Waffles With Writers: Madame Weebles

Dee-licious!

Dee-licious!

Welcome to my new interview show, Waffles with Writers! Every month I will chat with a working writer over a nice, waffle-centric meal.

Today’s brunch guest is Madame Weebles, who is best known for having recently taken the blogging world by storm with her sometimes profound, sometimes profane, and always compulsively readable posts. Decades before she named herself after a 1970s choking hazard, however, Weebles’ writing credentials were firmly in place; her career includes long tenures as both a professional historian and medical editor. These days, in addition to her regular posts, Weebles works as a reiki master and geeks out over the life stories of Hot Dead Guys.

***

Mike: Welcome, Madame! You’re just in time. The Belgian waffles are just out of the iron and piping hot. What toppings would you prefer?

Madame: Ice cream and chocolate syrup, please. And maybe some strawberries. And bananas. And whipped cream.

Fortunately I have a well-stocked topping supply. Bananas… Ice cr­— Listen, while I’m getting all this stuff, let’s get things started. I hear that you used to work as a military historian. In terms of traditional story structure, which battle in U.S. history is the most dramatically satisfying?

This is an excellent question, and one that I never really thought about. They all have elements of drama, but one of my favorite stories is from the American Revolution, in August 1776. Washington and the Continental Army were getting their butts kicked by the British in the Battle of Brooklyn Heights (it didn’t help that a lot of Loyalists lived in New York and helped the British). They were cornered on the Brooklyn coast with General William Howe and thousands of Redcoats bearing down on them. Instead of surrendering or trying a last-ditch effort to fight, Washington engineered the escape of the entire Continental Army across the East River, at night. In the morning, Howe reached the American camp and found nothing. That’s a pretty neat trick, rowing your whole army away in complete silence, under cover of darkness. The battles weren’t Washington’s finest hour, but the evacuation was pretty darned clever. If he hadn’t done that, his army wouldn’t have lasted to fight another day, and the war would have been largely over.

On your blog you have a peculiar obsession with Hot Dead Guys. In fact, you are writing a story about one such Hot Dead Guy, Robert Cornelius. Can you give me an elevator pitch explaining why Cornelius’ story is worth hearing?

He was smoking hot, for starters. Possibly the hottest dead guy in history. That’s reason enough. But if you need more – although I have no idea why you would – he was a pioneer in pretty much everything he touched. In 1839, he was the first to take a daguerreotype photo of a human being – a huge feat at the time. He had 22 patents – several of which were cutting-edge technology. In 1843 he created a high-quality fuel lamp that burned cheap lard; this was a big deal because people who couldn’t afford lamp fuels like oil, could now have good lighting in their homes. He became a household name for that invention. Also, if you have a gas stove, you know that electric spark that ignites the gas burner? He was using that technology back in 1866. He knew his stuff. And finally, he was SMOKING HOT.

Robert Cornelius: People Magazine's Sexiest Man Not Alive

Robert Cornelius: People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Not Alive

Smoking hot. Yes. What is your plan for Cornelius’ story?

There are a few journals/organizations that have expressed an interest in it, which is nice. But it won’t be long enough for a book, so it will be an article. If I’m ever feeling really ambitious I might write a book with each chapter being another bio of someone who has been lost to history but shouldn’t be.

What three famous people would you like to have dinner wi– No, never mind. Everybody asks that one. How about this? Which famous people would you invite to your mortal enemy’s birthday party?

Another excellent question. I could say something like Hitler or Stalin, but that’s too easy. Instead, I’m going to go with really obnoxious people who would be so annoying that my enemy would pray for death. So I would invite several former co-workers, as well as Justin Bieber, the cast of Jersey Shore and The Kardashians, and Tom Cruise.

Not Alex Trebek?

I forgot about him. Trying to block him out of my head. But yes, I would invite him too.

Is there a story you’d really like to write about but fear you never will?

There is, actually. It’s about Nikola Tesla, when he demonstrated his alternating-current induction motor in 1888. I would love to tell the story of Tesla demonstrating that motor and describing the reaction from the crowd. I mean, this was HUGE. At the time, a few other guys were working on similar projects, but Tesla beat everyone to the punch. I would love to tell the story about the impact of that presentation and the audience response. Was it quiet enough to hear a pin drop? Was there applause? Was there a loud murmur as people talked among themselves about it? Were people saying “WTF?” (or the 19th-century equivalent of WTF)? Did people realize then that they were looking at something that would literally change the world? I don’t know if there are enough first-hand accounts of this event, or even news reports about it, but I want to tell that story.

