A. Ha! How much space is there. I'll just highlight the more... unique. In high school I worked for a pool store overseeing customers who'd come in to try out our in-store hot tub. In college, I did a summer internship at Disney World, where I drove a 14-foot double decker bus around Epcot Center, while delivering a 20-minute spiel consisting of, "To your left, you'll find Norway Inside you'll explore stormy fjords on the thrilling ride, Maelstrom" (yes, I still remember my script). After college I worked as a senior publicist for 20th Century Fox and Miramax Films, where I did important, soul-fulfilling tasks such as pulling apart Oreos to create "quadruple stuffed" for one famous and demanding director who shall remain unnamed.
A. Let's be clear. I was the BOSS at quadruple stuff Oreos. But writing tops all!
A. High School: Dulaney High School in Timonium, MD and college: Towson University in Towson, MD.
A. Anything acoustic- I'm not picky, as long as a guitar is involved.
A. When Harry Met Sally, hands down.
A. West Wing- best writing ever!
A. Grand adventures between days happily spent in PJ's
A. Can't Hurt To Try It. Unless We're Talking Sword Juggling. Or Spam.
A. Good friends and family at a bonfire on the beach (which must include s'mores), someone strumming a guitar, and a meteor shower in the sky. Forgetting the logistics of electrical outlets in the sand, if there could miraculously be a hot tub there, that would pretty much be heaven.
A. A chocolate shortage?
A. Chili. I traveled for a year after college to 42 countries all on my own and on the very cheap (and it was amazing). The two continents I didn't get to were South America and Antarctica. So if I were in Chili right now, I'd have my feet on South American soil, while I tried to hitch a boat ride to Antarctica.
A. My great-grandmother.
A. Oprah Winfrey. She manages to be vulnerable and powerful at the same time and I think that's the mark of a true leader. Plus, I used to work as a film publicist and had a chance to work with her on the press tour for the film Beloved. In addition to being a lovely person to work with, she checked out a night early from the Presidential Suite at the Four Seasons, and offered the suite to my coworkers and me instead. Let me just say, Tom Cruise is not the only one who has jumped on Oprah's couch!
A. Just and really. Sometimes it fits with the voice of the character, but I think that might just be make making really bad excuses. And I like to start sentences with "and". I have a friend who reads my early drafts and always points that out! And I just think that's really mean. Just kidding. Really.
A. The ability to play the guitar. And sing on key. Possibly in Italian.
A. Meg Cabot, Jen Lancaster, Rachel Hawkins, Beverly Cleary, Judith Viorst, Robert Munsch, Elizabeth Gilbert, and my critique partners Alison Cherry, Deanna Romito, and Gail Nall for their use of voice and for often making me laugh out loud!
A. This is a cruel and unusual question to ask an author. Let's start with Little Women for sentimental reasons; Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for being everything I love about kidlit ; Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day for pure humor; The Time Traveler's Wife for inspiring use of timeline in writing; and Bridget Jones Diary, because the world needs more chick lit.
A. Every New Years Day I read LITTLE WOMEN. And I've read all seven Harry Potter books out loud twice now- once to my husband while he renovated our very old and creaky Victorian house (I was on bedrest with twins so it was my way of contributing to the efforts!). Once to my twins, one chapter at a time at bedtime for five straight years. Now my youngest wants to know when it's her turn. Yikes!
A. The more you read, the better you write.