About Jessica Martinez
Q. What is your birthdate?
Q. Previous occupations
A. Violinist (played in a symphony and taught lessons), high school English teacher, knitting instructor/yarn pusher, really bad waitress.
Q. Favorite job
A. Being a mom. Unfortunately the pay is atrocious.
Q. High school and/or college
A. I went to Bishop Carroll High School in Calgary, Canada, then Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. That's right, Catholic high school to Mormon university. Just covering my bases.
Q. Name of your favorite composer or music artist?
A. I like to play Tchaikovsky and I like to listen to Avril Lavigne. I don't, however, feel the need to hear Avril singing Tchaik. Boundaries are good.
Q. Favorite movie
A. French Kiss or The Sound of Music or The Bourne trilogy. I can't decide.
Q. Favorite television show
A. I can watch Gilmore Girl reruns until I actually think I'm Rory, and still not get bored.
Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
A. Multi-tasking gone terribly awry. Where are my kids?
Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. Be kind to yourself. (My mom says it to me all the time, possibly because she knows I need permission.)
Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. I'm sitting on the couch with my laptop, my husband is beside me watching hockey, and my kids are sleeping peacefully in their beds. Add a pound of dark chocolate and that's heaven.
Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A. Lice. I've never had them, but...yikes. I'm shuddering and itching just thinking about it.
Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. Inside Tina Fey's brain.
Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. Cleopatra. Once I held a snake at Gatorland and I also used to wear too much black eye-liner.
Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. My mom, of course! She's smart and sweet and makes everyone feel better about themselves. Also, the woman can destroy me in an arm wrestle.
Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. I'm considering undergoing hypnosis to eradicate all the unnecessary "likes" and "you knows" from my speech. If anyone knows of a less bizarro method of doing this, please let me know.
Q. What do you regret most?
A. That hotel time share presentation--THREE HOURS of my life that I will NEVER GET BACK.
Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. I wish I could dance. I'm really bad. Trust me, I'm not just being modest.
Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. Surviving childbirth, then going on to really love being a mother. I had my doubts about both beforehand.
Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
A. According to me: inability to sleep like a normal human being i.e. when I'm tired. According to my husband: propensity to throw away important documents if they happen to look too much like junk mail.
Q. What’s your best quality?
A. I'm pretty good at do-overs, both giving them and taking them.
Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. I'd be my husband, because then I'd still be us, but I wouldn't have to be me. It's complicated.
Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. Primate-esque arm length. My knuckles occasionally drag on the ground.
Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A. It's a tie: Scout Finch and Anne Shirley
Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. I've been staring at this question for a half hour. I think that means it's time to admit I don't have one. It also means I have time management issues.
Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. Alexander Fleming. I'm fascinated with scientific discoveries. They're the most incredible mix of creativity and discipline and genius and dumb luck. I guess I'd ask him what kind of sandwich he left out. I'd like to think we owe the discovery of penicillin to a good old PB&J, but he was Scottish so I think it was more likely some gnarly cheese and marmite thing. Oh well.
Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
A. People who take themselves too seriously.
Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A. Running, knitting, reading, playing the violin--but never all four at the same time. Only knitting and reading can be done concurrently, and yes, I've tried all other combinations.
Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
A. Honestly, writing. I still can't believe how lucky I am. But after that, Ben and Jerry's taste tester, all the way.
Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A. Humility. Kindness. Intelligence.
Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A. Cereal. I know, what am I, sixteen? But it's tasty and filling and fortified so I probably wouldn't get scurvy and die. And yay for carbs.
Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. Sorry folks, this is going to be long, but I love all genres of music (except that New Age crap they play on NPR on Saturday night, because clearly that is not music) so I have to make multiple lists. Classical: Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1, Mozart Requiem, Bach Chaconne, Borodin String Quartet No. 2, Sibelius Violin Concerto. Next list--Songs I sing with my kids: O Canada, America the Beautiful, anything by Anne Murray or Sharon, Lois & Bram. (Incidentally, number one artist requested by my kids that I refuse to play or sing: Lady Gaga.) Last list--Songs that make me smile and turn up the volume: King of New Orleans by Better Than Ezra, The Only Exception by The Paramores, Rolling in the Deep by Adele, Sk8er Boi by Avril Lavigne (don't judge me), I Want it That Way by Backstreet Boys (I said don't judge me). I could go on with the lists, but instead I think I'll end with the number one song most likely to make me punch somebody in the face: Crimson and Clover by I don't know who and I refuse to google it.
On Books and Writing
Q. Who are your favorite authors?
A. Ian McEwan, Roald Dahl, Margaret Atwood, John Green, E.M. Forster, Alice Munro, Jane Austen, Alan Paton, Margaret Mitchell, Judy Blume, Chaim Potok, Kazuo Ishiguro, Richard Russo, Sherman Alexie.
Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. Paralyzed...with...indecision. Of all time? Apparently we don't mess around here at Simon & Schuster. Okay. Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres. Middlemarch by George Eliot. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Atonement by Ian McEwan. Possession by A.S. Byatt. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. I know that was seven, but sometimes I can't make myself follow directions.
Q. Is there a book you love to reread?
A. No. I don't reread, not out of principal, but because I have a never-ending list of books I'm dying to read for the first time.
Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
A. Lay off the delete key--it's not your friend (yet).
Q. What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
A. Um. Virtuosity is still months from release, so my readers are pretty much all siblings. The comment I hear most from them is, "I can't believe you actually wrote something. Hey, can I borrow your car/shirt/goggles/book/pillow/sandwich?"