Time for another in-depth hard-hitting author interview, posing questions avoided by most other venues. There are no easy answers, but yet another writer has stepped forward bravely to take the challenge. Today please welcome author, Millie Burns, to the seat under the swinging bare light bulb.

1. Ten powerfully built stone statues?

Gargoyles.  Every home should have ten gargoyles to ward off the evil spirits.  They are far more attractive as water spouts than your typical rain gutters as well.  I also find them useful when those pesky door to door salesmen show up, a little hot oil, voila.  Word spreads, and your porch remains unmolested for a time. If you don't have gargoyles perching on your roof, what are you waiting for?

2. How many inflatable swim rings were sold last month in Andorra? Did those sales exceed your expectations or were you disappointed? Please explain. 

300 swim rings were sold last month, which is a much higher number than was expected.  As the population of Andorra is about 85,000 and they are a landlocked country, one would not expect a large sale of inflatable swim rings.  However as their roller hockey team has been largely unsuccessful, they decided to come up with a hybrid sport.  It is mountain lake bumper hockey.  The game is played in the chilly alpine lakes, the teams float in their rings and have a hockey stick strapped to their arms and flippers on their feet.  They bounce off each other as they strike at the floating puck trying to score goals.    The Andorran athletes are hoping to create a huge sensation and get the game introduced to the 2016 Olympic games in Brazil.  They feel since they devised the sport they will have a keen advantage over the Latin American countries who have been kicking their butts in roller hockey.  They've lost a few athletes to hypothermia as the lakes are comprised of snow-melt runoff, but feel the loss is unavoidable as they carry their vision forward.  Since I have no stock in the swim ring company, I care little one way or the other.  (Wow! You researched this, didn’t you? -K)

3. People are always saying, “the thing is...” Once and for all, can you please clear up the mystery and reveal what the thing really is?

Very clearly, the thing is what it isn't, but what it isn't, it is.  And, if for some reason it isn't that thing, then it's the other thing.  See?  Can't possibly be explained in any simpler terms.

4. Do you deny that heads don’t really roll very well? Expound on your answer. 

How the heck did you know I have any expertise in this area?  I wore gloves so there shouldn't be any incriminating evidence to link me to the crime.  However, speaking from a purely hypothetical situation, they really don't work well for bowling, they are sort of knobbly wobbly and thunky clunky.  They also leave nasty streaks of bodily fluids that must be cleaned properly or OSHA gets all bent out of shape.  The fluid fines can be quite steep.  I personally don't recommend them.

5. If a train leaves Boston at 10 a.m. going 25 miles per hour traveling east, and a car leaves Hastings, NE an hour later traveling west, who is driving the car and what time will you go to bed tonight? Why? 
Edwin Perkins is driving the Kool-Aid guy strapped down to the back of a flatbed truck.  Unfortunately earlier in the day Kool-Aid man crashed through a window, tripped over a skateboard, fell down three flights of stairs and cracked his pitcher.  He was leaking enough Kool-Aid to drown an army.  Mr. Perkins felt responsible enough for his creation that he left his Pinochle game early to get him to the glass factory for repairs.   I go to bed when I can't keep my eyes open anymore, because it's not very good to type when your eyes are closed.  Too many typos.

6. What’s the 10th sentence on page 26 of your novel? If it’s really short, please include the next sentence as well. 

She opened it gingerly, finding the letters faded and the parchment dry and unyielding.

7. Your book, Return of the Crown, is a fantasy for YA or young-at-heart adults. With your strong interest in fantasy, did you fantasize about this interview beforehand? How long have you fantasized about doing this interview? Have your fantasies regarding this interview disrupted your life in any way? 
Oh, you bet I fantasized about this.  From the moment I read the interview of Sherrill Willis, I dreamed of nothing else but sitting here beneath the glare of the swinging naked bulb.  I'm glad I don't have to sit naked under the bulb, it's a little drafty in here.  But, I digress.  First I pictured myself delivering witty clever anecdotes, then I fretted my answers would be lacking, but I knew I'd never forgive myself if I didn't open myself up for the challenge.  I admit, I got so wrapped up in my thoughts that my child's now officially truant with the school district, we've eaten peanut butter and jelly for several days(running out of milk in the process and that makes for rather sthickey eating), and the fish weren't fed, so they're all floating.  Lucky for me, the dog knows how to access his food bag, so he's still counted amongst the living. 

8. Do you think it was appropriate for me to sell my great-uncle’s leaky hip-waders to JK Rowling? Why or why not? Guess how much she paid for them? 
If your great-uncle crapped in them no, but if not, it was entirely okay to sell them to JK.  Even JK needs a pair of leaky hip-waders for puddle hopping.  Every writer worth his or her weight in words knows there is no better way to spruce up your creative juices than to go splashing about in large volumes of water.  Waders are great at keeping the water out, but leaky used waders are better because of the squelching noise that's produced with each delicious sploshing step.  It's far more delightful to come home drenched, and the slurping suction-y noise created by pulling your feet out of those sopping wellies is magnificent.  Then you can sit down by the fire with a steaming cup of hot chocolate and a pen and paper.  That's when the most genius creative writing takes place.  By the way, I'm guessing you got 6.25 pounds or $10 USD.  I'd have given you $15, unless your uncle did indeed crap his waders.

