Thursday, June 23, 2016

Spindle Chat: Kathryn McConaughy

It's Thursday again, and time for the final chat with one of my fellow Five Magic Spindles authors.  Please welcome Kathryn McConaughy, author of "Guardian of our Beauty."  Set in the Ancient Near East, this story has a far different flavor from any fairy tale retelling I have ever encountered before.  Which isn't surprising, considering Kathryn does things in real life like go on archaeological digs in the Holy Land.

Kathryn started a new blog recently too, called The Language of Writing, which I think you'll especially dig if you're a writer.

Here are her answers to my questions :-)

My favorite book when I was a child:  Brian Jacques' The Long Patrol. I loved his Redwall series, which combined high adventure, riddles, and every accent in the UK. Nowadays, the lack of characterization (especially noticeable in his later books) tends to annoy me.

My favorite book now:  Either George MacDonald's The Princess and the Crone, A Double Story, or George MacDonald's The Curate's Awakening. Whether he's writing fairy tales or realistic novels of nineteenth century life in England and Scotland, George MacDonald has no equal.

A book I never want to read again:  Just to pick one, Boccaccio's Decameron. My mom found this on a Great Books list and assigned it to me in junior high. I was old enough to understand what was going on, but not old enough to realize that my mom had no clue what was in it, and just STOP reading.

The book that made me want to be a writer:  The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks. Although I had been writing long before I read this book, the first story I actually thought might someday be published was inspired by the Shannara world.

A book people might be surprised to learn that I love:  Reaper Man, by Terry Pratchett. Normally, the whole paranormal fiction thing (vampires, zombies, etc.) does nothing for me, but this book, with the socially inept but soft-hearted Death as the main character, and a parasitic Mall organism as the main villain, manages to parody all of paranormal fiction while at the same time creating a convincing and hilarious world.

The book that I want to read next:  The fifth book in Naomi Novik's Her Majesty's Dragon series. The series feels exactly like a set of real Napoleonic-era travel volumes or memoirs--but with dragons! In the earliest books, the presence of dragons makes relatively little difference to the course of events in the war; but as time goes on, the effects begin to snowball... Napoleon makes it to England! (And that's all I'm going to say!)

The first TV show I watched every episode of:  Stargate SG-1. Initially intrigued by the Ancient Near Eastern connections of the premise, I fell in love with the characters and stuck with the series even through seasons 9 and 10 (ugh). I am just too much of a completist!

A TV show I want to try:  Castle, with Nathan Fillion. I am a big fan of humorous cop shows of the less-gory variety.

The song that always cheers me up:  Anything from the new movie version of Annie, even the songs that are supposed to be sad. My favorite for cheer-up power is the helicopter song (possibly called something like "The City's Yours").

A movie that I fell in love with recently:  Zootopia, from Disney. I laughed so hard in the theater... it's a good thing there were only 3 people there! Fuzzy animals + humorous cop action + great characterization + creative world!

A book I've read over and over:  There are a lot of books in this category, but I will go with Janet Kagan's Hellspark. If you like linguistics, anthropology, or perfectly-realized wacky human cultures, plus great humor and characters, this is the scifi book for you.

My literary hero:  Anthony Trollope, who decided to supplement his income as a Royal Post Office worker by writing novels of English life. He was in his forties. He proceeded to write about 50 massive novels in the next 30 years (and learn Latin)!

A movie ending I'd like to change:  The end of Avengers: Age of Ultron. You can't kill Pietro! He was in hundreds of comics, X-Men and Avengers and Inhumans... now you can't bring those stories to the screen! (Oh, wait--the X-Men franchise still has him, but not Wanda... why can't you work out a shared universe, guys?)

Thanks so much for participating, Kathryn!  I've had a lot of fun introducing my new writer friends to my blogging friends, and I hope you've all enjoyed this as well.

If you agree or disagree with Kathryn about any of the cool stuff she brought up, or if you just want to say, "Hey, is going on an archaeological dig in the Holy Land actually fun?" please leave her a comment!


  1. Oh don't mind me, I'm just geeking out of the archaeological digs :)

  2. That's really neat that you've actually visited the Holy Land to do archaeology!! I have friends at school who've been to Egypt on archaeological digs, but not the Holy Land. (And needless to say, I've never been myself . . . sad.) They tell me it's awfully hot work :-)

    1. The heat really depends on where in Israel you go. We actually had rain and high 70s weather the first few days I was there this year... although the temperature had climbed into the 100s by the time I left!

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks, SW! I'll check it out :-)

  4. Great interview and so nice to meet you, Kathryn. I've heard the 'Shannara' books are really good; love Castle (it's definitely a humorous cop show, but not without its poignant or "intense" moments); and cannot wait to watch Zootopia, which I hear is darling. :)


Agree or disagree? That is the question...

(Rudeness and vulgar language will not be tolerated.)