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 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.
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