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06-10-09 Amy Stewart, guest host

The transcript below covers the complete #litchat conversation on June 10, 2009. The order appears sequentially from the first post to the final post. Topic was open discussion of Nonfiction for Education and Entertainment, with guest host Amy Stewart, author of WICKED PLANTS. For more LitChat discussion, be sure to search Twitter using the #litchat hashtag.

LitChat Welcome to LitChat. Today Amy Stewart, author of WICKED PLANTS, will be with us for the next hour. Are you there @amyeureka? #litchat -1:01 PM Jun 10th, 2009
Chrisbookarama Just saw this book today (Shelf Awareness). Now I really want to read it! #litchat -1:02 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka I’m at the gorgeous downtown Seattle Public Library, high-tech wonderland. #litchat -1:02 PM Jun 10th, 2009
bookingmama RT @Chrisbookarama: Just saw this book today (Shelf Awareness). Now I really want to read it! #litchat I feel the same way! -1:03 PM Jun 10th, 2009
insidebooks How long did it take you to write Wicked Plants? #litchat -1:03 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka I started in Feb 2006, and here we are 3.5 years later–but really only a year of that was research & writing! #litchat -1:04 PM Jun 10th, 2009
LitChat Please take a moment to introduce yourself to @amyeureka and then follow up with questions. #litchat -1:04 PM Jun 10th, 2009
mindywithrow Just came across WICKED PLANTS today while browsing Powell’s online – did a double-take when realized it was today’s #litchat guest! -1:05 PM Jun 10th, 2009
Chrisbookarama Hi Amy! I’m Chris from the blog, book-a-rama. Whatever gave you the idea of writing about plants that kill? #litchat -1:05 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @Chrisbookarama Well, I had this very annoying neighbor who was always stealing flowers from my front yard, so I thought… #litchat -1:06 PM Jun 10th, 2009
redRavine Hi Amy, thanks for being here with us today. What are some of your writing rituals – morning, evening? Hours spent in one sitting? #litchat -1:06 PM Jun 10th, 2009
mindywithrow What’s the scariest plant you discovered in your research? #litchat -1:06 PM Jun 10th, 2009
BenRubinstein @Chrisbookarama Hah, how about Little Shop of Horrors? That was one of my faves as a kid. Does this title have a Seymour? #litchat -1:07 PM Jun 10th, 2009
ryanindexing Hi, I’m Sheila Ryan, a freelance indexer. I won a copy of the book from Chelsea Green last week and got it in the mail yesterday. #litchat -1:08 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @redRavine I’m not a morning person, so I waste the morning with email, bill paying, otehr mindless tasks. Prefer afternoon/evening #litchat -1:08 PM Jun 10th, 2009
Chrisbookarama Foxglove has always made me a little nervous. #litchat -1:08 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @mindywithrow The Giant Stinging Tree in southern Australia is pretty terrifying. Pain lasts for up to a year. #litchat -1:08 PM Jun 10th, 2009
redRavine I saw that you also paint. How do your writing & painting relate to each other creatively? Or are they completely separate? #litchat -1:09 PM Jun 10th, 2009
Chrisbookarama @amyeureka lol. It’s always the neighbours. #litchat -1:09 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @Chrisbookarama Yeah, good medicine (digitalis) for heart patients, but not so much for the rest of us. #litchat -1:09 PM Jun 10th, 2009
mindywithrow @amyeureka Ouch! #litchat -1:10 PM Jun 10th, 2009
ryanindexing The book is beautiful–great artwork and love the cover. Can’t wait to read it. #litchat -1:10 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka Since I’m sitting here in Seattle–encourage y’all to become Facebook friends with the library. http://tinyurl.com/ks4l4l #litchat -1:11 PM Jun 10th, 2009
chelseagreen RT @ryanindexing: I’m Sheila Ryan, a freelance indexer. I won a copy of the book from @chelseagreen last week and got it yesterday. #litchat -1:11 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka The artist is young–27 I think–and does exquisite copper etchings: http://tinyurl.com/lmdy54 Briony Morrow-Cribbs #litchat -1:12 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka And she did an incredible portfolio of art from the book. Cool to see the etchings in color. http://tinyurl.com/lbgalj #litchat -1:14 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @redRavine Painting is great because it is not verbal and gets me away from the computer. Otherwise similar-lots of revision, etc. #litchat -1:14 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @ryanindexing Congrats! #litchat -1:15 PM Jun 10th, 2009
