Friday, October 21, 2011

Rock Crazy... talking to Rochelle Weber...

Welcome to my blog Rochelle. Thanks for being here today. Rock Crazy has been released through Museitup Publishing. This is the tag line. Abandoned, pregnant and bi-polar, Katie McGowan’s going crazy on that God-forsaken rock, the Moon! Now that’s a tag line you can’t ignore.
I have come across the heartache being bi polar can cause. Seen how some have dealt with it, shared the tragedy. I look forward to reading Rock Crazy to see how Katie handles her situation.

Right, this is about you, Rochelle and your career as a writer, rather than Katie’s adventure. So, other than ‘author’ what are three words you would use to describe yourself? 
RW:  Grandma, bi-polar and recently, thin!

Great words, Rochelle. Congartulations on the THIN one.. I wish I could claim that too. Grandma.. I cherish that title too. Sort of glad I skip the middle one! Do these words  influence you as a writer? Or the genre you write?
RW:  Obviously, being bi-polar had a large influence on Rock Crazy, as the dedication to the psychiatric professionals indicates.  Everyone tells us to, “Write what you know.”  I asked one of my professors how you do that and still write fiction and he said, “Write it the way you wish it was.”  So, I guess I could say my heroines are me the way I wish I’d been when I was younger and my heroes are the kind of men I wish I’d had in my life.

What is it about your Science fiction that fires up your muse?
RW:  I turned my nose up at Sci-Fi when I was younger.  I didn’t think it was “real writing” like romance.  Then my husband, who was a submarine sailor, brought home a sci-fi book he insisted I’d like.  It was really goods I looked for more books by Robert A. Heinlein and found Stranger in a Strange Land.  I was hooked.  There was such a thing as very well-written sci-fi.  If you read a genre enough, that’s what you end up writing, although there were many years that I avoided writing sci-fi because most of the sci-if authors I admire were scientists who wrote and I’m a writer whose geometry teacher suggested I take sewing.  Since math is the language of science, I never progressed much farther in either.  I would probably have worked harder in geometry if someone had explained that to me.  By the my suit?  I sewed it myself.

What inspired your story?
RW:  In college the book I worked on was a romance in which I worked out the angst of my divorce.  The first three years of my marriage we lived in Hawaii (which is where I got out of the Navy), five thousand miles from home.   

While we were there I had both of my children and buried both of my parents.  It was at best a nine-hour flight with an hour stopover on the west coast and a four or five hour time difference depending on the time of year.  And my husband was at sea more than he was home. 

  Even when he wasn’t on six-month long Western Pacific cruises, he was on weekly operations, leaving on Monday, coming home on Friday and then having duty on Saturday or Sunday half the time.  I called it “that God-forsaken rock,” and kissed the ground when I got back to the Mainland.  
 Much of my life I’ve felt isolated and when my marriage ended, my ex was working outages at nuclear power plants around the country.  He dumped in a town I’d never heard of 750 miles from home because he couldn’t take my mood swings anymore.  I wasn’t diagnosed yet.  I gave up custody of my children because I threw horrible tantrums and I was afraid of hurting them.

Eventually I was diagnosed and went on meds.  I was fine until menopause.  Then my hormones got scrambled, my meds stopped working, I got more and more violent, and I ended up on the locked ward at the Veteran’s Hospital.  I dusted off that old manuscript from college, made Katie bi-polar and pregnant and moved it from upstate New York to the Moon where she could get a chip implanted in her head and cure her disease.  I also changed the hormone imbalance from menopause to pregnancy.

