Meet the author of Beast of Blue Mountain, Lucy Adams!!
Where are you from?
I was born in the hospital in Waynesboro, GA when it was a one-room shack. I grew up in the tiny town of Harlem, GA and now live in a slightly larger town, Thomson, GA. These places are all in an area of the state called the Central Savannah River Area.
What inspired you to write your first book?
Even in my teenage years, I wanted to write books. My first book, If Mama Don’t Laugh, It Ain’t Funny, was published when I was in my mid-thirties. Life and what I thought I “should” be doing got in the way of me following my dream. I had been writing my newspaper column for a couple of years when readers started telling me I should write a book. When a publisher said it to me, I decided everyone was right.
Do you write full-time or part-time? How do you balance your writing life with your family/work life?
I am a full-time writer. In addition to penning books, I also write freelance for magazines, and I write a weekly newspaper column. I’ve written ad copy, newsletters and web content, too, in the past. Stringing words together is my passion, so I jump at the chance to compose anything.
I’m also a wife and mother to four children. To keep my workaholic tendencies in check, I set rigid work hours for myself and stick to them. In general, I close my laptop between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. each day.
How did you come up with the title?
The title of my first book, If Mama Don’t Laugh, It Ain’t Funny, was born from a dinner table incident with my family. My husband threw a buttered roll across the table to one of our sons. As I am a stickler for table manners, I was not amused. When the child bobbled it and dropped it down the front of his shirt and pants, my family busted out laughing. Sensing my irritation, my husband said, “Uh-oh, y’all. Mama’s not laughing. If Mama doesn’t laugh, it’s not funny.” They all laughed louder, of course.
The title of my second book, Tuck Your Skirt in Your Panties and Run, was derived from an incident that happened when I was teaching school. On the day of open house when we were meeting parents and students at the beginning of the year, I walked all the way down the hall from the bathroom to my classroom with my skirt tucked in my underwear. Whenever anything went wrong that year, my co-teacher would suggest that I tuck my skirt in my panties and run.
Is there a message in your books that you want readers to grasp?
The message in all of my books is to not let life get the best of you. Enjoy the everyday minutia. Face it without fear. Be happy to have it.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
My first two books are creative non-fiction. They are based on my life and the lives of friends and family and some strangers. The Beast of Blue Mountain is inspired by all the nights I hid under my covers as a child.
What books have influenced your life most?
As a whole, I would say classic literature since that’s what I was primarily reading in my formative years. The voices of Austen, Welty, Faulkner, Hemingway, Shelley and others still ring in my head when I’m reading and writing. Their books made me want to live a notable life.
What book are you reading now?
I read all the time and try to read a variety of genres. Right now I’m reading Gobblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop by Reginald Bakeley. I’m reading it for a book review assignment from one of the magazines for which I write. Creatures of the faerie kingdom are remarkably like some of the annoying people we cope with daily.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Rachel Joyce who wrote The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry has caught my attention. I’ll be looking for more from her.
What are your current projects?
I’m juggling all of my freelance assignments (which I’m very happy to have). I’m also working on another work of creative non-fiction tentatively titled Merry Thanksmas: A Holiday Memoir. I’ll be posting a couple of short podcast excerpts on my blog in December.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Readers! Happy readers give me the most motivation. I love to hear from a reader who love my books and see themselves in my work. If I can write words that move people to laughter and to tears, then I’ve accomplished my goal. I’ve achieved an emotional connection with readers. There’s no point in writing without the support of readers.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
This is a hard question to answer. I’m the type of writer who reworks manuscripts and reworks manuscripts until an editor shouts “STOP!” So, given the chance, yes I would probably change something in The Beast of Blue Mountain, but I give in to the wisdom of others. It’s an excellent book just the way it is with suspense, surprise and giggles.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
The Beast of Blue Mountain was released in September 2013. In addition to composing it, I illustrated it. Geared toward children ages preschool through early elementary school, it delivers a dose of uncertainty that keeps them turning the pages. It combines humor with suspense and teaches kids that not everything that makes noise in the night is something to fear.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Endings are always the hardest to write.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I don’t have a favorite author. I read works by lots of different people. My favorite genres are memoirs, southern lit, Brit-lit and humor, but I don’t limit myself to these.
Who designed the covers?
I designed the cover of my most recent book, The Beast of Blue Mountain. I made suggestions about the covers of the first two books, but for the most part the publisher handled cover design.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Pacing was the hardest part of writing The Beast of Blue Mountain. Writing for children is different from writing for adults. They need room for their imaginations to operate. They don’t need tons of details. That has to be balanced with keeping them engaged with the story.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Through the process of writing and illustrating The Beast of Blue Mountain, I learned that pictures take the place of words. They don’t just complement the story. They help tell it.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write. Write every day. Read. Read every day. Learn something new every day. Make sure you get out from behind your computer screen experience the world every day.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you. Please keep reading my work and telling your friends about it. The best compliment a writer can receive is for a reader to recommend her work to someone else.
What do you think about e-publishing versus technical publishing?
I don’t think it’s one versus the other. All of the publishing platforms, from traditional print to digital to audio to apps, bring something to the table and meet the wants of consumers. Because digital has broadened the gates to the marketplace for writers, I think it’s harder for readers to make choices about content. It can also be difficult for writers and publishers to choose the platform that best fits the manuscript.
Do you have an agent or publisher? How did you go about finding one?
I don not have an agent. The publisher of my first two books, Palm Tree Press, found me. I self-published my last book. I wanted to go through the process and see if I could do it with my own wits. It was lots of fun and very educational.
If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
Given the chance, I would travel the world, but I wouldn’t want to live anyplace but here. You’d be amazed how exciting a small town can be.
If you could have any super power, what would it be?
To be able to recite the perfect quote to fit any situation, high drama or boring, and deliver it with the exact inflection it requires to make an impression.
For More on Lucy Adams:
Author of If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny & Tuck Your Skirt in Your Panties and Run Children's Picture Book: The Beast of Blue Mountain