Saturday, 1 October 2011

Q & A

Because I think Q & As are interesting, and from reading an Interview with Bernie McGill, author of The Butterfly Cabinet (which I desperately need to get my hands on), I would like to ask myself my own Revealing Questions as cleverly swiped from this page...

How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
Reading, walking, writing, commute, pasta, Topshop, dusting, hoping, yardwork

What is your motto or maxim?
At the moment, "JFDI," short for "Just *#%*ing Do It." My better half's stepdad said this to me a few years ago, when I was hesitating over joining in for a drink at the boisterous in situ family barbeque, or going upstairs to get a shower as was my rather OCD habit (I had just gotten in from work at the local shop and needed to wash off the residue) and then close myself off in my room, being the shy person I am. Sometimes you have to disrupt your routine and just live. Close your eyes and jump in. I jumped in and had a great time. I realize now that this is more applicable than I originally thought: When I'm afraid of doing something (sending out another unsolicited query letter to another agency which will most certainly result in another rejection, or be the right agent for me) I just tell myself to JFDI, and make it good.

How would you describe perfect happiness?
Sitting in a tiny coffee shop, at a corner table, drinking a nice steaming latte, and having all the time in the world to read and/or write.

What's your greatest fear?
That harm should come to anyone that I love. (This is the same answer as Bernie McGill - I have to say I agree!) Also, that those Go Compare commercials should take over the world.

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
Probably at that little obscure restaurant in Italy where Dave (my better half) and I had the best breakfast ever. Sitting at the bistro table on the wide, sunlit sidewalk, eating ridiculously large doughnuts, and getting cinnamon sugar on my nose. Dave laughing.

With whom in history do you most identify?
Probably George Mallory. He was almost psychotically obsessed with reaching his goal. And I believe, for better or for worse, he did.

Which living person do you most admire?
Probably Oprah. She changed the face of daytime talk shows. And did a million other things too.

What are your most overused words or phrases?
"Seriously," and "Exactly," and "Amazing." Everything is seriously amazing. Exactly.

What do you regret most?
That I didn't speak up when given the opportunity - many, many times.

If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
To do some really good acting.

What is your greatest achievement?
Writing my book(s).

What's your greatest flaw?
I worry. Constantly. About everything. Silly, stupid things.

What's your best quality?
I listen.

If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
I'd like go back to 1815 to rub shoulders with eighteen-year-old Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (soon to be Shelley) the morning after she had the dream about failed artificial life and the horrors of science gone wrong. Just to see - what did she do before she started putting it to paper, without the long view of Frankenstein: or, the Modern Prometheus and how it would change ideas of what's scary in Western civilization? Do you think she at least had a coffee to sharpen last night's visions?

What trait is most noticeable about you?
Well, I'm not the tallest in the world. I stand only 5'3." You can easily lose me in a crowd.

Who is your favorite fictional hero?
There are too many to name! Probably, oh, god it's hard to say. Probably Andy Dufresne from Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King. He's a man who just wants to be free. Don't we all?

Who is your favorite fictional villain?
Teague from Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. Currently.

If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
Jesus. I want to meet the man behind all the glam - who is he when he's been working all day, his feet hurt and he just wants to sit down and chill? I would ask, "If you saw two men at the top of a hill, two partners in the midst of a wedding, would you celebrate love? Or would you walk away?"

What is your biggest pet peeve?
Corporations who mindlessly go after every last penny they can get at all costs. Do the ends really justify the means? Really?

What is your favorite occupation, when you're not writing?
Reading or watching a movie that I've seen 800 times before and still love.

What is your fantasy profession?
A writer that gets paid! At this point it is still a fantasy. Alas.

What 3 personal qualities are important to you?
Integrity, kindness, humor.

If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
Garlic bread. I would be smelly but I would repel vampires.

What are your five favorite songs?
Currently: "Skinny Love" by Birdy; "Jar of Hearts" by Christina Perri ; "Heart Skips a Beat" by Olly Murz and Rizzle Kicks; "Traktor" by Wretch 32; "Set Fire to the Rain" by Adele

Who are your favorite authors?
Alice Sebold, Margaret Atwood, Barbara Kingsolver, Stephen King, Ralph Ellison, Anna Sewell, Bret Easton Ellis, Edgar Allan Poe, Alex Haley, Vladimir Nabokov, William Faulkner, Zora Neale Hurston, Audrey Niffenegger, Toni Morrison, Kate Atkinson, Norman Mailer, Jill Christman, Brad Land, Margaret Kingery, Andrew Scott, Anne Rice, Chuck Palahniuk, Nevil Shute, Shel Silverstein (if poetry counts)... there are many more that I can't think of at the moment.

What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver - I heard it took her about 20-odd years to write this. It is astonishing.
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. If you haven't read it yet, you must.
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. They say you have to be careful what you write, certain topics just won't do- but this flies in the face of that. And published in 1955! A stunning book that tells a shameless story. A great read.
Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk. If you like a shocking story, this is the one for you.
Roots by Alex Haley. A project that would make even the most disciplined writers balk. The research he did for this is, to use one of my most overused words, amazing.

Is there a book you love to reread?
Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt.

Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
Don't get caught up in what others might expect of you, and don't be afraid of what they might think: write with your heart, for yourself, and you will make it beautiful.

What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
"I enjoyed it."

Happy Saturday, all!

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