Author Revealed

About Marina Budhos

Q. What is your birthdate?

A. 3/3

Q. Previous occupations

A. Editor

Q. Favorite job

A. My favorite job is being a writer. But I also love being a professor.

Q. High school and/or college

A. Hillcrest High School and Cornell University, Brown University

Q. Name of your favorite composer or music artist?

A. Erik Satie, The Beatles

Q. Favorite movie

A. The Godfather

Q. Favorite television show

A. MASH

Revealing Questions

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

A. Busy, quiet, contemplative and crazy.

Q. What is your motto or maxim?

A. Take the long view.

Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?

A. The paradoxical balance of contentment and peace with stimulation and variety.

Q. What’s your greatest fear?

A. Dying. I'm one of those people who wants to live forever.

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

A. Somewhere warm, perhaps India.

Q. Which living person do you most admire?

A. Aung San Suu Kyi

Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?

A. light

Q. What do you regret most?

A. Being too insecure earlier in my life, as in my twenties, to pursue what I wanted.

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

A. I would love to be a great photographer.

Q. What is your greatest achievement?

A. My children.

Q. What’s your greatest flaw?

A. My impatience.

Q. What’s your best quality?

A. My patience.

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

A. In another life I'd be an overseas journalist or running an overseas NGO.

Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?

A. I've been told I'm a good mimic.

Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?

A. Satan in Paradise Lost

Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?

A. People who are rigid in their opinions.

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

A. Teaching and hunting down stories as a journalist.

Q. What’s your fantasy profession?

A. Writing and working on the ground to change people's lives.

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

A. Openness, curiosity, subtlety.

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

A. Salad.

On Books and Writing

Q. Who are your favorite authors?

A. Oh, that's the hardest, hardest question! My favorite authors change all the time. For instance, I just re-read Tolstoy's Anna Karenina with my reading group, which I simply loved. Toni Morrison is another favorite, as is F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zadie Smith and Geraldine Brooks. Eclectic enough for you? In young adult and children's books, I think Louis Sachar is terrific and so is Paul Zindel and Paula Fox.

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

A. That's another hard one! Recently I re-read Anna Karenina, by Tolstoy, and I think it is one of the all time greats. Others include: To the Lighthouse, Sula, A Bend in the River, Waterland. In kids books, Holes and The Secret Garden.

Q. Is there a book you love to reread?

A. Sula, for sure.

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

A. Keep at it.

Q. What comment do you hear most often from your readers?

A. Thanks for opening my eyes. That's my favorite one, at least.

Q. How did you come to write Tell Us We're Home?

A. Tell Us We're Home came about in a variety of ways. A long time ago I was doing research on nannies and wound up spending time with nannies in the park, or at home, watching and listening to them, watching how they juggled their own children with those they took care of. Soon after I moved to the suburbs--a very strange experience for someone like me, who had grown up and lived in NYC for most of my life. I felt like an immigrant. And then I began to look around and think about the real immigrants in the suburbs. My prior books were about young immigrants but the settings were cities--the traditional place for immigrants. But today, the suburbs are where immigrants come. And so I became fascinated with how young immigrants find their way here, in quintessential American towns. I wondered, too, what it's like in the suburbs, which are often tightly knit and nowadays rely on immigrant women for nannies and housekeepers--what might it be like for their kids? And finally, I wanted to write a girl's friendship novel, no different than other teen friendship novels, but on that offers a slightly different perspective.

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