Saturday, June 13, 2020

Inside the Mind: Abby Ross

Welcome to Inside the Mind where we here at The Faerie Review interview authors and creators.
Our guest today is Abby Ross, the author behind The Poop Diaries.

Lily:  Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview Abby I giggled while reading The Poop Diaries. How did you find plumbers willing to share their crazy stories?
Abby:  Thank you, Lily. Finding plumbers who would speak to me was the toughest part of this project! The story idea stemmed from an experience with my own plumber. Our toilet clogged on a Wednesday evening. Jon, our plumber, came to fix it. After he finished the job, I asked him to share his most memorable plumbing stories. I couldn’t believe what he shared and couldn’t stop laughing. I immediately knew I had to write a book about him. After interviewing Jon and writing his diaries, I realized I was onto something. So, my search for plumbers began. Most of the plumbers I found were through word of mouth. I told everyone I encountered about the project. Little did I realize how many people in my inner circle are related to or friends with a plumber. The female plumbers in the book – Jac and Carissa – my husband found. I knew I wanted to capture the female perspective and asked my husband to help me find female plumbers. Fortunately, both women agreed to talk to me, and their stories add so much laughter, heart and surprise to the book. I found the Canadian plumber – Kenny – through his YouTube channel. I figured any plumber who is already publicly promoting his work would be more inclined to speak to a first-time author. 
Lily:  I loved the diversity, as well as the stories. Were you able to write this without laughing the whole time?
Abby:  And what’s wrong with that? ;) I did laugh 90 percent of the time. The book however isn’t all about poop and hilarious stories. Some of the diaries have a serious tone. Some focus on the kindness clients have shown plumbers. Others focus on the struggles of working as a woman in a male dominated industry. One plumber talks about his struggles as an African American man working in a predominantly Caucasian industry. The stories run the gamut from hilarious to heartwarming to serious to gross. I wanted to capture the reality of being a plumber, which is not only unclogging toilets.
Lily:  Nothing hehe and I honestly thought it was a great collection, with a perfect mix of stories. Out of all the stories, which plumber had the one that grossed you out the most?
Abby:  I am most grossed out by anything vomit-related. Jon told a couple stories where he vomited on the job. Those grossed me out more than anything else, including poop stories.
Lily:  I can completely agree with that! Which plumber had the one that made you laugh the most?
Abby:  That’s a tough one because each plumber had a story that made me laugh. I love any stories related to sex toys. Andy and Kenny, in particular, shared those stories. I also love the stories about awkward people encounters. Jon told a funny one about a guy who refused to get out of the shower while he fixed the clogged drain, and one about a woman who stripped down naked when paying the bill. Todd told one about getting photographed by a neighbor while peeing in a client’s bush. I thought that was funny too.
Lily:  I have to admit I had water coming out of my nose over the shower one lol. Now we’d like to talk about you as a writer. Do you have a ritual you do when writing?
Abby: Not really. I write when I feel like I have something to write about. When I am writing, it feels like I am in a tunnel with my laptop, and I am not talking about the Holland Tunnel in New York City that’s filled with cars. I am talking about a tunnel built by The Boring Company, something narrower, quieter and in its own universe underground. My kids could be yelling. My husband could be on a work call. The television could be blaring. No matter what is happening around me, I am in my tunnel – focused and relaxed. That’s why I love to write. It makes my mind and body feel completely relaxed.
Lily:  I love that you're able to just tune out everything once you're in the writing tunnel. Do you have a favorite time of day to write?
Abby: No. I write at all times of the day.
Lily:  I imagine being able to block out everything around you helps with that. Let’s finish up with some fun questions and get inside your mind. When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?
Abby:  I wanted to be an actress. That changed when I became a teenager. Then I wanted to be a news reporter, which is what I became after graduating college. No matter my career ambitions, however, I always loved writing. I brought it with me through all of my career dreams. Now I specialize in cyber security marketing, and I absolutely love it. 
Lily:  I'm glad you've gotten to follow your dreams and you love your job. That seems so rare these days! What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?
Abby:  I studied abroad in Santiago, Chile during my junior year of college. Early into my stay, my university went on strike giving me plenty of free time. I was staying with a host family that had a celebrity daughter. She won Miss Universe 2001 and was co-hosting a show on the public television station in Santiago. Since I had so much free time, I asked if I could join her on a shoot. When we got to the studio, she introduced me to the director of the show. We schmoozed for twenty minutes. He told me about the infomercial my Chilean “sister” was about to shoot. It was focused on a vibrating abdominal fitness belt that helped make people’s abdominal muscles stronger. The director liked my personality (and Spanish speaking abilities) and asked if I could be on the show. He wanted the “American’s perspective” about the belt. Of course, I said yes, and before I knew it, I was whizzed into hair and make-up. It was a great opportunity!
Lily:  That is amazing! It also sounds like a great time. Do you have a favorite dessert?
Abby:  Girl Scout cookies
Lily:  Those are definitely a weakness for me. Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
Abby:  Yes. We are living in difficult times. I have always been someone who treats everyone equally – no matter the color of their skin. I have realized, however, that being “not racist” is not enough. We need to do more to support the African American community. We need to sign petitions, research politicians before voting for them and really understanding their record on civil rights issues, donate to organizations working to stop police brutality and bring justice to the African American community, and share useful information on social media about how people who are not African American can stand alongside that community and support them. We are all humans. We all deserve respect and a chance to become the best versions of ourselves. It’s disgusting what has happened to African Americans in the United States. It needs to stop, and it starts with everyone standing together to fight for a change of political policies, leaders and the court system.
Lily:  I really appreciate you addressing that - it's something I completely support, and even though I try to keep the blog strictly books I think it's extremely important that those conversations happen. How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Abby:  I am on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Goodreads. I also really like LinkedIn.
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