The motor that made Edison jealous.

The motor that made Edison jealous.

Is the absence of documentation the reason why you haven’t written the Tesla story?

That’s the only reason. If another dig through the records yields any helpful accounts, I will absolutely write it.

You now work as a reiki master, which I find fascinating. Do you find that your skills in that field help you with your writing? Does it help you to fight what you once described as the “Judgmental Brain of Madame Weebles?”

It hasn’t helped with the writing so much, but it does help ground me when the judgmental brain starts spouting off. It helps to remind me that my brain isn’t that smart sometimes.

Thank you so much for visiting Madame! It’s been delightful. Would you like some waffles for the road?

Yes please! These are delicious! I’ll probably finish them before I even get in the car!

103 thoughts on “Waffles With Writers: Madame Weebles

  1. Great interview…with great answers! I especially loved the birthday invite list, I too would beg for death in that crowd. And Madame Weebles, if/when you ever write about Tesla, please share…I love Tesla and was so pleased to see a statue of him at Niagara Falls. Another of my favorite forgottens, a bit more modern but ahead of his time was Tucker for automobiles, though not quite as life changing he was a brilliantly forward thinking man.

    • Hi Mrs. P! Always a pleasure to meet a fellow Tesla fan. Tucker was a clever fella too, he too didn’t get his proper due. Did you ever see the movie about him, with Jeff Bridges as Tucker? Not the best movie on earth but at least it told his story.

      • Yes, in fact I own it. Next question to you…another brilliant man that the US basically wanted nothing to do with and pushed off to Japan during the Occupied Japan era…what do you know about W. Edwards Demmings? If only we had listened to him, I think the US would have been quite different.

    • Poor Mr. Deming, completely misunderstood and underappreciated by Americans. But our loss sure was Japan’s gain. We could use the likes of him right now, that’s for sure.

  2. Waffles & Weebs, you’re a lucky Writer, Mike! I’m going out on a limb here and saying that Tesla was not as egomaniacal as Edison in promoting his work, so his influence, though powerful, is more subtle. Hmmm, wonder where that came from…xoxoM

  3. I love the waffles with writers title, and a very worthy first interviewee! Which reminds me, I’m due to interview you sometime over at Limebird, is it better to wait till closer to Thanksgiving, or is anytime fine? I’m happy either way! And if Madame hasn’t eaten them all, I’d like my waffles with some maple syrup and a bit (a lot) of whipped cream please.

    • I’d love to set up a brunch date, Vanessa. And you won’t have to eat Weebles’ leftovers, either; I’ll make a fresh batch just for you!

      I can’t wait to become a Limebird interviewee but I probably *should* wait. I think an autumn interview would be the best way to go timing-wise. Thank you for the very kind offer, my friend!

      • Yes, it definitely makes more sense to me for us to wait till later in the year for the interview, but I wanted to give you the choice in case there was some benefit for you to doing it sooner. I’ll pop a note in my diary to contact you after the summer, but for now I don’t want to think about the end of summer because it’s only just starting!

  4. Reblogged this on Fear No Weebles and commented:
    I recently had the pleasure and honor of being interviewed by Mike Allegra, Children’s Author Extraordinaire. Come on over and join us. And if you’re not already following Mike’s blog, you should be. Seriously. Follow him.

  5. I didn’t know you were writing a story about Cornelius. I thought you just had the hots for him. I’m glad to learn you’re managing to have your cake and eat it too…

  6. Regarding the first question, a song comes to mind: “You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, know when to run…” How very martial artsy of Washington to follow his intuition.

    And as for the rest, this ex-engineer wants to hear more about TESLA!!!! Have you read “Tesla: Man Out of Time”?

  7. Thanks for the delightful interview, Mike. Weebs, you have wonderful ideas for books. I’d like to read the one about people lost to history but shouldn’t be. That’s a great one!

  8. Nice interview, delicious-sounding waffles!

    And Mr. Cornelius is pretty yummy, too. I’d definitely read a book about hot dead guys, if all the chapters featured gentlemen (or not) like him.

