As I wait with bated breath to discover when book three of Carolyn Crane’s phenomenal new series will release, to tide us over here are: Ten things you didn’t know about Carolyn Crane!
CC: 1. I have a boiler engineer’s license.
It’s actually expired now, but I carry it around anyway out of pride. LOL. My husband and I used to own a condo in this ancient building, and the city law said one resident had to have a license to operate this giant old steam boiler or the owners would have to pay all this money to a company. So my neighbor girl and I studied really hard and took the test – she was an oboist and I was a writer and neither of us were mechanically inclined, but we got an enormous amount of humor mileage out of terms like “draining the tri-cock.” And we both passed the test. And we could do minor maintenance things to the boiler.
2. I secretly believe I invented the phrase ‘eye candy’.
It’s not documented, but I believe I invented it when I was in college. in the 1980’s. I remember the circumstance exactly—there was this girl who I thought was the coolest and most fashionable girl ever, and I wanted her to be my friend. We were talking and I wanted to say something super clever about a piece of jewelry we were admiring, and I called it eye candy. And then we started using the term around. Incidentally, I also happen to know the girl who thinks she invented the phrase “bad hair day.” I actually believe her claim. She is super clever.
I think everybody has their go-to bad emotion. Grief, shame, rage, guilt. I’m totally in the guilt/shame camp. I can be wracked by guilt for days for wronging a person. It really affects me poorly when people are mad at me over the Internet. I can easily let myself get haunted by things I’ve done. When Mind Games was coming out, I was petrified that there would be this whole subset of people who’d lost loved ones to aneurysms, or like, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and think I was making fun of them with my fake diseases, and making light of disease. This had occurred to me only after I wrote it, and it sort of haunted me. Okay, now I probably sound crazy!
4. I was mean older sister, and naturally, I am wracked by guilt over that.
I am the oldest of two sisters and I was really mean to my youngest sister growing up. Why? I don’t know! We are on great terms now, but I have this feeling like it must have been horrible for her to have an older sister like me. We were just always fighting.
5. I worked on a Kibbutz in Israel.
I dropped out of college and went there with my friend Rachel and we stayed for several months. It was in the Western Galilee, just a few miles from Lebanon. A kibbutz is sort of like a self-sufficient commune/village full of intergenerational families living, working and caring for each other. We worked on their avocado farms, and the tomato greenhouse, and sometimes the kitchens and in exchange, you got a little place to sleep with the other volunteer farmhands and meals, a few bucks and a carton of cigarettes every week. LOL. It was really wonderful, and I met kids from all over the world who were doing the same thing. I’m not Jewish, but this whole kibbutz experience, and traveling after, gave me such a unique perspective on Israel and different ways of living.
6. I used to be very serious about classical guitar for all the wrong reasons.
Beginning around tweenhood, I took classical guitar lessons, I practiced like crazy and got really serious and really good for my age and won a bunch of contests and stuff. I didn’t feel any specific passion for the instrument, and I had very little talent. It was ALL because I had a crush on my cute guitar teacher and was desperate to impress him, and gain his adoration. Because, though I had no musical talent, but I do have a talent for applying myself to things in really extreme ways. This has served me greatly as a writer.
I have a group of old friends here in Minneapolis and we made this pact years ago that in all our published works, we would use the word stereopticon. A stereopticon is a kind of 1800s viewmaster; you look through it at slides and they look startlingly 3-D. I actually used the word stereopticon in Mind Games (one of Diesel’s possessions in the abandoned gas station) but not everyone was integrating stereopticons into their published works, or, like, they would stick it into the acknowledgements. So, I felt I wasn’t bound to use it in Double Cross or subsequent works.
8. Super healthy eater.
My husband and I are kind of health foodies. You wouldn’t know it for my obsession with chocolate and cheese and crackers and Mexican food, but 95% of the time, I eat really clean. (I personally think it’s unhealthy to be too strict about anything, even healthy eating.) But, often, we have mammoth salads for dinner. Other times, just pomegranates. Or just watermelon. My husband, also a writer (he’s an essayist) makes really delicious smoothies for us every day that have stuff like chia, noni, maca, dandelion greens, blueberries, lemons, raw eggs. We make special raw food for our cats, too, that involves frozen rabbit and bison meat and pureed veggies. We have the healthiest cats on the planet and they have super soft fur.
9. I have wrestled roomfuls of sweaty men.
My husband is a longtime martial artist, has been a martial arts teacher on and off for years. Anyway, we had this idea it would be fun to take a class together. He felt that wrestling and submissions was a giant hole in his mixed martial arts bag, and what the hell, I’m a sporty girl. So, we joined this school, the “warriors cove.” Most of the time for classes, I was the only girl, and I would spend all this time wrestling guys, first for position, i.e. who can be on top or side mount, and as time went on, trying to put submissions, like an “arm bar” on them. It was amazing exercise, but I got injured a ton. Most people there got injured all the time, but you just keep going. I enjoyed it, but eventually had to quit. I think it’s good for a writer to do these sorts of things. That was a few years ago, and now I’m working on a paranormal romance project that involves UFC fighters, so it’s really convenient to have done that.
10. Scared to drive on highways.
Lest you think I’m this brave swashbuckling writer type by #9, I am petrified to drive on highways. Like an old lady! I never liked driving on highways, but for years we had this car you couldn’t take on the highway, so it didn’t matter that I was scrared to do it. Now we have a car you can take on highways, and I feel like a scared old lady. I hate driving on highways, but I hate hating it, too, so I just make myself. But sometimes I will find myself looking for routes to avoid it.
CC: MY MY can I ever go on about myself! Apparently I am totally fascinated by myself. Amber, thanks so much for having me here! This was fun.
AS: My pleasure, Carolyn. Now hurry up and get me book three!!!
So, reader. My favorite is a toss up between eye candy and the boiler jokes. What’s yours?