NCoastGardening If you were to branch out to other non-fiction writing subjects, what might they be? #litchat -1:15 PM Jun 10th, 2009
mindywithrow Are you strictly non-fic writer or do you dabble in fiction 2? I ask b/c I’ve pub. only n-f and finding attempts 2 x-over intimid. #litchat -1:15 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @NCoastGardening You heard it here first: The next book is WICKED BUGS. Just sealed the deal today. #litchat -1:16 PM Jun 10th, 2009
InterLeafer @amyeureka Hi Amy, a fan since From the Ground Up (San Lorenzo Nursery!) Any stats on fatalities from common landscape plants? #litchat -1:17 PM Jun 10th, 2009
JanetRudolph RT @Chrisbookarama: Foxglove has always made me a little nervous. #litchat [I grow it in my garden, along with other poisonous plants] -1:17 PM Jun 10th, 2009
NCoastGardening WHOA!!! I’m there, dude. <checks calender, not April 1st> That’s going to be excellent. Even have our local bug expert, hey? #litchat -1:17 PM Jun 10th, 2009
Chrisbookarama What is the most wicked plant a gardener might have and not know it’s evil reputation? #litchat -1:17 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @mindywithrow Actually, I have a novel-in-progress I might launch in ‘beta’ form electronically before final publication. Thoughts? #litchat -1:17 PM Jun 10th, 2009
LisaRomeo @amyeureka Hi Amy – I’m a nonfiction writer (memoir, pers essay), freelance editor, writing coach/instructor, editorial consultant. #litchat -1:18 PM Jun 10th, 2009
Chrisbookarama @JanetRudolph I used to grow it but haven’t since I moved. #litchat -1:18 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @InterLeafer How I miss San Lorenzo! Not many deaths but about 68,000 reports of poisoning in a year in the US. #litchat -1:18 PM Jun 10th, 2009
ryanindexing Given the book’s subtitle about a weed killing Lincoln’s mom, that was 1st thing I wanted to look up. But no index, any reason why? #litchat -1:18 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @Chrisbookarama Hydrangeas contain cyanide. Not a lot of cyanide, but still… #litchat -1:19 PM Jun 10th, 2009
mindywithrow Does the novel feature any poisoning, by any chance?! #litchat -1:19 PM Jun 10th, 2009
Chrisbookarama @amyeureka I did not know that. I have one. #litchat -1:20 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @ryanindexing Truthfully, it got forgotten during production. Was supposed to happen but got overlooked on a checklist somehow. #litchat -1:20 PM Jun 10th, 2009
CarolyBurnsBass I was going to ask the same question. RT @mindywithrow Does the novel feature any poisoning, by any chance? #litchat -1:21 PM Jun 10th, 2009
InterLeafer @amyeureka I lived in Aptos around same period, so ur book is dear. Poisonings mostly children? (Obv. need to read the book!) #litchat -1:21 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @ryanindexing Obscure publishing fact most readers might not know–author, not publisher, pays for index–not complaint, just fact! #litchat -1:21 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @mindywithrow It does feature a wicked plant, actually… #litchat -1:22 PM Jun 10th, 2009
ryanindexing Thanks for info on absence of index…maybe for the paperback version! #litchat -1:22 PM Jun 10th, 2009
pussreboots #litchat We have oleander growing in our yard and it makes me nervous with all the young kids (including mine) living in the complex. -1:22 PM Jun 10th, 2009
dosankodebbie Hi. I’m a translator based in Japan and look forward to reading your book. Does it go into non-US plants & poisoning incidents? #litchat -1:22 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @InterLeafer Sure, kids and pets. Not a lot of detail in the few stats that are kept on this subject… #litchat -1:23 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @pussreboots Rip it out, replace it. 2 kids in southern CA died a few years ago from oleander. Why risk it? It’s not that special. #litchat -1:24 PM Jun 10th, 2009
