Erin Hart Revealed
About Erin Hart
What is your birthdate?:9/1
Previous occupations:Stage manager, propmistress, receptionist, communications director, editor, teacher, music promoter, freelance arts journalist & theater critic.
Favorite job:Writing novels, of course! I also loved being involved in any aspect of theater production -- directing, costuming, buildings sets, props...
High school and/or college:Mayo High School -- Rochester MN; Saint Olaf College--Northfield MN; University of Minnesota-Minneapolis.
Name of your favorite composer or music artist?:Irish button accordion master Paddy O'Brien -- I'm not biased at all.
Favorite movie:Tie between two Alfred Hitchcock films, "Rear Window," and "Notorious."
Favorite television show:"Slings and Arrows," a Canadian series about a Shakespeare festival theater.
- Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
- A. Dreaming, digging, reading, scribbling, and revising, revising, revising!
- Q. What is your motto or maxim?
- A. How do you know you can't do something until you actually try?
- Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
- A. Those fleeting moments when the words on the page begin to come together and take on a life of their own. Those moments are rare, but there's no feeling like it in all the world.
- Q. What’s your greatest fear?
- A. I'm actually rather claustrophobic about being underwater.
- Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
- A. In West Clare, with a turf fire in the grate and a steady rain on the roof.
- Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
- A. Eleanor Roosevelt.
- Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
- A. Well, I write suspense, so naturally the answer to this question has to be: "Suddenly..."
- Q. What do you regret most?
- A. You mean, apart from starting this questionnaire? Not sticking with playing an instrument, probably.
- Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
- A. It's a tie between being funny and playing the fiddle.
- Q. What is your greatest achievement?
- A. Actually finding my way to the end of three novels... so far!
- Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
- A. Too indecisive? No, wait... Probably perfectionism.
- Q. What’s your best quality?
- A. A fierce devotion to laughter.
- Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
- A. A beautiful, pale green carpet of sphagnum moss.
- Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
- A. Unbridled enthusiasm -- which is why I tend to blather on about subjects that fascinate me.
- Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
- A. It's a tie between Sherlock Holmes and Sydney Carton from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.
- Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
- A. Richard III.
- Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
- A. Oscar Wilde --but I'm sure I'd be speechless.
- Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
- A. Wastefulness -- well, that, and lazy language and bad grammar. Don't get me started on the misuse of apostrophes.
- Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
- A. Reading, cooking, listening to music.
- Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
- A. Theater director.
- Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
- A. Integrity, creativity, empathy.
- Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
- A. Mountain Lion Colorado peaches.
On Books and Writing
- Q. Who are your favorite authors?
- A. A. S. Byatt, P. D. James, Martin Cruz Smith, Minette Walters, Ruth Rendell, John Fowles, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Michael Frayn, Brian Friel, August Wilson, William Shakespeare, Seamus Heaney
- Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
- A. Possession, by A. S. Byatt East of Eden, by John Steinbeck War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy The Complete Works of William Shakespeare by William Shakespeare Without Feathers by Woody Allen Theophilus North, by Thornton Wilder
- Q. Is there a book you love to reread?
- A. Not really. Somehow, I seem to keep going forward... But I enjoy dipping back into Shakespeare, Austen, and Dickens any time.
- Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
- A. Figure out what you most fear as a writer, and try to do THAT.
- Q. What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
- A. "Your characters and setting seemed so real." Followed by: "Why do your characters have to swear so much?" It's all quite amusing to me, because I believe the two are almost directly proportionate.
- Q. How did you come to write Haunted Ground?
- A. While traveling in Ireland years ago, I heard a story about two brothers cutting turf in a bog in Ireland, who came across the perfectly preserved, severed head of a beautiful red-haired girl. It was clear that the girl had been decapitated, and her position in the bog suggested it might have happened about 300 years earlier, around the time of Oliver Cromwell's invasion and occupation of Ireland. All I could think when I heard this story was that it was the best opening I’d ever heard for a mystery, so I started with the basic facts of the real story and made all the rest up! It seemed to me that the red-haired girl (or the cáilín rua, as she's called in HAUNTED GROUND) deserved to have a complex and compelling story, even if it was a work of fiction. As I worked on the first novel, I found a powerful metaphor in the science of archaeology, digging through the past to unearth strange and mysterious connections to the present. I also found that the history of Ireland is an amazing wellspring for me -- so many images and ideas to sift through! The Irish poet Seamus Heaney had it right in his poem, "Bogland" -- "the wet centre is bottomless..."