Hello everyone. Today I have an interview with a lady who lives in a cottage made out of caramel, I got that info from the back of her book and I’m assuming it is a typo because what is a Carmel cottage? Her book is on my gotta read list and when you see the cover you’ll want to check it out too, one of the most spectacular I’ve seen.
Please stare open mouthed at Robin Gregory.
Question 1: Give us a quick run down about The Improbable Wonders of Moojie Littleman.
Thank you for the lovely introduction, Jason. The Improbable Wonders of Moojie Littleman is book one of a trilogy. Moojie is introduced as an orphan whose unrestrained preternatural powers jeopardize his ability to fit in. He forms an unlikely friendship with otherworldly outcasts which threatens to shatter an already shaky connection to his adoptive family.
Question 2: Assuming it won’t give anything away how did you come up with the name Moojie?
I wanted a name that would reflect his contradictory natures. Moojie is a budding saint with a nasty temper. Locals mistake him for a “hostile,” a Native American renegade, when he’s actually part-human and part-alien. Add to that, he’s disabled early on, and yet he can heal others.
The name is derived from two sources. “Moojibaba” is a revered spiritual teacher in Portugal today, whose teachings are based on self-realization. Also, the Hindu word “moojie” is an offensive slur against Muslim Indians. In the book, we don’t know much about the biological father who gave Moojie his name, except that he’s a white immigrant who rejects his son after birth because he resembles the deceased, dark-skinned mother, who is actually an alien. The name and recurrent allusions to mistaken identity are an attempt to show the absurdity of racism. Can we ever know the truth about anyone when we judge by appearances?
Question 3: What is your favourite word?
My favourite word right now is “Perhaps.” Not the American pronunciation but the high-brow, UK “p’aps.” It slays me. I chant it like a mantra.
Question 4: Are there any gnomes in your book and if not, why not?
I’ve often been asked this and must confess that it was a great oversight on my part. How could I have overlooked the gnomes of gaslit America? I’m sure their influence was tremendous! P’haps I’ll slip one or two into my next book.
Question 5: Do you have a particular process whilst writing? Do you listen to music at the same time?
I usually rise at about 5 am and go over yesterday’s writing, checking notes, refining outlines. (Once I was a panster, but I learned that lack of structure will invariably make revisions as fun as tooth extractions.) After working a few hours, I tend to family matters, then get back to work. It’s a good day if I can heel in another 5-6 hours of writing.
For me, writing fiction is like composing music. If I listen to someone else, it‘s distracting, and I tend to come under the influence of their voice. However, music breaks are fun. Lately, I’ve been cranking up the Bluetooth and listening to Leon Bridges. Oh my gosh, have you heard this “Bad News, Bad News”?
I have not heard of Leon Bridges, probably because I have been listening to THIS SONG on repeat for the last 14 years.
Question 6: When Netflix gets around to making a film version of your book who would you like to see cast to play the part of Moojie?
Actually, I’m working on a screen adaptation with distinguished film producer/director, John Crye. We’d love to have Netflix pick it up! Since book one covers Moojie from birth to 14 years old, we’ll need actors at several ages. And since it can take years to make a film, start to finish, there’s the fact that a child actor who is 8 years old today will be 11 or 12 by the time shooting starts. That said, I’m on the lookout for young Johnny Depp dopplegangers.
Pretty sure Gnomes are ageless and will be able to play any age for you, you can pay them in fishing rods.
Question 7: Are you any good at baking? Got any good photos? And would you like to post me some cakes?
I love to cook but am not much of a baker. The last cake I made was for my son’s birthday in 2011. In lieu of a cake shot, I do have a fetching picture of my latest blueberry pancake.
Questions 8: What is your favourite book? Can you remember the first book you ever read? And roughly how many books do you own?
In light of recent events (wildfires, the end of the world, and such), I was forced to consider which ones to grab if we had to evacuate. It’s impossible to tell how many books I own (6,003). I suspect the stacks are fused together and holding up the walls.
