Seven Impossible Interviews Before Breakfast #45: Squee!* Kelly Fineman is here!

h1 September 10th, 2007 by Eisha and Jules

* (This seems to be Kelly’s favorite exclamation) . . .

Whew, it’s been a while since we’ve posted a blogger interview, but there are still a veritable slew of bloggers left with whom we want to chat it up. This week it’s Kelly Fineman of the LiveJournal, Writing and Ruminating. Kelly’s posts are always a) fun and b) informative to read, two of our favorite things about our favorite bloggers, if you haven’t already noticed. But the best thing about Kelly can be summed up well in a comment she made to us when she sent in her interview responses: When pointing out her rather bold yet candid answers to such questions as “what is your favorite word?” and “what is your least favorite word?”, she told us, “I tried very hard to be truthful instead of clever.” Yup, that’s what we like about her — and that’s what you can expect over at her blog.

Over at Writing and Ruminating — “I figured that what I’d be using the blog for is to talk about writing (and life as a writer), and to share my thoughts. Hence, ‘Writing and Ruminating: One Children’s Writer’s Journey’” — Kelly is, for one thing, always dependable for a good Poetry Friday entry. She’s a poet, in case you didn’t know it (read two of her original poems here and here), so of course she’s all SQUEE!-y over those Poetry Friday entries. In fact, want to read a funny story? Here’s what she said about Poetry Friday:

I thought I {had} invented {it} back in April 2006 after I did a month’s worth of poetry posts, only to find out that Kelly H. was there before me -– talk about Zeitgeist (here’s my post). I even called it Poetry Friday, only to find out much later that others were doing the same thing. Funny, right? . . .

Kelly even did us the favor of pointing our her favorite and “most representative” Poetry Friday posts, all fairly recent ones. “I’m particularly proud of this one about Emily Dickinson, this one on Yeats, and this one on Wordsworth.”

Kelly also reviews books (“when the spirit moves me”) at Writing and Ruminatinghere’s a fine example, a pair of book reviews on “Graphix for Girlz,” reviews of To Dance: A Ballerina’s Graphic Novel and The Plain Janes. Or, this one about Sara Zarr’s book, Story of a Girl. Here are her wonderful reviews of Jazz A-B-Z, Dear Mr. Rosenwald, and Hugging the Rock from the recent multi-blog Under the Radar event.

Really, folks, you can get a lot out of Kelly’s blog, but one of the best things is that she is really and truly a very reliable and informed poetry source. She reviews new anthologies like nobody’s business — see here, here, here, and here for just a few examples. It’s no surprise that, as she announced yesterday, she’ll be heading up the nominating and judging committees in the Poetry category for the upcoming Cybils 2007. We think those folks are in good hands.

Bottom line is that Kelly is your gal for both old-skool poetry classics (our apologies to Shelley for using the phrase “old-skool” to reference one of his poems) and newer anthologies — and everything else in between.

And — once again, when the spirit moves her — she’ll conduct some pretty great interviews. You may have noticed in our recent interview with Adam Rex that we linked to Kelly’s previous interview with him from March of this year. And she’s also brought us some fabulous interviews via the Summer Blog Blast Tour (SBBT) and the Under the Radar event (and she’ll be participating in the upcoming Winter Blog Blast Tour as well). For the SBBT, she treated us to an interview with Laura Ruby, Jordan Sonnenblick, and Sara Zarr. For the Under the Radar event, she brought us an interview with Tony Mitton, but she also reviewed and generally praised the merits of his 2003 poetry anthology, Plum (that is, the U.S. edition from 2003, with illustrations by Mary GrandPré; it was originally published in the U.K.). In fact, Kelly says this was one of her favorite posts.

“And I also talk about writing and editing poetry from time to time,” she told us. “Here’s ‘How to write a sonnet.’ And here are some thoughts on how to critique rhyming poetry.”

Do you want to know the coolest thing about Kelly Fineman? John Green called her a Nerdfighter Extraordinaire. Not that we’re jealous or anything. Check her out in this Brotherhood 2.0 video:

There’s a lot more info about Kelly at her site, and below in the interview she discusses her publications and current works-in-progress as a writer herself. We thank her kindly for stopping by.

* * * * * * *

7-Imp: What do you do for a living?

Kelly: Once upon a time, I was a lawyer. Thanks to a closer personal relationship with rheumatoid arthritis, I don’t lawyer any more. Instead, I stay home and write poems and picture books and other stories for children. My picture books include a story in rhyme about albatrosses mating (no lie!), a picture book about a yurt, and more. I’ve also written two easy readers about a girl and her cat, and a chapter book that involves mischievous garden gnomes.

