Thursday, June 9, 2016

J. Cornell Michel's Would You Rather

Bored with the same old fashioned author interviews you see all around the blogosphere? Well, TNBBC's newest series is a fun, new, literary spin on the ole Would You Rather game. Get to know the authors we love to read in ways no other interviewer has. I've asked them to pick sides against the same 20 odd bookish scenarios. And just to spice it up a bit, each author gets to ask their own Would You Rather question to the author who appears after them....

J. Cornell Michel's
Would You Rather 

Would you rather start every sentence in your book with ‘And’ or end every sentence with ‘but’?

Probably the former. I am guilty of starting sentences with ‘And’ but have never ended a sentence with ‘but’. Unless I could end every sentence with ‘butt’, then I’d do that for sure butt.

Would you rather write in an isolated cabin that was infested with spiders or in a noisy coffee shop with bad musak?

Great question. I don’t really mind spiders, and since the novels I write are pretty dark I think it would help to work in such a creepy environment. Plus I can’t write while music is playing unless it’s classical. If there are lyrics in the music then I start to type the lyrics. It’s a mess.

Would you rather think in a language you could understand but write in one you couldn’t read, or think in a language you couldn’t understand but write in one you could read?

I’d definitely choose to write in a language I could read. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to edit, and my first drafts are always a mess. And I’d get by okay thinking in a language I couldn’t understand. I think…

Would you rather write the best book of your career and never publish it or publish a bunch of books that leave you feeling unsatisfied?

I’d much rather write the best book of my career and never publish it. Writing is a selfish act for me. It’s what keeps me going – my happy place. I recently finished writing a novel that is by far the best book I’ve ever written, and it left me feeling full because it helped me deal with my mother’s unexpected death. If no one ever reads it, that’s fine by me because I wrote it so I could properly grieve. That’s worth more than all the royalties in the world. Writing is like therapy for me and probably is for many writers.

Would you rather have everything you think automatically appear on your Twitter feed or have a voice in your head narrate your every move?

Ironically, I just watched Stranger Than Fiction last night. I wouldn’t mind a narrator in my head, as long as it didn’t tell me about my imminent death. And I have some pretty dark thoughts that probably shouldn’t end up on Twitter.

Would you rather your books be bound and covered with human skin or made out of tissue paper?

Gross! I love this question. Probably tissue paper. As much as I adore horror, I couldn’t stomach touching a book covered with human skin. Yick!

Would you rather read naked in front of a packed room or have no one show up to your reading? 

I’d much rather have no one show up to my reading. I hate being naked, even when I’m home alone. It’s not that I’m shy, I’m just always freezing, so nudity and I are not friends.

Would you rather your book incite the world’s largest riot or be used as tinder in everyone’s fireplace?

Hmm, as much as I like my books to have an impact on readers, I wouldn’t want to start a riot. I hate the idea of burning books, but I’d have to choose tinder. 

Would you rather give up your computer or pens and paper?

That’s a tough one. I’d guess I’d have to give up pens and paper. I take tons of notes on paper, but I could never give up my computer.

Would you rather have every word of your favorite novel tattooed on your skin or always playing as an audio in the background for the rest of your life?

I suppose I’d opt for the tattoo. The audio would be too distracting and I’d never get any writing done. 

Would you rather meet your favorite author and have them turn out to be a total jerkwad or hate a book written by an author you are really close to?

I’d rather find out my favorite author is a jerkwad, as long as I’d never have to hang out with her. Plus, it would really suck to hate a book written by an author I’m close to.

Would you rather your book have an awesome title with a really ugly cover or an awesome cover with a really bad title?

I’d opt for the ugly cover. Titles are so important, and most authors spend a lot of time coming up with the perfect title. An ugly cover I could deal with, but a bad title would kill me.

Would you rather write beautiful prose with no point or write the perfect story badly?

I’ve read beautiful prose with no point, and it always leaves me feeling unsatisfied at the end. As much as this pains me, I’d rather write the perfect story badly.

Would you rather write only embarrassingly truthful essays or write nothing at all?

Embarrassingly truthful essays, all the way. I couldn’t write nothing at all. That would be my worst nightmare!

Would you rather your book become an instant best seller that burns out quickly and is forgotten forever or be met with mediocre criticism but continue to sell well after you’re gone?

Honestly, I’d be happy with either, but if I had to choose one I suppose I’d want my book to continue to sell well after I’m gone.


San Francisco resident J. Cornell Michel is a fourth generation writer, but she's the first one in her family to write about zombies. She works in a patent law firm as a docket supervisor during the day and spends her free time writing stories about the undead.

Jordan's Brains, J. Cornell Michel's first novel, was praised by IndieReader for being "funny and fast-paced" and for "offering a new look at a dead-tired subject." Zombie Zeitgeist is a chilling collection of Michel's short stories. In her book 'Twas the Bite Before Christmas, she added zombies to Clement C. Moore's classic Christmas story. Michel's second novel, Where's My Dinner?, is about a virus that turns women into zombies but doesn't infect men.

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