Q. Wait. Did you say puppeteer?

A. Yes, I’ve been a professional puppeteer since 1989. For more information about the kinds of work I do, swing by to my company’s website http://www.otherhandproductions.com

Q. How did you get started in puppetry?

A. The short answer is that I was one of those kids who wanted to do everything and puppetry combined them all. When I was in college, a professional puppeteer came to see a production of Little Shop of Horrors, which I was in, and I realized that people would actually give me money to do puppets. Instant change in career plans. The long answer is in a post, here.

Q. Will you read my manuscript?

A. Alas, no. Don’t feel singled out, there are days when I don’t have time to read my own fiction, either. I also don’t have the time to read all the fiction my close friends write. Sorry.

Q. Is Robinette your maiden name, and is there any relation to Joseph (Joe) Robinette Biden?

A. No, actually, it’s my middle name. Though it is tempting, it should never be hyphenated with my last name. Sadly, there is also no relation to our president-elect. Robinette was my grandmother’s middle name, and her father’s middle name and the last name of the minister who married his parents. If you could eavesdrop on my family in Chattanooga you would hear a number of them calling me Mary Robinette in the true Southern tradition of double-names.

Q. How do you pronounce your last name?

Co-wall, with the emphasis on the first syllable. It’s like Kowalski, without the ski. As I understand it, my husband’s grandfather Americanized his name when he came over from the Ukraine to make it easier to pronounce.

Q. You’re from the South? But you don’t have a Southern accent.

A. My answer to that depends on my mood. When I’m cranky I say, “This is a southern accent.” When I’m garrulous I offer the long form. The lack of accent comes from three factors.

  1. I lived in Raleigh, NC where most of the people I knew were transplants who came to the South to work for IBM so I really wasn’t exposed to the southern accent that much.
  2. I also had a speech impediment and couldn’t pronounce the letter “r” or “f.” Speech therapy gave me very clean speech.
  3. Finally, I watched way too much British television.

Q. Do you record audio fiction for people?

A. Absolutely. Drop me a line if you’d like to talk about getting some audio fiction recorded and we can go over my rates. I prefer to do stories with female POV characters, but I also work with very talented actors at Willamette Radio Workshop.

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