1. What is the first story you ever wrote?
My family will find this very humorous, but here it is… coming out in the open! ;)
My first story—now printed out in my early writing binder—is colloquially referred to among the intelligentsia as Heidi’s Nilamokie story. Set in a small village in the Philippines, it’s about the second daughter and third child in a large missionary family. Nilamokie—with long dark hair, dark eyes, and a cheery smile—is the young Philippino girl who is both friend and neighbor to the protagonist. (Incidentally, the protagonist’s older brother’s name is Josh and somehow I’m not at all surprised that Captain Bryant’s first name in Ellen ended up being Joshua. I’m just not sure how much time there was between the missionary story and my starting Ellen. Not that much I would guess.)
I didn’t make it tremendously far in the Nilamokie story, but it’s still extremely vivid. Shady trees with reading nooks came into it—and also tub loads of laundry and the two girls setting out to visit the town store. I think the most vivid moment of all is picturing the dusty street shaded with tropical trees and dappled with green light outside their house. (I wonder… Did that lead to my loving the tropics so much? Which came first? The love or the story?)
I’m pretty positive one other early influence on it is that we had missionary friends in the Philippines at the time. (I’ve never found the courage to show them the story, but then… they might indeed like it!)
2. Which Pixar movie is your favorite and why?
Okay, switching gears! (And no, even based on my coming answer that is not a pun.) Since Tangled and Frozen are technically not Pixar—I’ll say my other top favorite (which most definitely is) and that’s Cars.
First, it’s a redemption story, and the themes go running every which way.
Second, the characters are so incredibly developed. I’ve known people like the ones Lightning meets! (Well, they’re cars, but you know what I mean. ;)) And—often driving a beautiful stretch of Route 66 myself—the atmosphere rings true.
Finally, it has stunning southwest scenery!