Seven Impossible Interviews Before Breakfast #11:
Robin Brande, Author and Blogger Extraordinaire

h1 March 5th, 2007 by Eisha and Jules

Robin Brande is so amazing to us. We may yammer on about being busy with Jules’s kids or Eisha’s jobs or whatever, but check out Robin’s blog bio: “…she is or has been various combinations of the following: a lawyer, yoga instructor, black belt, entrepreneur, community college instructor, Wilderness First Responder, insurance agent, outdoor adventurer, Girl Scout leader, and Sunday school teacher.” Add to that list “soon-to-be-published author” – her first YA novel Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature is set to be released by Knopf/Random House in August, and has already been nominated by ALA as one of the Best Books for Young Adults for this year!

She’s no slouch as a blogger, either. Her smart, funny commentary on “writing, reading, and other vital matters” has earned her a loyal following – or maybe it’s the fact that she gives away FREE CHOCOLATE to total strangers every month. Seriously. Free chocolate. Even though, in an incomprehensible display of willpower, she herself gave up chocolate eight months ago. You can also check in with her pretty much every Thursday for a discussion of the previous night’s Lost episode. Her blog also features a book club, of sorts. As she describes it, it is the…

Tuesday Book Club (also known as the Tuesday 50-Book Book Club, but I don’t always remind people of that in case it makes them nervous because they feel like they’re falling behind). The point of the book club is to give us all a place to check in every week to say what we’ve finished reading. It’s a total no-pressure, no-snobbery zone where you can re-read books you’ve read twenty times before or read science fiction or YA or romance or cook books cover to cover—whatever. The only point is to give us all incentive to read, read, read.

We at 7-Imp definitely approve of that. And we just adore Robin. Really, no junior-high-school analogy necessary here. Robin is simply the best, no matter what grade you’re in. Her posts can be both side-splittingly funny and then knock-you-over thought-provoking in one turn, and she’s always candid in a way that never fails to make you feel at home. We want Robin to be our neighbor so that we can have coffee every morning with her and pick her brain and just hang out with her, but alas and alack, we three are scattered all over the country. And she’s also always there; leave her a comment on one of her posts, and she always immediately responds in an effort to further the always-interesting discussions she begins (even her friends who regularly comment are fun — just who is this Patrick, The Space Lord?). We mean it when we say that Robin’s posts are always worth reading. We know you adore Robin, too, so without further ado, here’s her interview. Since she’s both a blogger and an author, we tagged on a couple of extra questions, just for her. Enjoy!

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

Robin: I am a full-time novelist, which is my favorite thing to say to myself over and over. It took a long time to get to this point, and I mean to hang on to it. I also write screenplays, though nothing has happened with those yet. My ambition is to do both, like my hero William Goldman who wrote The Princess Bride, the best movie in the entire world, and don’t even talk to me if you don’t think so.

7-Imp: How long have you been blogging?

Robin: Since April, 2006, on the day I could say out loud that I had just gotten my first book deal.

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

Robin: I started blogging for two reasons: First, I like to know what people think. And I figure the best way to find that out is to throw some topics out there and see what people have to say about them. I am happiest when I get to play the role of moderator, sharing some bit of my personal life in exchange for total strangers talking about theirs. If I have to confess that I wet the bed until junior high or that I’m mean and petty about some issue or that I’ve just made a fool of myself—again—in some particular way, that’s the price I’m willing to pay to get you to spill something about your own life. I just think people are so interesting and have great stories to tell, and I have the odd need to hear them all.

The second reason I started blogging is that, despite what I just said above, I am maniacally, pathologically shy about my personal life. I love meeting people and talking to them, but I much prefer to be the one asking the questions. But I knew if I wanted this life of being a published author, part of it would involve being out there and letting strangers get to know me a little. So I’ve used the blog as a way to slowly build those public-figure muscles so that I won’t scream and run away if someone like Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast asks me a few personal questions. I can honestly say that because of my blog experiences, I am a much different — more open and comfortable — person now than I was a year ago.

And now I keep doing it because it’s so much fun when people write in and comment and share bits of their lives. I’m a total information hound. I really do need to know if you’ve ever accidentally locked yourself in the bathroom and what your theories on Lost are and whether you’ve ever eaten some food that’s so disgusting that even thinking about it now makes you want to hurl. Vital information like that.

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?

Robin: Without a doubt, A Fuse #8 Production. Betsy Bird is just so clever and comical. I love her titles, love her turns of phrase, love the little movies she embeds. March of the Librarians alone would have made me a fan for life. I also love Meg Cabot’s and Jennifer Weiner’s blogs, again just for being so relentlessly funny.

