A. Oh, this is fun. I've worked as a pizza place waitress, dry cleaning counter clerk, scheduling rep for a driving school, mortgage tax department rep, mortgage assumption assistant supervisor, lunch truck driver, landscaping help and bartender. I love what I learned in each of those jobs, and heard a lot of good stories from the people I met. All grist for the mill.
A. Besides writing? Driving the lunchtruck. The people were cool, I was my own boss, drove around all day in the summer with the music on and made excellent money. It was hard work, very physically demanding but it earned me great muscles, I got a killer tan and met tons of interesting people.
A. I come from a small town in NJ that didn't have a high school, so I went to St. Pius X, a regional high school and it was a blast. It was a pretty innovative place at the time, very free and open, allowing students to structure their own days, so some days I'd only schedule myself one half-hour class and could hang out socializing for the other 7 hours or so. It sounds bizarre now, I know, but it was absolutely wonderful for someone like me, who needs room to stretch and does not do well in captivity.
A. The Black Crowes, Bob Dylan, The Band, Corinne Bailey Rae, John Mellencamp, Beatles, Isley Brothers, Smokey Robinson, Chaka Khan, Van Morrison, Train, Counting Crows, Melissa Etheridge, Janis Joplin.
A. My favorites change according to mood. Some of them are Auntie Mame with Rosalind Russell, 13th Warrior with Antonio Banderas, Anne of Green Gables with Megan Follows, Moll Flanders with Alex Kingston, Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson, Smoke Signals with Adam Beach, Skins, The Kite Runner, Chocolat and From Hell with Johnny Depp.
A. Rescue Me with Denis Leary.
A. Author, reader, feeder of strays. Love, laugh, learn..
A. Live, and let live.
A. Perfection (to me) means the end of growth or evolution -- what is perfect is done, complete -- and so it's never been something I've consciously reached for. I love experiencing a thousand constantly shifting shades of happiness. Close to perfect happiness though, would be spring, with rich sunshine, fresh breezes and life blooming all around me. Spring is exciting, another chance to stretch and reach and begin anew. All things seem possible in spring. It makes me positively giddy.
A. Losing my mind. I'm pretty sure I'd really hate that.
A. I love where I am, so if I added anything it would be hanging out in the shade under the towering weeping willows near the pond with my family and friends, laughing, talking, eating and having a wonderful time.
A. I don't know that I do. Must think more about this.
A. I don't think I admire one person so much as I admire traits like passion, determination, kindness, honor and humor.
A. "But why?" and "I've been thinking..."
A. The times I've ignored my gut instincts and held back when I should have rushed forward.
A. A powerful singing voice. Chaka Khan, Melissa Etheridge and Janis Joplin have always knocked me out.
A. So far, I think it's writing. Well, that and discovering a great stock of patience that I never knew I had.
A. Ha! I'm pretty sure it would depend on who you asked. I'm going to choose determination, as once I sink my teeth into something I want it takes an act of God to make me drop it again.
A. Determination. See above.
A. I'm good with who I am.
A. Well, I smile a lot. I'm usually a pretty happy person and I like findng the humor in things.
A. I never have just one favorite of anything so it's a tie between Auntie Mame, Anne Shirley and Moll Flanders.
A. I can't think of anyone specific but I imagine it would be a villain who, despite his/her bad intent, would be someone I could either feel sorry for or understand why they wanted what they wanted, and weren't just a cardboard, pure evil figure.
A. I can't think of anyone specific, and if I did meet someone I'm not sure I would tell them anything, so much as I would want to listen, try to see who they really were and understand why they did whatever they did.
A. It's a tie between indecision, mandated conformity and judging on appearance rather than substance. All three drive me mad.
A. When I was younger I wanted to work in the baby animal section of the zoo -- lion and tiger cubs, specifically -- but I think I would have overdosed on cuteness, so it's just as well that I never pursued it. Of jobs I've actually held to support my writing, I'd say zooming around all summer driving a lunchtruck. Excellent job: great money, being out in the sun with the music blasting, selling food and meeting great people. It was wonderful.
A. This is it, right here, right now.
A. Reliability, determination, enthusiasm, kindness and a great sense of humor
A. Food. (Oh, come on. You must have expected that.) More specific? Pasta, pickles, cheese, good bread. Or sicilian pizza, extra sauce, extra chese. Or vegetables. (Good God, I just can't do it. I simply cannot pick just one of ANYTHING.)
A. They change with my mood but today I'm going to say Anna Begins by Counting Crows, Caravan by Van Morrison (The Last Waltz version), I've Got a Feeling by The Beatles, When Jesus Left Birmingham by John Mellencamp, and Your Love is Mine by Corinne Bailey Rae. Oh, and My Morning Song, and Wiser Time by The Black Crowes.
A. This is rough because I have so many.
A. I have comfort books that I read because they make me laugh, cry or freak. I love the characters and how they draw me in and never let me go until the end. So I always reach for Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, It by Stephen King, The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald, I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, and Blood Countess by Andrei Codrescu. Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, too. And Sara Bird, Sherman Alexie, Madeleine Brent and Jerzy Kosinski. Impossible to name just five.
A. Oh yes, all of the above.
A. Listen to your characters because they may know more than you think they do.
A. "I started to read Such a Pretty Girl and couldn't put it down again until it was done." That's a wonderful thing to hear, truly.