Interview with Rhonda Stapleton

April, 2012
Rhonda Stapleton

Quick Start

SS: How would you describe your life in only 8 words?

RS: A crazy rollercoaster ride with lots o' chocolate

SS: What is your motto or maxim?

RS: Semper Fudge

What Readers want to know...

SS: What’s your greatest fear?

RS: Death. Spiders. Big dogs. Sewer grates. Falling out of an airplane. Being pushed off a cliff. Gee, paranoid much? haha

SS: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?

RS: Japan, drinking plum wine, noshing on sushi, and watching Ninja Warrior.

SS: Which living person do you most admire?

RS: My mom. She's been through some tough times and came out stronger for it. I admire women who pick themselves up and keep going--totally inspirational.

SS: What are your most overused words or phrases?

RS: OMG where to start? Um, "OMG" for one, haha. And "totally" and "dude" and some other words I can't write on here...

SS: If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?

RS: I'd love to be really, really good at something. Like, killer good at billiards, or playing poker or something. As it is, I'm really lame at those things.

SS: What is your greatest achievement?

RS: Earning my Master's degree, for sure. That was killer hard, but so worth it.

SS: What’s your greatest flaw?

RS: Well, I'm not physically symmetrical--one ear is higher than the other, and that bugs me because I wear glasses. But if we're talking personality flaws, I'd have to say my temper.

SS: What’s your best quality?

RS: I'd have to say my sparkling sense of humor. Aaaahahaha.

SS: What trait is most noticeable about you?

RS: Probably my LOUD VOICE, haha.

SS: What is your biggest pet peeve?

RS: OMG where to start. Bad drivers, ill-fitting clothes, the sounds of two different electronics on at the same time, when people leave the microwave timer on with like 1 second left and don't turn it off...need I go on?

SS: What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?

RS: I loooooove love love reading. And eating. And drinking tea.

SS: What’s your fantasy profession?

RS: A lounge singer. I adore singing. If you ride in a car with me, you'll find that out.

SS: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?

RS: If I could only pick one, it would be general tso's (chinese food). Taaaasty!

SS: Who is your favorite fictional villain?

RS: Patrick Bateman, from the novel American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. Since he's the narrator, we get an in-depth look into his rapid descent into insanity. It's absolutely frightening.

SS: How would you describe perfect happiness?

RS: Perfect happiness = me, a bar of Toblerone chocolate, a hunk of cheese and bread, and a delightful glass of wine out on a rolling green countryside. I now suspect I'm an old French man trapped in a woman's body. Attractive!

SS: With whom in history do you most identify?

RS: Queen Elizabeth, because she was a strong woman who fought hard to get where she was. Of course, she wielded the ultimate power in her kingdom, whereas I can't even get my kids to scoop dog poop out of the backyard without throwing up in their mouths. Maybe I should rethink this one. haha

SS: What do you regret most?

RS: I severely regret many of the hairstyle choices I made in the 80s and 90s. If you've seen any of the pics on my blog or Facebook, you'll understand why.

SS: If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?

RS: I think it would be so cool to be Catwoman. If I could rock an outfit like that, I'd be running around in it all day. People would be all, "'re that hot chick in the tight outfit." And I'd be like, "Yup. That's me. In the catsuit." Hm. That's kind of a shallow, lame choice, now that I think about it.

SS: Who is your favorite fictional hero?

RS: Cyrano de Bergerac. I love this poor flawed hero who so desperately loves a woman, but she loves someone else. *girly sigh*

SS: If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?

RS: I'd love to meet Christina Rossetti, a Victorian poet. I adore her poetry and am fascinated with her associations with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, an artistic movement her brother and his friends formed. It would be incredible to pick her brain and find out how she created her works.

SS: What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?

RS: A sense of humor (obviously) is number one. I also value kindness and forgiveness, especially when I leave my shoes all over the house or hog the blankets. My poor manpanion...

SS: What are your 5 favorite songs?

RS: This is tough! It's like asking me to pick between my kids. But here are a few of my favs, just to give you an idea: "Head Over Heels" by Tears For Fears. "Linger" by the Cranberries. "Love Song" by the Cure. "Trouble" by Coldplay. "Place to Be" by Nick Drake.

Questions About Books and Writing

SS: Is there a book you love to reread?

RS: I love busting out the classic novel Jane Eyre when I'm in the mood for some angsty gothic romance...

SS: Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?

RS: The best advice I can give you is to reeeead read read read--you will be amazed at how good reading can invigorate you and set your imagination on fire.

SS: Who are your favorite authors?

RS: SO many authors are in my fav list, even more than I can list on here. In YA, I love Elizabeth Scott, Sarah Dessen, Laurie Halse Anderson, Neal Shusterman, and Suzanne Collins (and I'm discovering more YA authors all the time!). I also love reading Asian fiction and adore the writing of Gail Tsukiyama and Takashi Matsuoka. In historical fiction, I'm especially drawn to Tracy Chevalier and Philippa Gregory.

SS: What are your 5 favorite books of all time?

RS: This is so hard, because I know that I'll think of twenty more books to add to this list as soon as I draft it. haha. But so far, here are the top that come to mind:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

The Samurai's Garden by Gail Tsukiyama

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier

General Questions

SS: What is your birthdate?

RS: 7/22

SS: What were your previous occupations?

RS: Oh man, where to begin: McDonald's cashier, maid, telemarketer for accidental death and dismemberment insurance (that was AWFUL), tennis court attendant (surprisingly awful too--haha), editor, teacher, and lots of other miscellaneous jobs here and there.

SS: Where did you go to high school and/or college?

RS: I went to high school in Louisville, KY. I actually went to three different colleges because I moved.

SS: What is your favorite movie?

RS: SO HARD--how can I pick just one? It really depends on the mood. I love romantic movies like Pride and Prejudice. I also like The 36th Chamber of Shaolin when I'm in a martial arts kind of mood. I love anything directed by Akira Kurosawa. And the list goes on...

SS: What is your favorite television show?

RS: This one is hard, too--but I loooove Ninja Warrior.

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