I don’t normally write about other people’s things because, let’s face it, I’m all about me, me and me BUT today I will make an exception.
Today you not ONLY get me talking about someone else, but I INTERVIEW them as well!
Also: A GIVEAWAY!!
These are all firsts for me.
One of my most favorite people on the planet, Kris Wehrmeister of the ridiculously awesome blog, Pretty All True has a new book out!
It. Is. Awesome.
I can tell you this because I read it. Please note that I don’t read ANYTHING. Reading my own books for proofreading and editing purposes was pure Hell for me.
Reading this, though? NOTSOMUCH.
If you’re unfamiliar with Kris and her writings, I highly suggest you check out her blog. Her life, her kids, her writing – all amazingly awesome and hysterical.
To get you even MORE familiar with Kris, I’ve interviewed her!!
AWAY WE GO!
1) Your blog, “Pretty All True” has been around for a very long time. What inspired you to start a blog?
I started writing on Pretty All True just after we moved to Oregon from California back in 2010. It was a time of great change for our family, and it marked the end of my time home-schooling our daughters Maj and Kallan. As the girls went back to regular school, I found myself with time to collect my thoughts, and once I started collecting my thoughts, I wrote them down. The blog was in part a way of staying in touch with friends we had left behind, but mostly, it was about writing and finding a voice that was mine.
1a) As a follow up to question #1, what keeps you writing it?
In the beginning, and for several years after the beginning, I posted every day. I put up meaningful posts and stories every single day, because I was afraid that if I stopped, I would never start again. There came a point when I decided to write a book, and as I focused my efforts on that endeavor, I realized it was possible to write without sharing, and I reduced my posting schedule a bit. The immediacy of posting one’s words to a blog is very gratifying, and it’s difficult to break free of the addictive nature of reader-approval.
I wrote that first book, the story of my childhood juxtaposed against the current-day reality of my marriage and family … well, I wrote it thinking I would find an agent and get it published. That so did not happen. Not even a little bit. Everyone I could get to read it thought it was amazing, but it didn’t go down well with agents, who questioned its marketability.
As the truth of that rejection set in, I wound down a bit where my writing was concerned. I kept posting on Pretty All True, but I lost focus; where I once thought I was building what the marketers like to call a “platform,” now I offered my words with a growing sense of hopelessness. This culminated in the decision in August 2013 to step away from Pretty All True. I stayed away for a bit under 18 months, during which time I wrote a collection of short stories — Hope Lies in Less.
This has turned into a very long response to a simple question, but since my return last January, I write with fewer expectations and a lesser desire to please anyone but myself. I find I’m enough these days, and writing for myself is simple.
2) Where the Hell did you come up with the name for your site, “Pretty All True?”
The phrase “Pretty all true” is from a series of children’s books by Ian Falconer in which the main character – Olivia the Pig – tells outlandish tales of her goings-on to the authority figures in her life. When asked if what she’s shared is true, she answers confidently, “Pretty all true.”
I started my blog intending to share the stories of my daughters, but I quickly found myself also telling the stories of me. The name of the blog took on deeper meaning as I shared truths I hadn’t shared before and as I confronted disbelievers within my circle of family and friends. I never meant to insist that every single word I put up on the blog was absolute truth, but instead to assert the truthfulness of my memoir pieces.
There was a period of time in which I went to great lengths to distinguish levels of truthfulness and the meaning of hyperbole and the utterly unique nature of memory, but I have come to a place where I simply don’t care anymore about anyone’s thoughts with respect to any of my pieces. I write fiction, memoir, poetry, and humor … and my response to the question “Is this true?” is “Pretty all true.”
I know what the words hold for me. What the words holds for anyone else in this world is no longer my concern.
3) Your first book, “Hope Lies in Less” was extremely well written but not geared towards your blog following. Why the decision to put that book out first and not “Fightball: Dying of Suck,” which is more inline with the blog topics and stories?
The thing about my blog is that I have never had a single voice. I have written the stories of my daughters and husband; I have at times been raucous and sexual and outlandish; I have put up poetry; I have offered assorted pieces of fiction; I have offered memoir from my childhood; I have offered the stories of me … despair and loss and hope and depression and love. While it is certainly the case that my humor (and particularly the stories of the girls) performs better from a readership-numbers point of view, my blog has never been about a single thing. So … I don’t think it’s accurate to say that my first published book wasn’t aimed at my blog following; it simply wasn’t aimed at the largest part of my blog following.
As for why I offered Hope Lies in Less first … that’s easy. Those words are ME with all capital letters. Those words are ME and only me. For my first foray into self-publishing, I was determined to offer up only myself. Not my husband, not my children, not even my dogs … just me. I am prouder of those words than I am of any others I have ever written, and part of that pride comes from the fact that I not only worked up the courage to offer them, I also weathered the pain of selling those words to only a small collection of people. Frustrating, yes, but also a learning experience. The people who read those words love those words, and those people mean the world to me. Those people get me.
4) The conversations you have with your children have always seemed way more mature than their ages suggest. Do conversations REALLY happen like that and, if so, how are you not insane?
