Colleen Houck Book Club discussion

Betsy Cornwell
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message 1: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
Welcome to the group! Betsy will be answering questions in December in this thread only. In the meantime, if you have a question for the author or just want to introduce yourself feel free to do so in this thread.


message 2: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
Hi Betsy, my first question is...how did you start writing?


message 3: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
Do you have any writers who inspire you?


message 4: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
What is your favorite genre?


message 5: by Trudy (new)

Trudy Dalton (trudyjeanne7) | 63 comments What countries have you been to?


message 6: by Trudy (new)

Trudy Dalton (trudyjeanne7) | 63 comments What inspires you when writing?


message 7: by Trudy (new)

Trudy Dalton (trudyjeanne7) | 63 comments How do you combat writers block?


message 8: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
I get the feeling when reading your books that you either live or have lived in the UK. Am I right?


message 9: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
What's your favorite current tv show? For me to escape, I have to watch shows outside my genre. Otherwise, I pick it apart. Do you have that issue or am I a weirdo? ;)


message 10: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Cornwell (betsycornwell) | 14 comments Colleen wrote: "Welcome to the group! Betsy will be answering questions in December in this thread only. In the meantime, if you have a question for the author or just want to introduce yourself feel free to do so..."
Hi everyone! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me about my work. I'm excited to start answering questions!


message 11: by Betsy (last edited Dec 09, 2019 06:48AM) (new)

Betsy Cornwell (betsycornwell) | 14 comments Colleen wrote: "Hi Betsy, my first question is...how did you start writing?"

I always wanted to be a writer -- I remember looking at books on the shelf in my first grade classroom and wanting to have my name on book spines like that someday. As a young kid I mostly wrote poetry, although a friend and I spent a summer working on a screenplay for a Star Wars sequel (focused pretty exclusively on Han and Leia's wedding) and another few months writing a stage play about time-traveling Girl Scouts and dinosaurs. I'm not sure my taste has changed very much since then!


message 12: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Cornwell (betsycornwell) | 14 comments Colleen wrote: "Do you have any writers who inspire you?"
Probably too many to name here, but my favorite prose stylist is Angela Carter, and her short story collection The Bloody Chamber absolutely bowled me over when I read it for a Fairy Tales and Gender class at Smith College. I grew up reading a lot of Madeleine L'Engle, Tamora Pierce, and Robin McKinley, and they are still some of my biggest inspirations.


message 13: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Cornwell (betsycornwell) | 14 comments Colleen wrote: "What is your favorite genre?"
I spend a lot of time defending maligned genres (like YA and romance) and arguing that every genre has both wonderful and terrible writing within it, so I try to practice what I preach and read from as wide a selection of genres as possible. Right now I am especially into gothic literature, but that's probably because I'm currently working on a gothic-inspired book!


message 14: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Cornwell (betsycornwell) | 14 comments Trudy wrote: "What countries have you been to?"

I was born and grew up in the United States, but I've lived in Ireland since 2013. I've also been to Canada, England, Scotland, Wales, France, Germany, Belgium, the Virgin Islands, and the Netherlands. I love traveling but I'm a single parent of a toddler right now and it's been tough to get the time and budget for travel! I hope to add many more parts of the world to my list in the next few years.


message 15: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Cornwell (betsycornwell) | 14 comments Trudy wrote: "What inspires you when writing?"

My published novels so far have all been inspired by specific fairy tales and myths: so far The Selkie Bride, Cinderella, Robin Hood, and Snow White & Rose Red. I also write about mythology and religion for the magazine Parabola, so I definitely draw a lot from magical, classical stories in all my writing.


message 16: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Cornwell (betsycornwell) | 14 comments Trudy wrote: "How do you combat writers block?"

I think writer's block is really a kind of perfectionism: it's not that you can't think of *anything* to write, just that you think your writing isn't good enough. I actually wrote an essay about this a few years ago: http://www.betsycornwell.com/not-the-...


message 17: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Cornwell (betsycornwell) | 14 comments Colleen wrote: "I get the feeling when reading your books that you either live or have lived in the UK. Am I right?"

I live in Ireland -- the Republic, not Northern Ireland, so it's not part of the UK. I've lived here for seven years now, and I love it! I have spent a little time in the UK, but I'd like to get over there more than I've been able to lately (see above re: single toddler parenting!).


message 18: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Cornwell (betsycornwell) | 14 comments Colleen wrote: "What's your favorite current tv show? For me to escape, I have to watch shows outside my genre. Otherwise, I pick it apart. Do you have that issue or am I a weirdo? ;)"

My favorite TV show of all time is Buffy, but my favorite that's currently airing is definitely The Good Place. One of my good friends just taught a class on that show (called The Good Class) and it made me wish I could be a college student again so I could take it! I think it's good for me to watch TV in my genre because it keeps me sharp, but I do often end up envying ideas I didn't come up with myself!


message 19: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
Betsy wrote: "(focused pretty exclusively on Han and Leia's wedding)

I think I would have focused on that too if I wrote anything Star Wars. ;)


message 20: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
Betsy wrote: "Trudy wrote: "What countries have you been to?"

I was born and grew up in the United States, but I've lived in Ireland since 2013. I've also been to Canada, England, Scotland, Wales, France, Germa..."


Ooh! Do you have a favorite dish from each of those countries? I fancy myself a bit of a foodie so I'd be all about trying out new recipes.


message 21: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
Betsy wrote: "Trudy wrote: "What inspires you when writing?"

