About Shelley Costa
Q. What is your birthdate?
Q. Previous occupations
A. College prof, tutor, editorial assistant, waitress, retail sales clerk, administrative assistant, ad lay-out person
Q. Favorite job
A. Being a mystery novelist
Q. High school and/or college
A. Morris Hills HS (NJ); Centenary College (NJ), A.A.; Douglass College (Rutgers, NJ), B.A.; Cleveland State University, M.A.; Case Western Reserve University, PhD
Q. Name of your favorite composer or music artist?
Q. Favorite movie
A. "The Lives of Others" (Germany, 2006)
Q. Favorite television show
Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
A. Beloved family and friends, beautiful words and images
Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. Beware of mottoes and maxims
Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. For anybody anywhere? This is not prescriptive, but. . . Peace. To this add a sense of safety, place, love, purpose, and worthy work. To that add dogs, cats, songbirds, little kids, and strong coffee.
Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A. No longer being able to write. And poisonous snakes.
Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. Happy where I am, but. . .other possibilities are NYC, England, Italy, Canada
Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. No one in history, but among fictional heroes: Jim Dixon from Lucky Jim (my favorite novel)
Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. Aung San Suu Kyi
Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. Good for you!
Q. What do you regret most?
A. My rocky first year of college -- I wasted time, money, and opportunities.
Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. Being able to play double bass
Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. Being the mother of three wonderful daughters
Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
A. I can be moody.
Q. What’s your best quality?
Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. Lily Rowan out of the Nero Wolfe series, but only for a couple of weeks, just long enough to go dancing with Archie
Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. I think I listen pretty well.
Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A. Archie Goodwin
Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. Diogenes Pendergast
Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. Mark Twain, and then I would just see where the conversation goes.
Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
A. Personalities that suck all the air out of a room
Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A. Reading a great mystery
Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
A. Broadway actress
Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A. Kindness, honesty, and a sense of humor
Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A. Seared Ahi tuna salad
Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. "Ashokan Farewell," "Fields of Gold," "In the Mood," "As Time Goes By," and "The Sounds of Silence"
On Books and Writing
Q. Who are your favorite authors?
A. P.D. James, Robert Goddard, C.J. Sansom, Graham Greene, Edith Wharton, John le Carre, S.J. Rozan, Peter Robinson
Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. Lucky Jim (Kingsley Amis) The Third Man (Graham Greene) The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger) A Taste For Death (P.D. James) The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
Q. Is there a book you love to reread?
A. Lucky Jim -- I never tire of the sharp insights and outstanding humor
Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
A. Do the work daily (otherwise it's your hobby), have something to say, and persevere until it feels less like persevering and more like just what you do
Q. What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
A. No one recurring comment