Victoria Twead, author of Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools (Dec 28-Jan10)
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Thanks for the welcome :) It's nice to be here. Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools has been doing well since its release in October and I'm hoping people will pop by and ask me some questions about it, or our life in a tiny Spanish mountain village.
Just to say that I really, really enjoyed your book. Great story and the characters were great too. How long did it take to write?
I want to tank you for posting on BYC. Now I have a new fun site to be on and it looks like a book I can put on my want list. With luck I can be reading your book for my birthday... :)
I enjoyed the snippets of your book on Amazon.
Maybe my birthday is too far away.....
Are you still raising chickens?
'Beekee'. Yes, that's what the villagers, including the mayor, call me. They have trouble with the 'v' in Vicky, and it sounds more like Beaky, or Bictoria.
The book took a year to write. Well, more really. I've always kept diaries and made lists of everything. (They used to call me Schindler at work in the UK.) The diaries and lists were absolutely invaluable to me when putting the book together as I had records of all the hilarious things that happened to us right from the moment of moving into the village.
I'm very pleased you enjoyed it.
Ooops! I had to delete the message above because it posted twice...
How kind of you to nip over from BYC. I'm just amazed at how many friends I've made over there.
To answer your question, we only have 6 chickens now, but they rarely bother to lay any eggs. The villagers can't understand why we don't eat them. Eat our girls? Unthinkable!
How did you approach writing your book? Did you allocate time each day or did you wait for things to happen? Did you aim to write so many words each time or as much or as little as was needed to tell a story?
Do you know if any of the locals have read it? Do they know about it?
Thanks for popping in - great questions!
I have what I call my ‘Record Book’ in which I record everything every day. I make a note of events, weather, temperatures, everything… (I know, sad isn’t it?) Using this, I then made notes of what I was going to include in the book. I left a lot out which will probably find its way into the sequel to ‘Chickens’ together with things hat have happened since. I wrote every spare minute I had but found the creativity came in waves; sometimes it just flowed, other times I got stuck for a few days. I was surprised how all-engulfing and exhausting the whole process was, but I loved writing it.
Then Joe would go through what I’d written and approve or disapprove. His writing style is very different to mine so we nearly came to blows a few times, but I was so lucky to have another writer to exchange ideas with.
As to whether the locals know about it… Oh dear! No, none of the villagers speak English and they know nothing about it. In fact, they can’t understand why I spend so much time on the computer.
Thanks so much for your interest.
Chickens is so witty, and you have such a great sense of humor. It would be interesting to see the villagers' reaction because they would have a totally different take on it.
My question? Is this your first book or did you write others? And when you write is there always that element of humor. I find a lot of 'humorous' books are forced and yours is so effortless.
Also, I gave my mother-in-law a copy of CHICKENS for Christmas and she found it quite hilarious, being a lover of chickens and Spain herself.
Lovely to see you here! (For those who don’t know, Erma is an author and translator of her father’s wonderful book, Wave of Terror.) Joe has reached chapter 5 of Wave of Terror and says the atmosphere and characters are drawn beautifully, and that he is thoroughly enjoying the book.
Thank you for your compliments on ‘Chickens’. In answer to your question, I’ve written all my life but this is my first published full length book. I’ve had stories published before, many years ago, but my other writing efforts I’ve kept under lock and key.
And, yes, I always write with humour, I can’t help it. I think the reason is that I don’t take life very seriously and I suppose that comes out in my writing. I have another book in my head, apart from the ‘Chickens’ sequel, about my growing up years. Actually, I had a rough childhood, but it’s the humour that I want to depict.
I’m very pleased your mother-in-in-law found ‘Chickens’ ‘hilarious’!
Happy New Year Victoria!
I was wondering about chickens. You have a good relationship with yours -- do they relate to humans like maybe a cat or dog or like a pet? Are they affectionate, devoted and so on? Did you research chickens for your book? I lived next door to a couple of goats one year (long story), but they behaved much like dogs, following me around everywhere.
Your proposed memoir sounds intriguing, and I'm looking forward to seeing how you balance humor with a rough childhood. That's an odd mix in writing. But you are easy going, have a great sense of humor, and are open-minded, and all this will come through in your life story.
A sequel to CHICKENS? Sounds like great fun!
Happy New Year to you, Erma!
