About Jessica Lawson
Q. What is your birthdate?
Q. Previous occupations
A. I've worked on a trail crew (building/maintaining hiking trails in the Rocky Mountains), in the kitchen at a Colorado dude ranch, as a spot-welder/assembly line worker in a toolbox factory, as a grant adminstrator, and as preschool teacher.
Q. Favorite job
A. I loved living outside and working on a trail crew. I'm not sure I'd still be able to handle things like waking up with hail covering my one-man tent, but at the time it was glorious.
Q. High school and/or college
A. Homestead High School (Indiana), University of Denver (BA in Spanish) Indiana University (MS in Parks and Rec)
Q. Name of your favorite composer or music artist?
A. I like Bach fugues, the classical guitar works of Andres Segovia, and nearly any kind of bluegrass.
Q. Favorite movie
A. Pride and Prejudice and A Christmas Story
Q. Favorite television show
A. It's a tie between Bizarre Foods and Finding Bigfoot
Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
A. A busy, messy, motherly, love-filled cornucopia of delights
Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. If the opportunity to take a relaxing shower presents itself, take it.
Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. Sitting in the backyard with my family on a summer evening, tired from a day of physical activities, sipping lemonade, smelling food on the grill and woodsmoke from the fire pit, listening to music. Or just looking at my daughter while she pretends to go on a bigfoot hunt~ that's pretty close to perfect happiness as well.
Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A. Those biscuit cans that have you press a spoon along the dotted line or pull a strip of paper until it opens in your face with a POP!!! The suspense of opening those things stops my heart every time. Inheriting Alzheimer's and passing it down to my daughters is a very real fear that I try to avoid thinking about as well, but man, those biscuit cans are crazy.
Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. I'm incredibly grateful to be filling out an author questionnaire for Simon & Schuster, so I'd be in the exact spot I'm in right now~ in my kitchen, avoiding dish duty and typing out this answer.
Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. Julia Child, because she embraced her passion (cooking) and worked extremely hard to make a career out of it, despite lots of rejection along the way :)
Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. My sister Mimi, for finding and holding onto such strength and courage.
Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. Currently, I'd say my most overused word is yuckadoo (which is a word I stole from my sister) as in, "Charlotte, sweetie, you really need to start remembering to flush the toilet. And, geez, what did your father give you to eat last night? Yuckadoo.”
Q. What do you regret most?
A. Quitting college soccer after only one year of playing.
Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. Knowing all languages. Or singing really well.
Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. Scoring a winning header as a high school freshman in a varsity soccer match against our arch rivals. Because glory like that never dies. Giving birth with no pain medication is a close second.
Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
A. I really dislike confrontation and tend to avoid it.
Q. What’s your best quality?
A. Maybe being kind to animals? Definitely not being kind my feet. In fact, just thinking about my toes makes any other quality I possess seem pretty darn nice.
Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. I'd like to be a professional ballerina to see what it's like to dance and move gracefully. Or a trapeze artist, because it looks awesome.
Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. I've got a cheek freckle that grows a little bigger every year and I roll my shoulders back a lot because I have slouching paranoia.
Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A. Roald Dahl's Matilda
Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. Any of the baddies from Grimm's fairy tales.
Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. I would meet Jane Addams, who co-founded a settlement home called Hull House in Chicago in the late 1800s. She was an advocate for children, education, women's suffrage, and world peace. I read about her as a third-grader, and she's remained in my heart as an example of the power of education, shared knowledge, and community spirit. I would say thank you for leading by example, and let her know that books would be written about her efforts.
Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
A. When my husband accidentally throws away post-its that have writing ideas and manuscript notes on them.
Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A. Being a mom.
Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A. Having a sense of humor, an open heart, and appreciation for life.
Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A. BLTs on buttermilk bread, with very crispy bacon, cheap iceberg lettuce, juicy tomatoes, and no mayo.
Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. African Skies (Paul Simon), Stormy Monday (Eva Cassidy version), Another One Bites the Dust (Queen), Walking in Memphis (Marc Cohn), anything by Patty Griffin
On Books and Writing
Q. Who are your favorite authors?
A. Roald Dahl, RL LaFevers, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Jennifer Nielsen, Laurel Snyder, Shannon Hale, Anne Ursu, Barbara Park, Linda Sue Park, Jessica Day George, Sharon Creech, Jerry Spinelli, Fannie Flagg, Beatrix Potter, Steven Kellogg, Arnold Lobel, Lauren Child, Bill Peet, Dave Barry, Tom Bodett...
Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. Danny, the Champion of the World, Roald Dahl The River Why, David James Duncan A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens A Murder for Her Majesty, Beth Hilgartner Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Fannie Flagg
Q. Is there a book you love to reread?
A. Beach Music by Pat Conroy and Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
A. Be sure to drink your Ovaltine (that's a little nod to one of the greatest movies of all time, A Christmas Story). Serious answer? Find a genuine character who speaks to you and the rest will follow.
Q. What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
A. "I bet you totally did that when you were a kid!"