9. You are running late for an important meeting or appointment. When you reach your vehicle you discover a vampire bat inside, using your rearview mirror to preen and admire himself. How do you handle the situation? And what was so important about your meeting?

Those vampire bats love jeeps.  Hard to keep them out, what with the top down and all, the weather has been lovely.  This particular bat, Pedro (he'd flown up from Mexico), was answering an ad I'd placed in the local paper looking for a mouser.  I used to have a cat, but he died.  Not because of the fantasies about this interview, no, he'd died awhile ago.  Since I had been running out to interview a local tomcat for the job(who wanted to live in the house and have a stinky kitty litter box in the laundry room), this meeting with the bat was fortuitous.  I called the cat and asked to reschedule our appointment.  Anyhow, I live right along a state park here in California and there's a lot of dried grass housing and mice, rats and moles and such.  Since the death of our beloved kitty, there's been an uptick in the rodent population.  The other thing that lives in the tall grass out back, rattlesnakes.  More rodents=more snakes.  This bat was keen for work, so despite his obvious narcissism, I gave him lodgings in the doghouse outback.  I gave him a nice mirror too, he was so appreciative.  Now, I've just gotta figure out who buys guano, I hear it's quite valuable. 

10. Chuck Norris has invited you to his upcoming Tupperware party. Are you going? If not, how will you tactfully reject his offer? 
Are you kidding, who rejects an invite from Chuck Norris?  Chuck Norris makes you go to his Tupperware party and buy the whole catalog, even if you've been dead and cremated for 10 years.  Why do you think the company is still in business?

11. Your book deals with the classic fight between the powers of the Light and Darkness. Who is the referee and why? Does he/she wear a striped outfit? Does anyone ever boo the decisions?
I am the referee and what I say goes.  I am the author after all.  This is no democracy, it's a monarchy, and stripes are all the rage this season, are they not?  Who is booing?  Please send me their names and addresses, I have a vampire bat at my disposal.

12. Have you ever successfully used the word “scopperloit”? Has anyone? 
I had never used it, though I have engaged in it.  I grew up in a household with eleven children.  Scopperloit occurred on a daily basis, nearly round the clock.  In fact, I was usually the one to instigate it.

12. Do you realize this question is numbered inaccurately? What do you make of that? 
Math is not my strong suit, but yes, I realize number thirteen is missing.  It's possible you omitted it due to your belief it's bad luck.  Or, since number fourteen is also numbered twelve, you might be completely infatuated with the number 12.  And in numerology, 12 = 1+2=3 and 3 is all about self expression through verbalization, inspiration and keen imagination, along with a few other things.  (Excellent answer, but the actual reason is that I like to limit these interviews to a dozen questions. -k)

12. My unemployed step-cousin Junior needs a place to stay. (Junior expects a nightly foot massage along with a fierce lecture on his personal value) When he shows up at your house, how will you welcome him? Be specific please. 
It would probably go something like this..."Hi there Junior, how're you feeling you lazy bum?  You need a place to stay?  I have a very nice doghouse out back that you can share with the vampire bat, mind the guano.  A foot massage?  The dog will give you your foot massage.  It's more like a tongue bath, but dog's are known to lick the weirdest of things.  Beggars can't be choosers you know.  All I ask is that you take up the job of poopsmith of said dogs turds for the duration of your stay.  The bat is quite good at catching rodents, he'd be happy to share his catch with you.  You are welcome to roast the wee little beasties over the backyard fire pit if you don't like your mice rare.  Please make sure to extinguish the pit when done with it, the grass in the fields if rather dry right now."  I'm guessing Junior would rather hoof it down to the YMCA, but I could be wrong. (I think this approach would win Junior’s heart. He’s different. -k)

    Millie Burns, Author

Author Bio:
Millie Burns lives in
Orangevale, CA with her husband and three lovely daughters.  Along with a severe infatuation of the written word, Millie enjoys a multitude of other activities. You might find her out climbing a rock, hiking the backwoods, or clinging to the end of a rope being dragged behind a boat.


 Return of the Crown by Millie Burns

Ravyn's life is about to change.  As a child, Ravyn was whisked away by magic, to protect her from evil.  As her 16th birthday approaches, the safety net evaporates, leaving her exposed.  Ravyn faces harrowing challenges at every turn.  She learns about her strengths and weaknesses, magic, friendship and love.  The responsibility to save Aigerach rests on her shoulders and ultimately she must challenge her evil Aunt Zelera for the return of the crown.

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