Yes, chickens relate to humans if the human spends time with them, but not like a dog or cat! They follow you, chat to you, even hop onto your lap, but no, they are not devoted or affectionate... They are very easy to look after, and a source of constant amusement. But I don't think you could teach them to 'fetch' or anything very clever!!!
No, I didn't research chickens for the book. Cocky, Atilla the Hen and the others (whose names are too rude to mention here) taught me everything I needed to know. I just described their antics and behaviour exactly as it happened.
Must pick up your book as have been thinking about getting chickens this year. My son just left for college and I was mulling the idea of keeping something around the house! Have visited two chicken coops in our neighborhood - urban chicken farming seems to be picking up lately! - and my question to you is: How much time does it REALLY take to care for say, two nice hens??? would appreciate total honesty! It seems like there's a fair amount of cleaning up. Perhaps even more then is required with one teenage boy.
Honestly, chickens need very little looking after! The bigger area you can give them, the better, as they love to dustbath and scratch around. That way there's nothing to clear up, either, except under their night-time perch occasionally. As long as you keep their grain and water filled, that's it! It's up to you if you want to interact with them, as we do...
What worries me is you say 'keeping around the house'. I've not met a house-trained chicken yet!
I'm no chicken expert; we were thrown in the deep end. The book is about the villagers more than chickens, but I do know from experience that looking after chickens is FAR easier than looking after teenage boys!
I do hope you get to read 'Chickens' one day and that it makes you laugh. I also hope you get your two nice hens and enjoy the delicious eggs.
Gave your book to my wife for christmas. We left the city and bought a log home in the middle of nowhere. We ordered a chicken coop that was delivered on flat bed truck and transfered our six chicks out of our guest bedroom to the coop.
At night, like you, we wondered how to get the chickens into the coop. first we tried herding them in with a couple of bamboo stakes. Then we tried to prevent them from running under the coop by all kinds of wood, cardboard or anything that fit.
Then I even used the four wheel drive John deere gator to ride around them and hopefully they would run into the coop.
Finally our farmer neighbor said, 'you know, they will go to bed themselves when it gets dark".
Wish we would of read your book first.
bob and jan (no mule, but chickens and two old fools)
don't worry...."around the house" just my way of saying "in close proximity to house"....do not want to potty-train anything!
I'm delighted to hear we are not the only Old Fools, and I can just picture you trying to herd your chickens up at night! Did you and your wife enjoy the book?
Very relieved to hear that!
About the villagers ... Why were they so interested in your eggs? Did they not have their own chickens? Were your eggs superior? Also, when you started selling them was it at the going rate, or less or more? The price of eggs has doubled, maybe that's why urban chickens are becoming popular.
And where do you plan to take your sequel? Is it all thought out or still in the planning stages?
my wife just finished your book yesterday and she enjoyed it very much. She spent most fo yesterday saying to me, 'listen to this' and read me passages.
We share some laughs and I'll be starting your book this weekend.
When my wife retired our children thought we were going to move into a condo, not a place with 40 acres and no neighbors. That why we are the 'old fools'.
Most of the villagers are weekenders so don't keep chickens. Most of the others don't have space, gardens are rare. Uncle Felix has a 2-roomed cottage which he shares with his beloved mule and two chickens.
As for the price, one of the Smart Ladies from the village told us to charge 70 cents for 6, so we did. We're very obedient. I guess that was the going rate.
Stuff happens in the village all the time, so I guess the sequel will be a continuation. Notes have been made, thoughts have been thunk, but I haven't started putting it all together yet.
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm thrilled that your wife enjoyed 'Chickens'. May I quote your comment above on my Readers' Comments page, please? http://www.victoriatwead.com/Readers_Comments.html
We clearly have much in common; not following the normal accepted retirement plan... Never mind! Old fools rock as far as I'm concerned.
Yes you can use my comments. Now I have to check the chickens water it's 11 degrees here. One more thing (this is the truth) everyother day we give our chickens plain yogut, they really love it, The farmer down the road says 'when he dies, he wants to come back as one of our chickens'
When I was a child we visited a farm and the farmer let his chickens live upstairs. I would often see them sitting on the sill, clucking away. He even built a sort of ladder to allow them to get down into the yard. He claimed he also installed a phone system, so they could communicate with other chickens on other farms. Don't think he fed them yogurt though. Are all chicken owners crazy for chickens or just plain crazy? I'm sure you have the answer, Victoria.
Those surely are pampered chickens! Bet the eggs taste good.
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