Today's interview is with Robin Rule, who has written a coming of age novel, TRAILER FOR RENT: THE REDBUD JANE STORIES. I first met Robin Rule online, where I fell in love with her poetry. I have subsequently visited her in "real life" as we say, in her lovely house in Willits, California.
A few words about her: Robin Rule has been a writer since she was twelve years old. She has been the recipient of a California Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She's read at Club des Poesie in Paris. She has also read in colleges, coffeehouses, and bookstores throughout the great Northwest. Robin has read on radio stations in Mendocino County to Bay Area's KPFA.
SARETT: Your heroine in TRAILER FOR RENT: THE REDBUD JANE STORIES lives in a trailer. What's the most unusual place you've ever lived?
RULE: I have lived in a caboose for the last twenty years and it’s a magical kind of living. I have to think about where goes what because there is very little space in a room that is eight feet wide by eighteen feet long. The two ‘rooms’ can be described as parlor and kitchen and that archway truly helps keeps them separate. The parlor is lined with glassed book shelves, some filled with books and some with bird nests, eggs, fossils, all sorts of wondrous natural history. It was moved to our little town in 1906 as emergency housing after the big San Francisco earthquake and then in 1945, two tiny bedrooms were added on with a jacknjill bathroom between the two.
SARETT: You're known for your poetry, which I admire greatly. How was writing this different from writing poetry (or is it the same?)
RULE: In poetry, I tend to throw out words. In writing prose, I found myself having to write ‘more’, explain in a bigger sense of the world. I have an earlier book of just four short stories that was written more on a poetic bent; so this was entirely different for me and entirely pleasurable to really get to describe. Oh, and dialogue! I love writing dialogue. I hadn’t realized just how exacting it was, but I loved making my characters come alive with talking. I feel like I have a ‘way with words’ when it comes to dialogue. I seem to know how to become eleven or fifteen and write for that audience; even though my poetry is strictly adult written and for adult-reading.
SARETT: Are there any writing rules you secretly enjoy breaking?
RULE: I have to confess that I didn’t pay attention in Grammar class. A writer friend says I keep dangling my participles and I don’t even know what that means. I am a lot like my main character, I must say. Kids, pay attention in Grammar is what I ought to say!
SARETT: OK, let's have fun, if TRAILER FOR RENT gets turned into a movie, who plays the lead? Music?
RULE: I just saw “Gifted” which stars McKenna Grace and she is so much like Redbud Jane, I was amazed as I watched that very excellent film. Hollywood would have to hurry up, because she’s not going to stop growing and she is just right.
My novel is set it in the early sixties, though I never say that. It’s obvious only in the music I mention in the stories. I’d love Bob Dylan’s “New Morning” to be the soundtrack if that mythical movie is ever made.
SARETT: TRAILER FOR RENT is a book about a girl's childhood. What were some of your favorite books about childhood when you were a kid?
RULE: My fifth-grade teacher gave me, The Princess and Curdie by George MacDonald and I was hooked. My favorite book from back then and in many ways still is, was written by Kate Douglas Wiggins, Mother Carey’s Chickens. Of course I loved The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, by Frances H. Burnett; and I also loved and have a first edition of Peter and Wendy by Sir James Barrie. I began collecting Barrie’s books at a young age and have nearly everything he’s ever written. I love Louisa May Alcott as well. I also loved The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes, and the many children’s books by Rumer Godden.
You can order the paperback through Amazon here: TRAILER FOR RENT
Special blog offer: order a personally signed copy from RAINY DAY WOMEN PRESS, PO 1085, Willits, CA 95490. Cost is $17.00, which includes shipping.