Interview with Shellie BraeunerOctober, 2009
SS: How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
SB: quirky, fun, busy, Southern, gregarious, loving, very full
SS: What is your motto or maxim?
SB: Semper Gumby (Always Flexible) It's our family motto.
Questions About Books and Writing
SS: Who are your favorite authors?
SB: Lois Lowry, Amy Tan, Jodi Picoult, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Richard Adams, William Blake, Noel Streatfeild, Richard Peck, Maurice Sendak, Roald Dahl, Jean Auel, Frank L. Baum, Berkeley Breathed
SS: What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
SB: Maia by Richard Adams, Cyteen by C.J. Cherryh, Little Witch by Anna Elizabeth Bennet, Keeping Faith, by Jodi Picoult, Goodnight Opus, by Berkeley Breathed.
SS: Is there a book you love to reread?
SB: There are a lot of books I love to re-read! I'm not sure there is space to list them all.
SS: Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
SB: Write the story that's in your heart.
SS: What is your birthdate?
SS: What were your previous occupations?
SB: Nanny, Counselor, Dresser in the Theater, Substitute Teacher
SS: What was/is your favorite job?
SS: Where did you go to high school and/or college?
SB: I went to Cookeville Senior High School and Father Ryan High School. I got a B.A. at MTSU, and an M. ed. form Vanderbilt University.
SS: Name of your favorite composer or music artist?
SB: Wierd Al Yankovic is my favorite music artist. He's hysterical and very, very clever.
SS: What is your favorite movie?
SB: "Under a Tuscan Sun"
SS: What is your favorite television show?
SB: "The SImpsons"
What Readers want to know...
SS: How would you describe perfect happiness?
SB: I'm not sure I would recognize perfect happiness. Perfection makes me a little nervous, because I know it can't last. So I would probably be much happier with "Imperfect Happiness." Something along the lines of a string of beach houses with all my friends and family hanging out, playing games and eating chocolate chip cookies, but with the occasional mosquito.
SS: If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
SB: Dancing or drawing; it's kind of a toss up.
SS: Who is your favorite fictional villain?
SB: Richard III from the Shakespearen play of the same name. He's just evil. How many villains can propose to the widow of a man he killed. That's evil.
SS: If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
SB: I would love to meet Hatshepsut. She was one of the first women Pharaohs of ancient Egypt. She ruled for years, but the generations that came after her tried to erase her from history. They failed because her most trusted friends hid the story of her life in her tomb.
I would ask her how it felt to know, or at least suspect, that however hard she worked, others would try to destroy her legacy. I would want to talk to her about balancing duty to those who count on you, with personal hopes and dreams. I would also like to know how the ancients really did build all those pyramids?
SS: What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
SB: Working as a Nanny, or playing with my nieces and nephews.
SS: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
SB: Chocolate chip cookies, hands down! Only I would add pecans so that I would get a little protein!
SS: What are your 5 favorite songs?
SB: "Are We Human"; by The Killers; "The Alphabet Song," by Barenaked Ladies; "You're So Vain," by Carly Simon; "For Good," from "Wicked; and "What's Opera Doc," from Loony Toons.
SS: What’s your greatest fear?
SB: My greatest fear is ticks. I hate ticks. I don't mind snakes, rodents, malaria carrying tsetse flies, but I am completely grossed out by ticks.
SS: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
SB: If I could be anywhere in the world right now, I would still be in Nashville. It's a great big small town filled with friendly people. If it had a beach, it would be perfect!
SS: What are your most overused words or phrases?
SB: "Excuse me."; I say it all the time, either because I want a child to re-think a recent decision, or because I have tripped.
SS: What do you regret most?
SB: I most regret a double fudge brownie ala mode I ate in April of 1983. It gave me food poisoning the day of my Senior Prom. I especially hated missing it because I had blood poisoning for my Junior Prom! But I like to say that my date that night was "Ralph."
SS: What’s your greatest flaw?
SB: A deep and abiding addiction to chocolate in all it's forms.
SS: What’s your best quality?
SB: I think my best quality is my friendliness. I tend to make friends and keep them.
SS: What trait is most noticeable about you?
SB: My mouth is most noticeable! I am rarely silent, or even talking quietly.
SS: Who is your favorite fictional hero?
SB: I love the character Maia created by Richard Adams. Basically, she becomes a hero just because she does the best she can with the situations that present themselves.
SS: If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
SB: If I could be anything, I would want to be either a fairy or an angel; a creature of magic and power with wings.
SS: With whom in history do you most identify?
SB: In my experience, most people that stand out in History are famous and noble. I can't really call myself either. I identify more with the quiet people in history. I would have been a background person that never made the history books: the School Marm, the Herb Lady, the Wet Nurse.
SS: Which living person do you most admire?
SB: I have a lot of people in my life that I admire. But none of them are famous.
SS: What’s your fantasy profession?
SB: I would love to be a costume designer. Not normal costumes, but the really big fantasy pieces.
SS: What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
SB: Loyalty, kindness & honesty
Get more on Shellie Braeuner at SimonandSchuster.com