To celebrate the release of Lesser Gods Looking For Love on Tuesday, author Wendy Sparrow opened up with some interesting facts about herself.
For a change, I decided to interview myself and answer the questions you didn’t know that you should be asking me, instead of where I get my ideas or what I love about writing. Hang on to your butts, folks. It’s about to get weird.
1. When was your first kiss?
My first kiss took place in front of the entire church congregation. He never saw it coming. Chris Elsmore, if you’re out there, I probably should have asked before I planted one on you in church. In my defense, I was only like five or six, and it seemed like the thing to do.
2. What was the strangest job you ever held?
For several years, I was a Barney impersonator—like the big, purple dinosaur. I went to children’s parties and did parades and I was good—damn good.
Unfortunately, like many high-risk careers, it just got too dangerous. No, I’m legitimately serious. People didn’t know that under that giant dinosaur head was a scrawny nineteen-year-old girl. It was during a time when there was a lot of anti-Barney sentiment. After the first time I got jumped by a group of guys, my manager insisted on having a bodyguard along with me.
Then, there was the parade.
It was over one hundred degrees and I was roasting inside the costume, soaked in sweat, and suffering from heat exhaustion. A bunch of teenage boys thought it’d be hilarious to rush me and punch me in the stomach. That was it for my career as a Barney impersonator. It was just too dangerous.
3. What are your strongest phobias?
Dead bodies. No contest. It’s not something I can control either. I can’t go to viewings, and I actually passed out on a Human Biology field trip to see a med school cadaver. Next strongest phobia is daddy-long-legs. I’m not scared of other spiders. I just can’t handle the thought of trying to kill those ugly things and their spindly legs falling off and, oh, ugh, can we stop talking about this already? What sadistic freak chose this question?
4. Which are better: even or odd numbers?
Odd. Even numbers are sharp, pointy, and uncomfortable. Odd numbers are smooth, curved, and cozy. I strongly dislike even numbers, with the exception of 42, for obvious reasons.
5. How many novels and novellas have you completed? (including those unpublished)
I had to go count these and, from what I can see, it looks like I’ve completed 74 novels and novellas (anything over 11K was included, but I didn’t include several WIPs that died between 15K-20K, which seems to be a make-or-break point for me.) I ran across a few novellas that I didn’t even remember writing. I’ve been writing since June of 2009, so next month is my ten-year anniversary, I guess.
Last year, I had some really strange health issues hit, and I didn’t think I was long for this world. Instead of doing what a normal person would do and getting my affairs in order, I tried to finish a series of books so that it’d be complete. I didn’t want to die with the series undone. Who needs a will when you can complete a series of six UF novels? Honestly, my family is full of fans and given the choice between a will and this series being completed, well, I went with the more likely choice. Hey, this was my legacy, people. It was fiction, but I don’t mind being remembered for it.
6. Who inspired you to start writing?
I come from a very creative family, and I used to tell myself bedtime stories to combat insomnia as a child. When I was in high school, I was in a Creative Writing class taught by a Mr. Amundson, and he told me that I had “it.” He said that he wasn’t sure about the rest of the class, but he was convinced one day that he’d be able to hold my published book in his hands. That belief in me felt more significant than he could have imagined.
7. If you could jump on a plane and fly anywhere—where would you go?
New Orleans. For some reason, that will always be the most romantic city in my mind. I’ve been twice, but I’d go again in a heartbeat. There are places in Europe that intrigue me, as well as other places that sound cool, but going to New Orleans doesn’t fill me with jitters at its unfamiliarity. The history is so rich and the people are so amazingly friendly. I’d love to go back. I read every book set in New Orleans that I can get my hot little hands on.
8. Do you cry while writing and revising?
I really, really do. It’s not even in logical places and it doesn’t get any easier in revisions. If I cry in one spot in a book—which includes almost all my books—then, I’ll cry there for eternity. It’s partly why I prefer to work alone and at night.
9. Are you a pantser or a plotter?
Okay, so I do get this question in other interviews, but I’m the pantsingpantserwho everpantsed. A good amount of the time, I have no idea where a story will end and I just write on faith that it will end well. I used to always say, “It’ll all work out in the rewrite,” but, lately, I’ve done this enough that I can usually find my way in the rough draft. It just works out. Because writing is magic. Always has been. Always will be. Writing is touching magic.
10. Why are you choosing not to end this list on an even number?
I have severe clinical OCD. When I say that even numbers make me uncomfortable, I mean that they really do. Even medicated, I’ve got some fun little hang-ups that I just roll with because it’s easier. I’ve always been very candid about my OCD and my history as a cutter online on social media and in my blog. It’s who I am and what made me that person. It runs deep.
11. What are you working on now?
I’m revising and finishing the above-mentioned UF series. When my test results took a turn for the better, medications began working, and we nailed down another diagnosis, the fervor to write or die, literally, eased up. I’m midway through writing book five of six in that series, and I’m revising earlier books. I’ve also started up a top-secret project that will, hopefully, make it beyond the proof-of-concept phase. It’s kind of strange to have a future again, after the uncertainty and downer that was 2018. I’d gotten used to not making long-range plans. Now, I’ll have this year, next year, and maybe a lot more. It’s…weird—like finding out you’re terminally ill, but then…not. I have a future, and it’ll be full of writing.