A Deer in the Headlights, or: my first interview

All I'm saying is, if you have accomplished something, you'd better be ready. Not that reporters have been flocking to my door, but one came from our local paper. He was very nice about a) me wanting to sit outside instead of in; and b) my cat, Puffin, leaping on his shoulder (the cat loves to do this, and the sight of a black furry projectile can scare some).

I lead a lot of conference calls on the phone, with high ranking people I don't know, so I have gotten pretty good at thinking on my feet. But still. There are questions I fumbled around, such as, "what other writers inspire you?" Mind: blank. 

"Um, Pam Houston?" was all I could offer. Also: "people who write about their relationship with the natural world." Sorry, all you writers whom I love. I couldn't think. 

Also? "What advice would you give to other writers?"

Not to do it? Just kidding! What I came up with was "go to a writing retreat" and "don't ever give up." Which, in retrospect, is kind of banal. I would now add: Believe in your writing. Along the way I had suggestions, both paid for and not, and I had to sort through those and pick the ones I believed in. I changed the whole tense of Geography from past to present to past again (and let me tell you, THAT editing was tedious). I don't mean to obstinately refuse to take advice. For my fire memoir, enough people told me that it seemed detached, that they could not really know the narrator, that I knew changes had to be made.

In the end I think the interview went okay. "I usually don't even LIKE cats," the reporter said, disengaging Puffin from his shoulder. I haven't seen the interview yet, but will post it when it comes out.