Meet the Author: Erin McCole-Cupp
Greetings, y'all! At long last *drumroll* remember a long, long time ago, when I posted a review of Erin McCole-Cupp’s book, Don’t You Forget About Me? Yeah, kinda thought you wouldn’t. Go check it out here! I promised y’all an interview with Erin, courtesy of my connection with her through the Catholic Writers Guild. I’m happy to say that I finally followed through on that. Therefore, enjoy the first of what will hopefully be a recurring element!
Readers, this is the spectacular author, mother, and third-order Dominican, Erin McCole-Cupp. Erin blogs over at Will Write for Tomato Pie, and is the author of Don’t You Forget About Me, ebook Working Mother, and science-fiction-dystopian-Gothic novel Jane-E. (More about that book in a later post.) Thank you, Erin, for taking the time to pop over to Our Hearts Are Restless!
Without further ado: Erin.
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="386"] Photo courtesy of erinmccolecupp.com[/caption]
Greetings, Erin! A lot of my blog is about books (me being a lit major and wannabe editor, after all). You being one of those spectacular entities known as an AUTHOR...what's the best thing about being a writer?
The best thing about being a writer is the people I meet. That is perhaps the most counterintuitive sentence I’ve ever written. On the surface, writing looks like such a solitary job: sitting alone, hunched over a laptop, riding some coffee shop’s free WiFi. On top of that, most writers put the “in” in “introverted”—myself included. However, between the energy I get from other writers, the joy and encouragement I get from readers who enjoy my work, and (please don’t get scared) the characters I get to experience as they live inside my head and teach me things I didn’t think I needed to learn… yep. Definitely the best part of writing is the people.
As a young editor, I interact with a lot of young wannabe writers. Do you have any advice for teen and young adult writers?
1 Timothy 4: 12: “Let no one have contempt for your youth, but set an example for those who believe, in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity.”
What motivated you to write fiction?
The money. HA! No, seriously. I sometimes wonder how much of it is because of how my brain is wired. My parenting journey with the first two of my kids has given me a strong suspicion that I have Sensory Processing Disorder, and as a result I’m disinclined towards physical activity (snort); on top of that, I have a hard time doing things the way The Normals do, you know, by following directions and such. So I have a brain that does better with words and does poorly thinking inside the box. Sounds like a likely recipe for a fiction writer to me. And here I am.
Having read your blog and DYFAM, I have a more random question—what is tomato pie?
There are two kinds. There’s a southern version, which has a pastry crust, sliced tomatoes, mayonnaise, and occasionally bacon? I think? Anyway, I’ve made it. It’s… okay. It just can’t beat the tomato pie I grew up eating. Philly-style tomato pie is like pizza, only made by angels. It has a yeast-risen bread crust topped with a sweet-and-savory tomato sauce that is so thick that you cut a slice and the sauce just stands there like it’s waiting for a bus. The lot is topped with a shake of grated parmesan (the kind from a plastic can, not the fancy shredded stuff) and a drizzle of olive oil. It’s served room temperature and is a staple at parties in certain pockets around Philadelphia. I’ve made it for CatholicMom.com, but it’s not as good as what you can get from my favorite source, Corropolese Bakery. Yum. Anyway, the search for tomato pie is a running gag through my novel Don’t You Forget About Me.
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="500"] Not sure how to properly cite this, but I borrowed the picture from the Catholic Writer's Guild Facebook. Photo credits go to James Hrkach.[/caption]
You're one of those even more rare breeds known as a Catholic fiction writer (yes, they exist, and yes, they should be read). What’s your favorite Catholic devotion or sacramental, and why?
I’m a lay Dominican, so I have to say the white scapular. It shows my fallen nature (you brown scapular wearers don’t have to worry about sweat stains showing). It’s different from most scapulars but isn’t showy about it, and it helps me find others who are following Christ out of the School of St. Dominic.
I suppose this is a more personal question. What advice would you give to a young person about to step into the “real world”, out of the warm, cozy bubble of family and college?
I remember those first years out of college being some of the most turbulent of my life. What advice could I possibly give? Well, let’s just say, “Keep your eyes on The Prize.” Hint: the prize is not money, fame, approval, stability, a husband (shocking, I know), a vocation to the religious life so you’ll get to be on the Imagine Sisters page, or the genital stimulation of your preference. The prize is The Prize: the peace of knowing that you are a precious fleck of unique humanity designed for eternal, not earthly, greatness. And then, choose eternity over the here and now. Keep choosing it. If you do that, you’re good to go.
This blog has seen a lot of references to the Catholic Writers Guild. How did you get involved with the CWG?
I used to freelance and had my first novel out in 2006, but by 2011, I still had the itch to write but was doing precious little to scratch it: a NaNoWriMo here, a press release for a sister in St. Dominic there. I was however in the car a lot, toting my kids back and forth. To make the most of that time, I listened to a lot of Catholic radio. This is where Jesus found me, along the shore, cleaning my net and calling it a day, thinking about dropping this whole writing thing and picking up something normal, like quilting or scrapbooking, instead. In the summer of 2011, I heard advertised the Catholic Marketing Network Trade Show, which was being held less than an hour from my house. There I found the Catholic Writers Guild. Less than two months later, we scrambled to make it possible for me to attend the Catholic Writers Retreat in Lansing, MI. One stroke of the oar led to another, and to make a long story short, I met my publisher through CWG, which I would not have done had I not networked at the October 2012 retreat, which I would not have done had I not gone to the CMN show, which I would not have done had I not simply listened to Catholic radio.
What kind of an impact or influence does the Guild have on you?
My experience with the CWG has provided me with support, opportunity, friendship, and accountability. The best way to get the most out of the CWG experience is to go to the Catholic Writers Guild Conference Live at the Catholic Marketing Network Trade Show. This year it will be in Somerset, New Jersey. If you can make it, it’s well worth the cost! Some time in late June or so, check my blog for the #CMNSelfie Scavenger Hunt list. That was a great way last year to meet new “guildies” as we call ourselves and connect with each other on social media. And, if I’m not mistaken, our lovely hostess here is the person who brought a picture of St. John Paul II with a koala last year. I wonder what she’ll bring this year?
Ah yes, the papal koala. Not what Erin was expecting when she put "pope" and "koala" in the scavenger hunt. Thank you so much, Erin, for visiting via interview! Good luck with your current writing projects!
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Photo courtesy of erinmccolecupp.com[/caption]