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Shop Talk Thursday with Joni Sensel

What? Shop Talk on a Thursday? Yep, I’m now going to be posting interviews twice a week. Why? Because I love doing them, I have a lot of interviews waiting to be posted, and there’s more authors I’d love to get the gossip on.

Like . . . my fellow Class of 2k7 member Joni Sensel, who’s joining us today in the beauty shop! Woo-HOO! Joni is the author of the hilarious REALITY LEAK, which was released on April 3rd.

Welcome, Joni! Grab some coffee, get comfy in the beautician’s chair, and let’s get down to the gossip.

First off, tell us the truth—when’s the last time you’ve treated yourself to a manicure?

Ha ha! Will you throw me out if I say, oh, December 2005 in response to a Christmas gift?

Nope, not when my last manicure was in 1997! Now, what’s the most embarrassing hairstyle you’ve ever had?

I’ve had a couple of perms that “seemed like a good idea at the time” — but my hair is so fine that even when it’s fairly long, instead of waves and curls and body, I get kinky afros. The old photos tell the tale.

What hair styling product can you not live without?

Um… shampoo? Am I in the wrong interview room? But actually, I use Aveda “Self-Control” quite a bit. If only it would extend to some other aspects of my life!

Hehe, I could have asked about bikini waxes! (Hmm, maybe for my next interview?) What beauty product can you not live without?

You can’t buy it at a salon, but walks in the woods alongside the river are my de rigeur – fresh, moist air, a little relaxation, and time to meditate, noodle story problems, and stress out over manuscript submissions and revisions.

In my novel, the ladies have fun answering the “Hypothetical Questions of the Week” from their favorite tabloid. So here’s some hypothetical questions for you:

HQ #1: Which book published by another author do you wish you could have written?

Oh, this is a tough question. Either Feed by M.T. Anderson or The Mark of the Horse Lord by Rosemary Sutcliffe (an older book but still in print). They’re very different, but both are the best books for teens or adults I’ve read in a long while.

HQ #2: Which movie screenplay do you wish you could have written?

Shakespeare in Love by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard. In fact, I had started a screenplay with very similar themes and approaches, and I adored the movie but cried almost the whole way through, the first time I saw it, because mine was too late and would never be that good.

HQ #3: Your agent just called. TV execs are offering you a spot on a new reality show for writers. Do you say yes? If so, how would you be portrayed? (i.e. the boss, whiner, bore, paranoid-wreck, etc.?)

Sure, what the heck, although I’m sure they’ll fire me or vote me off the island or whatever, because I will be the boring recluse who sleeps late, works in my pajamas with my hair in a wreck, refuses to be drawn into conflicts because I’m obsessed with getting down the story stuff flowing into my head, and then stays up late with my laptop, snarling at the camera to get out of my face.

Although if there’s a really hot guy writer or two on the show, maybe I could be the slut instead? I don’t want to be on a “reality” show, I want to be on a “fantasy” show!

HQ #4: You’re a big time celebrity who just had a baby, maybe with the hot guy writer? If you were competing with other celebrities for the most bizarre baby name, what would it be?

Slaine Moonwater — the former an Irish name I keep trying to use and have to keep changing because nobody knows how to say it correctly (slaw-na, although slain appeals too), and the latter just because.

HQ #5: You’ve been locked in a bank vault with that guy from The Twilight Zone, so you finally have time to read! What’s the first book you crack open? (And don’t worry—no one stepped on your glasses.)

Ooh — I’ve been trying to get to fellow 2k7er Sara Zarr’s Story of a Girl — our first 2k7 book (clearly I am behind), and that would be a good start.

And now . . . the Lightening Round. No more than two words per answer!

Do you . . .
Outline or wing it?
Wing it!

Talk about works-in-progress, or keep your trap shut? Shut!

Sell by proposal or completed draft? Draft!

Love to edit or cringe at the thought? Ugh, cringe.

Prefer writing a new book or marketing the old? New, new!

And finally, because I’m nosy—what’s your favorite . . .

Time to write? Late at night

Movie? Shakespeare in Love (American Beauty close runner up)

Book? Feed, M.T. Anderson, current reigning favorite

Author? Well, Stephen King, I admit

Song? Depends on what I’m writing at the time

Pair of shoes? My purple clod-hoppers

Guiltiest pleasure? Fresh chocolate chip cookies

Thanks so much for stopping by the shop, Joni, and best of luck with REALITY LEAK! I love how you use the term ‘clod-hoppers’ like we do in my family. Any chance you call knit hats ‘doodle socks?’

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