Ahoy, mateys! Bonny Kitty Cutlass here, excited to introduce you to one of our newest crew members: Noelle Henry, aka No-Beard the Gnarly. Here be her official bio:
Noelle grew up in Illinois, whar she could often be found pillagin' th' local library fer jolly books to read. She graduated from DePaul University wit' a B.S. in chemistry (powder kegs n' cannon fire be a particular speciality) before gettin' married 'n startin' a bonny family. She now be anchored in Northern Arizona wit' her first-mate husband n' a pair o' sons, whar she substitute teaches rapscallions by day n' scribbles realistic contemporary yarns fer teens by th' light o' th' moon. Five years ago, when th' bilge-sucking cancer wanted to hornswaggle her to Davy Jones' locker, she forced it to walk th' plank. She is a Stage IV colon cancer survivor.
Noelle is represented by Beth Miller of Writers House. You can find her online HERE or follow her on Twitter.
Noelle and I had a quick getting-to-know-you chat while I showed her around our fair ship. ("Here's yer bunk. Here's the deck ye'll be swabbin'. Here's the plank." Etc.) Read on to learn more about this fearsome pirate!
BKC: Welcome to the crew, No-Beard! (Or should we call you Gnarly for short?) Why don't you start by telling our readers what kind of writin' ye be doin'?
NBG: I write realistic contemporary YA fiction with heaps of emotion and romance, because that’s what I love to read. Throw in flawed (but strong) characters struggling to figure out where they fit in this world and you’ve got me hook, line, and sinker!
BKC: Sounds enticing! Especially the part about the hook. We pirates are fond of hooks.
Next question: A pirate's name is mighty important — especially for strikin' fear into the hearts of yer enemies. How did ye choose yer pirate name?
NBG: I wish I could say I had a soul-deep reason for choosing No-Beard the Gnarly, but alas, I just don’t. I really wanted to come up with a name that didn’t take itself too seriously — life is serious enough and I enjoy being silly where I can. Since Captain Blackbeard was the first pirate to pop into my head, I thought it would be fun to play off that, and yet, aside from the wee bit of frustrating, stubborn chin hairs ripe for the occasional plucking, I am sorely lacking anything resembling a good and noble beard. Hence, the No-Beard. My husband and sons helped me embellish it with ‘the Gnarly’ because I am nothing if not a fighter and I’m almost always up for a challenge.
BKC: Fair enough, No-Beard. Though I reckon a few months aboard our ship will put some hair on your face!
So: Which YA authors be yer favorites?
NBG: Tough one! It’s hard to pick favorites! I really just love to read a good book no matter who writes it. But for the sake of answering the question, I’ll narrow it down to three: Sarah Dessen, Jessi Kirby, and Jennifer E. Smith.
BKC: Excellent choices indeed. Now that yer aboard our ship — she's a beauty, isn't she? I showed you the plank, right? — what are the three things ye can't set sail without? Besides books by those authors ye mentioned, obviously...
NBG: Toilet paper, toilet paper, and...toilet paper? I am far too practical for this question! Actually, it would probably look more like toilet paper, food, and clothes, because I wouldn’t want to be without any of those things while sailing the high seas! (Can I throw in a sharp sword and me flint lock pistol as well? And maybe some music. Aye, some hearty dancing music courtesy of me violin.)
BKC: The crew would welcome yer music! A violin in one hand, a pistol in the other — you and I are gonna get along just fine. But before I make up me mind about ye once and for all, pick yer poison: coffee or tea?
NBG: Yo, ho, ho, and a bottle of rum! — oh, wait. That wasn’t the question. Sorry. Ha! Honestly, I’m something of a teetotaler and find the taste of alcohol positively nasty, but shh...don’t tell me crew mates. I’d never live it down! I do, however, live for unsweetened green tea. I started drinking it while I was going through chemo and on a no sugar diet. It definitely took me a while to acquire a taste for it, but now, my day doesn’t feel right without it.
BKC: The right answer was coffee, No-Beard. Shall we look at the plank again?
...just kidding. No one's perfect. But now I need to know about yer writing weapon of choice: computer or pen and paper?
NBG: I wield both with ease! When the words are flowing, the computer is great, but when I’m feeling stuck, the computer tends to add a whole ‘nother level of anxiety for some reason, and that’s when good ‘ol fashioned pen and paper comes in handy.
BKC: The YA Buccaneers are a versatile lot! You'll fit right in. And speaking of fitting in, it'll be crowded on board when we next set sail. Did ye bring a pet along with ye?
NBG: Me trusty cat never leaves me side (much to my dismay, at times). He begs like a dog, drinks like a sailor, and loves bananas, table scraps, and squeezing himself into cardboard boxes.
BKC: Ah, a fellow cat-person...erm...pirate. Yer forgiven for the unsweetened green tea incident earlier. Now, I must know: Who's yer favorite fictional pirate and why?
NBG: I think I’d have to go with Dread Pirate Roberts from The Princess Bride, because he uses his brain instead of brawn to outwit the bad guys, and because all he really wants is to find a way to be with Princess Buttercup, the love of his life. What better reason to turn pirate than that? Plus — “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” — which, yes, I know, has absolutely nothing to do with Dread Pirate Roberts, but I can’t resist saying it anyway. :)
BKC: *loudly* "Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!"
Hm. Not the Dread Pirate Roberts either. How about:
*with British accent* "I'll explain — and I'll use small words so that you'll be sure to understand, you warthog-faced buffoon."
Ahem. Got distracted there. Final question: What part of the YA Buccaneers adventure are ye most lookin' forward to?
NBG: Hmm. I think I’m really looking forward to the writing bootcamps. It was because of the bootcamps that I found the YA Buccaneers in the first place. At the time, I was feeling overwhelmed and down in the dumps with my writing. Bootcamp helped pick me up and keep going when I needed it most, so I can’t wait to take an active role in encouraging and motivating other writers — this time as an official member of the crew! I am SO excited to be here!
BKC: And we're excited to have you, No-Beard the Gnarly. Now, let's go check out the mess hall. The mush is to die for. So's the grog. We serve top-notch grog.