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

Robin: Backpacking with my husband and dog, going to movies with my mom, hanging out with my niece and nephew. I like a lot of quiet and solitude. I’m really happy writing and reading all day with just the dog for company.

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

Robin: Well, I’ve recently confessed some of the last two secrets — about sucking my thumb until high school and wetting the bed until junior high — so there’s not that much left to tell. I guess one thing people might not guess is how obsessed I am with fairness. Maybe it’s the Libra in me. It’s like I have this internal level, always analyzing whether I’ve been fair to someone, someone has been fair to me, the world is fair, etc. I feel personally responsible to go out there do what I can to keep everything in balance.

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

Robin: This year at the Sundance Film Festival I saw a movie called Once, starring Irish singer Glen Hansard and a Czech (I think) singer named Marketa Irglova. I came right home and ordered their CD, The Swell Season, and now can’t listen to anything else. Other than that, I’m a real head-banger, listening to people like John Mayer, Norah Jones, Everything But the Girl, and a now-defunct but glorious band called Blue Nile.

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

Robin: Right now that would be Elizabeth Gilbert (who wrote the best memoir I’ve read in a long time, Eat, Pray, Love), Meg Cabot (again, because I know she’d make me laugh), and J.K. Rowling because she is this generation’s Dickens and I’d want to thank her over and over to her face.

The Pivot Questionnaire:

7-Imp: What is your favorite word?

Robin: “Swag.” Love it, want it, go out of my way to get it.

7-Imp: What is your least favorite word?

Robin: “Non-refundable.” Ugh.

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

Robin: I love humor, but I love true self-disclosure even more. I love it when someone is comfortable enough with who he or she is to strip away all the pretense, and instead speak honestly and from the heart, whether it’s in a book or in person.

7-Imp: What turns you off?

Robin: Liars. Big fat liars. Lying is weak and cowardly and low-class and wicked. A close second is bullying. I hate people who use force or manipulation, shame or guilt to get their way. It can be as simple as criticizing you for what you like to read, or as complicated as torture and war. Just bad, bad human behavior.

7-Imp: What is your favorite curse word?

Robin: Ef. But I’m trying to quit.

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

Robin: A stream burbling along right outside my tent.

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

Robin: Some strident, shrill, negative person bitching, criticizing, or complaining. It’s like poison pouring through the ears. Also don’t care for lip smacking or grunting during meals. Keep your chewing to yourself.

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

Robin: I would love to be a singer, but I can’t sing. I wish I had the kind of voice that makes people weep — in a good way.

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

Robin: Divorce lawyer. See “sound or noise I hate” and “what turns you off” above.

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

Robin: “See? I told you if you just relaxed it would all turn out okay.”

7-Imp: And now for the author questions . . . Tell us a little about your soon-to-be-published YA novel, Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature.

Robin: It’s a young adult novel about the fight over teaching evolution in a high school. More particularly, it’s about a girl named Mena who has been kicked out of her church for doing the right thing, and is starting her freshman year stuck in a high school filled with former friends who now despise her. When those kids begin a campaign against Mena’s favorite teacher for teaching evolution, Mena has to decide for herself whether she can reconcile her belief in God with her belief in science. The book is funny and romantic and deals with a pretty divisive national issue in a way I hope people will find satisfying.

7-Imp: What book(s) are you working on now?

Robin: I just finished a new young adult novel about a girl who devises a unique way of losing weight, then has to deal with her own and others’ reactions to her transformation. Another romantic comedy. I seem to like that in a book.

7-Imp: How has your life changed now that you’re a “published” author?

Robin: I didn’t realize how deeply the “unpublished” part was hurting me until that changed. When I was a lawyer, it was easy to answer the question, “What do you do?” Once I quit law I ran my own business for several years, and even that was easy to explain. But when I stopped everything else and just concentrated on writing, I dreaded meeting new people. Because here’s how it always went: “What do you do?” “I’m a writer.” “Oh, what have you written?” And then I’d rattle off some magazine pieces I’d had published, and some short stories that placed well in contests, and I’d see the people’s eyes start to wander and could just hear them saying to themselves, “Fraud.”

Now when I say I’m a writer, I believe it. I have proof. I hate that that’s how it is for me — I don’t think every writer working hard at his or her craft feels that way, and I don’t think they should — but for me it was immensely important to have that stamp of approval from a real New York publishing house, telling the world that yes, this person is an author.

The other way my life has changed is that I’ve met so many new, fun, creative people — both through my blog and now through working with my publisher. I never felt that comfortable as a lawyer. I didn’t really fit. Now when I hang out with other writers or with editors or other people in the publishing industry, I get that deep down gut sensation that these are my people. I can relax. I’ve found my pack.

