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Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Very Mimsey Interview: 15 Months of Winter author John Bayer

Hello Gentle Readers,

If you've been following the blog, you know I reviewed my buddy's book.

My friend

His book. 
 And I thought "Why not take the time to interview the man?" And as John will tell you, I'm a man who believes 110% in his own ideas:


What got you into writing?
In my youth, I was a pretty well-rounded student. My two greatest strengths were writing and mathematics. My father hoped I would utilize my math skills to become an engineer of some sort. My mother encouraged my more artistic side. My therapist says I got into writing because I obviously love my mother more.

At what moment did you realize, I need to write a book about North Dakota?  
During the year that I lived in North Dakota, I had the good fortune of writing a humor column for the local newspaper. The people in the community really enjoyed my sense of humor and my “take” on North Dakota, Norwegian-Americans, and small town life. It was their support that made me step back and say, “I bet these saps would buy a book if I wrote one.” The rest is history.


Are you going back for Threshing Bee 2014?
Absolutely! I purchased by airline ticket last week. I say I'm going back to North Dakota to do a book tour. But truthfully, I'm going for the Threshing Bee's two hour parade of tractors.

My two great loves: Tractors and Parades

What was the hardest part of writing this book? What was the easiest?
The hardest part was balancing humor with sensitivity. I want to make light of life in North Dakota; but I don't want to do it at the expense of people's feelings. I really do have a great affection for the people of North Dakota. Thankfully, most Norwegians have a great sense of humor about themselves. (They might as well; what else do they have?)

Beard contests apparently.

The easiest part – or rather the funnest part – was that I basically got to spend two months straight  reminding myself each day of all the things I love and miss about Crosby, North Dakota (“my home away from civilization”).

Pictured: A Tuesday in Crosby, North Dakota

Have you been able to look at strawberries the same way since?
I will not be discussing strawberries in this interview.

What’s the best place for you to write?
A lot of my writing time is spent talking aloud to the computer screen, or pacing while I figure out how to fix a problem, or laughing at my own brilliant jokes. For those reasons, they have kindly asked me not to return to Starbucks. I mostly write at home.

Hey, they have free wifi and will not judge you!

Can you explain to the readers what Uffda is?
The easiest answer is: “Uff da” is the Norwegian equivalent to “Oy vey.” If you aren't versed in Yiddish, then the question gets harder to answer. Uff da is the thing that you say when there is nothing else to say. It's what you say when you fall down on the ice. It's what you say when you can't find your car keys. Uff da is what you say when you realize you've moved to a small town in North Dakota where they consider fish soaked in lye a delicacy.

Uff da!

Were those Norwegian names real?
Ingquist, Svangstu, Eriksmoen, Joraanstad, and Gjovig are all real Norwegian names. I couldn't make up names that terrible. I'm a good writer, but I'm not that good.

Don't let him fool you, ladies. He really is THAT GOOD!

What can readers expect next from John Bayer?
I'm currently writing a novel, a whodunit set in a small town in – where else? – North Dakota. It's my first attempt at a murder mystery, so I haven't really figured out if it's any good yet. But I'm hopeful.

Man, a whodunit in a snowed in setting. 
Can you imagine?

 Any tips for aspiring writers?
Sit down in front of that screen and write. Even on the days when you don't want to. I don't really believe there's such a thing as “aspiring” writers. If you're writing, then you're a writer, regardless of whether the world knows who you are. If you're not writing, then you're a non-writer. You might be a writer someday, but it's not today.

 Ask me one more time what inspired The Old Man And The Sea!
Go ahead! ASK!


Coffee or Tea

Cat or Dog

Grand Canyon or Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore. I'd love to see it; I've never been there. (Mount Rushmore is in the other Dakota.)

Football or Baseball

Fish or Chicken

McDonald's or Wendy’s
Either. As long as they serve food that's guaranteed to take years off my life, I'm not that picky.

Bubble Bath or Chocolate
Chocolate. Bubble baths are nice, but it's a lot of work to get there.

Three’s Company or Gilligan’s Island
That's like asking me if I'd rather have toe fungus or a big zit on my nose. I'm not really a fan of either. But since I have to choose, I'll go with toe, I mean Three's Company.

And finally, how does it feel to know you wrote the funniest book I read in 2014?
There's still a lot of year ahead of us.


Don't forget to check out my review of  15 Months of Winter!

Jay Mims writes books, blogs, and wishes John Bayer all the success in the world. Jay and The Mimsus live with a passive-aggressive Dalek named Steve, and have semi-adopted their neighbor's cat named Eartha Kitty. There's another cat named Meowthazar, but he's not as interesting. Also a Lizard that Jay calls Bob. Jay is far funnier on Facebook then in real life. He is terrible at Twitter. If you're a writer, editor or publisher who would be interested in a Mimsey interview, review or spotlight then send me a note via Facebook or Twitter!

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