About Carmen Rodrigues
Q. What is your birthdate?
Q. Previous occupations
A. What haven't I done? Okay, here's the list in one breath: Waitress/administrative assistant/ teacher/tutor/babysitter/beer tub girl/sales clerk/cashier/journalist/public relations specialist/teenager
Q. Favorite job
A. Writing for all of you!
Q. High school and/or college
A. Miami Sunset Senior High in Miami and Florida State University in... Florida!
Q. Name of your favorite composer or music artist?
A. I'm going to go with a classic here: Simon & Garfunkel
Q. Favorite movie
A. Bridget Jones's Diary
Q. Favorite television show
A. Modern Family
Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
A. Cowboy boots. Night swims. Swings. Daydreams. Stories. Laughter.
Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. Improbable? Possibly. But impossible? Now that's a whole other story.
Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. How would I describe perfect happiness? Well, I think to be perfectly happy, you have to accept that you'll never be PERFECTLY happy. And once you get that pesky notion out of the way, you start on the road to being extremely and consistently content. I describe consistently content as living your life the way you've always dreamed of living it. For me that means the following: 1. Writing as much as possible. 2. Maintaining close relationships with my great circle of family (remember me, Mom?) and friends (call you back soon, Tesha!) 3.Being spiritually active: a. I'm not a pretzel. This is my morning meditation. b. Dear Mr. Ocean, how do we connect in this great big universe? c. Hello, God, it's me Carmen Margarita. 4. Being emotionally present: a. Hey, I want to touch that tree and spin around on the beach and swing on that swing. b. I'm putting away my Blackberry and listening to you. 5. Working towards other future goals: a. The RV for traveling the country in style and at my own pace b. A permanent homestead in a small, walkable town. c. Finding a place where I can teach other writers. d. Filling my life with many more novels and creative projects. Hello, Carmen? Learn the guitar already!
Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A. Well, dear reader, life is full of fears. Right now, my NYC fear is getting hit by a bus because if you're going to go in NYC, that's pretty much how you go and that M4 always looks wobbly when it approaches the curb. But mostly, I'm afraid of fear taking over. You know? Bad stuff's going to happen but the worst thing you can do is spend your precious time worrying about it before it does (if it ever does).
Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. I don't know where I would be but who would I be with? Now, that's the question. So, picture this: me, a comfy couch, someone I love, light streaming through the windows, flowers on the table, and good conversation. Ah, happiness.
Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. That Carmen Rodrigues girl. I hear she's pretty cool and looks a lot like me.
Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. My mama. I mean, she gave birth to me, right. Good job, woman. Good job.
Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. No clue.
Q. What do you regret most?
A. Taking the social dynamics of high school way too seriously when I should have been studying.
Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. Okay, this one's really serious: I'd be a dancer. A ballerina to be specific.
Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. Giving my sister my stem cells, and that's just blind genetic luck, but if you can, go be a stem cell donor. You could save a life.
Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
A. I haven't quite learned how to stop time yet, but I am desperately working on it.
Q. What’s your best quality?
A. As my five year old niece Jenna might say, "I got jokes."
Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. A pelican. They've got the best beaks in town.
Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. People say, "My what big eyes you have!" And I say, "Yes, the better to spy on you with."
Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A. Long list: Jane Eyre, Elizabeth Bennet, Bridget Jones, and Charlie from "Perks of being a wallflower"
Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. The Grinch or the pigeon from Mo Willems' "Don't let the pigeon..." series. Yeah, I think the pigeon wins.
Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. Historical? Let's just make that any character... and that would be Mr. Darcy, and I hope to say: Wow, you're even hotter than I imagined.
Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
A. Forgetting to hit save. (And yes, this is my second attempt to complete these questions.)
Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A. Daydreaming, seriously.
Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A. Honesty, empathy, and altruism.
Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A. Chocolate. Oh, yes.
Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. I have too many for a top five, but in no particular order, some favs: 1. Soko's "I could never love you more" 2. Beatles' "Hey Jude" 3. Ella Fitzgerald's "Cheek to Cheek" 4. Otis Redding's "I've been loving you too long." 5. Ida Maria's "Oh my God"
On Books and Writing
Q. Who are your favorite authors?
A. Too many to list! But just a few of my favorite YA writers right now: Deb Caletti Sarah Dessen Matt de la Pena John Green M.T. Anderson Laurie Halse Anderson Judy Blume (obviously!)
Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. Wow. This is a TOUGH question. I LOVE books, and declaring my love for this five to be greater than my love for all the others is difficult, because, quite frankly, my heart is filled with dozens of great books, which I deem equally great. So, the following five are just some of my favorites, and really the first five that come to mind right now. 1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte: 2. Persuasion by Jane Austen 3. This is Graceanne's Book by P.L. Whitney 4. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison 5. Lisa, Bright and Dark by John Neufeld
Q. Is there a book you love to reread?
A. Many! Often when I'm stumped, I'll reread Honey, Baby, Sweetheart by Deb Caletti to study her craft. She's a skillful writer.
Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
A. Always revise.
Q. What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
A. That my stories are often unpredictable. To which, I reply: That's because the stories are often surprising to me! I don't plot, so much as follow my characters' leads.