Author Revealed

Revealing Questions

Q. What’s your greatest fear?

A. Maybe not my biggest but certainly my most frequent is a terror related to inadequate computer backup. I live in fear of losing work.

Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?

A. At one point I had to go through my manuscript and cut out the word "lovely." I think I'd used it like 133 times or something outrageous like that. What can I say, there are a lot of lovely things in this world.

Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?

A. Talent, or superpower? I'd like the power of transport -- click my heels and I'm there. More realistically, I wish I had more of a talent for zingers and impressions. Sadly, the only accent I can do is mine.

Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?

A. I'd love to spend a few afternoons having tea with Flannery O'Connor. Hopefully, I'd get off the hook without saying much and she'd talk and talk.

Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?

A. Procrastination. I don't mind it in others, but my own procrastination drives me bonkers.

Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?

A. Gardening. I like how physical it is. I like how magical it is. Like is much too mild a word.

Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?

A. Ice cream. I come from a long line of ice cream lovers. My grandmother, in her 80s, pretty much gave up on other foods. Her fudge ripple arguments were very persuasive.

On Books and Writing

Q. Who are your favorite authors?

A. At the tippy top of my list are Marilynne Robinson, Alice Munro, and Steven Millhauser.

Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?

A. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson is my all-time favorite.The Beggar Maid by Alice Munro is right up there.The Age of Grief by Jane Smiley is another personal favorite. It's a novella about dentists, and it's amazing.  The Great Gatsby surprises me every time I read it. Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro does me in as well. 

Q. Is there a book you love to reread?

A. I've read the Beggar Maid by Alice Munro maybe a dozen times. It still astonishes me every time.

Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?

A. Sometimes certain stories or projects just aren't going to work. It doesn't mean you're a bad writer. It just means you need to try another idea.