A. Big Boy waitress, door-to-door canvasser, camp counselor way too many times, drama instructor, graduate student, horseback riding teacher.
Q. Favorite job
A. This one! Sort of. I miss working outside.
Q. High school and/or college
A. I went to Wyoming High School, which is a small public school in Cincinnati, and I went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Then I went to Miami University in Ohio for my master's degree.
Q. Favorite movie
A. It's too embarrassing to write. Okay, fine: Notting Hill. There, I said it.
Q. Favorite television show
A. Anything with a Real Housewife in it. That and the new Upstairs, Downstairs. Why did they make only three??
Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
A. Pretty idyllic, except for my own neurotic self.
Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. Drink a lot of coffee.
Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. Screen doors, half-finished magazines, ceiling fans, open windows, distant lawn mowers, strawberries and cream, the scent of pine needles during a nap.
Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A. Dying either of cancer or in an airplane crash. Can't decide which is worse.
Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. My house, but without a screaming toddler in it.
Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. "He turned." "She turned." People are always turning around in my books! Stop turning, people! You'll get dizzy.
Q. What do you regret most?
A. Getting married and having a baby. Just kidding. But wouldn't it be disturbing if I really meant it? Seriously, not traveling around more after college.
Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. Dancing! I have a serious dancing deficit, but inside me, there's a secret Jennifer Beals waiting to get out.
Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. Not crying during that car commercial where the dad watches his teenage daughter drive off for the first time.
Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
A. I'm still not over high school.
Q. What’s your best quality?
A. I can make this really awesome baked good called lebkuchen, whch is kind of like gingerbread but better.
Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. I am a LOUD TALKER.
Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. Humbert Humbert from Lolita. Is he really a villian? That's one of the many reasons I love that book.
Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
A. Toothpaste in the sink.
Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A. I used to teach horseback riding. I miss it every day.
Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
A. It used to be novelist, but some of the gloss is gone from that one. Now ballet dancer has moved up to the top spot.
Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A. Skyline Chili 5-Way. I hope you know what I'm talking about and if you're a Cincinnatian, you do.
On Books and Writing
Q. Who are your favorite authors?
A. How much time do you have?
Nabokov, Somerset Maugham, Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, Mary Karr, Annie Proulx, Jane Smiley, Thomas Hardy, Anne Tyler, Margaret Atwood, Curtis Sittenfeld, William Styron, Salinger, Judith Guest make the short list. When I was growing up, it was all Beverly Cleary, John Bellairs, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Lois Lowry and Judy Blume.
Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. Lolita in the top spot, then A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley, then Jane Eyre, Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham and Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood.
Q. Is there a book you love to reread?
A. I reread my favorites constantly, but every year, I read Jane Eyre around my son's birthday, because that's the book I took with me to the hospital when I had him.
Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
A. I can only quote the extremely wise person (not me), who said that writing is the art of pasting yourself to the seat of a chair.