Well friends it’s been awhile since we’ve had someone stop by the pub for an interview but it’s time to polish up the bar, set out the glasses and tap the keg. I have several reviews lined up which means that the pub is officially open again for your literary and imbibing pleasure! And what better way to kick of these latest string of interviews that interviewing not one but two of my favorite ladies. My dear friends, Tess Hardwick and Tracey M. Hansen, who worked on Write for the Fight together, are joining me today as we talk about strength, hope and life.
Their anthology, Write for the Fight: A Seasonal Collection of Essays brings together eleven other authors to discuss life as it parallels the seasons. To find out my thoughts of this inspiring collection check out my REVIEW that I posted this past Tuesday. But before you do let’s get the interview started. First things first. Ladies? What’ll it be?
Tess Hardwick (TH): I think I’ll go with a vodka martini with an olive.
Tracey M. Hansen (TMH): A bottle of Riesling. One bottle equals one big glass. I’m a classy gal, so I drink it in a plastic tumbler with ice. It doesn’t get much better than that. I’m an equal opportunity drunk though, so I will drink whatever you buy me. The only rules are NO RED BULL and no BROWN LIQUOR. I have a sensitive tummy. lol It has a cork though so it’s a step up from the boxed stuff. One step at a time.
Pulls out plastic tumbler and sets in front of Tracey. I have no problem serving in plastic, with the riff raff that comes through my doors it keeps my costs down.
All right, ladies, let’s get started.
KD: How did this project come to be?
TH: This was inspired by my own health scare last autumn, in addition to losing several friends to breast cancer.
TMH: Tess asked one of the seasonal questions on her blog and then said that a collection of similar questions would make a good book. I agreed. She said she wasn’t kidding and I said I wasn’t either and then here we are…
Also, my Uncle Gary had passed last April from brain cancer and it hit me a lot harder then I thought it would. It made me start asking questions about life and mortality and these questions in the book are exactly what I needed to work it all out, in my own special weird way of course.
KD: Tess, your essays tended to be more lyrical and poetic whereas Tracey’s brought humor and in-your-face truth. How did you pair up on this project?
TH: I tend to make creative decisions rather quickly. I believe it is divine intervention, especially when an idea comes to me like a bolt of lightening. I’ve admired Tracey’s work since I found her via twitter and started following her blog. There is something so raw and effortless about her gift – simply I think she’s one of the most talented young writers around – and when I imagined the book I thought of us as two bookends – in stark contrast to my voice, which is one of the themes of the book – celebrating our diversity and yet our sameness.
TMH: I was in shock when she asked me. I still don’t think I deserved such an honor. She’s amazing, I’m…odd.
KD: Why have 11 other authors participate?
TH: Again, I envisioned all these diverse, gifted writers contributing to the cause. Also, I thought it would be a unique way for some previously unpublished but super talented writers to be heard.
TMH: We held a contest on our blogs to find the best contributors. I think we did a pretty good job.
KD: This must have been a huge undertaking, how did you go about choosing the authors that contributed to Write for the Fight?
TH: Once I roped Tracey into it, we doubled our efforts by running a contest on our blogs. Then, our publisher, Booktrope picked the winners.
KD: What question was hardest for you to answer?
TH: Emotionally, the 20 year old question. The one that really made me have to pause and think was the middle question. I had to really think what I want and answer it honestly.
TMH: I had a huge problem with the five year old question. I think I wrote it over ten times, all different ways. I also struggled with the life list question. It really brought out a vulnerability I’m not normally comfortable showing.
KD: What question was most fun to answer?
TH: The five-year old question for sure. I loved reliving those moments. It was like I was there again while I was writing.
TMH: See? This is proof of how different we are! I just said this was my most difficult. lol I LOVED writing the ‘what I want people to say about me on my 80th birthday’ question. I kind of went off the wall a little. It was a lot of fun.
KD: Outside of your own, do either of you have a favorite essay within the anthology?
