Whimsical has author Rebecca Skovgaard in the spotlight this week! Her romance Tynie’s Place is one of our best-sellers!
We sat down to learn a little bit more about this talented author.
WP: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and why?
R: I’ve been writing stories in my head since I was small. Even at age 4 and 5, I remember falling asleep to tales of brave young girls living exotic and heroic lives. I also always loved the written word and to this day, I read out loud to all present (whether they have an appreciation or not) when I come across a particularly clever or effective phrasing.
At age 18, I tossed a couple suitcases into the back of a stranger’s car, left my family in Montana, and drove off to Bennington College in Vermont with dreams of becoming a writer. I was after the great American novel at the time, and it occurred to me that my countrymen and women would benefit if I had some real life experience, knowledge, wisdom… I had a little serendipitous exposure to midwives and home births, and that became it for me.
So it’s been a long and windy path. I have now years of being a midwife, raising children, minding a marriage, and tending a garden. And what I’m after writing now is the great American romance novel.
I love to write and I have an imagination. I’d write even with both hands tied behind my back. It’s what I do.
WP: If you could live in any time period, which would you choose and why?
R: Well, metaphysically speaking, there is only the now, isn’t there?
Practically speaking, all that I love (see above about work and children, husband and gardens) is in the present. Plus, I am a woman and I have children. Despite the many flaws of our current world, there’s been no better, healthier, freer time for women and children.
It’s not even the matter about plumbing.
WP: What makes a story “good” to you? What are pet peeves that make it not so good?
R: It’s all about the characters, isn’t it? If I’d rather stay up reading instead of going to sleep like I ought to, it’s a good story. It’s when I care about characters and want to know what happens to them.
I write about love and romance. I want love to be healing and growth-producing. If I don’t see that change over the course of a story, then I’m not going to want to keep reading.
WP: What is the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you?
R: Hmm. I suppose if you’re from a family of seven kids, there ought to be some stories, eh? I was recently telling a friend about how we used to play roller derby in the basement. There were half-high cement walls surrounding it and the furnace and such in the middle, and we’d circle around, flinging someone forward and all. My friend said, wasn’t it dangerous? I said, no, why would it be? And she said, you know, if you got going too fast on your skates. Skates? I said. We didn’t have skates.
My mom grew up on a farm during the Depression. She once wrote about her life and said, “We were poor, but we didn’t know it.” For much of my young life, my family was poor also. Sometimes, we did know it.
I guess I don’t do crazy.
WP: What animal do you identify with the most?
R: Well, I can’t answer that by saying anything other than the raccoon. For reasons unidentifiable, my family has chosen the raccoon as our totem. We all got raccoon tattoos as a family bonding experience and have backyard bonfire meetings of the raccoon society. We induct new members of the family with some sort of ritual which includes a raccoon imprint by Sharpie.
What can I say? We’re wily and adaptable, we’ll outsmart any obstacle to get to food, and we like family.
WP: What are you passionate about?
R: Well, there’s nothing you can’t guess. Writing. My work as a midwife. The health of women and babies. My family. Mountains.
WP: Describe the best date you’ve ever been on. (Or the worst!)
R: Oh, the worst would be more fun, wouldn’t it?
I grew up in Billings, Montana, where one “burned the point.” This was before internet dating, yeah? I met a guy once and we went to a drive-in movie. He had some kind of car with bucket seats—not the norm back in the day. I was not going to be the one to cross that great divide of the console. So he tried moving over, but he wore a slick windbreaker jacket, and he kept falling back between the seatbacks. Then he’d be there, like a turtle on his back, his arms flailing in front, trying to work his way back out.
Years later, I think he might have done it as a joke. But if I have to wonder about it now, it wasn’t that funny, was it?
I think I wasn’t a very good date.
WP: What job would you have if you weren’t a writer?
R: I’m lucky enough to be doing it. I’m part of a great practice of brilliant, dedicated, caring midwives who have made a tremendous impact on the lives of women and families in my area.
For no good reason, in this country, midwives are like a well-kept secret. That’s changing, fortunately, and I plan to be a part of that process through both of my callings. You’ll never read a book I’ve written that doesn’t have a midwife in it somewhere.
WP: What is the worst job you’ve ever had?
R: Growing up, I was the middle of seven, the youngest of a cluster of three girls oftentimes seen as a unit and referred to as “the girls.” (“The boys”—two of them—came next. I once called around the neighborhood asking if the boys were there, and nobody had to ask who I meant.) My mom was a good Catholic and my dad was, well, randy, apparently, so we were close in age. The oldest of the girls, Sheri, started babysitting when she was probably about twelve. If she was busy, sometimes desperate parents would ask for my sister, Brenda.
You get the pattern. At age ten, I ended up babysitting a family of six kids. The oldest two or three were boys nearly as old as I was, and they were brats!
I called my mom on them. It was their fault. I told them if they didn’t stop misbehaving, I’d call her and so I did. That was the biggest gun I had in my armamentarium.
What were those parents thinking?
WP: What is your favorite movie of all time? Book?
R: Oh, yikes. Here’s where I need a list. The Princess Bride, of course. Ladyhawke. The Hunt for Red October, oddly. Ghostbusters. Aliens. Mary Poppins. Beauty and the Beast. (As a member of the raccoon society, I now have to add Guardians of the Galaxy. Warrior raccoon, duh.)
Books: Many by Katherine Stone. And several by Kathleen Woodiwiss, whose work introduced me to romance novels. Mary Balogh. Laura Kinsale. Rachel Gibson. Susan Elizabeth Phillips. (In my work as a midwife, I occasionally look under a microscope. If a field has loads of red blood cells or white blood cells or whatever, you can just abbreviate it as TMTC. Too many to count.)
WP: Describe a perfect day for you.
R: You should know the answer by now. My goal is that every day should be a perfect day, no matter what I’m doing. But I’ll admit I particularly love a quiet day when I can get out of bed, have a few hours to write, and then go play in the garden. I’d spend the evening having dinner and a walk or movie or game with my husband and whoever else is home.
Thank you, Rebecca, for sharing this great information with us today. 🙂
Find more out about this great Whimsical author and her books here: http://www.whimsicalpublications.com/Rebecca_Skovgaard/Rebecca_Skovgaard.html