  9. Weebs – except for the liking of dead hot guys, I didn’t know this much about you – you’re freakin’ fascinating!

    I like dead hot guys from the 12th-14th century. Llewellyn Fawr is my favorite dead hot guy, followed by Henry II, William Marshal and William de Ypres.
    Reiki Master too? My uncle is one as well – are you him?

    AND tell us about your job as a military historian!

  10. I read the post for a pleasant way to start my morning here on the left coast. But then I had to take several sips of my caffeinated tea – because I needed my BRAIN too on this one. Wonderful interview, wrtierfellow, and a smart sassy funny fascinating interviewee. I learned a lot (once I read it over three times). The main thing I took away was that Cornelius was HOT, and truly, in the end, (particularly female) readers like to learn about HOT guys. Thus, I write and publish romantic suspense with hot guys. But in my next novel, maybe my plot will include an alternating-current induction motor (with hot guys) …

    • Thanks!

      Um. Wait a second.

      Are you telling me that all my other posts are brainless?

      On another note, a romance featuring hot guys and alternating current induction motors sounds like a best-seller waiting to happen. Get on that right away, won’t you?

      • That SO did not come out right. I need my brain, soul and heart when I read a writerfellow post. Truly.

        Now, I’m off to research my induction motor theory (the hotter the motor, the hotter the guy…)

    • Hi roughwighting! It’s true, we like to learn about hot guys. (And hot chicks, for those are more inclined towards the ladies, of course.) That’s the only reason I like history, really—the hot dead guys. Otherwise, who cares? Meanwhile I’m going to have to peruse your site and learn more about the hot guys in your novels…

  11. I knew Madam Weebles wouldn’t disappoint, including Tom Cruise was great.
    The hot dead guys is not bad at all, the other day I was looking into “hot ex-cons or convicted felons”, there are some fine examples there too.
    Great interview.

  12. Weebs,
    My wife and I have been chatting a great deal about Tesla lately—my wife is adamant about the fact that he got screwed, because he was generous, and wanted to share his ideas, cause he was a hippie at heart, and I, cause he loved pigeon(s), and we all know that if you’re going to love an animal, it should Geddy Lee.
    Le Clown

    • He absolutely got screwed, first by Edison and then by society. He had so many visions on improving things for people. But unfortunately he was ahead of his time and people didn’t get him then. Time has proven him right. And because this is Mike’s blog, I’ll refrain from any naughty comments on Geddy, and I’ll refrain from mocking you. You’re welcome.

  13. Awesome interview! I don’t know if I would choose Justin Beiber though… friends of mine have admitted to me that they saw his documentary, and that it really makes you not hate him so much. Also, now I REALLY want waffles 🙂

  14. I just recently learned that Weebs is a Reiki master, and I was like, “Uh, what the hell doesn’t this woman do?”

    Also, I would like to start a petition to get her to write about Tesla. Like Clown and Weebs, I think he absolutely got screwed.

  15. Hi Mike! How ya doin’? I’m here for the Weebs!

    Madame Weebles, I love you! Those answers were fantastic! (Great questions, Mike.) I homeschooled our son, and history and science were huge for us. I knew of what you spoke, but was still on the edge of my seat reading your responses, and yes, Robert Cornelius is still hot! Very nice. 🙂

    (Mike, I see my follow for you has disappeared. I’m punching the button again!)

  16. Madame, You had me at bananas on your waffles… but the super hot guy kept me. Like, like, seriously hot.

    Mike, you had me at Weebs. But I might stay for your incredibly cute picture with the green and red glasses. Loads of personality. 😉

  17. Good work, Mike!
    And great answers, Weebles.
    My daughter has written a series of children’s books, Mike; any advice?
    She could use the encouragement and mentoring from a seasoned pro.

  18. Fascinating interview. I laughed at the “But not Alex Trebek?” question. I love anything history related, so reading about Washington’s ability to slink away like that was interesting. Is there anything you don’t know, Weebs? And hell yeah, that Cornelius dude was hot! Also, can you tell me more about this mysterious Reiki stuff you speak of? Is it that New Age crap involving voodoo and the sacrificing of small animals by the light of a full moon? (I swear that’s what my brother thought when I told him about my training)

  19. Ingenious interview idea and fantastic questions! I love that Madame Weebles is such a fan of history. I’ll have to pop over and learn more about her! 🙂

    BTW, you have triggered in me an intense desire to eat waffles, right this minute! They look too delicious for words! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s