your author name?
Math class. I was done with my work and bored, so I began factoring out pieces of my name: (Mel)issa (Jean) Hol(brook) = Meljean Brook. Then I began practicing my author signature all over the front of my notebook. It stuck, I guess.
6. What do you think about clowns?
I like it when they come to my windows at night and peek in, because I’m usually sobbing in bed. They make me happy with their smiles, even though I know they are also crying inside.
7. What author promo has been most effective for you?
Not being a dick. And giving away lots of books. The best author promo is always a solid story, but it’s often hard to get our work into the hands of readers. So I do everything I can to get my work out there, and let the writing do the rest.
8. What was your first job? Your most interesting one? (If writing for the latter, aside from that?)
If you don’t count picking berries in the summers, my first real job was working the drive-thru at a Burger King.
The most interesting job I had was working the Help Desk at the university — mostly because you never knew what you’d walk in on when you went into the (supposedly empty) computer labs late at night.
9. What’s the most embarrassing thing to ever happen to you at school? And what about at a conference?
Ah, well. Ninth grade, I was in love with a senior who sat in front of me in a language class. One day after lunch, we were walking back across the playground toward the high school (and I was trying to be coy and flirty) and I walked right into metal pole of the basketball hoop. Huge clang! That was awesome. (I’ve also run into a ski lift pole on a snowboarding trip with my first boyfriend. And ran smack into the glass doors of a city hall and rolled down the front steps, onto the sidewalk.)
Miraculously, I haven’t embarrassed myself at a conference yet. But if you want entertainment, just keep an eye on me … especially if I walk near any poles.
10. What did you do with the money from your first royalty check?
I paid for a stripper to come and hose me down with whipped cream.
Nah. I honestly don’t remember. I probably paid a bill. Whatever it was, it wasn’t very special (and, heh, the check wasn’t very big.)
11. What is the most interesting thing you’ve ever eaten?
Fish eyeball. Mostly because I just wanted to see if I could. It wasn’t really good or bad (though the ginger sauce around it was AMAZING. If you ever make it to Newport, OR, try the rock fish at Kam Meng restaurant. Or anything in their clay pots. So, so good.)
12. What TV show do you wish was still on the air?
The Dungeons & Dragons cartoon from the 80s. Those poor kids never got home.
13. What is your secret plan for world domination?
I don’t think it’s all that secret. I intend to turn everyone in the world into a dork by inundating their Twitter streams and Facebook feeds with my tales of spilling food down my shirt and falling down. Then I shall put on my Wonder Woman costume and rule as Queen of the Dorks. It’ll be quite simple, really.
14. If you were to become a spammer, what product would you peddle? And what would your message be? Come up with the most attention getting, creative, crazy thing. Yes, that’s a challenge.
Oh, I’d peddle this thing — I’ve wanted to since I first saw it. (O_O) Meljean provided the link, but I’m going with that emoticon because… well because.
And the e-mail subject line would have to be:
NOW THAT YOU’VE ENLARGED YOUR PENIS, WRAP THAT GIANT DICK IN GOLD!
Penis + precious metals = a sure thing.
15. Can you name at least three US Supreme Court Justices without looking? Do you know your state senators and US representative?
Yep. I’m not political online, but I follow it all pretty closely at home.
16. What was your favorite class in high school?
Not PE, that’s for sure.
Probably my anthropology class, but honestly — I liked almost all of them. People called me The Brainerd, and I earned that title. (And they didn’t even know that my dad actually comes from a town called Brainerd. So it was truly meant-to-be, or something.)
17. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned while writing/researching a book?
It’s really difficult to say anything is the most interesting. I never really put them against each other on a sliding scale — and there are a lot of really amazing things out there that I run across. Truth is always more awesome than fiction.
I did read a really great book while writing my last, though: “In the Heart of the Sea, the Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex.” It’s an (at times harrowing and really awful) account of what befell the whalers of a ship that was rammed by a sperm whale and sank (and which inspired Moby Dick.) In the same vein, “Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage,” which describes what happened after an expedition ship was caught in the Antarctic ice. Simply amazing stuff.
18. What five deceased authors would you invite to a dinner party?
Oscar Wilde, because he’d make fun of us all, but in such a fabulous way that we probably wouldn’t realize how deeply we’d been insulted until afterward.
Shakespeare, so that he could tell the naysayers and conspiracy theorists who believe he didn’t write his plays to stop being ninnies.
Virginia Woolf, though I’d let her eat in a room of her own.
Ambrose Bierce, because I suspect that he and Oscar Wilde would either trade the most amazing set of witticisms and barbs ever, or make out. Both options would be fun to watch.
Aphra Behn, simply because she sounds like she had an amazing life.
So what’d you think? Do you have any follow up questions for Ms. Brook? (Please say yes – imagine her answers!) She’s also giving away the winner’s choice of The Iron Duke, Heart of Steel, or any of her Guardian books (winner’s choice.) International entries are fine. And guess what? Meljean has so very generously decided to give two prizes! So, two lucky winners! (And for our new friends, this is how the giveaway works.)