ryanindexing Yes, author frequently must pay for index, publisher *sometimes* does. #litchat -1:24 PM Jun 10th, 2009
InterLeafer @amyeureka I’m a landscape designer…#1 common plant you would (now) never put in a fam garden? #litchat -1:24 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @ryanindexing Speaking of paperback-probably won’t be one-we really tried to keep the price down on the harcover. Small & gifty. #litchat -1:25 PM Jun 10th, 2009
pussreboots @amyeureka I can’t. It belongs to the complex as a whole. If it were mine, I would. #litchat -1:25 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @dosankodebbie Lots of non-US plants in the book. I really wanted a balance of plants from all over the world. #litchat -1:25 PM Jun 10th, 2009
redRavine Watched the great Q&A and video (Brooklyn Botanic Garden). Liked last answer regarding – MOST wicked plant. #litchat -1:26 PM Jun 10th, 2009
LisaRomeo @mindywithrow I write NF & do edit fiction; never thought I’d write poetry or fic, but now find myself doing both (probably badly) #litchat -1:26 PM Jun 10th, 2009
Chrisbookarama @pussreboots Oleander won’t grow here, so that’s not an issue for me. Can you petition the complex? #litchat -1:26 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @InterLeafer Oleander, daphne, castor bean, datura. But parents should teach kids not to eat anything they haven’t had for dinner. #litchat -1:26 PM Jun 10th, 2009
redRavine Wondering – what’s it like to be part owner of Eureka Books in CA? In your view -what is the plight of bricks & mortar bookstores? #litchat -1:27 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @LisaRomeo I think writers should push themselves, go out on a limb, take risks, make mistakes. Otherwise you don’t grow. #litchat -1:27 PM Jun 10th, 2009
mindywithrow @LisaRomeo Fic & non-fic do take different frame of mind; some days I feel more “one” than other. Love poetry, but don’t write it! #litchat -1:29 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @redRavine Also the subject of this novel-in-progress of mine. EB is doing great–sales are way up–but lots of stores struggling. #litchat -1:29 PM Jun 10th, 2009
Chrisbookarama @amyeureka There’s a kids PSA here called “Don’t You Put It In Your Mouth”! #litchat -1:29 PM Jun 10th, 2009
pussreboots @Chrisbookarama #litchat it wouldn’t do any good. The complex is broke. It’s not anywhere where kids play. It’s along the side of the road. -1:29 PM Jun 10th, 2009
InterLeafer @amyeureka Wow, thanks…didn’t know about daphne! Best of luck, as aspiring garden author I’m watching u (but not in an icky way!) #litchat -1:30 PM Jun 10th, 2009
CarolyBurnsBass My kids are grown and regale me with tales of stuff sampled from the yard. We don’t have oleander, but they tried hawthorne berries #litchat -1:30 PM Jun 10th, 2009
pussreboots #litchat I have taught my kids not to eat things they don’t recognize. They certainly know the oleander is poisonous. -1:30 PM Jun 10th, 2009
mindywithrow @amyeureka @LisaRomeo Agree! Trying new is always useful. #litchat -1:30 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @InterLeafer Daphne berries are highly toxic and very tempting–bad combination. #litchat -1:31 PM Jun 10th, 2009
redRavine So glad to hear that sales are up at EB. We are lucky in the Twin Cities to have quite a few Indie bookstores. I visit when I can. #litchat -1:31 PM Jun 10th, 2009
dosankodebbie In Japan we use various leaves to wrap food; placemats for small dishes; chopstick rests. e.g Hydrangea leaves! Is this dangerous? #litchat -1:31 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @dosankodebbie Well, they do contain cyanide! I think it’s a bad idea to use hydrangeas around food–suggests that it’s edible. #litchat -1:32 PM Jun 10th, 2009
ryanindexing I like the book’s placeholder ribbon (like cookbooks have). Just marked the purple loosestrife section to show someone later… #litchat -1:32 PM Jun 10th, 2009
CarolyBurnsBass Have you written much fiction prior to your current WIP? #litchat -1:33 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @ryanindexing Yeah, the ribbon bookmark is totally charming. And the two-tone sepia color scheme–I’m glad @AlgonquinBooks did it. #litchat -1:34 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @CarolyBurnsBass On and off. I read almost exclusively fiction. Feels like the deep end of the pool to me. #litchat -1:34 PM Jun 10th, 2009