Do you have a regime when writing? A special place, time, mood or do you snatch opportunities to pen ideas or write a few lines?
RW:  I live with my daughter and my room started life as an attached garage, became a family room in the seventies, and a sick room for the landlord’s mother in the eighties.  I’ve divided my bed area from my living/work area with bookcases.  I have my computer on a desk and that’s pretty much where I work.  I usually look at e-mail for about an hour, but I’m trying change that and write first, so I don’t get “sucked into the [internet] vortex,” as I call it.  I usually try to spend a couple of hours on a WIP, then write a book review if I’m behind on those, and then read—unless my granddaughter gets home from school and needs a ride somewhere.  Pretty much once I leave the house I’m done.  I never quite make it back to work.

Does your Muse follow rules and plot lines or does she offer ideas on a whim?
RW:  I’m a pantser.  I usually have an idea of a tag line so I have a beginning and an end, but the middle is fairly non-existent until it comes out of my fingers.

Me too...that's exactly how my muse works too.

What are the most dramatic changes you have made to a story you have written? What prompted the change?
RW:  I guess I mostly answered that above.  Although, I decided to write a paragraph or two of back-story about some of the first-wavers on the Moon and they kind of took over and became a whole other book which I published first.  That book is Rock Bound.

Has there been one event in your life that changed/inspired your writing career? For example, meeting an author, finding a publisher, joining a critique group?
RW:  I’ve been writing pretty much my whole life, but I never thought of it as a career.  I wanted to be a nurse, but I didn’t make it through nursing school.  They said I was too immature.  I left school the day before my eighteenth birthday. 
It took me two more years of menial jobs to climb out of my hole and join the Navy in hopes that by using the GI Bill I’d be able to go back to nursing school someday.  After two years of being the klutz on the ward, I realized I really was not the best fit for nursing and anyway, I didn’t want to be up to my elbows in bodily fluids, nor did I want to work rotating shifts. 
I thought working in a doctor’s office would be a good idea.  Unfortunately, they didn’t care that I could suction out a tracheotomy, insert a naso-gastric tube, catheterize a patient or assist with an IV cut-down (minor surgery).  They wanted to know how fast I typed, and if I knew bookkeeping.  So I went to secretarial.

Coming out of secretarial school, the docs’ offices all wanted to know if I had experience with insurance forms.  I was extremely frustrated when the school called and asked if I wanted to interview for a job at a radio station.  So…I ended up working at National Public Radio affiliate in Charleston, South Carolina the first year of the Spoleto Festival.  And I had a press pass!  No one worked much the week after the Festival and I was writing a letter to my mother-in-law which I showed to Marcia Byars-Warnock, one of our producers.  I wanted to be sure I had my facts straight.
  She read it and said, “Rochelle!  You can write!  I feel like I’m there!”  Marcia became my mentor, encouraging me to write scripts and press releases for the station.  She published a newspaper for stamp collectors and encouraged me to write for her.  I took over a local newspaper column for our church and started college with an eye toward either journalism or writing.

Would you like to tell us about Katie and her problems? Would share an excerpt? Either or both… we are keen to learn more about the story.
RW:  Sure.  Here’s the back-cover blurb and an excerpt.
Katie McGowan is bi-polar, and she’s run the gamut of medications, but nothing works anymore.  Everyone says her she should have a microchip implanted in her brain that can regulate her mood swings.  But Katie doesn’t want to be a robot.  In a tough love move, her husband, Scott takes her to the Moon—and dumps her. Katie’s stuck on that God-forsaken “rock,” and thinks she’s space sick. But she’s wrong; she’s pregnant. Now the surgery’s too dangerous and she has to go off her meds until the baby’s born.

Scott’s elated that he’s going to be a father and assumes Katie will take him back.  He has no clue how badly he’s hurt her, how thoroughly he’s broken her trust—or that he may not get her back at all.