TH: No, I love every single one of them. However, Tracey’s do make me laugh out loud no matter how many times I read them.
TMH: Awe shucks. Tess wrote my favorites, I’m not just saying that. Tess writes in a way that no matter what the subject matter is it makes me cry. She could write about her new mac and I will get teary, so she knows how to pull those strings. That’s talent. Karla Nellenbach also has an essay about being the worlds oldest and greatest zombie hunter during the zombie apocalypse. Makes me wonder what kind of drugs she does…
KD: I have no idea but let’s hope she is of the sharing kind. Ladies, what is your hope for this book?
TH: I hope to raise a lot of money for breast cancer research, obviously, but I also would love to see the idea of the essay questions being a gateway for discussion groups in book clubs and writing groups. I think they are such great questions to frame your experiences and envision your future.
TMH: Of course the purpose is to raise funds to assist the fight against breast cancer. But on a smaller scale as writers we always want to entertain and possibly inspire. If even a few people laugh or cry or just truly enjoy the essays then I am pretty happy with the outcome.
KD: How did you pick the organization to donate the profits to?
TH: That was a bit tricky, given what happened with Komen just as we were about to make our announcement. We’ve chosen some smaller but worthy breast cancer organizations instead.
TMH: I have a bone to pick with the big organizations out there. When you tell them you would like to help the cause they make it seem like you just asked them for a kidney. I am glad we are doing smaller organizations. It makes it easier to see where the contributions go as well.
KD: What’s next for you two?
TH: I’m working hard to finish my historical fiction novel set in 1930 Alabama and Georgia. It feels like it may never be done, however, it’s the best work I’ve ever done.
TMH: I’m going to read Tess’s book when it’s done. Oh, me? I’m finishing my book Not a Perfect Mom, a book I wrote with my friend Holly about her decision to have her daughter who was diagnosed with Down Syndrome and a major heart defect in utero. I am working on a book based on some of my blog posts called If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say, and my untitled novel will be done when the voices stop shouting and speaking over one another.
That about wraps up today’s interview. Again, I want to thank both Tess and Tracey for stopping by and also for their hard work and dedication towards Write for the Fight. I encourage each and every one of you to go out and buy yourself, your friends and family a copy.
Until next time, cheers!
Tracey M. Hansen grew up in the wilds of Cape Coral, FL where she still unwillingly resides today. She lives with a dime piece she calls ‘ManPal’ and three very feisty fur-kids. With her best of friends scattered around the globe, Tracey spends her time in a dark corner in fetal position, sucking her thumb and crying while listening to Enya. Her campaign, ‘A bottle a day keeps the…who the fuck cares’, is catching on like wildfire in the alcoholic writing community. She is afraid of flying, the dark, bees and Rosie O’Donnell…not necessarily in that order. Her goals are to have a restraining order filed against her by a celebrity and world peace…in that order. Tracey went to Catholic School which explains so much. Her constant caffeine high allows her to write without thinking of the repercussions, so she has a tendency to offend people. Luckily, she doesn’t give a shit.
She has two books coming out in 2012, NOT A PERFECT MOM and WRITE FOR THE FIGHT, both brought to you courtesy of Booktrope Publishing. Her first novel titled, WHY THE FUCK DOES WRITING THIS THING TAKE SO LONG, is due out when she stops procrastinating summer 2075.
Tess Hardwick is a novelist, blogger and playwright. She has a BFA in Drama from the University of Southern California. Like her main character in Riversong, Tess is from a small town in southern Oregon. She currently lives in Snoqualmie, Washington with her husband, two small daughters and a teenage stepson. She is inspired daily by the view of the Cascade Mountains from her home office window.Tess is busy writing frequent posts for her blog “Inspiration For Ordinary Life” on her website and is finishing up last rewrites on her second novel, an historical fiction set in 1930’s Alabama, inspired by a short story written by her great-grandmother. Find her novel at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.