This week you are getting a bonus, we are interviewing TWO authors. Please join me in welcoming sisters Trudy Silverheels and Miranda Whitecrow.
1. Have you always had a passion for writing? Do you have similar style and content or are you both very different?
Trudy: Miranda got me started. She used to write and self-publish beautiful little hand-bound books. This was when we were both in grade school. She always let me help her. Eventually I started doing my own. There are four years between us, but we have the sort of connection you’d expect to find in twins. I’d say our styles are very similar, and so too what we write about, that being the pursuit of wisdom, fulfilment, and sexual gratification.
Miranda: I have always had a passion for books. Well, we both have. As a pre-teen and then as a teenager, I loved experimenting with typography and different bindery techniques. Trudy was always more fascinated by woodcraft, which she views as a type of sorcery. If our writing is similar, then it is because I consciously emulate her style.
2. Miranda, do you find having two writers in the same family a challenge or a blessing?
Miranda: That’s funny. I don’t think of myself as a writer. I mean,
not really. I’m a housewife and a mother, who writes in her spare time. Trudy is a dedicated professional. Oh, she has other interests and other careers (modelling, art, photography, woodcraft), but writing always comes first with her.
3. Trudy, the two of you come from a Native American background. Does your heritage feature in or influence what you write about?
Trudy: Sure. To some extent. In Baring All I related how Dusty and I discovered our Indian connection and visited the reservation for the first time. I’m actually three quarters Navajo, while Dusty is one quarter Navajo. Friends and family, by the way, call Miranda Dusty, and they call me Bootsy. We are half-sisters, but we were brought up together in the White world. We don’t even speak the ancient tongue. Our cousin Michelle has tried to teach us, but you cannot imagine how complex a language it is. For my third book, a novella called The Chosen Profession of Jade Stonecalf, I created my first Native American heroine, a teenage runaway who believes her true calling to be prostitution. Sounds depressing, I know, but it’s actually quite positive and uplifting. My two other books are unrelated to the Indian experience.
4. Does music influence your writing, and do you have a favorite music genre?
Trudy: I love music, and I like to have it playing while I work, but if it influences my writing, I can’t tell. Jazz is my favorite. I also like salsa, samba, rhumba, and mambo.
Miranda: I pretty much agree with Trudy on this. The difference might be that I prefer contemporary smooth jazz (like Dave Koz, Keiko Matsui, and Mindi Abair), while Trudy adores the old stuff from the 1930s and ’40s (think of Benny Goodman, Ozzie Nelson, and Duke Ellington).
5. Do you have any pets?
Trudy: No. We have horses at our grandmother’s ranch in Arizona, but we don’t think of them as pets.
Miranda: A stray cat has recently taken up residence on our patio, and I believe our cook surreptitiously feeds it. I refuse to allow it in the house. But my daughters have named it. So I guess I really must take it to the vet and see that it is spayed or neutered (I don’t even know yet whether it is male or female) and has all the necessary shots.
6. What hobbies do you have outside of reading and writing?
Trudy: Movies are my favorite amusement. And then too, I love to travel. I enjoy seeing new places and trying new foods. Also visiting art galleries and dancing. I adore to dance, especially tango. Let’s see. What else? I’m a killer bridge player. I don’t belong to any bridge clubs, but friends often call me to make a foursome.
Miranda: Tennis, hiking, riding, swimming, anything where I can expend some energy
7. Where is the most exciting/memorable place you have been in the world?
Trudy: That’s difficult to say. I loved Rio, and I had a really good time there. But Singapore was exciting too. And also Hong Kong. I’d say it’s between those three, and Hong Kong is probably on top. I’d like to be able to spend a couple of years there. It would take that long to begin to know the place.
Miranda: For me, it’s England, all of England. My husband is from Exeter; so we visit his family there from time to time. And we always use the occasion to tour London, Oxford, Stonehenge, and a hundred other places familiar to me through literature and public television.
8. How has becoming a published author (independent or traditional) changed your perspective on life and is it everything you expected it to be? (If you are not published yet – what changes do you foresee?)
Trudy: I should probably be ashamed to admit how gratified I feel when I’m asked to sign one of my books. Even before it happened for the first time, I had resolved never to resent being thus importuned. But it took me completely by surprise that I so relished being asked for a handshake and my autograph. Nor does the thrill diminish as this occurs more and more often. Total strangers walk up to me and say, “I’m your biggest fan.” I always ask for their names, because I don’t like the relationship to be one-sided, and inevitably, I tell them that I prefer them to consider themselves my friends, rather than my fans. And I mean it. I probably have more friends than anyone else in the world, and I value each and every one of them.
Miranda: I don’t feel that my life itself has changed that much, but my perspective now includes consideration for how every situation I encounter might be adapted to fit a story line. I never used to think that way. I mean, I actually keep notebooks for plot ideas and clever lines. I suspect that my friends all laugh at me behind my back for taking myself so seriously. What a laugh! I’m the girl who said she doesn’t even consider herself a writer. So I’m full of contradictions. Arrest me.
9. Miranda, you wrote a book about your sister. What was the inspiration behind this? Tell us a little about it
Miranda: The months immediately following publication of Trudy’s autobiography Baring All were extraordinarily eventful. Trudy’s devoted readers (and she has quite many) would want to know all that had happened to her. A sequel was definitely in order. And Trudy herself was in a coma and couldn’t write it; so I did. At least I started it. It took me more than a year to finish it, by which time Trudy had recovered enough to write the Jade Stonecalf novella. My Sister Bootsy is more than just a sequel though; it is a companion volume to Baring All. In it I recall incidents from Trudy’s early childhood (I was present at her birth), I explain the curious circumstances surrounding delivery of her twins, I spell out the details of the accident that put her in hospital, and I pay tribute to her amazing strength of character, her talent, her sense of humour, and her essential goodness. My Sister Bootsy is not offered as an unbiased account of Trudy’s life to date; for my love and admiration for my younger sibling are readily apparent on every page of this work.
Trudy: Dusty had to say lots of nice things about me; she probably thought she was writing my obituary when she started this project.
10. Trudy, would you like to tell us about your latest work?
Trudy: Nuevo Biloxi was a huge departure for me. For one thing, I had a writing partner, Damien Wynter. He would do one chapter, and I would do the next, each of us writing first person in the voices of different characters. He wrote the male parts; I wrote the female parts. Set in the 1980s, this is the story a group of American expatriates in Mexico. Adventuring, they stumble upon a remote village populated by descendants of Confederate refugees from the American Civil War. The plot is complex; the characters are many; and the themes, I admit, are a bit off-the-wall. Working with Damien was a lot like I imagine working with Paul Theroux would be. He kept throwing me weird curve balls, but I’m very pleased with the final product. It is quite unlike anything else I’ve ever done. And while it is not a utopian or propaganda novel, it does deal (realistically, I think) with alternative lifestyles and non-traditional marriage.