Randy Sue Coburn is a former newspaper reporter whose articles and essays have been published in numerous national magazines. She is the author of Owl Island and Remembering Jody, and her screenplays include Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, the critically acclaimed Cannes Film Festival selection that received five Independent Spirit Award nominations, including Best Screenplay. Randy is also the author of the brand new women’s fiction novel, A Better View of Paradise. She lives in Seattle. You can visit Randy Sue Coburn’s website at www.randysuecoburn.com.
1. Where do you live (city, country)?
A: Seattle, Washington.
2. What is the weather like?
A: Usually cool, gray, and cloudy—highly conducive to writing, and the climate of my soul. Much of Owl Island is a love letter to Pacific Northwest weather. Too many days of straight sunshine actually depress me. Of course, like most Pacific Northwesterners, I’m dreaming of Hawai`i come February. A big part of how A Better View of Paradise came to be set there.
3. Would you rather live somewhere else?
A: There is no other U.S. city where I would rather live, although I would dearly love to have a waterside cabin on the Puget Sound for regular writing retreats and fun times with friends and family. I miss the little floating shack that I used to escape to, but it was quite rustic and now I’m grown up enough to require electricity and indoor plumbing.
4. Do you have kids?
A: Much as I love children, I’ve never underestimated how much energy they take to raise, nor the fact that I’m a lousy juggler. On the days when I believe in past lives, I think that I must have had loads and loads of children, but everything I wrote got stuck in a drawer somewhere.
5. Where were you born?
A: Chicago, but I was raised in South Carolina.
6. What was your childhood like?
A: Very free and independent, with woods to explore and wild strawberries to pick and horses at a nearby barn to ride. Still, as soon as I could read, I spent a lot of time with my nose in a book.
7. What was it like growing up as a teen? What did you do for fun?
A: Apart from reading, I loved to dance—performing in Little Theatre musical productions and working as an assistant teacher at a neighborhood dancing school.
8. Back to the present, what’s your favorite room in your house?
A: My bedroom, where I often write. There’s an expansive view of Puget Sound, and all that water is inspiring for me when I work.
9. What’s your most favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
A: Dutch babies, also known as Hawaiian pancakes. They’re eggy and poufy and absolutely delicious with sour cream and preserves slathered on top.
10. Do you have any pets?
A: Yes—Binx, a smart, comical, affectionate floppy-eared terrier named for Binx Bolling, the narrator of a favorite Walker Percy novel, The Moviegoer. I was going to name him “Walker,” but thought that might get confusing at walk-time, and Percy just didn’t suit his personality. When I write in bed, his head is often on my feet, and if he has to go out, he raises a paw over the keyboard in a threatening gesture.
11. Do you know your neighbors?
A: My apartment is in a building with 74 others, just next-door to Seattle’s Pike Place Public Market, and I have the pleasure of knowing many neighbors. Quite a few are avid readers and very supportive when a new book of mine comes out.
12. Favorite time of year?
A: October. I think it might have something to do with the fact that I was conceived in October because it always seems such a romantic, sensual time of year to me.
13. What’s on your mousepad?
A: The Chinese symbol for “love.”
14. What’s the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?
Whatever dreams I can remember. As Mike Nichols says, the great thing about the subconscious is that it has exactly your sense of humor.
15. What is your zodiac sign?
A: I am a classic crab—emotional (I cry at card tricks), home-loving, food-loving, tenacious, and picky enough to prefer the astrological designation of “Moon Child” over “Cancer.”