Carrie Rubin is one of my favorite bloggers here on WordPress. She recently published her first book, “The Seneca Scourge,” which I bought and read from cover to cover. (Carrie’s blog and a link to her Amazon book page are included both above and below this post.)
Also, Carrie has -ever so kindly- offered to give away a signed copy of her book or an Amazon gift card of equivalent value to a random commenter. I will be-gift (is that a word? No? It should be.) the book or card to the commenter who amuses me silly. Or amuses me the silliest. Oh, you get it, be a goofball in the comments section today and you just might win a truly awesome, page turner.
And now, the interview…
Mother: I have a weird inclination to make up nicknames for the people that I like. For you, I’ve made up, “The Rubes,” based on your last name and for some reason because I think it fits you. What are your favorite nicknames for yourself? If you could have any nickname in the world, what would it be?
Rubes: ‘The Rubes’ is fine. It’s much better than Sheldon, which is my family’s nickname for me. Author Wendy Reid calls me Carebear. So does my teenage son when he’s not calling me Sheldon, so let’s go with that.
Mother: As I understand it, you were a doctor. Then you quit the medical profession to become a writer. Have any members of the medical community or your immediate family questioned your mental health around this desire? If yes, how did you soothe their fears? And lastly, why did you do it? Is it because you don’t enjoy money?
Rubes: Oh, my. Well, first of all, pediatricians are not exactly at the top of the reimbursement scale. For example, while surgeons hold conferences at the Ritz Carlton in Chicago, pediatricians hold conferences at the Comfort Inn in Peoria. Just sayin’. But I didn’t really quit medicine. I was already planning a switch from clinical medicine into research, but on the way, I got sidetracked by my book’s publication. After encouragement from my husband, who knows I’ve always wanted time to write, I took a year off to pursue writing. I haven’t been in clinic for six months now. I’m keeping up all my licensure and board requirements, because who knows what the next day will bring? But I doubt I’ll return to primary care; it will be public health or research.
Mother: If you were about to die and you were allowed to write down one sentence to leave for your family and the world, what would it be? Note: You can’t say, “Sweet Mother it was all for you.”
Rubes: “Don’t forget to tape my shows…”
Mother: “The Seneca Scourge” is a fantastic read and I really mean that. If it’s not a good read, I’ll put it down and never pick it up again. So, you know it was a good read considering this interview is happening and that I’ve actually read the book from cover to cover. For example, I can NOT and will not read Jonathan Franzen, no matter how many times Oprah tells me to. I won’t read him simply because he makes me die of boredom. Were you aware of keeping the reader “hooked” while you were writing? How did you go about the planning process for Seneca?
Rubes: Thank you, Sweet Momma. But honestly? I was an idiot when I wrote the book eight years ago. Thought I could just sit down and write a novel–no worries. I didn’t read any books on writing technique; I simply winged it. I know so much more now, and luckily, it turns out I had enough structure in the book to keep it interesting. And that’s all I ever wanted. I never had any delusions of it being a literary accomplishment. I merely wanted to keep people hooked.
Mother: You are probably the best and most frequent commenter out there in the community of bloggers in which I hangout. Commenting with such diligence, have you ever left your children unfed? Unclothed? Seriously, does your family ever get jealous of your blogging? Because my Wifesy does from time to time.
Rubes: Yes, hunger and nakedness run rampant in my home. It’s really a shame. Social media does take a lot of time, but as we all know, blogging is a reciprocal process. And really, it’s an introvert’s dream mode of communication. I do most of my blog trolling while the kids are in school. Still plenty of time to cook nutritious dinners and sew torn clothes. My husband, however, remains naked.
Mother: You write about the medical establishment better than just about anyone I’ve seen. Do you have plans to make Sydney a serial character? Or do you have a series of books planned around medical concepts?
Rubes: Well, thank you, but my apologies to Sydney—The Seneca Scourge is her last and only hurrah. But I suspect all my books will have a medical theme. Write what you know, right? My current work-in-progress involves a public health issue and a killer. I’ll say no more.
Mother: How did you land your publisher? Did you comment on his blog?
Rubes: Haha. If I could’ve, I would’ve. Many agents I queried liked the medical thriller aspect but not the science fiction. I was reminded that genres shouldn’t be crossed. Whoops. So I started looking for small presses that would accept a cross-genre. sffNet has a comprehensive listing of e-publishers. I queried one on the list. They accepted.
Mother: Along those lines, I know that you work with an e-book publisher. How do you compare the e-book publishing experience with that of a hardcopy publisher?
Rubes: My publisher is mostly e-book but they do have a print-on-demand (POD) option. Unfortunately, POD paperbacks are costly and therefore limit how well-received a paperback version is. But it’s nice to have the paperback available at local bookstores. Would I like to have a more traditional publisher next time? Sure. Especially when it comes to marketing. Small publishers put the onus of marketing on the author. I am thus a fish out of water.
Mother: I know sometimes you write and read while on the treadmill. Do you worry that you will fall and break your computer or your face?
Incidentally, this is what I picture when I picture you on the treadmill…
Rubes: Every day I write while walking slowly on my treadmill. I can’t sit still for hours on end. It’s not good for my back, my heart, or my rear. That $39.99 plastic treadmill shelf was the best Christmas gift I ever received. And no, I don’t worry about falling and breaking my face, because I do indeed look like those guys in the video, skinny jeans and all.
Mother: Ellen Barkin or Ellen Degeneres?
Rubes: Ellen Degeneres. I’ve been watching her since she was on These Friends of Mine.
Mother: Stephen King or John Grisham?
Rubes: Stephen King. I read both authors, but King accomplishes the coveted act: Writes brilliantly and weaves a great story.
Mother: Boxers or Thongs?
Rubes: On Daniel Craig, thongs. On Donald Trump, boxers full of fire ants.
Mother: Sandals or Shoes?
Rubes: Shoes. I have a pair of black shoes I wear every day except in the summer. They’re sturdy and manly, but I don’t care. I don’t want corns and bunions.
Mother: Thai or Chinese?
Rubes: Foodwise, I am nowhere near sophisticated enough to appreciate the difference.
Mother: Coffee or Tea?
Rubes: Tea. Healthy antioxidants and it doesn’t taste like barfed-up bile.
Mother: Novel or Blogging?
Mother: University or College?
Rubes: Given the alphabet soup behind my name, I guess the answer is university.
Mother: Humor or Humour?
Rubes: Humor. You can take the girl out of North Dakota, but you can’t take the North Dakota out of the girl.
Mother: Tumor or Tumour?
Rubes: Good God, hopefully neither.
Mother: Salsa Dance or Salsa Relish?
Rubes: With Daniel Craig, a salsa dance. With Donald Trump, a mouthful of Salmonella-tainted salsa relish. (And you may have been talking about the Salsa Relish bike, but I wanted to diss The Donald.)
And that concludes our delightful interview. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed putting it together. Comment away, below, to WIN your copy of “The Seneca Scourge.”
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