I am especially delighted that my first guest is the wonderful Bret Ballou. I met Bret at a writer's workshop where he was in the first critique group ever to hear the (now deleted) first chapter of GILT. He amazed me with his ability to bounce back from criticism and return to the table with a kick-butt revision. I'm proud that he is a writer-friend, and even more so that he is a friend.
1. What is your earliest memory?
It must’ve been just after my second birthday. My parents were having our house built in mountain forest outside of Albuquerque and we were at the construction site. I was standing with my mom in the dining room, watching an electrician install an electrical socket. I was fascinated by all the colorful wires. Every time I’m in that room, I still think about how cool that moment was.
2. What is your most unappealing habit?
Wow, Katherine, you ain’t pulling punches are you? This isn’t frivolous Friday Five. Ok, so I’ll give you one of my most unappealing traits instead of a habit. I’m a pretty structured person and a planner on top of that – so anything last minute that throws my routine or plan outta whack forces me into grumpy pants. In the end, I deal with the situation (and most the time, without killing anyone), but I’m trying to learn to “roll with the punches” a bit more, ‘cause life sure seems a lot simpler for those that do.
3. What is the worst job you’ve done?
One of my first engineering jobs was designing instrumentation for urological surgical procedures. To say some of these instruments looked like torture devices out of the GILT era is putting it lightly. And then I actually attended procedures to see them used on real, live patients. Ugh. People, pray for urinary tract health (especially, men). The job was interesting, paid well, and I learned a lot, but the things I saw…oh, the things I saw.
4. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
For me, it’s the fact that I’m able to handle (so far, at least) writing, a full-time engineering job, and a pretty active family. I’ve pushed myself far beyond what I believed my capabilities were and keep stretching them. I enjoy getting up at 5 every morning to write (seriously). I would rather write than watch TV (most the time). And, while I’ll always have publication-related goals, what I really want is to tell the best effing story I can.
5. Who would play you in the film of your life?
This one’s easy. Since I was about 14 years old people have said Jake Gyllenhaal and I are doppelgangers. I think it has mostly to do with the eyebrows, but about 80% of people I know have said the whole, “Hey, you know who you look like…” So, I guess Jake would be a good choice.
Bret's currently working on a middle grade adventure (I'm reading a draft now, and it's fabulous).
Bret blogs Fridays on the YA Muses.
You can find Bret on Twitter here.