On this frosty November day it’s lovely to welcome my guest, author Rhoda Baxter. It’s bonfire night (Guy Fawkes night) in the UK tonight, so I’ve got in some parkin* and, since it’s so cold (well – let’s be honest – since there’s actually any type of weather!), there’s also a great big steaming pot of tea.
Hope you’ve wrapped up warm, Rhoda!
Thanks for having me on the blog. I wasn’t sure what the protocol was, so I’ve brought biscuits. Would you like one?
Every protocol should involve biscuits! That’s my sort of protocol, and I’m going to print it out in triplicate. Let’s have a cup of tea to go with it :)
Where do you live, Rhoda? I live in East Yorkshire, not far from Hull. It’s a really lovely area to live in. The cake shops are excellent! (But shhh. Keep that quiet because… well, it wouldn’t be as nice if everyone started to show up. We might run out of cake!). I’ve lived in some fairly random places in the past, but this is the first place where I’ve had to say I was late for work because I got stuck behind a pony and trap!
Oh, it is lovely in East Yorkshire! (I live in West Yorks, just to clarify for readers, and since Yorkshire is the UK’s biggest county, we’re actually fairly far apart. It would take a long time in a pony and trap!)
Where is your favourite place in the world? Tricky one. I’m going to cop out and go for somewhere very specific. My favourite place at the moment is my bed. I sit in bed to write (or read) and it’s lovely. I tend to only get there when the kids are asleep, so I associate sitting in bed with quiet. I like quiet. I also like sleep. Both are in short supply in my life. Both are usually only available when I’m in bed.
Oh, I remember those days, Rhoda, of passing my bed and giving it a longing, desperate glance. What a luxury it is to have a good night’s sleep.
Being a writer is a great job. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? At last, an easy question! When I was about 17, I had a job opening envelopes for an insurance company – not reading the contents, just opening the envelopes, extracting the letter and putting in a pile according to the surname of the respondent. Man, that was boring. I could feel parts of my brain going numb. I got so bored that I started day dreaming and got told off for not concentrating.
Oh no! That sounds like a job out of Kafka. If I did it, all the Smiths would be mingled with the Jones in no time.
What book do you wish you’d written? The Harry Potter series. I love those books. I love the characters, the complicated stories, the settings, the magic. Wonderful. Of course, it made loads of money… that would be nice too.
What’s your favourite song? Don’t laugh… I love the Mnaa Mnaa song as sung by the Muppets. It cheers me up whenever I hear it. …and now you’re laughing. That is the magic of the Mnaa Mnaa song.
Brilliant! That’s really brought a smile to my face. If anyone else needs a smile, you can listen here :)
If you could meet anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you say to them? I spent ages thinking about this. I came up with loads of gorgeous male types but realised then got stuck at the ‘what would you say to them’ part. Going bright red and saying ‘gnnnngh’ doesn’t count, does it?
So… I’d like to meet Joss Whedon. I’m not sure I’d know what to say – apart from ‘I love your work, sir’, but he seems like a nice man and I’ll probably manage to think of something.
Oh, I know an author who’s actually met Joss Whedon! James Christie, are you reading this??
What’s your happiest childhood memory? I grew up in Sri Lanka. There was a guava tree in the front garden that made big fat yellow-green fruit. It wasn’t huge, but it was big enough to have a lovely forked branch that was the perfect place for a small child to sit and read. I spent many a weekend sitting in the tree (where it was cool and shady), reading.
That does sound idyllic. I’ve never actually tried fresh guava. How lovely to be able to reach up and pick some!
If you had to marry a fictional character, from film, television, or books, who would it be? Willy Wonka.. He’s got tons of money, a bit of magic, a (reasonably) sound moral compass, A CHOCOLATE FACTORY and underneath all the weird make up, he looks like Johnny Depp.
The Oompa Loompas are a bit of a concern, but I like to think they’re more like Gru’s Minions than indentured servants.
What’s the most important lesson life has taught you? Sometimes, shit happens. You just have to pick yourself up and carry on.
In fact, a lot of the time it does, sadly. Wise words.
My current book is Doctor January. It’s a story about love and bullying set in a microbiology lab. The heroine, Beth, is being bullied but doesn’t seem to realise it. The hero, Hibs, is trying to help her, but he hasn’t a clue how to. (I love Hibs, I wish I was still writing about him).
Doctor January is published by Choc Lit Ltd and the paperback comes with a complimentary ebook. You can find it on Amazon, Kobo, Apple etc and in real world bricks and mortar bookshops.
You can find me wittering on about science and cake on my website www.rhodabaxter.com or on Twitter (@rhodabaxter)
*parkin – a sort of gingerbread we eat here in the north on Guy Fawkes
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It’s lovely to meet you, Rhoda. Thanks so much for venturing west (or to “bandit country”, as my boss from North Yorks used to call it!) Hope you have a good journey home and don’t get stuck behind any ponies.
If you’ve enjoyed Rhoda’s interview, or have any questions or comments at all, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you!