A. Stable girl, cemetery groundskeeper, waitress, admin assistant, destination representative at a Dominican Republic resort, listings writer at TV Guide, media relations coordinator, magazine editor, freelance writer
A. I love being a writer. I think I'm unfit for any sort of conventional employment.
A. I went to high school in my hometown of Stouffville (which is north of Toronto) and university at Ryerson in Toronto, where I studied journalism.
A. Joni Mitchell.
A. I used to watch Meet Joe Black over and over in my 20s, whenever I was feeling heartbroken. (Which was often.) I also love My Fair Lady and The Usual Suspects.
A. Gilmore Girls.
A. I regret nothing.
A. There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. (Einstein)
A. A dock, a lake, the sun, my family and friends, and a pile of books I couldn't possibly finish, ever.
A. I try not to fear death, but I do. (I always think of that Woody Allen quote: "I don't fear death. I just don't want to be there when it happens.")
A. At a big family gathering on an island somewhere, maybe a French Polynesian one.
A. Jane Austen.
A. Jane Goodall.
A. Saying "like." Swear words I probably shouldn't use here.
A. Never living in a really cute apartment of my own. (I lived in a crappy basement flat with one of my brothers. Our landlord evicted us.)
A. The ability to snap my fingers. I seriously cannot do this.
A. That people often tell me they think my children are nice people.
A. Self doubt.
A. I'm very honest. (But that can also be a flaw.)
A. Myself. But if I couldn't be myself, I'd be an eagle.
A. I talk a lot.
A. Anne Shirley.
A. Captain Hook. (Particularly when played by Dustin Hoffman in Hook.)
A. Emmeline Pankhurst, who fought so hard for Women's Suffrage. I'd say thank you. I'd want to bring my daughter along to meet her, too.
A. International Woman of Mystery.
A. I admire intelligence, humility, and a kind--but sharp--sense of humour.
A. Cheese. But there would need to be wine to go along with it. And a fresh baguette. And a few grapes so I wouldn't get scurvy.
A. Carey, by Joni Mitchell, Is It Like Today? by World Party, Brother Down by Sam Roberts, A Sorta Fairy Tale by Tori Amos, Sweet Thing by Van Morrison, Lay Lady Lay, by Bob Dylan,This Must Be The Place by The Talking Heads. Oops. That's more than five.
A. Alice Munro, Graham Greene, John Irving, Meg Wolitzer, L.M. Montgomery, Barbara Kingsolver, Julia Glass, Jane Austen, Tom Robbins, Douglas Coupland, Edith Wharton, Miriam Toews, Haruki Murakami, Virginia Woolf, Karen Russell, Madeleine L'Engle, Judy Blume, Lauren Groff, James Salter, Mary McCarthy, E.B. White
A. This feels like picking a favourite child! I loved A Prayer for Owen Meany and The Cider House Rules by John Irving (oh, and A Son of the Circus), The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver, Arcadia by Lauren Groff, Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins, The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger The Hippopotamus by Stephen Fry, Three Junes by Julia Glass, The End of the Affair, by Graham Greene, the stories in Too Much Happiness and Dear Life, by Alice Munro. And of course, from my childhood, Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, A Wrinkle in Time ... that's more than five, isn't it?
A. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle. This book made me want to become a writer. It made me see how magical and inspiring stories can be--and how important great characters are.
A. Don't be too hard on yourself. (But then again, don't be too easy on yourself, either.)
A. Readers tend to tell me that they think about my characters as though they're real people. (I feel that way, too.)