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Author Revealed

Revealing Questions

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

A. Contemplative, quiet, surrounded by beauty in many forms

Q. What is your motto or maxim?

A. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?

A. A quiet mind.

Q. What’s your greatest fear?

A. Fear itself.

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

A. I’m already there.

Q. With whom in history do you most identify?

A. Change the word "identify" to admire, and the answer is Rachel Carson, author of THE SEA AROUND US and SILENT SPRING. She was a scientist who courageously wrote about her wonder for the natural world and warned what damage humans were doing to it.

Q. Which living person do you most admire?

A. Honestly, I admire anyone whose words and actions yield peace and compassion.

Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?

A. “For the record.”

Q. What do you regret most?

A. I have no regrets. There are points in my life where I could have chosen different paths, but then I wouldn’t be where I am now.

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

A. To speak and read many languages.

Q. What is your greatest achievement?

A. A long-term loving relationship with a wonderful man.

Q. What’s your greatest flaw?

A. Perfectionism. (But it has its merits at times…)

Q. What’s your best quality?

A. I’m a good listener.

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

A. A tree, one that lives to be ancient.

Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?

A. I’m short.

Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?

A. Perhaps they aren’t heroes, but I’d pick Meg from A WRINKLE IN TIME and Peter Lake from WINTER’S TALE.

Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?

A. I don’t have one.

Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?

A. C.G. Jung. I’d like to talk to him about what it was like to ponder the psyche so deeply and not go completely mad in the process.

Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?

A. Drivers who don’t use turn signals. I’m sorely tempted to blare my horn when I witness concurrent cell phone usage.

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

A. Cooking, gardening, toy making.

Q. What’s your fantasy profession?

A. Archeologist.

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

A. Honesty, trustworthiness, compassion, and a sense of humor (okay, so that’s four)

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

A. Ginger-miso sauce with vegetables, rice, and cashews

Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?

A. My top five at the moment…..Jig of Life by Kate Bush---Achilles’ Last Stand by Led Zeppelin---Let’s Get It On by Marvin Gaye---Alleluia, Behold the Bridegroom by Anonymous--- The Wild Wild Sea by Sting

On Books and Writing

Q. Who are your favorite authors?

A. In rotation at the moment….Margaret Atwood, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Mark Helprin, Valerie Martin, and Marion Woodman.

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

A. This is the top five I’ll report today….To Kill a Mockingbird---Winter’s Tale---The Ogre---A Wrinkle in Time---Catfish and Mandala.

Q. Is there a book you love to reread?

A. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD finds its way to my nightstand every few years. I still wonder what the world would be like if it had more people like Atticus Finch.

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

A. Believe in yourself and the story that wants to be told.

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

A. How much they connected with specific characters or with the circumstances of the characters’ lives. I suppose that means there’s a ring of truth in the novel.

Q. How did you come to write The Mercy of Thin Air?

A. In the early 1990s, I worked for a management consulting firm with a team of 20 men. One day, a teammate pressured me to get a presentation ready for him early. I turned to him and said, “If you don’t stop bugging me, when I die, I’ll come back and poltergeist you.” He looked at me like I was crazy (but he did leave me alone), and I wondered what it would be like to be an entity that goes around wreaking havoc. What an interesting novel that would make…. I did nothing with the idea for years, until I decided to start writing again in my late 20s. I took a short story writing class and needed to come up with something for my first assignment. I returned to that idea. However, within a matter of days, Razi’s character came into being, and the story took shape in a way I didn’t intend or expect. I began my research on the south in the 1920s and Razi’s progressive interests. The other core characters--Andrew, Twolly, Amy, Scott, and Chloe--all made their appearances in the short story. And I knew all along it was supposed to be a novel. Although I never thought I’d write a book like The Mercy of Thin Air, I guess it was destined to get written. It always had a peculiar volition.

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