redRavine With everything going on – writing, painting, owning a bookstore, touring – how do you find time to garden? I find peace in garden. #litchat -1:36 PM Jun 10th, 2009
CarolyBurnsBass Welcome to the deep end. I write fiction also. Do you have favorite authors or novels? #litchat -1:36 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka Check out Seattle library blog shelftalk.spl.org Truly a magnificent modern library–first time I came here I actually cried. #litchat -1:36 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @redRavine Not really enough time for anything! Garden is so neglected & CBS Sunday Morning is coming the day I get home from tour! #litchat -1:38 PM Jun 10th, 2009
redRavine Hope this isn’t a strange question — but how do you work out the royalties with the artist between the etchings & your writing? #litchat -1:39 PM Jun 10th, 2009
redRavine Ah, so wonderful that CBS Sunday Morning is coming to your garden! I’d be so nervous. : -) #litchat -1:40 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @CarolyBurnsBass Random list: Aimee Bender, Geoff Dyer, Carrie Brown, Anne Tyler, Nick Hornby, Kate Atkinson… #litchat -1:40 PM Jun 10th, 2009
pussreboots #litchat @susanwrites asks: “Favorite CA native wicked plant and why? thk” -1:40 PM Jun 10th, 2009
LitChat RT @susanwrites my tweets aren’t showing up no matter what I do. tell her longtime fan from her 1 book. #litchat -1:41 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @redRavine In my case Algonquin pays the artist separately so my royalties don’t get involved. #litchat -1:41 PM Jun 10th, 2009
LitChat @pussreboots Thanks for passing the second part of @susanwrites tweet. #litchat -1:42 PM Jun 10th, 2009
pussreboots @LitChat No worries. Glad I could help. #litchat. -1:43 PM Jun 10th, 2009
susanmpls @amyeureka, am avid garden reader. have non-bk question for you: is my neighbor unique in that she vacuums her garden? #litchat -1:43 PM Jun 10th, 2009
Chrisbookarama @susanmpls Vacuums? #litchat -1:44 PM Jun 10th, 2009
CarolyBurnsBass Sounds you like novels with strong characters in realistic situations. Is your WIP similar? #litchat -1:44 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @redRavine Fortunately I’m getting some help from @NCoastGardening. Thanks, Gen! #litchat -1:44 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @susanmpls Ewwwwww! Seriously? Vacuums what, the grass? The dirt? #litchat -1:44 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @CarolyBurnsBass That’s true, and I confess that I really love American and British novels. Self-centered of me, I guess. #litchat -1:45 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @pussreboots Wow, I’m stumped. Wicked California native plants. Must think on it. #litchat -1:46 PM Jun 10th, 2009
merylkevans @amyeureka What’s bad about loving American and British novels? Both have wonderful ones. #litchat -1:46 PM Jun 10th, 2009
susanmpls @amyeureka uses a wet vac on her beds, which are covered in cocoa mulch. she doesn’t like helicopters & tree debris in them. #litchat -1:48 PM Jun 10th, 2009
CarolyBurnsBass What have you learned about the business of publishing through your experience with WICKED PLANTS? #litchat -1:49 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka Oh, and hey, there should be a Morning Edition segment airing next week–don’t know the date, but stay tuned… #litchat -1:49 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @susanmpls That is sad and strange. This woman has bigger problems than her garden. Wow. #litchat -1:49 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @CarolyBurnsBass Illustrated books are complicated. That was the lesson of this book! But @AlgonquinBooks did a great job. #litchat -1:50 PM Jun 10th, 2009
ryanindexing What does the neighbor do with the vacuumed material? Leave it there, let it compost and become part of the soil. #litchat -1:50 PM Jun 10th, 2009
pussreboots #litchat But illustrated books can be such lovely things! 🙂 -1:51 PM Jun 10th, 2009
mindywithrow @susanmpls The ‘Vacuum Gardener’ sounds like the perfect character for a new novel by @amyeureka ! #litchat -1:51 PM Jun 10th, 2009