7-Imp: Which guy who is currently/has ever been on Lost do you think is the hottest?

Robin: JACK, JACK, JACK. Because he’s noble and fair and brave and HOT. A lot of my friends are total Sawyer-ites, and I love how funny and cavalier Sawyer can be, but I will always prefer the noble guy over the bad boy — your odds for happiness are just better over the long term. I was also deeply in love with Eko because I loved his voice and his demeanor and his spiritual insights, but I won’t say why I can’t love him anymore because Eisha is still on season 2, so suffice to say it’s Jack all the way.

25 comments to “Seven Impossible Interviews Before Breakfast #11:
Robin Brande, Author and Blogger Extraordinaire”

  1. Jules and Eisha, thank you for saying such nice things about me! You’re too kind. This interview was a blast to do. Thanks for choosing me as one of your subjects. I’m honored.

    Enough mush. Now that you’ve made me pick my favorite Lost hottie, I need to hear your votes.

  2. Both Jin and Desmond have faces that fascinate me to no end. Their expressions. Their cheek bones. Their eyes.

    But then just about everyone on that plane was Pretty.

    Hey, wait! If a Lost discussion begins, everyone must remember to avoid current-season spoilers or Eisha will hunt you down and kill you with a Widmore candy bar (or whatever they were) while chanting a random string of numbers or, uh, something Lost-esque like that.

  3. Deeply, deeply in love with Claire. That accent kills me every time. Wish she’d get more screen time…

  4. I’m with you on Desmond, though I’ve always had a sneaking adoration for Mr. Locke as well. He’s just got such purty eyes.

    Great interview, by the way. Excellent choice. And if you ever get a chance to see Ms. Brande speak, do. She’s a stitch. Thanks for the shout-out!

  5. Totally cool interview, even if I’m lost on the Lost stuff 🙂

    I’m scared of dogs, but that’s one beautiful puppy, Robin.

    Thanks for the interview, Jules and Eisha. I love reading these.

  6. You folks aren’t Robin’s only fans, as you can see here:

  7. BJ, I cannot believe I forgot to add in the interview that one of the top-five things I love about Robin’s blog is the great design. Now I know who did it. It’s very nice.

    I was saying recently on another site (in a conversation that was going on about what we look for in blogs) that I really love a well-designed and aesthetically-pleasing site (and tend to visit those more often), and I called out Robin’s as an example (here is the post). Robin’s site is beautiful — good work!

  8. Jin! I am totally Jin’s girl. Don’t tell me if anything bad has happened to him this season – I couldn’t bear it.

  9. Eisha, you need to catch up on Lost. We’ll all wait while you do, but come on. It’s not a party until you join us.

    I like Locke’s head. Maybe that’s sick. And I wasn’t that big on Desmond until his highlight scene this season. Now, wow.

    But please, do we all agree that those two new characters in camp–the guy and the girl–are WRONG, WRONG, WRONG? I can’t handle meeting any more new characters among our survivors. Plus, I just plain can’t stand them. And as we saw last week, now the writers are trying to sneak them in again, like they did in that episode with the other hatch (Eisha, not giving away anything here. Besides, you’ll forget by the time you get to it.)

    Sorry, but I could talk Lost all day. What I really meant to say was thanks to all of you for your nice comments. You’ve made me very happy.l

    Now back to Lost . . .

  10. Oh, and I agree about BJ’s web design. Every time I open my web page I smile.

  11. There is nothing I’d like better than to catch up on Lost, but it’s simply not gonna happen until season 3 comes out on DVD. I refuse to try to join in the middle of the season, it would diminish the experience.

    Oh, damn it, Jin’s okay, isn’t he? They CAN’T kill him off, he’s just too hot and complex and stuff… no, no, don’t tell me anything. Ack.

  12. Robin, my husband calls those two new characters Barbie and Ken. They need to just. go. away. already.

    Eisha, don’t worry about Jin. The only problem here is that they aren’t giving him much of a story line right now. I miss him.

  13. I actually watched that horror movie “The Cave” with the hubster a few weeks ago because Daniel Dae Kim was in it. But he never took his shirt off, so it was totally not worth it.

  14. Great interview. I have her book on my Books to Read list!

  15. And, by the way, who’s going to start a Favorite Character on Six Feet Under thread with me? I know I’m being naughty. We’re supposed to be talking about Robin or Lost, but my husband and I have been slowly watching SFU on DVD for the past few years, and we just started Season Five — the LAST ONE — and I am seriously already grieving the end of the show. It’s got its weaknesses (especially about, oh, ALL of Season Four), but it’s by far the smartest show I’ve ever seen on the ‘ol telly. And, since I don’t mind spoilers, I already watched the famous last six minutes of the final episode on YouTube and thought, okay I can die happy now (so to speak). It was utter perfection.

