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Be honest…the title of this post has now got that song from the King and I spinning through your head, right? 😉 Anyway, I was scrolling through my old blog posts today, and came upon an interview I did a few years ago. I had so much fun answering these questions, and decided to dust it off and update it with more current info, so it would be ready to see the light of day once again.
I hope you enjoy getting a little peek into my world–and all it’s attendant zaniness, er, um, uniqueness! 😉
1. Favorite song/singer?
My favorite song is usually whatever I’m listening to while writing. Sometimes, a scene calls for absolute silence, while at others, it’s nice to have something pumping in the background to get the ideas flowing. For City of Lights: The Trials and Triumphs of Ilyse Charpentier, I listened to Lifehouse’s Hanging by A Moment. This song was a tremendous inspiration for me and became Ilyse and Ian’s anthem. For Corcitura, I listened mainly to Promentory from the Last of the Mohicans soundtrack when I was writing dramatic/conflict or chase scenes (the constant beat really helped focus my thoughts) and then Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis when I wrote a death scene for one of the vampires in the book. Given the sanguinary nature of the lyrics, I thought it was appropriate. 😉
For the novel I am nearly finished writing (One chapter to go, HUZZAH!), it’s epic music all the time. This final chapter is battle-heavy, and music such as this puts me in a suitably warmongering mood. 😉
Celine Dion has been my favorite singer since I was eight years old. I was lucky enough to see her in concert at Caesar’s Palace in 2005. Some singers sound terrible live, but Celine sounded amazing, even better than she does on her CDs. She was also really interactive and did quite a bit of dancing and kept up an incredible energy and excitement level throughout the whole show. It was a tremendous experience, and one that I’ll never forget! I also have recently become a fan of Michael Bublé, with my favorite of his songs being Feeling Good. It’s so James Bondish and awesome and just AHH!
2. Favorite season?
Definitely fall. Just the feel of it. You can almost sense that it’s time to break out The Turn of the Screw for a millionth reread. Or is that just me? I love the crispness in the air, the glorious burnt orange and golden hued leaves, the carte blanche you have to read all the horror/Halloweeney books you want and classify them as “seasonal reading” without making everyone wonder if you’ve been bitten by a vampire and developed rather bloodthirsty reading tastes. Plus, fall also means I get to bake these delicious chocolate chip pumpkin spice cookies that have become a tradition with me over the last ten years.
3. Worst vacation?
I haven’t had one yet, thankfully, although when I visited Paris in 2004, my hotel room was the size of a shoebox. There was also only ONE iron in the entire hotel, as I discovered when the concierge knocked on my door the second day I was there and asked for it back! But that’s beside the point. The important thing was, I was in Paris, and apart from the smallness of the hotel, the location was fantastic! I spent most of my time seeing the sights and wandering around the Rue de Rivoli, making daily stops at W. H. Smith English Booksellers. They were running a 2 for £5 and 3 for £10 sale, so I stocked up on all the UK Penguin editions of the Jeeves novels that weren’t available back home. I would go back to Paris (And London, too!) just to shop there.
4. Guilty pleasure?
British detective & mystery shows. I can’t get enough of them! Midsomer Murders was the show that launched me on this trajectory seven years ago, and I haven’t looked back since, moving on to Miss Marple (with Joan Hickson), Campion, Inspector Alleyn, Rosemary & Thyme, and Inspector Lewis, which is a real favorite. As if visiting the haunts of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien weren’t incentive enough to go to Oxford, there is now the added chance that I might bump into Robbie Lewis and Jamie Hathaway while they are on a case. 😉 I also recently discovered Father Brown, and am hooked!
5. Favorite book and/or author?
David Copperfield. I read this book close to twenty years ago and can still quote passages and remember scenes vividly. All the suffering and hardships this young 19th century Englishman endured and all the mistakes he made in love and in life transcended the ages and became so relevant to me, a preteen living in the United States in the 20th century. That is truly a testament to the genius of Charles Dickens. It is also what I think makes a book a classic—its timelessness.
My favorite author is Agatha Christie. I’ve devoured almost all of her novels, and do not know what I’m going to do when I have no more of them to read. Another author whose books are automatic buys is Sarah Rayne. Nobody does psychological horror/suspense quite like her. She’s amazing!
6. One item you cannot live without?
As a writer, this would definitely be…my laptop!!! I cannot even imagine writing a book, let alone a 700 page novel like Corcitura, in longhand. My admiration for Charlotte Bronte and Dickens especially (who was not known for his brevity) has skyrocketed ever since I became a writer. How did they do it?!
I’m a classically trained violinist, pianist, and soprano and have been performing since I was three. I wouldn’t call this a hobby, but for something completely frivolous and unbookish, I can probably recite the entire script of Jaws, complete with dialects and sound effects, and enhanced by the singing of various sea shanties. I can also do a pretty mean Gollum impersonation, precious.
8. Favorite movie/actor/actress?
Jaws. No question. I started watching Shark Week the year it premiered and became fascinated with Jaws around the age of five when I went to Pic ‘n Save and saw the movie poster. I didn’t see the movie in full until I was 15, but I can’t remember a moment when I wasn’t aware of Jaws. It’s been a part of my life for ages.
My other favorite movie is The Fellowship of the Ring. I love the whole trilogy, but The Fellowship (and Gandalf) had a direct bearing on my decision to become a writer, so it will always hold a very special place in my heart.
Favorite actor…hmm…how about we do a modern one and one from the past? Russell Crowe for modern (I love him in every movie I’ve seen him in, but am a huge fan of his historical epics Gladiator, Robin Hood, and Master & Commander), and Danny Kaye, who has provided me with countless hours of laughter since I was a kid. There are also many classic actors I’m a fan of, including Humphrey Bogart, Tyrone Power, James Cagney, Errol Flynn, and Gregory Peck.
Favorite actress…Judi Dench. Love her! Her movies are great, but I’m a huge fan of her BBC sitcom As Time Goes By. I can watch that show over and over again, and have. I own the complete series (plus the reunion specials) on DVD. It’s such a great show—like visiting with old friends.
I’m also a fan of several classic actresses, such as Greer Garson, Vivien Leigh, Lauren Bacall, Maureen O’Hara, Myrna Loy, & Grace Kelly, just to name a few.
9. Favorite food?
Anything that has cheese in it. I think I’m part mouse.
10. Who would you like to meet? (dead or alive?)
Can’t I invite them all over for a ghostly dinner party and count them as one? No? Ok, then, let me think. I’ll keep it in the authorial realm and settle on C. S. Lewis. Jack! The Chronicles of Narnia have been a constant source of inspiration across all areas of my life for many years. I’ve read and reread my copies of the books to ragged shreds. One of my favorite of Jack’s quotes is “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” I would love to hear him talking about his thought process when creating such magnificent stories that are relevant to both young people and adults, since that is something that I strive to do in my own writing. I would also love to have a deep conversation with him about faith, God, and, of course…The Inklings! Ideally, this chat would take place between us in the “Rabbit Room” at The Eagle and Child. Then Jack could give me a tour of Oxford, where we might just run into Professor Tolkien—and I would make Tollers read the “Riddles in the Dark” scene from the Hobbit in Gollum’s voice. As you can see, I’m determined to meet at least one other person from my phantasmal dinner party. 😉