Interview with Alethea Eason

I think the coolest thing about blogging is the other bloggers I’ve cyber-met. We are all so different in so many ways, but we all share a passion for writing. I was blown away when Author Alethea Eason asked me to be a featured writer on her blog “Heron’s Path” http://theheronspath.com/. She then contacted me for an interview about my blog and published it on hers. I interviewed her just before she left for Chile yesterday.

Introducing Alethea Eason…

Your blog looks so professional. How are you able to be creative and technical? I didn’t think it was possible to combine the two.

I was having the same thoughts about your blog, how professionally done it is. I really don’t know what I’m doing. I waited for “featured writers” to come to me, and then last week I thought, hey, I needed to invite them.

I can’t stop reading the excerpts of your books. Where do you get your inspiration for the worlds you create? I only know how to write non-fiction memoir-type stuff. I wouldn’t know where to begin to write the way you do.

As far as writing, I’ve written for most of my adult life. I always knew I wanted to be one, but I guess I was too much of a perfectionist as a kid to try. I was too scared.

It’s very hard to write and to teach. I used to be able to write after school at night, but having a classroom I had NO energy. I’m going to be reading specialist again next year, so I’m hoping I’ll have more ummpf for when I get home.

I don’t really understand social media very well and have no idea how to market myself. How do you do it?

I do not like “social networking”. I twitter only when I find articles I like. I tried promoting Heron’s Path on it but everybody and their sister is hawking books on it. Facebook works for me and I’m having more and more response to my blog because I’m trying to look at others. What gets me is that I don’t want to spend my life in front of a computer screen. I can get sucked in and hours have gone by and I think taking a walk would have been better.

My first book HUNGRY was published by HarperCollins and did not do well. They were not interested in STARVED. It’s been on my computer for five years and I just decided I had to do something with it. I’m glad I revisited it because it’s a better book than HUNGRY. And I love (the character) Deborah.

I was convincing myself to not worry about writing. I like to paint as a hobby. Teaching is ENOUGH on many levels, then Spectacle told me that they were doing this second edition. So, here I am, at least until the first week of August when I have to go back to work. The second edition has been delayed . . .

It must be absolutely gorgeous in Cobb, California. What a great place to write.

It’s very pretty. We’re kind of in the Appalachia of California, the county north of Napa, but a world away.

How long have you lived there? Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Anaheim, and then we moved to the desert, Yucca Valley, when my dad retired in 1971. I went to the University of Redlands, near San Bernardino. Moved up to N. California after I graduated and struggled until I went back to become a teacher. I’ve been teaching since 1986. Lived in Lake County since 1980, when we only had one traffic light!

What are you going to do in Chile?

We lived in Chile for a year and a half. My husband wanted to see if we might move there forever. Many reason why not, though with health care we might change our minds once I retire. There’s a richness to life we don’t have here. I’m going down to visit the women I taught with. The junior school librarian, Miss Carmen, was like my Chilean mother. She’s getting close to 80 and I want to visit. I taught at St. Margaret’s British School for Girls, for rich Chileanas whose parent could afford it, so they grow up learning English.

Alethea said that she had to get ready to leave for Chile and that a friend was coming over so she had to go. I thanked Alethea for her time. Then she said, “By the way, your response to my writing is what I’ve always dreamed of”.

Right back atcha, Alethea!

Alethea Eason Biography

Alethea Eason is a writer, teacher, and free-lance editor.

Heron’s Path is her second published novel. Two sisters, two destinies. Journey with Katy and Celeste down the Talum River as they discover Celeste’s destiny to fulfill the heron’s path. “A magical tale of a girl finding her power, beautifully told.” Ashen Vaden, Course in Mirrors (Amazon review).

Hungry is Alethea’s humorous middle grade science fiction novel published by HarperCollins in 2007. Would you eat your best friend if your parents told you to? That’s Deborah’s dilemma. She’s the only 6th grade alien on Earth, disguised by a human overskin, and pulled between her loyalty to her friend Willy and her family and species. Alethea has finished Starved, a sequel to Hungry.

Alethea has published stories in several anthologies for children including A Glory of Unicorns, edited by Bruce Coville, Stories have also appeared in New Moon Magazine and Shoo-Fly Audio Magazine. She also writes for adults and her work has appeared in Sweet Fancy Moses, Radiance, and Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine, among others. She won the Eugene Ruggles Poetry Award, sponsored by The Dickens, published by Copperfiled Books of Sonoma and Napa Counties.

As a reading specialist, Alethea has taught grades kindergarten through eighth. She spent a year and a half at St. Margaret’s British School for Girls in Concon, Chile where she worked in literacy in the junior school and as an IB English teacher at the senior school. She now teaches at Minnie Cannon Elementary School in Middletown, California.

Alethea has edited a number of novels and memoirs. She prides herself on working quickly and thoroughly. When working on a novel, she becomes invested in the book and hones it so that the best potential of the manuscript shines forth.