As the girls have gotten older, the stories I tell of them are met with less incredulity, because their vocabularies and their intelligence are now a bit more in-line with what people imagine might be real. Yes, my children talk like that, and yes, we have conversations like that … every single day. Do they also have moments of ridiculous incoherence and childishness? Yes, of course … but those are less interesting stories to tell. I pick my moments, as all writers do. Do I make use of hyperbole and exaggeration? Of course I do. Do I smooth the edges to make a better story? Of course I do. Do I take liberties? Of course I do. That said, in the end, Maj and Kallan are Maj and Kallan … exactly as I present them and so much more. As for why I am not insane … who says I am not?
5) It appears I have been mispronouncing your kids names all along. I say Madge (like the dish washing soap lady) and Ka-lan (like Kahn but with an extra syllable and an L in there). How do you pronounce them and where did those names come from?
Maj is like the Taj in Taj Mahal. She was named after a Swedish author Mark and I both loved, although it turns out we got the pronunciation incorrect. In Swedish, Maj is pronounced MY, and although Maj loves her name, she has never quite forgiven us for getting things wrong right from the start.
Kallan is pronounced like the first two syllables in calendar. We needed a strong name to stand next to Maj. Kallan means both flowing river and also powerful in battle. Done.
6) The stories in “Fightball:Dying of Suck” are hysterical – mainly because the interactions between you and your children are so matter-of-fact that they come across as unbelievable. My books embellish the outrageous parts to amp up the comedy – do you believe in embellishment for better results, or do you think staying true to the honest humor of it all is better?
You ask an either/or question, but my answer is both. I think a judicious use of hyperbole and embellishment serves the truth of the humor.
7) How do you feel about using social media vs blogging?
I have made connections on social media that I treasure, but I have also wasted untold hours throwing words into the ether. I have stopped believing in the power of social media, but I believe in the power of the individuals with whom I have connected, if that makes sense. As for blogging … blogging has changed, and I have changed along with it. Let’s just say that I prefer writing above all else.
8) What are your goals for “Fightball: Dying of Suck” and “Hope Lies in Less?” Fame? Fortune? Having people appreciate your word? Obviously, the Playboy invitation is out now that they’ve stopped doing it, so what are you looking for?
My goal with my writing is that people read. The end. That said, I have offered enough free words to the world, and I continue to offer free words on my blog. The books I am selling I AM SELLING, and so my goal is that readers agree with me about the value of my words. The money is less important than the agreed-upon value. There is enough free stuff on the internet. My words, in this particular arrangement, are not free.
9) What is your favorite story in “Fightball?”
I do not have a favorite story. Truly. The thing I like best about Fightball is how the stories play off of one another.
10) I know your children blessed the content and release of “Fightball.” Is there anything that you wanted to put in there but didn’t? Did Maj or Kallan veto anything that you wanted to add?
I know my daughters well enough to know what I can and cannot say … what I can and cannot share. As you said, both girls read and approved Fightball well in advance of my publishing. Neither girl veto-ed anything. The only issue that arose was the telling of a story in which Kallan wished I would share MORE than I did. Seriously.
11) You’ve given me a lot of help and advice over the years in regards to my blogging and books, of which I will always be eternally grateful. Is there anyone out there who has inspired/mentored you as well?
12) What topics are off-limits for your blogging/books and Twitter?
Since my return to Pretty All True (and since the takedown of my archives), I have been a more reliably G-rated writer than I once was. It’s not that anything is off-limits, it’s just that there are different things I want to say these days. I regret nothing about my earlier R-rated words, but those are not the words I want to share in this moment. Who knows what tomorrow brings?
13) On a scale of 10-to-10, with 10 being ‘super hot,’ how hot am I?
Hmmm … the correct answer to a question like this is always 10. Super-hot. Obviously.
13a) I KNEW IT
14) I apologize for #13. You knew there was going to be something like that in there. How do you put up with assholes like me?
You amuse me. I have always had a weakness for dysfunctional funny.
15) Anything else you’d like to add? Any anecdotes, info about your books or life that people might want to know?
I believe I have already shared far more than you imagined I might.
16) Will there be a “Fightball 2: Still Dying of Suck” that we can look forward to? If not, what’s next for you, Kris?
I am already working on the next installment, which is entitled Fightball: Lady of Mangle. I promised Maj and Kallan I would keep going. They want to know what happens next.
Awesome. I can’t wait to read it.
The thing about me being a 10 shouldn’t surprise anyone, by the way.
I will pick three random readers from the comments section here to receive a PRINT COPY of “Fightball: Dying of Suck!!!!”
So leave me a comment below and I’ll announce winners on November 24th!
You can also find her (and/or her books) in any of these fine locations:
Kris’s blog’s home-page: http://www.prettyalltrue.com/
Kris’s author page on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Kris-Wehrmeister/e/B00XGWVPX0
Fightball’s unique Amazon page (the reviews thus far are amazing): http://www.amazon.com/Fightball-Dying-Suck-Kris-Wehrmeister-ebook/dp/B0166393FW/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
Her Twitter: https://twitter.com/PrettyAllTrue
Her Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/prettyalltrue
You won’t regret your choices. I promise.