My published novels so far have all been inspired by specific fairy tales and myths: so far The Selkie Bride, Cinderella, Robin Hood, and Snow White ..."


I haven't heard of the Selkie Bride. I'm going to have to do some digging and discover that one.


message 22: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
Betsy wrote: "Colleen wrote: "What's your favorite current tv show? For me to escape, I have to watch shows outside my genre. Otherwise, I pick it apart. Do you have that issue or am I a weirdo? ;)"

My favorite..."


I LOVE Buffy! One of the very few shows featuring teens...well...actors who are supposed to be teens that had and still has the ability to stir me to emotional tears and make me laugh all in the same show. Great characters. Great writing.


message 23: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
Colleen wrote: "Betsy wrote: "Colleen wrote: "What's your favorite current tv show? For me to escape, I have to watch shows outside my genre. Otherwise, I pick it apart. Do you have that issue or am I a weirdo? ;)..."

Oh and side note about that. Still mad at the hubby for ruining my ONE chance to meet Spike at a Comic Con. He's never watched Buffy. Didn't even know the actor. I had to tell him who Spike was, what Buffy was. Not only did he horn in on the picture, he approached actor, then made a stupid joke, "Hello, Spock, I mean Spike. HA HA. Live, long, and prosper, man." The actor probably thought, finally, a male fan! I was completely ignored. They were best buds signing Spock's live long and prosper sign with their arms around each other in the photo while I stood off to the side. Still upset. : (


message 24: by Trudy (new)

Trudy Dalton (trudyjeanne7) | 63 comments Why did you choose the fantasy genre to write in? Do you have a preferred genre to write within?


message 25: by Trudy (new)

Trudy Dalton (trudyjeanne7) | 63 comments Do you see yourself in any of your characters?


message 26: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
Thanks everyone for joining the chat in the busy month of December! Our chat winner this month is Trudy! Congrats and happy holidays everyone!


message 27: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Cornwell (betsycornwell) | 14 comments Colleen wrote: "Betsy wrote: "Trudy wrote: "What countries have you been to?"

I was born and grew up in the United States, but I've lived in Ireland since 2013. I've also been to Canada, England, Scotland, Wales,..."


Oh man, this is a hard one to answer! I love food & love cooking. BUT here we go:

Ireland: The best cheese I've ever had was a twenty-year-aged cheddar from a small Irish farmhouse. Sheridan's Cheesemongers is my favorite place to treat myself. Cheese is pretty much my favorite food and Irish cheese is incredible!

Canada: I had a maple cream tart in Quebec City that I still dream about. Also I miss Tim Horton's.

England: clotted cream. There is going to be a dairy theme to this list, I can tell 😬

Scotland: I like haggis. Don't @ me.

Wales: Welsh rarebit is an obvious answer, but I actually had the best pho of my life at a tiny shop in Cardiff!

France: I was very lucky to get to take a cooking class when I lived with a host family in France, and we learned to make real croissants and orange souffle that was to die for. My very favorite, though, was a dish made with mussels, curry, shallots, and cream (yep cream again) that was a specialty of Royan, the town I was in.

Germany: my German family does an incredible barbecue with spicy sausages that, again, haunts my dreams.

Belgium: fries with mayonnaise. Ketchup was no longer an option after these.

the Virgin Islands: I ate a young coconut on the beach seconds after it had been chopped off the tree with a machete. The flesh was a tender, clear jelly.

the Netherlands: poffertjes! Tiny round puffy pancakes dripping with melted butter and powdered sugar. Oh dear god.


message 28: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Cornwell (betsycornwell) | 14 comments Colleen wrote: "Betsy wrote: "Trudy wrote: "What inspires you when writing?"

My published novels so far have all been inspired by specific fairy tales and myths: so far The Selkie Bride, Cinderella, Robin Hood, a..."


There's a beautiful movie called The Secret of Roan Inish that's a good place to start! Although I have to admit I didn't see it myself until I was drafting Tides.


message 29: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Cornwell (betsycornwell) | 14 comments Colleen wrote: "Colleen wrote: "Betsy wrote: "Colleen wrote: "What's your favorite current tv show? For me to escape, I have to watch shows outside my genre. Otherwise, I pick it apart. Do you have that issue or a..."

Oh my goodness, that is wild! I'd still be sad about that too!


message 30: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Cornwell (betsycornwell) | 14 comments Trudy wrote: "Why did you choose the fantasy genre to write in? Do you have a preferred genre to write within?"

I always loved reading fantasy, especially fairy tales; two of my favorite writers from childhood were the fantasy authors Tamora Pierce and Robin McKinley (I was also majorly influenced by Madeleine L'Engle, who's more on the sci-fi end of SFF but who has a fantastical heart). My first five books have all been fairy tale retellings, including THE CIRCUS ROSE which is coming out in June this year. However, I am also finding myself drawn to writing nonfiction in the last few years, and I dream of publishing some lyrical nonfiction books someday.


message 31: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Cornwell (betsycornwell) | 14 comments Trudy wrote: "Do you see yourself in any of your characters?"

I think it's impossible for a writer to create a character that isn't at least a little bit reflective of themselves. That feels like a very intimate, vulnerable thing, especially when you're creating a villain or a character who does unsavory things. I don't mean that a villain is like their author, but that an author probably creates a villain out of their own values, concerns, reactions to the world. There's a bit of me in all my characters, but I think the one I feel most personally connected to so far is Nicolette from my MECHANICA series.


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