About Deborah Meyler
Q. What is your birthdate?
Q. Previous occupations
A. I worked in bookshops, I was a journalist briefly, I worked as a painter and decorator in New York, and I have also worked with great pleasure over the years as a painter and photographer. I also work as a parish clerk in a church in Cambridge.
Q. Favorite job
A. The most exciting thing I ever did was a short piece for breakfast television on bulimic children. I felt as if I were flying.
Q. High school and/or college
A. I went to Albert Road comprehensive school in Manchester, then Stand Sixth Form College in Manchester, then Trinity College, Oxford, then St Andrews University, then City University, London.
Q. Name of your favorite composer or music artist?
A. I like Moby. He is very exciting, and I like Purcell and lots of church music.
Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
A. As with anyone's: not long enough for all that is possible.
Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. I stole it from F.J.Foakes-Jackson, a Cambridge scholar and clergyman: “It’s no use trying to be clever—we are all clever here; just try to be kind—a little kind.”
Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. There are many kinds of happiness. I think they all involve the understanding that they are temporary.
Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A. Apart from the real big ones, that we all presumably have, such as something bad happening to the people I love - my greatest fear is boredom. It hasn't happened very often since I grew up.
Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. I think here, in a small house in Cambridge, with sunlight slanting through the blind, is fine.
Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. Nobody much. I would probably identify more strongly with the people who are not in history, the mute inglorious Miltons, the women who didn't have rooms of their own.
Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. Tom Stoppard. When he dies, unless I die first, he might be the dead person I most admire. Though really I think Shakespeare is immoveable there, and I am pretty impressed with St Lawrence as well.
Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. "Oh, I am so sorry, I forgot." "I'll just have a cup of tea before I start."
Q. What do you regret most?
A. I am not telling you.
Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. To sing. To sing, to sing, to sing.
Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. My greatest achievement is a sort of flash of ineluctable joy once, when I was reading Othello. I saw how great it was. Other people have this about God; I'd like it to happen to me over God. Though perhaps if something is ineluctable, it can't be an achievement.
Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. Apparently I am sunny. I would say I am enthusiastic.
Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A. Lord Peter Wimsey.
Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. As Rory Kinnear plays him, Iago, though favourite would not be the right word. He made Iago truly despicable.
Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
A. whn peeple cant spel or punctuat'e and dont even care
Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A. I like to sit about doing bugger all so that I can feel terribly guilty about not writing. I also love gardening, painting, talking to my friends.
Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
A. I would like to be a botanist. I was discouraged at school. I would like to create new flowers. I would also love to be a painter of large paintings.
Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A. Smartness, kindness, funniness.
Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A. Jacobs cream crackers with cold butter.
Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. "When I am laid in earth" - Dido's song by Purcell, Scarborough Fair, "I get along without you very well" by Chet Baker, Loser by Beck, O Salutaris Hostia
On Books and Writing
Q. Is there a book you love to reread?
A. The Jane Austen novels, except for Northanger Abbey, which I like but not enough to reread a lot. I like re-reading King Lear, and Georgette Heyer novels and Thirkell novels. Up and down we go.
Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
A. Yes. Think of a noun, put a timer on, and write non-stop with that noun in mind for ten minutes, and then see what happens.
Q. What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
A. It's witty, it is so well-written, it is not funny at all, it is not very well-written, it is far too scholarly, it is a light beach read.