Excerpt 2  The Break-Up
Rockton, Inside Mt. Aragaeus 19° N 29° E, the Moon
February, 2066
She rarely ventured out of their small apartment. Rockton was the first colony on the Moon, and it was settled by convicts. Oh, Katie knew that most of the first wave were political prisoners of the Freezeland administration, but how could she know there weren’t murderers and rapists there, too? Of course Rockton had a low crime rate.  But Katie wondered how accurate that was.  After all, the people keeping track of the crimes were criminals themselves.  She wanted nothing to do with them.
The day before her period she had an F-5. [Note:  Katie rates her tantrums on the same scale as tornadoes.] Their credit statement arrived. Even Katie couldn’t believe how much money she’d spent traveling before they left Earth.  Scott came home and checked the terminal for mail.
“What the hell is this?” he asked.
“The credit statement, that’s what.”
“I said good-bye to a few friends before we left.”
“Said goodbye to a few friends! These’re flight charges!”
“Well, I had to see everybody one last time.”
“You could have seen them on holo.”
“I needed hugs.”
“Thousand-credit hugs? In the space of a month you spent more than I make a quarter!”
“I didn’t ask to come up here!”  Katie’s voice was rising.
“I couldn’t leave you Earthside!”
“No, not without a baby-sitter!  I’m a grown woman!  I can take care of myself!  And if you’d just leave me alone…”
Katie lost it.  She started screaming, and she tried to pummel Scott. And this time when they ended up on the floor she landed on top of him and managed to connect with his face.
“I knew you’d kill ‘im,” her mother said.
“Leave me alone!” Katie screamed.
This is really not good, Katie. The Voice chimed in. You’re going to hurt Scott.
“F*** you!”
You’ll end up in jail.  No one in our family ever acted this way, her mother said.
“Get the hell out of my sight, you f***ing bitch!”
Katie didn’t know how long it went on.
* * * *
Scott managed to grab her hands and they rolled over.  He pinned her as best he could in the light gravity.  His face was swollen and there was pounding on the door, which finally dilated.  The manager stood there in shock, and two men in uniforms pulled her him off of her.
“What’s going on here?” the first officer asked.  He was average height and weight, and didn’t look as though he could subdue anyone, but Rockton cops wore belts with weights—which gave them an advantage in the low gravity.
“My wife’s bi-polar,” Scott explained, as Katie burst into tears.
“I’m sorrrrreeeee!” she wailed.
“Oh! Came up for the surgery, did you?” the other officer asked.
“No!…I d-don’t wanna b-be a z-zombie,” Katie said, as she managed to hiccup between sobs.
The officers looked at them.  Katie had bruises forming on her arms, Scott could feel blood running down his face from a gash near his left eye, which was jut about swollen shut.
“D’ya wanna press charges, Mr…”
“McGowan,” Scott answered.  “Scott McGowan.”
Katie sat on the bed crying, and he glanced at her, then shook his head.
“No.  It’s over, now.  She’s not dangerous anymore.”
“Well, she better get some kind of help,” the first cop warned.  “We don’t tolerate violence up here.” He turned toward Katie.  “We’ll give ya a warning this time, but next time we’ll have to take you in.”
“Let’s get you down to the hospital, Mr. McGowan,” the second cop suggested.  You don’t wanna lose sight in that eye.”
“We’ll get someone in here to keep an eye on your wife.”
“No,” Scott said.  He sighed, then looked at her, still sobbing on the bed. “She has a sedative for times like these.”
He got the sedative out and injected it, then the officers helped him settle Katie back into the bed. She was still crying, and wailed one more fading “I’m sorrrrreeeee!” as she fell asleep. The cops led Scott out.
“How long will that keep her out?” the cop asked.
“She’ll sleep at least a day, maybe two or three.”
* * * *
Katie awoke the next day.  Scott sat at the table with his duffle bag.  He wore an eye-patch, and he looked grim.
“What’re ya doing?” she asked.
“We’ve been evicted,” he said.
“What?  Why?”
“Why d’ya think?  Because of you.”
His voice was flat, mechanical.  Katie was almost more afraid of his lack of anger, than she would have been if he’d actually yelled at her.  But then, maybe he felt they’d done enough yelling for one day.
“Did you pack my stuff?” Katie was sitting up now and she noticed he only had one bag by his feet.
“You have a week to find another place,” he replied.
“What d’ya mean I have a week? You’ve found us a place to live, haven’t you?”
“I’m moving into the men’s barracks.  It’s in my contract that they have to give me a place to stay while I’m working up here.”  He didn’t look at her when he said this.
“So that’s it?  We’re over?”
“I can’t take it anymore, Katie.  And yes, thank you very much for asking—I have not lost the sight in my left eye.  It’ll heal eventually.”
“Scott, I’m sorry…”
“But not sorry enough to have the surgery, are you?”
“I don’t wanna be a zombie, Scott.  There was a woman in the hospital last time I was there… Or was it two times ago?  Anyway, she’d had the chip implanted, but something went wrong and she’ll be in the hospital the rest of her life.  She can’t even feed herself.  They were getting ready to move her to a nursing home.”
She started crying again.
“Scott, I love you!  Please don’t leave me!  What’ll I do without you?”
“Our contract says I have to give you thirty days’ notice.  Well, this is it.  I’ll support you for thirty days.  Then you’re on your own.”

