Welcome, A. R.!
A Little About
Author's Rating: G
Ten Things You Should Know
About A. R. Silverberry
I dictated my earliest story to my mother. I was about six, and we used to steal away to the bathroom and close the door for privacy. She sat on the commode and scribbled down my serial plot on a pad of yellow ruled paper. I remember one episode distinctly: someone was brought to a hospital and X-rayed, and I crawled under a short stepstool we kept there to enact the scene. My mom was a real sport about the whole thing, but I think she got annoyed when I asked her how she wrote the sound effects for that X-ray machine.
2. Have you ever named a character in honor of someone you know?
I don’t think I would ever do something that random. The names of characters are so important, tell you so much about them. It might convey their motive, foreshadow something they’ll do later in the story, or tell you about their past. Honestly, names generally don’t come easily to me. I work hard to find them. On the other hand, if I know someone whose name intrigued me and really fit the role, I would use it!
3. What fictional character would you like to have as a best friend (could be your own)?
Superman wouldn’t be a bad choice. He’s pretty much indestructible, and the last time I looked, I haven’t seen much kryptonite around.
4. Do any of your characters sound/look like famous actors in your head?
I did create a character that sounded like an alcoholic, over-the-hill Owen Wilson, but my wife hated the character and made me change it to something else. I just might resurrect him, though, in another story.
5. What book are you currently reading?
I’ve been on a Western kick, going back to some of the writers of my youth. Currently, I’m reading Riders of the Purple Sage, by Zane Grey.
6. Do you write/read every single day?
I try to, and during my long commute, I listen to audio books. My auditory attention span is pretty short, so audio books need to really hold my interest with a strong plot or strong characters. To tell the truth, I was surprised how a strong voice will keep me glued. Barry Lyga’s Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl is a perfect example. Written in first person, the main character breaks away from the plot to comment on something, but he’s so irreverent you want to hear it!
7. What is one of your favorite beverages/snacks while writing?
I’ve been off caffeine since the eighties, so it’s decaf coffee for me. I love to write in a café not far from me. They individually brew an organic Peruvian blend that out of this world. There’s still enough caffeine in there to get all pistons firing! Despite the noise around me, I still manage to get a lot done. When I’m at home, though, I need absolute silence.
8. Do you write using a keyboard, pen and paper, or both?
Keyboard. It’s faster and has become part of the way I think. I do carry a pocket notebook everywhere I go, to catch those ideas that come up at odd moments. If you don’t get them down in the first minute, they evaporate!
9. Describe your writing space as it is right now. What would be your ideal writing space (if it's different from this)?
I write on a small, portable laptop table. To my right is an antique desk. To my left is a long, narrow table set against the wall. Both the desk and table are piled with papers, consisting of photo references for settings and characters. Taped to the wall on my left are main-character photos and plot lines. Running along the floor below the table are books and piles of early drafts of my work in progress. I need greenery. A large picture window overlooks my front yard, providing a place to rest my eyes and dream.
10. Do you have any other creative outlets besides writing?
I majored in music composition as an undergraduate, resulting in a piano sonata, a choral cantata, and numerous songs. I don’t compose anymore, but try to play piano daily. Sadly, my hands seem to be shrinking—and my repertoire right along with them!
[And a bonus question, because why not?]
11. Who are your 3 favorite characters in your book(s)?
I love Petunia Pompahro’s crustiness (from Wyndano’s Cloak). Most characters take some time to gel, but she jumped into the story full blown, and it was easy to hear her voice. Long after I wrote the book, I realized that some of her speech patterns were my mother’s, who could be pretty snarky. So much of this process is unconscious, even when you think it isn't! I had a similar experience with Dory, the boat builder in my second novel, The Stream. If anyone knows the magic formula for making this happen, let me know! The people just seem to spring to life. I also really like Miss Drath, the deliciously wicked orphanage director in Wyndano’s Cloak.