New from Simon & Schuster

Author Revealed

About Kristen den Hartog

Q. What is your birthdate?

A. 9/25

Q. Previous occupations

A. I have been a waitress, a shoe seller, a floral designer, and a copy editor.

Q. Favorite job

A. Writing!

Q. Favorite movie

A. Agnes Varda's The Gleaners and I. I also love (because I can't pick a favourite) Hitchcock's Rear Window.

Revealing Questions

Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?

A. rich simple, happy sad, hard easy, slow sofast

Q. What is your motto or maxim?

A. In difficult times, I try to remember to ask myself, How can I make this situation better?

Q. What’s your greatest fear?

A. Losing my family

Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?

A. In the moment. I always have trouble staying there.

Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?

A. Lovely and Beautiful. Once I realized this, I changed a sentence in a manuscript from "Uncle William died on a beautiful summer day" to read "Uncle William died on an ordinary summer day." And to my amazement, the ordinary was more beautiful.

Q. What do you regret most?

A. Letting fear, or a lack of confidence, stop me from doing things I want to do.

Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?

A. Perhaps it's more a skill than a talent -- but to speak multiple languages. Not necessarily all at once, but that might be fun too.

Q. What is your greatest achievement?

A. Motherhood

Q. What’s your greatest flaw?

A. I sit on the fence (but see my best quality -- the best and worse are usually linked)

Q. What’s your best quality?

A. Compassion, and a willingness, even a need, to see from other perspectives

Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?

A. Myself -- or perhaps a bird.

Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?

A. I'm small, unlike the Girl Giant

Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?

A. I have no favourites (or perhaps many), but I like my heroes to have a ripple of darkness in them as well.

Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?

A. And I like my villains to have a ripple of light.

Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?

A. Arrogance

Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?

A. I was a floral designer for many years, and I loved it. I like to make things with my hands.

Q. What’s your fantasy profession?

A. Writing is my fantasy profession! But if I could not be a writer, I would be a photographer, or a visual artist.

Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?

A. compassion, honesty, humour

Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?

A. Too much of one thing is awful to imagine.

On Books and Writing

Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?

A. I don't know about "of all time" and I've never liked to pick favourites of anything, but some books I have absolutely loved include Toni Morrison's Beloved, Carson McCullers' The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, EB White's Charlotte's Web, Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, and Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina

Q. Is there a book you love to reread?

A. I always feel there are too many I haven't read to indulge much in that. And too many I have to reread with my daughter, because she loves them so much.

Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?

A. Look and listen -- not to other writers so much, but to the people around you, to see how they interact and move through their lives.

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