It came down to my favourite book, One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (my guru), 1958 Letters, by Joel Goldsmith (my other guru), and Mushrooms Demystified, by David Arora (more on this later). Oh… and one signed, hardbound copy of The Improbable Wonders of Moojie Littleman to inspire mercy from invading aliens.
The first book I ever read.
“Look Jane,” said Dick. “See Spot go. Go, go, go.”
Question 9: How has your lockdown been? Did you go far enough into insanity to be unable to find your way back?
As a writer I’m used to sheltering in. However, being a wife and mom has taken on new dimensions. Instead of kissing loved ones and sending them off for the day, they are here all the time now, and we are growing very close (to throttling each other). An esteemed colleague coined a term for persistent family interruptions caused by sheltering in: “peanut butter emergencies.”
Question 10: As you are a writer, you got any good ideas for a quarantine story?
When a two-year pandemic leads to social breakdown and loss of internet access, a woman who channels St. Francis of Assisi sends out squirrels to forage for her. (*That’s where Mushrooms Demystified comes in handy.) One day, the squirrels return without food and a handwritten note. It reads: Please help!!! I was kidnaped 3 months ago. Being held against my will. A hand drawn map shows the way to a house. Terrified of venturing out into the lawless, virus-laden, friendless world, the woman-channelling-Assisi sends the squirrels to do reconnaissance. But they get snatched, too. She is forced to do what she would never do. Armed with a pogo stick, a lot of string, and the gift of clairvoyance, she leaves the shelter of her home to engineer a rescue of the kidnapee and squirrels. But a danger worse than plague lies ahead. The kidnaper happens to be trillionaire founder, CEO, and president of a multi-national technology corporation, Geoffrey Beesoze.
Question 11: There have been a lot of crazy conspiracy theories about this virus, create a new one now, let us spread it on social media and see how long it is before breakfast news or Trump mentions it. (so far he has ignored all attempts to trick him)
I was in danger of irreparable lunacy until I uncovered viable research on the cause of the pandemic. I have it on good authority that Covid-19 originated in Rowan Atkinson’s refrigerator.
Question 12: What’s the thing you miss most about life before the lockdown and what’s the first thing you’re gonna do when we are free again?
I miss seeing people’s faces. No matter how cute Covid-19 face masks are, they make the nicest people look shifty. Everyone resembles a bank robber or an undertaker. Once the lockdown order is lifted, I’m going to autograph my pretty little designer masks and put them up for auction to cover the cost of cleaning out Sir Atkinson’s fridge.
One thing I’ve enjoyed about the mask wearing is the covering up before going into a bank with my sawn-off shotgun, it really makes me feel like a proper bank robber.
Question 13: Got any plans for another book?
Why yes! As we speak, I’m editing book two of the trilogy. In Halfkin, eighteen-year-old Moojie, now a renown healer, takes a perilous journey to an alternate universe to find his first love, and gets involved in a plot to save the inhabitants from a threatening atmospheric condition. It’s an adult fantasy, told in the style of magical realism (Speculative and mystical experiences interwoven with true historic events.)
And now for the crazy tasks!
Task 1: Robin is to decide on a task, carry it out and challenge me to best her.
Today I will walk up my street like one of my favourite male actors, Jacques Tati. The challenge: you pick a female actor and walk at least one block like her. Hehe.
I will enact the walk of Daryl Hannah in Attack of the 50ft Woman. This actually made the news in the UK, of course I am too short to have been seen but people felt my precense. Check out the story HERE:
Art task: I am doing a gnome gallery on my blog, can you create a piece of artwork based on Gnomes, can be any medium and you are welcome to name the piece. No pressure hehe.
Thank you kindly for the delightful interview, Jason. I enjoyed the opportunity for deep, cultural exchange, and to show off my pancakes. Keep being amazing!
Thank you for taking part in the madness that is an interview with me, when I win a Noble Prize for this interview I promise to give you at least 10% of the prize money.
*The Improbable Wonders of Moojie Littleman is available through all major online and brick and mortar sellers. (Hardbound, paperback, ebook)