A to Z Challenge 2013

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Blog Chain - Wanted...Dead Or Alive

Is it really that late in the afternoon?  And did I really forget that today was my day?  Yikes!  Sorry Michelle.

Yep, that's right author-fans, it's blog chain time and Michelle Hickman is the awesome creator of this edition's question:

If you could dine with any author, and I do mean any whether alive or dead (yes, we're going into the realms of time travel - but hey, we have science fiction writers on this chain so we can always ask for them to write up the time machine specs), who would you want to dine with? And if you can ask them for advice on one writing element you feel you might be struggling at, what would it be?

Wow, what a question.  This is a toughie, because their are so many good authors to choose from.  I'm going to take my queue from Michelle however and walk through how I came up with the right one (for me anyway).

I didn't seriously consider J.R.R. Tolkien (even though I'm a huge fan of his works) because I know I'd be stuck between complete awe of his ability and yet complete frustration at the lengthy description he tended to use.  Let's not even get me started on the Silmarillion.  So no, he wouldn't work.

One author I considered was Piers Anthony.  While perhaps not counted amongst the great authors of our time, when I was younger, the Incarnations of Immortality series was one that I read over and over and over.  But then I remembered what a travesty this guy has made of the Xanth series (dude, 27 books?  Starting a new - but similar - series with #28?  Are you freakin' kidding me?  Come up with a new idea fer cryin' out loud), and that pretty much knocked him out of the spotlight.

So I reserve the spot of honor (an honor for me, of course) for Stephen King.  I haven't loved every single book he's written (Gerald's Game, I'm looking at you) and yet other works of his (the holy grail known as The Stand) leave me dumbstruck at their majesty.  It's because of these extremes that I believe I could learn a mountain of knowledge from the guy, even in normal conversation.  He's had his highs and he's had his lows and he still manages to put out good stuff.

I honestly don't know what ONE question I could ask him; there's just so many things I would want to ask.  But if I were restricted to one (thanks alot Michelle.  What, does he have burly ogre bodyguards that clamp a iron plate over my mouth the minute I attempt a second question?), it'd have to be how to create the amazingly creepy aura that seems to pervade so many of his books.  He's a master at it, and someday I hope to achieve even a tenth of that.

That's all I have to say about that.  I'm following Michelle this round, so you can read what she had to say about her own question.  And tomorrow, expect wondrous things from our own awesome Margie Gelbwasser.

If you had to answer this question though, who would you choose and what would you ask?

16 comments:

J.L. Stratton said...

Great thoughts, Eric. I think Stephen King is a fine choice. I know this probably sounds macabre but I think that I would have to give serious consideration to Edgar Allen Poe. I think it would be fascinating to dine with him, and pick his brain (not literally, of course) to gain insight into how his mind worked. It would have to be a non-drug-induced conversation though because I would want to remember every detail.

Michelle H. said...

Stephen King was one of my picks too although I ultimately decided on Poe. I agree there are some books I'm iffy on with King (I'd put Rose Madder in that category-what was he thinking). But the Stand, and I a favorite of mine is Skeleton Crew, are a few stories I would have to ask King questions on.

Eric said...

J.L. - That's the big problem I had with picking Poe. He was probably brilliant because of the drugs (maybe not, who knows), but that's something I consider a failing - drugs being a part of the creative process. That might be considered an elitist opinion, but I just can't get past something like that.

Michelle - yeah, you and I are similar in tastes and whom we respect as authors I wager. I never actually read Rose Madder. I just had a gut feeling that it wasn't going to be good. I'm glad I didn't take the time to read it either, judging from all the comments I've heard.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

I liked the Incarations of Immortality series too when I was in college. I remember coming home on break and devouring the last three-four books in a continuous twelve-hour reading marathon.

If we're really only limited to one, this will be hard!

lbdiamond said...

Thanks for sharing your thought process--it IS a tough choice, but I think you picked a great author! :D

Glynis said...

I would ask Beatrice Potter...Can I come and stay in your beautiful cottage and write a while, please. ;0

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Tough question. I'd really like to meet Preston and Child of course. But my real answer might surprise you - I'd like to meet John the Baptist.

Sarah Bromley said...

Good choices, Eric! I always loved watching Stephen King when he'd appear on the celebrity edition of Jeopardy! because he always seemed to know everything about everything. Fascinating man.

Margie Gelbwasser said...

um, you know what? I kind of glossed over the whole "one question" thing. I thought that was a suggestion. :-) I loved Stephen King and consider him such an inspiration because of how much he accomplished both personally and professionally. ON WRITING is such a motivational book. Great pick!

Cole Gibsen said...

I have a love/hate relationship with King. But there is no denying the man knew his stuff.

Shaun Hutchinson said...

I'm with Cole. I admire him as a writer but I'm not a fan of his work. His NF book ON WRITING was instrumental in writing Deathday though, so I owe him a debt. One he'll probably take back in fingers.

Eric said...

Sandra - Wow, I can't imagine going through all of them at once (particularly since I didn't think all of them were written as good as they could have been).

LB - Yeah, he's def my fav of all time.

Glynis - Hmmm, another author I'll need to check out. That's one of the neatest things I've found with this question.

Alex - Interesting. John the Baptist would be interesting if just for the historical perspective.

Sarah - I completely agree. He's really interesting.

Margie - Heh heh, I had to pick on you. The book you mention however should be considered a writer's bible in some respects IMHO.

Cole - That's okay, I won't hold it against you. Heh heh.

Shaun - LOL, I can imagine what his price would be for such service.

Abby Annis said...

Even though I'm a huge horror fan, I've never read any of King's books. :O But to be able to learn "how to create the amazingly creepy aura that seems to pervade so many of his books" from someone who's been doing it for years would be incredible. Great post, Eric!

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Ha ha ha! I love that you ruled out Tolkien because of his lengthy descriptions. The closest I've come to Tolkien is seeing the first Lord Of the Rings movie at the movie theater... and I feel asleep during it.

Michelle McLean said...

oh good one - I remember being so surprised when I found out he'd written books like The Green Mile...I hadn't realized he wrote anything but horror that I wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole (cause I'm just chicken like that). He really is a great choice!

nomadshan said...

Great choice! I'm so glad that van didn't take him out completely.