I’ve got a poem called “Lawnmowers” in the Blooming Tree Press anthology, Summer Shorts, and another called “The Hanukkah Game” coming out in the December issue of Highlights for Children magazine. Plus piles of unpublished stuff, including a collection of poems about the moon. My current work in progress is a biography of Jane Austen in verse using period forms, and I adore it.

7-Imp: How long have you been blogging?

Kelly: Since May, 2005.

7-Imp: Why did you start blogging? Why do you continue to do it?

Kelly: I got a blog due to my mistaken belief that I needed to register for a blog in order to leave a comment on someone else’s blog. And then, once I had one, I thought I should write something there. One thing led to another, and now I’m a blogging fool.

7-Imp: Which blog or site would you take to the prom to show off and you love it so much you could marry it?

Kelly: Neil Gaiman’s blog. Only I can’t decide whether I like it better when Neil’s writing his posts, or when his daughter Maddy is standing in for him.

7-Imp: What are your other favorite things to do, other than reading and blogging?

Mmm… Mr. DarcyKelly: What are these other things of which you speak? Hmm . . . I like to watch certain movies over & over again (mostly Jane Austen adaptations, particularly the 1995 Pride & Prejudice miniseries starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth). And I like the idea of cooking, although I don’t do it as much as I used to.

7-Imp: What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?

Kelly: I used to be able to catch 25 quarters in my hand after balancing them on my elbow. Yes, that was in 1977, after watching the Happy Days episode called “The Book of Records.”

7-Imp: What’s in heavy rotation on your stereo/iPod lately?

Dar WilliamsKelly: The soundtracks to a number of Jane Austen adaptations (it’s a playlist I use when working on my Jane Austen project); The Angel in the House by The Story; “February” and “The Beauty of the Rain” by Dar Williams; “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol; “L’Appuntamento” and “Crepuscolo Sul Mare” from the Ocean’s Twelve soundtrack; “Little Wonders” by Rob Thomas; “If I Had $1000000″ by BNL.

7-Imp: If you could have three (living) authors over for coffee or a glass of rich, red wine, whom would you choose?

Linda UrbanKelly: Living? Hmm . . . I could go one of two ways here. Mega-authors: Stephen King (he’s so smart and thoughtful and funny); Neil Gaiman (same); and JK Rowling (she seems down to earth in interviews, and I’d love to chat about the books I love so much). But I’d probably go real – and I’d pick folks I know and love: Linda Urban, Carrie Jones (although I know coffee’s out of the question for her – I’d serve Postum!) and Lisa Schroder. Because truly, I can’t spend enough time with any of them – although I should note that this applies to a number of other living authors, including some who are, as they say in the business, pre-published, so I had a hard time picking here!

The Pivot Questionnaire:

7-Imp: What is your favorite word?

Kelly: Seriously? “Fuck.” For all its versatility and its ability to replace pretty much any part of speech. Although that’s probably not a good answer for a children’s author to give, and I’ve never had occasion to use it in my writing.

7-Imp: What is your least favorite word?

Kelly: It’s a tie between “nigger” and “faggot” -– they’re both so horribly derogatory and wrong.

7-Imp: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Kelly: Words, phrases, nature in all its beauty.

7-Imp: What turns you off?

Kelly: Loudness; ugliness.

7-Imp: What is your favorite curse word?

Kelly: “Poopy.”

7-Imp: What sound or noise do you love?

Kelly: The sound of my children’s laughter.

7-Imp: What sound or noise do you hate?

Kelly: Loud eating noises -– forks against teeth, smacking lips, etc.

7-Imp: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Kelly: Movie star, dahlings.

7-Imp: What profession would you not like to do?

Kelly: Port-a-potty waste collector.

7-Imp: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Kelly: “Welcome home.”

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22 comments to “Seven Impossible Interviews Before Breakfast #45: Squee!* Kelly Fineman is here!”

  1. Okay, the fact that “fuck” is Kelly’s favorite word and “poopy” is her favorite curse word pretty much will have me laughing to myself all day.

    So happy to finally “meet” you Kelly; this is a wondeful interview!


  2. I am so honored, Kelly.
    Poopy is one of the best curse words ever. No wonder I love you, even if I AM SUPER JEALOUS about your nerd fighter status.

    Thanks for another fantastic interview. I’ll be squeeing about it all day.


  3. Jules & Eisha: Thanks so much for interviewing me — it was fun!

    Colleen: I’m so glad I could amuse you.

    Carrie: You know I mean it.