    I want to watch the ten episodes we have left verrrrrry slowly and space them out, ’cause I can’t live without Ruth Fisher — oh and David.

    Anyone else?

    Sorry, but, hey, we’re talking t.v. here.

    ROBIN ROCKS. YEAH. See, I can be on target, too.

  16. Ah Robin, it’s so nice to see that your hair has grown back!

    Who is Patrick? That is a question that should only be asked after “Is there really a Patrick?”

    Some believe that both Annette and I are fictional Blog characters created by the genius Robin herself.

    Should I be concerned that a prophet once told me “BEWARE OF KELLY HEROLD!” then he coughed and took a drink of coffee. It was really weird, because before he said that, there was no coffee…

  17. Eisha, if you rented “The Cave” to watch Jin, then you really need to rent “Bride and Prejudice” to see Sayid dance and sing (trust me–totally sexy, not silly) and “Easy,” which is just plain sexy, period. I saw “Easy” at Sundance, and the director/screenwriter was there, and she said Sayid (I know he has a real name, but work with me here) was happy to do all the nude scenes, and she would have shown more of him (and believe me, she showed plenty) if not for concerns over rating.

    Boy, we have gotten off track, haven’t we? But I’d much rather dish about this than keep having the spotlight shine in my eyes. So let’s just keep this the 7 Imp Lost post.

  18. I’ve really enjoyed reading Robin’s blog and listening to the conversations-crazy as some of them are. I think what is so enjoyable is that the readers are so varied and bring such diverse comments.
    I love the Tuesday Book club and of course the dog comments.;)

  19. Ya know, I thought Sayid – I mean, Naveen Andrews – was hot in English Patient and Kama Sutra, and at the beginning of Lost, but now he kind of creeps me out. Partly because the whole doing-the-nasty-with-Shannon thing made no sense, but also he has really long fingernails and he actually dates Barbara Hershey, and when he was 16 he moved in with his high school math teacher who later had his baby. So, I dunno… creepy.

  20. Yeah, Eisha, I hear ya. First of all, that Shannon thing was incomprehensible. No way a cool guy like that would go for her. There’s a piece on Entertainment Weekly’s website talking about the latest season (in fact, aren’t you the one who told me about that?), where the reporter points out the anagram for Sayid is “Y I sad?” I laughed so hard at that, because that’s how his character has been all season long. It’s getting boring. In the beginning he was such a badass, and now he’s just a moper.

    The real problem is there are all these fantastic characters, and really, how many can we get to in each episode? Which is why Barbie and Ken are so infuriating. I don’t have time for them, even if I cared even a little bit, which I do not. Please let them get eaten by sharks soon, for the sake of all our favorite characters’ back stories. Otherwise we’ll never get to them all.

    Okay, back to Naveen. Yes, there was that thing with the teacher. And with Barbara Hershey. And maybe you don’t know, but while he and Barbara were “on a break” a year or two ago, Naveen fathered a child by another woman. Now Nav and Babs are back together, but there’s this Little Nav out there. Busy guy.

    I haven’t noticed the fingernails. Gah-ross.

    But I still maintain that he’s hot–or at least he’s been hot and has the potential to be again. He just needs to shake off the Shannon dust, chew down his nails, get a good story line going again, keep Little Nav (his own personal one, not the baby) under control, rethink the whole reliving of his relationship with his high school teacher, and just basically go back to doing what he does best, which is torturing Sawyer.

    I need a nap now.

  21. Word, Robin. W-o-o-o-o-o-r-d.

  22. Robin, that was Yours Truly who sent you that Lost link. In fact, I found it again if anyone else wants to read it, as it’s pretty funny in spots. It’s here. Eisha, I don’t know where the hell you are in the show, so just generally avoid it, I guess.

    In trying to find it, I also found this. EW writers, predicting who might die next. Hee hee. Check this out:

    Nikki and Paulo

    Why They’ll Die
    Think Ana Lucia. Now multiply by two. Nobody likes them.
    Why They’ll Live
    An extreme makeover is planned for the couple, who will be the flashback focus of episode 14 (March 28). ”You won’t feel the same way about them,” promises Cuse.
    Death Odds: 3-1

  23. Great interview!

    And I love that Robin is a Princess Bride fan and is so interested in fairness, given the way William Goldman deals with the subject of fairness in The Princess Bride.

  24. I am reading Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature and it is the first book I have ever enjoyed and I am 11 years old. It is really like Mena is talking to me! I really hope all girls read this book!

  25. […] Author Information Robin Brande’s website. Interview. […]

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