Interview the Writer – Sweetman
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My Name is Elizabeth Sweetman and I go by Sweetman when I write.
I live in Beverly, MA, north of Boston. I come from a pretty big Irish Catholic family of 4 girls and then the boy–the poor thing, but he was grown up before we girls realized that and stopped torturing him. I have two sons and two terriers and a great husband.
When did you first begin writing?
I’m not sure, probably when I started reading which was really young, around age 4. I wrote books for my teachers and in 2nd grade I wrote “The Emperor’s New Clothes” because I liked the story so much and didn’t think my teacher would know I’d stolen the idea. She, of course, did and encouraged me to illustrate the story instead of pretending I wrote it which was a nice way for me to save face.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
That’s a good question–I’ve always written so since about 4 or 5.
What is your favorite genre for writing?
I love fiction first and foremost. Nonfiction that is well written is second. Essays that are biting and sharp and controversial but not shock. Poetry eludes me as a writer but I sing the praises of poets for their abilities.
Who has been the greatest influence in your writing.
There are several authors: Jane Austen, Strunk and White, EB White for his essays and letters. EM Forster, W Somerset Maugham, Evelyn Waugh, Henry James. Those are my influences over time.
What inspires you to write?
People, life around me.
Do you read as much as you write?
Oh definitely, I probably read more than I write and I am amazed at the incredible talent of those I read. I try to be selective and not get caught up in bad writing. I find blogs very interesting and full of good writing–it’s just a matter of weeding through to find the right ones.
What book are you reading now?
I’m reading a three now; “The Master” by Colm Toibin which is excellent. I’m also reading the short novels of Henry James. I find him to be an incredible writer but he’s exhausting. Finally I’m reading “Bees and Honey” by Ted Hooper–a terrific book for beekeepers (and I’m a beekeeper).
Is writing a career for you? If not – can you see it as one?
I’d love to have a career as a writer. I don’t know about seeing it as a career, I guess if it fell into my lap. I work at writing but not at selling it.
Where did your interest in writing originate?
That’s easy: from reading. I love that words on a page can take you anywhere.
Where can readers find your work online?
http://lizybee.wordpress.com for essays, writing, observations and comments
http://sweetmanon.wordpress.com for finished writing and novel work
What is the most enjoyable aspect of writing for you?
I do get into my stories and writing when it’s going well. I really enjoy editing them but someone needs to tell me enough! I could edit forever. I have enjoyed working on very short stories lately. They force me to make every word count.
Are you connected to an online writing community?
I am in a couple of writing groups on http://goodreads.com which has been a bit challenging for me. I think I’d do better with a live group but haven’t found one locally
Some random questions here…
What is your favorite color?
What is your favorite thing to have for breakfast?
Toast with peanut butter but I’ve made a bad habit of sharing it with the dogs.
Who would play you in a movie about yourself?
My choice? Cate Blanchette. In reality? Some bland, normal actress who’s name escapes everyone.
What super power would you like to have? Why?
Seriously!! Flying of course!! You have to ask?? (look at all the exclamations! who here doesn’t want to fly?)
What do you do to relax?
Run, bicycle (I have old 3 speeds), read, bees, write, things I love to do are things that I find relaxing. I really wish I could fly now…