    Love,
    Nerdfighter Extraordinaire, Kelly Fineman


  4. I’m honored, too. You folks do the best interviews!


  5. Squee, this is charming. And funny. And poetic. Maybe we should all just link to it this Friday?!?!


  6. Loved this, J and E! What a beautiful person she is! Who coined the word, “squee”?


  7. Good question, Jama. Kelly, can you dish? I assumed it was a reference to some book that I perhaps haven’t read . . .

    Thanks for the compliments on our interviews, everyone. Kelly is good subject matter.


  8. great interview!

    jama & jules – urban dictionary.com has two different definitions of “squee”:

    1. A noise primarily made by an over-excited fangirl, however it has spread rapidly and is now widely spread among the web community. “Omg!! New Harry Potter book out!! Omg Squee squee! omg!!!”

    2. A character in two comic books by Jhonen Vasquez, “Jhonny the Homicial Maniac” and “Squee!” Squee’s real name is Todd Casil. He earned his nickname by the squealing sound he makes whenever he is frightened.


  9. Even though I’m not a famous author, I’d like to have coffee with Kelly Fineman. I’ll tell you what, Kelly: if you fly to Seattle, I’ll treat you to really, really good coffee. Deal?


  10. I swiped it from somewhere else online — to my knowledge, it’s the overexcited fangirl noise. It’s nothing I say in person, but I like to use it in blogland because it so perfectly expresses the squealy noise I make when I see something that gets me really excited — like John Green stripping on his vlog (okay, not really — I merely snorted my beverage through my nose over that) — or Jeremy Northam slipping the tongue to Jennifer Ehle in the movie Possession.


  11. Port-a-potty waste collector. I almost snorted up my water.

    Great interview!


  12. Kelly, Eisha, and Jules, YAY! This interview was a lot of fun to read.


  13. Proving that “I aten’t dead” yet (spot the reference!), I stopped by and found this fab and fun interview… As someone who’s only recently begun to write “Squee!” when in Doctor Who fangirly mode, I am glad to see Kelly’s responses here…

    And I hadn’t realised that Kelly was such a big JA fan – thanks for letting me in on that little secret (I too adore the Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice, and the soundtrack to the Sense and Sensibility film !)


  14. I had a weird experience meeting Kelly F. in L.A. I had to struggle with the fact that I had not met her before. I felt like I had. Seriously, it was weird. I’m still confused by it.

    Anyway, Kelly rocks and so do Jules and Eisha!


  15. A Michele Sighting (well, a virtual one)!

    Did you know, Michele, that Leila at bookshelves of doom is a Doctor Who fan? Have been meaning to ask you that forever. I believe Jackie at interactive reader is, too, but don’t quote me on that.

    Now, ahem, back to our interview (sorry for the digression) . . .


  16. I also laughed at “Port-a-potty waste collector”.

    And would you believe, I’ve never seen the Colin First version of P&P. But I recently ordered it from Amazon as kind of a belated birthday treat to myself. Thanks for the reinforcement, Kelly. And J and E, thanks for another great interview. It’s wonderful to have a chance to get to know Kelly better, right before the Cybils.


  17. Great interview! It took me awhile to scroll past that picture of Colin, though…I don’t know WHAT was wrong with my mouse.

    Right after I read this, I saw two “Don’s Johns” trucks in the neighborhood, making their rounds of the construction site potties. Let me know if you want me to do a ride-along one day, Kelly, and report back to you. :)

    And big CONGRATS on the poetry sales! Woo-hoo! Squeee!


  18. What a great interview–and I, too, had some mouse issues somewhere around the Colin Firth picture.

    This makes me go squee, even though I’m not a squee-er as a rule. (Something about that sounds very wrong.) Congrats, Kelly F., and fantastic job as always, J&E!


  19. Fantastic interview with Kelly! I found my way here from her blog and loved every last word (especially the dreaded curse “poopy” and others…!)

    Thanks for posting this, and congrats, Kelly!


  20. Jules, I didn’t know that – but then I don’t know either of those Bloggers especially well so it’s not surprising I was ignorant of that…

    Ooh look – me AGAIN !! The universe is gonig to implode soon if I keep popping up!


  21. Alkelda — I would so LOVE to have coffee with you. Michele — I’m a total JA-obsessed freak these days. And so very glad to “see” you out & about. Saw that your beloved Doctor won a Hugo for Girl in a Fireplace.

    Sara — by all means, do a ride-along if you so choose. Just don’t expect me to join you!


  22. Hi Kelly!
    Congrats on such an interesting interview. I love the James Lipton wrap up questions!
    and Nerdfighter! fantastic- the brotherhood 2.0 boys are my only pseudo-regular utube connection
    how’s Jane going?

    cheers,
    Cousin Stewart!


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