Saturday, January 17, 2009


I am being interviewed by Pam at The rules are posted below, if you want to be interviewed by me, leave me a message telling me so and I'll come up with some questions.

Pam asked:

1. Since your move to Oklahoma, what do you find you like best about the area? Also what is most annoying?

One of the things I like best about living in this area of Oklahoma is the wide open spaces, and big yards/gardens. After 9 years of apartment living in California, I love that this house is on an acre lot, and none of the neighbors but right up against us. It’s also very peaceful, as the house is at the very end of a small cul-de-sac, so no one comes down here unless they’re coming to see us, or they’re lost.

And I love that people here are so darn friendly, I have made far more friends here than I ever did in California.

I also like that I am sort of famous in my little town, well, at the vet’s, the filling station, and the bank. :-)

One of the things I find most annoying about living in such a rural area is the fact that my nearest supermarket is 16 miles away, grocery shopping has had to become a detailed battle campaign.

I also dislike being so far away from the ocean, I love the sea and seafood, I miss being able to walk on the beach, and buy decent fish.

Another thing I hate is the way people abuse our beautiful countryside by throwing litter all over it. The local newspaper published an article from me on this very subject, but it hasn’t made a blind bit of difference.

The final annoying thing for me is the fact that there is no recycling program in this town/area. Although we compost, and donate our cans to the local humane society, all our plastics, glass, and paper go into the landfill, I hate that.

2. Lake District England vs. Lake District Oklahoma – is it safe to compare the two areas?

The short answer to that is, no. The long answer, absolutely not. :-)

Seriously, Pam, while this area of Lake District Oklahoma is very beautiful, the lakes here were man-made in order to supply the growing need for hydro electric power. So the lakes in these parts can in no way compare to the natural grandeur and majesty of the English Lakes. Sorry!

3. Have you always been a writer, and can you tell us a little bit more about how you came into your writing career?

No, I have not always been a writer, in fact, I am a relative newcomer to the craft, but, from a very early age, I loved books, and reading. I actually wrote my first short story in 2002, after reading Stephen King’s book, On Writing, which incidentally, I consider to be one of the best books on writing I have ever read. That first story was utter crap, as were subsequent ones, but the only way to learn this craft is to keep practicing.

For the first couple of years, I can only describe myself as a bit of a dabbler at this writing lark, and never saw myself giving up the day job to pursue it seriously. Then in October, 2004, I joined my writer’s group, Grand Lake Wordsmiths Unlimited, and they were so encouraging of my work, that I began branching out into non-fiction. Until joining the group I had only ever written fiction, mostly short stories, and I had started a novel, but threw in the towel on it after about 25,000 words. I did start another novel, and got slightly further with it than the first one, but still abandoned it.

Three other things contributed to my starting to take myself seriously as a writer.

  • Jobs are few and far between in this area, and I had been unsuccessful in my efforts to find one.
  • In May 2006, I won first place in the essay category of the Oklahoma Writer’s Federation annual contest. This was quickly followed by getting a few articles published in local papers, and then in August I got a break with Oklahoma Living Magazine. The article was a little 600 word piece about Oklahoman Sylvan Goldman, the inventor of the shopping cart, which I sent to the mag on spec. The editor liked it, and I have since written for them on a regular basis, as well as anyone else who will take my stuff.
  • My husband, Mick is so supportive of my writing. If he didn’t continue to toil away doing the day job, then I couldn’t continue to do this. I can only hope that one day I will earn enough to support us both. After all, one of my favorite writers, Annie Proulx, was 58 when her first book was published.

4. You say you are the reluctant cook – have you come to enjoy cooking more over time?

To be perfectly honest, I have to say that I did used to hate cooking, now I merely dislike it, so I must have come to enjoy it a bit more. :-) The funny thing is, cooking is something I’m good at, but if someone else would cook for me, I’d let them.

5. I love the name Ticklemouse. Can you tell me how he came to have this name, and a few other quirky, fun things about your cats.

Tommy Ticklemouse as a kitlet, helping out in Mick's office

Tommy morphed into Tommy Ticklemouse after living with us for a few days. Tommy first appeared in our yard as a stray kitten, enticed by the smell of our BBQ. We think he had been living under our shed, for how long we don’t know, but the poor little mite was starving. At first he would stand over by the wood pile and yowl at us, and Mick would say, "Ey up, little Tommy Tucker is here, singing for his supper," the line comes from a nursery rhyme.

