Gina McKnight, Author, Freelance Writer, Equestrian, Blogger, and Poet! Welcome to my international blog about horses, writers, authors, books, cowboys, equestrians, photographers, artists, poets, poems, and more horses.
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Friday, August 23, 2013
Becky Mushko, Author
and wise; frolicking in the green hills of Penhook, Virginia, USA, Becky
Mushko is a retired Roanoke City school teacher and 2006-07
writer-in-residence for Roanoke County Schools, currently serving as literary
coordinator for the Mountain Spirits Festival in Rocky Mount and serves on the
board of trustees for the Franklin County Library.
in the quiet Virginia countryside with her husband, an old horse, four dogs, and
a dozen cats. Her published works include Patches
on the Same Quilt, Peevish Advice,
More Peevish Advice, The Girl Who Raced Mules & Other Stories,
Where There’s A Will, Ferradiddledumday, Stuck), to name a few.
three-time winner of the Sherwood Anderson Short Story Contest and five-time winner
of the Lonesome Pine Short Story Contest, she is best known for her wins in the
infamous Bulwer-Lytton Bad Fiction Contest, for her stories —Worst Western (1998) and Vile Pun (2008).
Did you always know you
wanted to be a writer or was there something else you wanted to do as a career?
thought about becoming a writer, although I wrote some stories when I was a kid
(see Becky’s blog for stories). I think my earliest career choice was cowgirl.
Then I wanted to work in a store downtown. Finally I decided to become a
teacher so I’d have a steady income and the summers off. I was always an avid
reader, but I didn’t start writing until the mid-90s—unless you count some
really bad poetry I wrote in college. I don’t really consider myself “A
Writer.” Writing is mostly a hobby.
What is the first book
that you remember reading?
C.W. Anderson’s Billy and Blaze books
that I checked out of the Huff Lane Elementary School library. I remember it
had wonderful pencil drawings of the pony.
Who is your favorite
Smith, closely followed by Sharyn McCrumb and Silas House. I like Appalachian writers.
. . . favorite poet?
Frost—and my favorite poem is The Road
Not Taken. Second favorite is Stopping
by Woods on a Snowy Evening.
What books have you
Patches on the Same Quilt (novel, adult) 2001
Peevish Advice (adult, redneck humor) 2001—a
collection of humor columns I’d written for Blue
Ridge Traditions and The Smith
The Girl Who Raced Mules &
Other Stories (short
story collection, adult) 2003—a collection of my mostly winning stories
Where There’s A Will (short story collection,
More Peevish Advice (adult, redneck humor) 2007.
Another collection of later humor columns
Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian retelling of
Stuck (middle-grade novel) 2011.
I am curious about Ferradiddledumday. Tell more...
Ferradiddledumday began as an oral presentation
about the culture of the Blue Ridge Parkway that several friends and I were
doing in 1997-99. I wrote Ferradiddledumday
to showcase the spinning and knitting skills of a member of our group. People
kept asking if I had a book; I didn’t. After Ferradiddledumday went through several revisions, I submitted it to
Cedar Creek Publishing and it was accepted. An early version is on the Ferrum
College AppLit website:http://www2.ferrum.edu/applit/texts/ferradid.htm.
The story has changed a lot since the AppLit posting. Recently, Ferradiddledumday was mentioned in an
essay by Tina Hanlon in Appalachia in the Classroom, published in 2013 by Ohio
What is it like living
in the Blue Ridge Mountains?
live in the mountain so much as I live surrounded by them. No matter where I look
from my property, I see mountains. From my study window, I see the Peaks of Otter
to the north. From my deck, I see Turkeycock Mountain to the south, where my husband
and I own some acreage on the western slope. From my driveway, I see Smith Mountain,
where the dam is that formed Smith Mountain Lake. The lake actually covered some
land that was owned by my great-great-great-grandfather, John Smith. From my pasture,
I see Jack’s Mountain, only a few miles away to the west. Jack’s Mountain, named
for a bear that used to roam there many years ago, is being quarried. Some days
I can hear the machines pounding as the mountain is ground to gravel. Further
away to the west, on a clear day, I can see the mountains in Floyd County.
These Blue Ridge Mountains form an edge to my world. They do indeed inspire me.
How do you maintain
thoughts and ideas?
I blog. I
keep notes on my computer (a five-year-old iMac—I love Macs!) I used to keep journals
until my handwriting got so bad I could hardly read it.
What are you currently
parts of three novels in my computer, but I don’t know if I’ll ever finish
them. I try to blog at least twice a week on my Peevish Pen Blog. I have two
other blogs about frugal living, and another about my Nace ancestors, but I
rarely update those.
List 10 random facts
about yourself that not many people know...
This is a
toughie, because lots of people know some of these things—but not everyone knows
all of them, so here goes:
internationally ranked bad writer, having won divisions of the Bulwer-Lytton
contest in 1996 and 2008.