A. Assistant in a NYC literary agency; travel writer; writer for Mosfilm Studios in Moscow; director of PR and marketing for a small, luxury hotel chain in northern California.
A. My current job is by far my favorite.
A. I went to high school in southern California. I skipped a few grades and graduated early. I didn't go to college.
A. Classical composers: Bach, Schubert, Chopin, Tchaikovsky; 20th century and later: Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, Richard Thompson, Steely Dan, Weather Report, Talking Heads, the Clash, the Pretenders, the Police, Elvis Costello, Rickie Lee Jones, REM, Nirvana, Natalie Merchant, Joan Osborne, Stone Temple Pilots, Beck
A. It's a tie between Casablanca, The Wizard of Oz, and Schindler's List
A. Right now it's House. I've been a fan of Hugh Laurie ever since Blackadder.
A. Swimming in the warm, clear South Pacific right outside my luxurious Bora Bora bungalow.
A. Napoleon. Nah, just kidding.
A. Barack and Michelle Obama.
A. "Just." It sneaks into the first draft somehow, and I have to strike it out during revisions. It's just meaningless. See?
A. That I didn't start writing novels sooner.
A. Musical talent. I'm learning to play the guitar, and it's quite obvious that I'm not naturally gifted. But I think it's important to balance work with play, to do something for fun that you don't necessarily have to be good at.
A. It's a dubious achievement, yet I'm still proud: I once watched one hundred Russian films (without subtitles) in less than a few months. I learned more than I ever wanted to know about gulags and Stalin. The concept of "comedy" hadn't caught on there yet.
A. Curiosity. I'm not afraid of new things, because I love to learn.
A. I'm usually reading or talking.
A. I think I'd like to meet Virginia Woolf and Jane Austen. I'd tell them that their work is still loved and revered--more now than it was during their lifetimes, in fact. Perhaps knowing this would make the unhappiness in their lives a little easier to bear.
A. My pet, actually. I have a 18 lb, white long-haired cat, Clarence, who apparently was Born to Shed. When he's happy, he drools. We're not certain that he has any redeeming qualities.
A. Reading. And spending time with my husband.
A. Songwriter. I'm envious of anyone who can earn a living by writing something so short.
A. A sense of humor, an open mind, and a strong work ethic--I admire people who try to do their best, no matter what they're doing.
A. I would hate to limit it to five. See earlier entry, "Favorite Composers and Musical Artists."
A. Jane Austen Edith Wharton Kurt Vonnegut Iain Pears David Liss John Irving Michael Chabon Ian McEwan Tom Wolfe Alison Lurie Kate Atkinson Philip Kerr Evelyn Waugh Nancy Mitford Raymond Chandler Arundhati Roy Tom Perrotta
A. Pride and Prejudice - J. Austen The God of Small Things - A. Roy Breakfast of Champions - K. Vonnegut Foreign Affairs - A. Lurie Les Liaisons Dangereuse - Choderlos de Laclos The World According to Garp - J. Irving Yes, I know this is six...
A. All of the above, and many more.
A. Write a book you would love to read.
A. Why did _____ have to die? (I can't tell you who, it's a spoiler.)