We fed him, of course., and after a couple of nights he began to come over to the sit with us on the porch. A few days later he moved in, and then Mick began saying, "Little Tommy Ticklemouse, lived in a little house," from another nursery rhyme, and this time the name stuck. Tommy (AKA Tickle, Man of Mystery, amongst others), was the last cat to join our household, and I don’t think that he has ever forgotten that we rescued him, he is certainly the best natured, most loving and loveable of our 3 cats.

Wilson - Slobbo Puss

Wilson, (AKA Squeaky, Willie Wombat, Wilburn, among many others), was our first adoption from the humane society, and he was about 5 years old at the time. They had called him Sparky, I’ve no idea why, as he is spark out most of the time. Unfortunately for Wilson, he had been de-clawed, and had never been outside, so I began taking him for walks around our yard. The neighbors thought it was a hoot that he followed me around like a little dog. He will now happily wander around the yard on his own, or with the other cats. We have no fences to keep him in but he never ventures far, and he does at least get a bit of an outdoor life. Most of the time though, he’s our slobbo puss, our lounge lizard. He likes nothing better than a comfy knee to sit on, and his belly tickling.

Alvin - The Terminator

Alvin was another adoption from the humane society, but he was only a kitten when we got him. He was always a naughty little chipmunk, hence the name. Alvin is now a predator, (AKA Arnie,or The Terminator, amongst many others), he sleeps all day and hunts all night. He is a very aloof cat, and is definitely the alpha male amongst our lot, but he’s smart enough to recognize that mummy is numero uno in this pecking order. I don’t need an alarm clock with Alvin around, every morning at 7:30 am, he climbs on the bedroom window ledge and yowls at me to let him in.

Want to be interviewed by me? Here are the instructions:
1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the questions).
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions and let me know when you have posted it, so I can link to it.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.


pamokc said...

Great answers! And thanks for participating! See, I just KNEW that about the Lake District ... one place in England that I haven't been!!! John keeps saying, "Oh, you'll hate it there, no one ever goes there." Joking, of course!!! I don't know those two nursery rhymes,but that makes sense now!

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

Very enjoyable and interesting answers Jan. You give all us writing hopefuls the will to keep going. The cats are lovely and isn't it funny how they grow into their names!

Oh and btw, I never ever see litter over here in the NW!

Lakeland Jo said...

great post, I really enjoyed reading it, and I really enjoyed your reply to the Lake District question. I have never been to Oklahoma but I would love to come, so I can't comment on your Lake District.By the way- interview me.I can't wait.

Anonymous said...

Hi Janet,
hopped over from Jo's place.

Where in Lancashire are you from? I'm originally from Yorkshire but moved just a few feet over the new border into a village near Clitheroe where I grew up until I joined the Navy in 1981.

I read your interview, but will have to do some spoaching around later as It's bed time now and I know what will happen if I start....2am and I'll still be here!

pamokc said...

The reason Sarah doesn't see litter in NW Oklahoma is because it BLOWS AWAY and because there is NOTHING TO KEEP IT FROM BLOWING AWAY ....hehehehe

Gill - That British Woman said...

I had to pop over to answer your question about that ROTTEN BOOKWORM..LOL I was going to delete from my favourites on my laptop, but still haven't done it, however, dd has my laptop at the moment, so I have an excuse not to be on it.........I know I could get the link from you blog, but I'm not going to.

I mean I can waste away a whole night on that silly game, but it does make my mind think!!!!

I love your answers by the way to the interview. If you feel like interviewing me, go ahead, just don't ask me anything on BOOKWORM...LOL

Gill in Canada

(Just send the questions through my blog, as I moderate all comments)

By the way my word verification is: WORDSWOM

Cheryl said...

Love it! and the kitties all of them beautiful. I want one soo badly, we are on a waiting list for another Siamese!m

A Brit in Tennessee said...

It's nice to learn a little more about you Jan !
The cats are just beautiful, and I adore their names, they seem to be such characters...
Litter is one thing we hardly see around this area, seems like all the roads are "adopted" by one organisation or another, and they spend their Saturdays, once a month, picking up litter.
The city has a strict enforcement law also, so everyone abides by the rules.
Are you from Manchester originally ?
Great blog !

Gill - That British Woman said...

Janet, I wasn't sure if you wanted a letter for that quiz thingy I was doing on my blog? If you do the letter I have assigned you is "A" If you want to play along great, if not just ignore this comment.

Gill in Canada

(I will be posting the interview tomorrow, Sunday)