Amy: Barbara and I discussed this first question a bit in this post, which actually led to this interview.
Amy: As we’ve chatted about briefly in blog comments, change is never easy but a necessary part of life. What are you looking forward to most in 2014?
Barbara: To finally having a healthy creative life. If I very nearly broke my creativity over the past few years, the experiences I’ve had and the things I’ve learned have taught me so much about the business that I no longer feel I must bring the business stuff into my creative space. I don’t worry about those things any more; they’re a job I know how to do. And after so many years of putting the needs of others ahead of my own creative work, whether as a parent or as a publisher, I finally have the opportunity to put making art in the center of my days.
I’m also looking forward to increasing creative work with my most recent business partner and creative collaborator, Rachael Murasaki Ish. By 2014, all the work we do will be our individual projects, joint projects, or the business stuff involved in bringing our creative work to market. We’ve spent the past several years getting the kinks out of our professional relationship; now we’re ready to have fun.
Amy: I love sneaking a peek at people’s bookshelves. What are you reading right now and is there a book you can’t wait to get to?
Barbara: I just finished reading Scott Anderson’s brilliant Lawrence in Arabia, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. As a public-school kid I got far too little 20th century historical education, and it has made clear a lot of things that were fuzzy to me. That has led me to pick up T.E. Lawrence’s The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, which is much richer for that context.
As for reading I can’t wait to get to: I missed out on a lot of fiction, particularly genre fiction, during the past few years. There just wasn’t time for pleasure reading. I am very much looking forward to the leisure to read for pleasure again.
Amy: OK, I can’t let you leave here without asking a most important question. What is your favorite book? And yes, it can be more than one.
Barbara: Oh my! So many favorites. Novels that are special to me include Patricia McKillip’s lovely Riddle of Stars series, which finally came back into print a couple years ago; Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow, in part because Pynchon sees your genre definitions and just doesn’t care; and Dan Simmons’ Hyperion. I remain in love with my personal memory of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, because I read it when I was still a young enough reader that it couldn’t make Editor Brain twitchy. As so often happens, my memory of that series is more pleasant than the experience of re-reading.
Nonfiction that lights me up includes Campbell’s venerable The Hero With a Thousand Faces, Hughes’ Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being, and Fred Allen Wolfe’s Parallel Universes. Really, I could go on. Are we friends on Goodreads? You can find me here.
Thank you so, so much for inviting me to chat! It’s always such a treat to talk with you.
Amy: And thank you for taking the time to answer these questions for me. It’s been so much fun working with you on this little project. Now, I have to go find my copy of Lawrence of Arabia on my shelf, google a few books…if you need me, I’ll be reading.