Who is publishing your story?
MuseItUp Publishing, Inc.
Where can we get this book?
How can we follow your career?

Rochelle, thanks for participating.
Thank you for hosting me, Lady Rosalie!  I’ve greatly appreciated it.

Thanks for being here Rochelle,please make yourself at home. We have plenty of gluten, sugar and dairy free nibbles, cucumber sandwiches on gluten free bread, comfy chairs and hot coffee, tea or something stronger. 


Roseanne Dowell said...

What a wonderful interview. I've learned so much about you, Rochelle. Wow, talk about well rounded (no, I don't mean your physique) I really enjoyed this interview.

Rosalie Skinner said...

Hi Roseanne, thanks for dropping in. Can I offer you something that won't effect your physique? Cyber shortbread with some steaming hot tea or coffee... cream and sugar? Oops.. all cyber calories, they don't count!!
Thank goodness we aren't stuck on Rochelle's Moon.. I'm not sure I would like it there.
With or without any added problems.

Killarney said...

Great interview!

Rosalie Skinner said...

Hi Killarney, thanks for dropping in. Hope your interviews go well too!

Barbara Ehrentreu said...

Wonderful interview. Rochelle is lucky to have a second chance. The book looks great and can't wait to read it.:)

Rochelle Weber Author said...

Thanks everyone for stopping by. Rockton really isn't a bad place to live. It's a small town and everyone looks after everyone else there. Women are revered because there are so few of them. It's the safest place in the solar system, which is why Scott abandons her there.

Anyway, he doesn't go far, and he has people set up to keep an eye on her before they even leave Earth.

Milady Rosalie--are those shortbreads both gluten and sugar free? No--I'd better not. If they taste too good, I'm liable to start craving the real thing. Thank you for hosting me!


Rochelle Weber Author said...

I also want to remind people that one lucky person who comments on the various posts on my blog tour will have a chance to win a signed copy of my first book, Rock Bound or a Rock Crazy tee sirt or mug. I'm also over at Chris Redding's blog today.

For the full tour schedule, stop by either of my blogs.

Pat Dale said...

Now I know I want to read this book. And the first one, too. Thanks for sharing so unselfishly, Rochelle.

Pat McDermott said...

I wouldn't mind spending some time in a far off place where women are revered. Wonderful interview, ladies. Best of luck with your blog tour, Rochelle!

Rosalie Skinner said...

Thanks for dropping in Pat and Pat! Make yourself at home... coffee, tea?
A place where women are revered, doesn't sound too bad!! I like the idea of not weighing as much. Now, if only...
The short bread.. gluten but not sugar free.. Sorry. BUT...
I have some fruit salad cut and chilled. Our blueberries are in season now. Rockmelon, mango, banana all grown locally... no sugar, dairy or wheat... so help yourself.