Alethea lives in Cobb, California with her husband, Bill, and Jinxy and Arturo, their two tabby cats.

About HUNGRY

Hungry

Deborah is starting to notice things about her best friend, Willy—like how cute he looks in his Halloween costume and the adorable way his red hair curls just above his collar. He’s the coolest boy in sixth grade, and the closest friend she’s got . . . that is, until her alien parents tell her she has to eat him for dinner. After all, she’s an alien, too—even if she and her family do live in disguise.

Should she keep Willy alive and survive on forbidden hamburgers and chocolate . . . or point her tentacles at her best friend and gain approval from alien kind?

There are times when everyone feels like they’re from outer space. A zany adventure and a close and sympathetic look at middle-school friendships and rivalries, Alethea Eason’s wonderfully unique first novel satisfies that craving to fit in.

About Starved:

starvedthenovel.wordpress.com

Sequel to Alethea Eason’s middle grade science fiction novel HUNGRY

Chapter One: Destiny

Posted on May 19, 2013 by aletheaeason

While our mothers planted tulip bulbs, Willy Logan and I were working to stop my species from invading Earth.  I think Willy and I became friends because both of our families have this huge weirdness factor.  His family is way into horror films, and mine? Well, we eat people.

About Heron’s Path: the herons path

Alethea Eason’s newest book, The Heron’s Path, has all the grace of the river that flows through its pages. One steps lithely into the world of Katy and her delicate sister Celeste. It is a world where the old and the new mingle, the Old Ones hold a knowing but genteel sway and the country man perhaps shouldn’t be so trusting of his dulled senses. Will Celeste come to know the purpose of her wanderings and dreams? Will Katy and aged Olena be able to keep her from the clutches of the evil we-nei-la? Follow them “north to the true wilderness, dark with ancient trees, where the Nanchuti struggle to keep their sacred songs from vanishing”. Like the current of the river Talum that witnesses all within these pages, you too will be swept along in the adventure, sometimes in reflective pools, sometimes drawn inexorably to the falls… to find the Heron’s Path.

TOMS Shoes

I bought a pair of TOMS shoes: you know, the shoes sold in those TV commercials by that really cute, earthy-crunchy guy with long, wavy, light brown hair (whose name is actually Blake Mycoskie) who gives a new pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair of TOMS shoes you buy. Oh, and he lives on a sailboat. I’m not kidding. He really does live on a sailboat. As if he isn’t a dreamboat enough as it is, the guy goes sailing around the world helping kids.

Let’s talk about Blake here for a moment. He has the whole good-looking, outdoorsy, good-guy thing going on. I bet he doesn’t even NEED deodorant. He’s like the perfect guy; the perfect guy who would fall in love with me if I were 30 years younger, beautiful, unmarried, tall, thin, and had waist-length, wavy light brown hair, and a perpetual tan. But, I’m Jewish.

I had heard great things about TOMS shoes from several friends who own them, like they’re really comfortable and not that expensive; and then there’s that whole donation thing. I was on www.amazon.com ordering a pair of super-cute Asics gym shoes to replace the super-cute ones I had worn out. On a whim I decided to pop a pair of TOMS shoes into my virtual shopping cart because I needed shoes that were a little nicer than gym shoes and a little less glam than 5-inch-heeled gladiator peep-toes.

As I waited for my package to arrive I began to notice how many women were wearing TOMS shoes out and about and how good they looked on each of them. But, as it turned out, I didn’t think they looked so good on me. The shoes looked pretty groovy online and in person when they arrived. They had kind of a Native American vibe and color-scheme that just spoke to me. And, while they fit really well, they were “classic flats” and after looking at them on my feet, which are accustomed to wearing anything but something “classic”, I thought they made my feet look old and boring.

It’s hard enough to fight the signs of aging on my face without developing additional worry lines because these shoes made my feet look old. But then the other shoe dropped. I realized I had more to worry about than worry lines and old-looking feet. That donation thing of TOMS is as virtuously lofty as a pair of 6-inch Wedgies. As I said before, for every pair of TOMS shoes purchased, TOMS will donate a new pair of shoes to a child in need. In a feeling of sudden and complete panic I wondered, “If I return the shoes will TOMS still give a new pair of shoes to a child in need?”

Or, worse, would Blake give a pair of nice, new shoes to a child in some remote, lifeless wasteland only to rip them out of his or her tiny, little hands simply because Leslie Korengold of north-suburban Illinois returned the shoes she bought because she thought they made her feet look old?

Normally, if I don’t like a pair of shoes I buy online for whatever reason, I just return them. But, TOMS shoes come packaged in a way that makes you feel like the amoeba that eats the pond scum left by the pond scum if you return them.

First, there’s the box. The top of the box reads “With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One.” The bottom of the 80% recycled post-consumer-waste box printed with soy ink says, “You don’t have to throw this box away! Reuse it, reinvent it, get creative, it’s your box now. Keep TOMS in here, travel photos, souvenirs, old love letters –whatever you want!”

