20 Questions with Rebecca Burke

1. So, what’s your book all about?
I’ve published 3 novels, but given your own skew for funny, I’ll just mention What If the Hokey Pokey Really Is What It’s All About? Here’s the blurb:

“Do happy people write in diaries? Not according to Piccolo Poggioli, whose diary describes the horror of a road trip with her self-absorbed mother and heartless Irish Setter. In the vein of the Adrian Mole diaries–if Adrian were an American teenager, whose BFFs were Bing candy bars and bitter Las Vegas showgirls.”

It’s either Young Adult or Crossover, depending on how old you are when you read it.

2. What inspired you to write this tale?
I think diary-style novels are fun to read if the main character has a strong, comic voice, so I wanted to give it a try. When I wrote it, I was teaching full-time so writing in chunks—the diary entries—was easier than a sustained narrative, especially after I’d developed my main character and found her voice. It gave me a chance to use as characters some of the insane people in my family, as well as a family dog that, in retrospect, probably had Asperger’s.

3. Do you have a favorite quote about creativity/inspiration etc…? What is it?
Yes, Samuel Beckett’s “Nothing is funnier than unhappiness.” This is how the Irish have always coped with the rotten side of life, and being Irish American, I’m hard-wired for it. It has a downside, of course, because not EVERYTHING is meant to be turned into funny material. Lest there be any confusion, it does NOT mean it’s cool to laugh at those who are miserable. It has to do with seeing the comic potential in negative circumstances and the extra laugh you get it out of turning it to your advantage in a story or joke.

4. What things do you keep in your “writing space”? Do they inspire you? Confound you? Hold wires in place?
I have a lot of crap around me, which probably saps my mental energy more than inspires me. My kids colonized my office in the basement, so now I’ve colonized my husband’s upstairs office, and he’s a borderline hoarder. Fortunately my desk is in front of a large window, so I can look out at the sky and circling hawks and block out everything else, not to mention spy on my neighborhood. Nothing goes down around here that I don’t know about.

5. What is your perfect “writing space”?
I’ve had “perfect” in various locales, and it didn’t always work to my advantage. “Sort of perfect” is my desk, after there is nothing left to fritter my time away on.

6. If your car horn could play any song, which would it be? Can’t say Dixie.
Yikes, who would say Dixie?! It’s going to be St. Pat’s Day, so how about “Danny Boy.” Then I’ll be able to spot the Irish around me by noticing who’s weeping.

7. What would you name the first permanent settlement on mars?
Hokeypokeylandia.

8. How tall is the perfect sidekick? Please explain why it even matters.
It doesn’t matter unless you are seriously lazy and can’t be bothered to glance up or down significantly. I’d only want one if they had a good sense of humor and I could beat them at tennis most days.

9. If you were to mess with the time stream, what would you change? Let’s assume a hundred other people already took care of Hitler so you don’t have to say, “Kill Hitler.”
I would play with time to block George Bush Jr.’s presidency, thus putting Al Gore in the driver’s seat at a critical time environmentally. The eight years wasted doing nothing to fight climate change was a crime against humanity.

10. Let’s say your character has a pet brown bear. What’s the bear’s name?
Something that reminds you it’s a bear, not a pet or best friend. How about Ursal.

11. If you had to give an antagonist an annoying trait, what would it be?
Being petty: it’s the worst.

12. What kind of car would your ultimate protagonist drive?
An Audi. Not showy, but beautifully engineered, powerful, and luxe.

13. You’ve got a year to travel anywhere. Where?
Difficult! With a well-padded expense account I’d hit Europe hard, especially the Scandinavian countries that are so expensive. I’d return to Spain, England and the Netherlands, where I’ve lived and abandoned part of my soul. If not-so-well-funded, then Latin America. It doesn’t seem right to die without having seen Brazil, Patagonia, or Machu Picchu.

14. You just bought a boat with your book fortune. What are you going to call it?
Fiona, just to make my husband happy and honor his dad’s old sailboat.

15. What kind of music, if any, gets you typing the fastest?
If I want to do anything fast, I listen to salsa or Latin jazz. If I also dance to it, it clears the room of any teenagers.

16. What’s the punch line to your favorite joke?
Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity (George Carlin).

17. What lyric do you sing poorly, yet loudly?
I sing lots of old standards poorly and loudly, but I’m not going to name them as they’ll show me for the sentimental fool I am.

18. You find a portal to another world in your sink’s drain. What is this other world called? And what is the best way to clean the portal so it doesn’t smell like old food?
Baking soda and vinegar are the environmentally cool way to blast a hole through Mucklandistan.

19. Where can people learn more about you, your work or any pets you have?
They can take a peek at my Amazon author page here: amazon.com/author/rebeccaburke. Or hack my FB page, stalk me on Google, or follow me on Twitter, here: RebeccaBurkeSi

My dog Smokey prefers his anonymity, I’m afraid.

20. What’s next?
I’m revising another comic novel, Love Maniacs of the Plains, and going for as many genres as possible: Humor/Erotica/Western/Romance/Paranormal/Fantasy/Dystopian/Travel Memoir. Maybe even Steampunk because I can’t get enough of that word.

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