Thursday, January 27, 2011

Aspiring Author Ishta Mercurio

On Istha's blog, 

You can find a picture of her...
My Photo

And also this to go with it...

Actor, dancer, writer, vegetable-grower, conservationist, wife, and mom.

I first met Istha at WriteOnCon last August.  I can tell you she knows her stuff!  I loved her critiques and secretly wished to snag her as a crit partner :)  Okay, so that last bit didn't happen, but it's okay.  At least I had time to take a peek into her writing brain.  

Here's what I discovered from interviewing her.

Ishta, how long have you been writing?
Ooh, since I was about nine? But then I took a looooooong break, so officially - properly, with critique partners and revisions and everything - about two years. 

And, what made you want to write?

I have tons of stories in me and THEY DEMAND TO BE RELEASED! Plus, I can do it from home, and being around for my kids is a top priority. 

Do you have any pet peeves while writing?  Is there anything you must have or maybe something you can't stand?

A cave. I need a cave. Or a fully wired, insulated, heated shed in the backyard with windows and a desk. (Anybody got a spare one of those you could send me?) Well, actually, a small corner of a room will do. I need a five-foot-minimum clearance around me when I'm writing - no kids pulling on my clothes, or jostling against the computer, or messing up my hair or anything like that. No projectiles flying in my direction. And NO. INTERRUPTING. (Hubster, I'm talking to YOU.) Sometimes I need music to get myself into the right mood for a scene, but once the words start to flow I need quiet. 

(I totally understand the kid thing.  I'm getting better at writing if they're watching a movie, but they can't be leaning against me at all.  A fully wired cave would be nice.  Let me know if you find a good bargain :))

So, what are your favorite genre's to write? 

AACK! Don't make me choose! I can never do that, ever-ever-ever. I like picture books because you can draft them relatively quickly, then take in the whole thing right away and spend weeks mulling it over in the back of your mind, then sit down and revise or rewrite the whole thing in one go. I like Middle Grade because that age group is so fun - just starting to get vocal with their (strongly-held!) opinions. Those characters are super-fun to work with. And I like writing for teens because they're right on that knife-edge between childhood and adulthood, when everything feels razor-sharp. It's a very complex time, emotionally. But I find novels challenging - so much to hold in your head! I like them all, really.

(That's awesome that you write for each level of children's books and I like the way you described each of them!)

If you could sit down and reread any book, which would it be?

Again with the choosing! Okay, ummm... (Takes a moment to go and peruse bookshelf...still perusing...I have a lot of're still here?) Okay, I guess I'll choose The Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe. And if that fell apart from overuse, I'd go with The Complete Works of Shakespeare. And if that fell apart, I'd go with an anthology of Roald Dahl's children's novels, if such a thing exists. (Does it? Anybody?)

(Awesome!  I'm sorry to make you choose.  It's fun to find which books writer's enjoy the most.  I'll call yours the complete works of Edilliald Allen Pokesahl :))

Let's say you only had enough time to visit just one or two writing blogs a day, which would they be?

Well, at least this time I get to pick two. I could go with Nathan Bransford and Mary Kole, because I DO in fact visit their blogs every single day, but everybody's heard of them, so I'll go with Casey McCormick's Literary Rambles blog (because she's sweet and helpful, and she has bajillions of Agent Profiles, guys - GOLD MINE!) and Elana Johnson's blog, because she posts every day and is always funny or enlightening or informative or sometimes all three.

(I agree with ALL of the above.  Gold mines and humorous posts of information are always a plus!)

If you could meet any author, dead or alive, who would you choose?

I've met a lot of authors these past few months, actually, which is kind of one of the awesome things about being serious about writing. But someone I know I can never meet, but would like to, is George Orwell. That would rock.

What if your computer died, your paper and pens went missing, and all the books around you were hidden, what else would you do to fill the void?  What other passions and hobbies do you have?

I grow my own vegetables. I knit. I like good food, and I'm a pretty good cook. I like exercise, and I LOVE to dance. I studied acting and want to get back into it - although it's hard to do that with no paper for a script. Oh, and I have kids. We go for walks and do science stuff and catch bugs and tickle each other so hard we make each other cry. So I'd definitely do more of that. 

And last, but not least, do you prefer fruity candy or chocolate?

CHOCOLATE. Preferably dairy-free and paired with mint. YUM. 

Here's one final random fact from Istha.  

I once had a roommate who was dating a guy who was called Random. That's pretty random, don't you think? 

Sure is!  Thank you so much Istha for letting us see into your writing mind :)  Now, for those who haven't been to her blogdo it NOW!...I mean please...I promise you won't regret it!

And have a great weekend!


  1. Ishta, you seem like such a renaissance woman. I envy an artist who also grows her own veggies!

  2. If you figure out how to get husbands not to interrupt, let me know, okay? Mine works from home too, and I haven't managed to train him to leave me alone when I'm on a roll!

  3. Fun Interview!!

    So cool that you chose Edgar Allan Poe. I love his stories and used to use them with my students all the time. There are cool film versions of Tell tale Heart and The Cask of Amontillado.


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