susanmpls @amyeureka she does have a beautiful garden: conifers,w/ hosta, barberry, weeping hemlock. she composts the vacuumed stuff. #litchat -1:52 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @pussreboots They are lovely, just complicated to put together. Lots of tiny tweaks to text to make it fit. More moving parts. #litchat -1:52 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @mindywithrow I could not live inside the head of a woman who does that. #litchat -1:52 PM Jun 10th, 2009
mindywithrow @amyeureka LOL! Yeah, that would be a trick. #litchat -1:53 PM Jun 10th, 2009
redRavine @susanmpls wow, a wet vac. And she’s in Minneapolis? Love to see that. (@LitChat just realized I forgot @amyeureka on tweets) #litchat -1:53 PM Jun 10th, 2009
foliosociety @amyeureka Has your work been inspired by any particular botanist or gardener #litchat -1:54 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @foliosociety I do love http://www.oudolf.com for his style in the garden-as for writing, does EB White count? A farmer, not a gardener… #litchat -1:57 PM Jun 10th, 2009
susanmpls @mindywithrow LOVE the Vacuum Gardner as bk title. IAnyone read “garden spell”? Love novels w/ plants as characters (apply tree) #litchat -1:57 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @susanmpls I just read a great novel w/ a cool garden–but will I remember the title before our chat ends? Arrrggghhh…think…. #litchat -1:58 PM Jun 10th, 2009
susanmpls @amyeureka not sure abt rest of you, but garden bks (both fict and NF) are what help me get through the dregs of winter. #litchat -2:00 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka Lots of Twitter/Facebook friends showing up to book tour events! A real change from previous years… #litchat -2:00 PM Jun 10th, 2009
HollixH Confession: on year the dandelions got out of control and I used the shop vac to suck up seeds. Didn’t work in the long run. #litchat -2:00 PM Jun 10th, 2009
pussreboots #litchat I really enjoyed “A Garden from a Hundred Packets of Seeds” and “Feng Shui in Your Garden” this winter. -2:01 PM Jun 10th, 2009
CarolyBurnsBass I recommend NIGHT GARDENING by E.L. Swann, a sensual tale of love and gardening between mature adults. #litchat -2:01 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @HollixH Just seems like you’d suck up a lot of dirt. I’ve seen landscapers use blowers on soil too–weird! #litchat -2:01 PM Jun 10th, 2009
susanmpls @redRavine she won Metro Blooms highest rating (I nominated her last year). the garden is spectacular & immaculate #litchat -2:01 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @CarolyBurnsBass “Mature adults.” My. #litchat -2:02 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka @susanmpls What is Metro Blooms? #litchat -2:02 PM Jun 10th, 2009
redRavine @susanmpls @amyeureka And quite a winter it was here last year. Metro Blooms, wow. I’ll have to look her garden up. #litchat -2:03 PM Jun 10th, 2009
CarolyBurnsBass Yes, two people in their 60s,enjoying love–yes, erotic, physical love. A garden brings them together and nurtures the story. #litchat -2:04 PM Jun 10th, 2009
susanmpls @amyeureka http://metroblooms.org/ Mpls ubran dev. group. have events, garden competitions, etc. #litchat -2:05 PM Jun 10th, 2009
LitChat Looks like our 1-hr official chat time is up. Let’s thank @amyeureka for joining us today. Thanks, Amy! #litchat -2:05 PM Jun 10th, 2009
NCoastGardening @amyeureka @HollixH Hey no judging on the blowers till you got a moneybags client insisting there be no fall leaves on the ground! #litchat -2:05 PM Jun 10th, 2009
redRavine @amyeureka Really enjoyed this @LitChat. Thanks so much for your time. Looking forward to Wicked Plants! #litchat -2:05 PM Jun 10th, 2009
NCoastGardening Thanks for the fun chat, Amy! #litchat -2:06 PM Jun 10th, 2009
amyeureka This was fun, y’all. Off to grab lunch, radio interview, then Third Place Books in Seattle tonight. Cheers! #litchat -2:06 PM Jun 10th, 2009
mindywithrow Thanks @amyeureka (will look up all your books) and everyone! #litchat -2:06 PM Jun 10th, 2009
CarolyBurnsBass NIGHT GARDENING by E.L. Swann (Amazon link) http://bit.ly/3DY9Eb #litchat -2:06 PM Jun 10th, 2009
NCoastGardening @amyeureka Third Place Books is awesome, have fun… #litchat -2:07 PM Jun 10th, 2009
LitChat We’re continuing our weekly topic: Nonfiction for Education and Entertainment on Friday. Hope you can join us then, 4-5 p/edt. #litchat -2:08 PM Jun 10th, 2009
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