Mundie Moms

Friday, March 25, 2011

Love Ya Like A Sister Blog Tour

This or That is a fun feature The Teen blog tours does with their various tours.. It's a fun way to get to know an author via their answers from the 10 questions they are sent.

I'm not a real either-or type of guy. Nor am a my-way-or-the-highway type of guy, so answering these questions is a new kind of experience for me. I have to confess that for one question I couldn't provide a one-or-the-other answer. I tend to be an inclusive rather than an exclusive personality type. A new experience and writing challenge! Great!

Reading a Historical or a Sci-Fi?
I am an eclectic reader, but with these two choices, I would choose Sci-Fi. When I was ages 13-16, I read just about one science fiction or fantasy book a day. I kid you not. Now I read and like all kinds of genres. However, I'm really looking forward to C.J. Cherryh's twelfth book in her Sci-Fi Foreigner series. Betrayer is due out April 5. Yay! Sometimes, I just like to get out of the house, out of town, off the planet. I'm also about 15 books (of about 20) through Anne McCaffrey's Pern series--Sci-Fi dragon stories. I'm working on draft 7 of my fantasy novel right now, a novel called The Stone Dragon.

Tea or Coffee?
Definitely tea, and non-caffeinated. I have to be careful because I naturally wake up more "perky" than some people, and I usually fall asleep very quickly. In fact, my wife recently told me that I fell asleep one night halfway through a sentence--and I was doing the talking! Blahblahblah . . . zzzzzzz! However, nice guy that I am, I almost always wake up in the morning and brew my wife a cup of tea--green tea with a little milk and sugar.

Backpacking in Europe or a cruise to the Caribbean?
I would prefer backpacking to a cruise ship. I'm not a great swimmer, and when I go to the local river or lake, I can hear the stones at the bottom calling to me: "Tom! Tom! Come down and play . . ." Creeps me out. My wife does like the ocean, though. She likes to swim, and I like to watch her swim.

I was raised near the Sierra Nevada mountains, and my family regularly camped when I was young. So it's backpacking and the silence of high altitudes. You know, when I think of the mountains, I remember the smells just as much as sounds and sights. The smell of pine and bayleaf, of streams and granite heated by the sun. When I was in college, my friends and I built a sweat lodge by a stream, heated round river stones, and after a good sweat would jump into the stream and then climb out and eat cold oranges. The lodge was next to a big eddy in the stream, and at the deep end through the clear water, we could see the beer cans that all the daytrippers had lost while tubing down the stream. We'd dive for them, and they would oh-so-cold from the mountain water. We'd also chill watermelons in the icy water and then eat them. Fun memories!

Attending a sports event in person or watching it at home?
Baseball and basketball--at the game in person. I played those sports in high school and really enjoy the ambiance of the arena or stadium. For football, though, I definitely prefer to watch it on TV. When I go in person, I always seem to be buying popcorn when the play of the game occurs. I never played football in high school. Little guys my size were pretty much just tackle dummies. Even as a freshman, I knew that didn't sound like fun.

Computer or Television?
Computer because I can be active rather than passive. I prefer to create.

Skiing at a Mountain or lounging on the Beach?
Not skiing! I did that once with my son, and the fact that skis don't have brakes really bothered me. I mean, you could run into something like a tree or a wall if you weren't careful! I know you're supposed to be able to vee your skis inward, but how effective is that, really? My son learned to snowboard, but I told him that I had gone skiing once in my life and hadn't broken a leg. I preferred to quit while I was ahead. Lounging on the beach is good. I can watch my wife swim. Lounging anywhere anytime is usually pretty good--as long as you aren't lounging because you have no purpose in life. Then lounging, I imagine, is pretty depressing. In fact, a lot of novels have been written about that very situation.

Chinese food or Pizza?
Chinese. In college one of my roommates took a Chinese cooking class. Two days a week, he'd cook Chinese. Two days a week, my other roommate would cook Irish. And two days a week, I'd cook vegetarian. One day a week we were on our own. I live in an international town--Fairfield, Iowa--a town of 10,000 that has two Chinese restaurants, two Thai restaurants, three Indian restaurants, a falafel house, and, of course, like every other American town, a bunch of burger and pizza shops. I prefer the ethnic restaurants. They expand my world consciousness and not just my waistline.

English essay or Math homework?
When I took the SATs long ago, I actually scored higher on my math section than the language--so high that I didn't have to take any math in college. I always considered math a magical game, though. If I got the answer right, I was the "enchanted" winner.

An English essay would be much easier for me. Once in college, it was finals week for a drama-as-literature class. I hadn't read one required play so outside the classroom door I asked my friend, "Quick what's the setting? Who are the characters? What're the conflicts? Give me the one-minute storyline." I wrote an essay on the play and got a higher grade than he did. Boy, was he nonplussed! I used to try to talk my college professors out of writing essays, though. "Would it be possible to write a poem as a creative response rather than write an essay?" A few even said yes.n I took the SATs long ago, I actually scored higher on my math section than the language--so high that I didn't have to take any math in college. I always considered math a magical
A Harley or a Triumph?
In my novel Love Ya Like a Sister, the main male character, Randy, owns a Triumph motorcycle. It's a Triumph all the way.

From the novel:

As they turned onto Highway 1, Randy twisted the throttle. He loved the power of the bike, the way it responded so quickly to his every move. Riding the bike was so effortless, so automatic, so uncomplicated. It was so much easier to love a thing than to love a person; however, only a person could understand you, care about you. A motorcycle only functioned according to its design, and no matter how elegant the design, no matter how thrilling the ride, it didn’t really give. Even a Triumph 650 Bonneville T120R, a turquoise and black, chromed classic, was still just a machine.

It was simple: he loved Susie and liked his motorcycle. Even if he really liked his Triumph and only thought that he was pretty sure that he loved Susie, it was still the same difference.

It was easy to know the difference, easy to think about. The words, though, didn’t quite fit the situation. He knew how he would choose if he ever had to make a choice. He also knew that Susie would never forgive him.
he ever had to make a choice. He also knew that Susi
Young adult books or adult books?
I have to artfully dodge this question. I believe very much that great books are not limited by the target audience. Margaret Wise Brown is a great writer. Gary Paulsen is a great writer. Cynthia Voigt is a great writer. William Faulkner is a great writer. They all have qualities that transcend the age group--there is a timeless quality to their writing that goes beyond borders. I regularly read adult and young adult books. As a teacher who has taught grades 7-12, I have a wide familiarity with age-related books. Give me a good book, and I'll praise the author. I don't like too much suffering in young adult novels, though. I prefer to inspire my readers, not depress them. "Reality" should not be consider a synonym for "failure" or "anguish." One of my students recently read A Catcher in the Rye. I told my student, "When you finish the novel, let's talk about why the main character is so damn unhappy." He looked at my funnily, so I explained that the main character cusses all the way through the novel. It's actually one of the most banned novels in the US.

This has been a long list of subjects I don't usually write about. They are so specific to me and my opinions. It's like lecturing. Having taught middle school many years, I have learned to avoid lecturing. Why talk if nobody's listening? I've tried to include some funny anecdotes, though. Hope you liked them, and hope you like Love Ya Like a Sister., and hope you like Love Ya Like a Sist

Thank you Tom for being on our site today!
You can find out more about Tom's books by visiting his site here. Be sure to stop by The Teen Scene to see which site Tom will be visiting next.


  1. Loved this post! I especially love the answer for young adult books or adult books! :) (I hated Catcher in the Rye when we read it in high school, because I couldn't stand Holden.)

  2. Thank you Corrine! I agree, it's a great answer. Great authors truly inspire readers of all ages.