1) You are facing an epic journey. You may choose one companion,
one tool and one vehicle from any book or film to accompany you. Or
just one of the three. It’s up to you. What do you choose?
Samwise Gamgee is my companion. But not as played by my buddy Sean Astin, who needed to tone down the melodrama a titch. I’d like the time travel machine from . . . a Heinlein novel with a name I can’t recall! And for my tool, I’d take Glenda the Good Witch’s wand because, y’know, wands are useful things when adventuring.
2) You can escape to the insides of any book. Where do you go, and why?
The Moon’s A Balloon by David Niven. It’s his memoirs, and dude was his life fun! In the golden age of Hollywood! He was quite a rake . . . and one I’m afraid I never would have heard of had I not picked up his book from the freebie shelf in a hostel in Sydney, Australia.
3) You can bring one literary character into your current life. Who do you choose, and why?
Thursday Next, from the Jasper Fforde novels. She can dive into books, and she could show me how!
4) Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence is my go-to book. I could read that book
fifty-seven times in a row without a break for food or a pee and not be
remotely bored. In fact I’ve already done that but it wasn’t
fifty-seven times. It was sixty-four.
5) Of all the literary or film characters that made an impression on you as a kid, who was the most enviable?
I always wanted to be one of the teenagers in a Christopher Pike horror teen fiction novel. They seemed so free and cool. I just gave all of my Christopher Pike to the goodwill, and even though they were trashy and I never re-read them I really think that was a mistake. It makes me feel ill when I think about it.
6) Of all the literary or film characters that made an impression on you as a kid, who was the most frightening?
This is a tough question, I didn’t scare much as a kid. But I do remember a horror movie where a guy paints plaster over his victim’s face, until all that’s left is her nose for breathing, and then he sloooooowly covers that up, and she writhes and dies. THAT haunted my dreams, and I don’t even know how I was permitted to see it as a kid!
7) Every time I read Unless, Carol Warner Shields, I see something in it that I haven’t seen before.
8) It is imperative that Margaret Maron’s Deborah Knott mystery novels (set in North Carolina!) be made into a movie.
Now. I am already picketing Hollywood for this—but if they cast Sandra Bullock as Deborah, I will not be happy. I will,
however, be appeased if they cast an unknown.
9) Ian McEwan’s Atonement is a book that should never be made (or should have never been made) into a film.
10) After all these years, the people-eating scene in the book/movie The Road still manages to give me the queebs. (not THAT many years, I guess, but still . . .)
11) After all these years, the reconciliation scene between Lizzie and Mr. Darcy in the book/movie Pride and Prejudice still manages to give me a thrill.
12) If I could corner the author Carol Warner Shields (alas, she has died and it can never happen!), here’s what I’d
say to them one minute or less about their book, Unless:
I frequently think or say the phrase: the comfort of the perfectly chosen word. And also: a watercolor blob that means mother. And so many other gems. This book is one of my life companions, and I am so glad you created it.
13) The coolest non-fiction book I’ve ever read is Having Faith, Sandra Steingraber. Every time I flip through it, it makes me want to save the world from toxic wastes!