Inside the box are the shoes, of course, which have several tags on them. One tag has the word “Sustainable” and three little symbols on it that I think mean “vegan”, “recyclable,” and “leaf.”

The back of the tag reads, “TOMS sustainable shoes are vegan friendly,” which I think is really nice because most people are not very friendly to vegans. If you say you’re a vegan people tend to look at you as if you eat the amoeba that eats the amoeba that eats the pond scum left by the pond scum.

The tag continues, “The uppers are made of either pesticide-free cotton, or a unique twill featuring hemp (isn’t that a fancy word for ‘weed’?), and recycled plastic bottles”. (Oh, come on, Adorable Sailing Dude, you’re killing me!). “The durable outsoles utilize recycled rubber, and the cushioned footbed has a canvas cover for comfort and breathability.”

The second tag talks about the One for One thing again and goes on to say, “Join us: Supporters of the One for One movement are uploading their stories and pictures right now at www.TOMS.com/wall.” I doubt very highly that Tom wants a photo of me on his wall returning his sustainable, breathable, weed shoes.

But that’s not all! There’s a sticker in the box; one side says “TOMS”, and the other side says, “5 Ways To Get Involved, 1. Put this sticker on your laptop, notebook, car, or wherever people will see it. 2. Host a “Style Your Sole” party with friends and family.  3. Screen the TOMS documentary, “For Tomorrow: The TOMS Shoes Story”. 4. Go barefoot on (TOMS’ annual event to raise awareness of the impact a pair of shoes can have on a child’s life) One Day Without Shoes. 5. Stay connected and share your TOMS story. Follow us on (the logos for) Facebook and Twitter, and a logo I’m not familiar with, but it probably refers to weed.

But wait! There’s more! Inside the box there’s also a flag. (Are you kidding me?) The tag on the flag, which I’m sure is made from recycled and filtered feline feces that has been spun into sustainable, edible cotton, suggests “Show it. Share it. Raise it. Fly it. This is your flag. You are now part of the One for One movement. Keep it. Give it. Hang it. And post it all at: www.TOMS.com/wall.” The recycled and filtered feline feces sustainable edible cotton flag reads, again, “With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One.”

We get it, Blake: You’re a really good person and I’m not. But, I can’t live with myself knowing that somewhere in the world that you’ve sailed to, for Pete’s sake, there’s a child in need who received a brand new pair of shoes only to have them pried off of his or her tiny, little feet just because I refused to wear shoes solely because they made my feet look old.

I had to know the answer to this question. But I wasn’t going to call TOMS to ask. I searched www.toms.com/ to find out what would happen to the orphan with the new shoes if I returned mine because I apparently have vanity issues about my feet. Even though I didn’t think anyone would ask such a ridiculous question, I clicked on the link for Frequently Asked Questions. I just had to see if anyone else was as nutty as I was worrying that the action she took by returning the shoes would cause an equal and opposite reaction of new shoes being callously stripped away from a child in need making me feel like a heel.

And there it was. Someone had asked the question. In response to the question, “If I return my shoes does TOMS take a pair away from a child?” TOMS replied, “TOMS accepts exchanges and returns within 60 days from the date of purchase. This is how we evaluate how many pairs of shoes are final sales and can be counted towards our giving program. Once shoes are given to a child, they are their shoes. We would never take back a given pair.”

Oh, thank God! I felt so much better, but less about the fact that TOMS wouldn’t take away a pair of shoes given to a child. I felt better because a lot of other people must have wondered what would happen if they returned a pair of TOMS shoes for it to become a “Frequently Asked Question”.

Feeling relieved that by returning the shoes I wasn’t contributing to Global Warming, causing another stock market crash, or disrupting the space-time continuum, I printed out the return shipping label. I placed the weed shoes with their tags, sticker, and flag back into the recycled box and set it aside until I had time to take it to the post office to return them to www.amazon.com.

Today, just for the heck of it, I tried the TOMS weed shoes on one more time. To my surprise, I actually liked them! They didn’t make my feet look old; my feet are old. The colors clashed with my excessively white legs, but that’s nothing a little Sally Hansen’s Airbrush leg makeup in “Deep Glow” can’t fix. (Girls, if you don’t have Sally Hansen’s leg makeup, go get it now.)

So, I will wear the shoes, fly the flag, put the sticker on my laptop, and store stuff in my 80% recycled post-consumer-waste box printed with soy ink. And, I signed up for e mail updates about TOMS One Day Without Shoes 2013 (www.toms.com/onedaywithoutshoes) so I can participate. I feel good knowing that I am a part of the One for One movement. And while 80% of me likes the shoes, the other 20% is trying to accept the fact that I have old feet.

Read more about TOMS shoes on the blog: blog.toms.com/.