Interview with Erin HartFebruary, 2010
SS: What is your birthdate?
SS: What were your previous occupations?
EH: Stage manager, propmistress, receptionist, communications director, editor, teacher, music promoter, freelance arts journalist & theater critic.
SS: What was/is your favorite job?
EH: Writing novels, of course! I also loved being involved in any aspect of theater production -- directing, costuming, buildings sets, props...
SS: Where did you go to high school and/or college?
EH: Mayo High School -- Rochester MN; Saint Olaf College--Northfield MN; University of Minnesota-Minneapolis.
SS: Name of your favorite composer or music artist?
EH: Irish button accordion master Paddy O'Brien -- I'm not biased at all.
SS: What is your favorite movie?
EH: Tie between two Alfred Hitchcock films, "Rear Window," and "Notorious."
SS: What is your favorite television show?
EH: "Slings and Arrows," a Canadian series about a Shakespeare festival theater.
SS: How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
EH: Dreaming, digging, reading, scribbling, and revising, revising, revising!
SS: What is your motto or maxim?
EH: How do you know you can't do something until you actually try?
Questions About Books and Writing
SS: Who are your favorite authors?
EH: A. S. Byatt, P. D. James, Martin Cruz Smith, Minette Walters, Ruth Rendell, John Fowles, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Michael Frayn, Brian Friel, August Wilson, William Shakespeare, Seamus Heaney
SS: What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
EH: Possession, by A. S. Byatt East of Eden, by John Steinbeck War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy The Complete Works of William Shakespeare by William Shakespeare Without Feathers by Woody Allen Theophilus North, by Thornton Wilder
SS: Is there a book you love to reread?
EH: Not really. Somehow, I seem to keep going forward... But I enjoy dipping back into Shakespeare, Austen, and Dickens any time.
SS: Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
EH: Figure out what you most fear as a writer, and try to do THAT.
SS: What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
EH: "Your characters and setting seemed so real." Followed by: "Why do your characters have to swear so much?" It's all quite amusing to me, because I believe the two are almost directly proportionate.
What Readers want to know...
SS: How would you describe perfect happiness?
EH: Those fleeting moments when the words on the page begin to come together and take on a life of their own. Those moments are rare, but there's no feeling like it in all the world.
SS: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
EH: In West Clare, with a turf fire in the grate and a steady rain on the roof.
SS: With whom in history do you most identify?
EH: Eleanor Roosevelt.
SS: If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
EH: It's a tie between being funny and playing the fiddle.
SS: What’s your greatest fear?
EH: I'm actually rather claustrophobic about being underwater.
SS: What is your greatest achievement?
EH: Actually finding my way to the end of three novels... so far!
SS: What’s your greatest flaw?
EH: Too indecisive? No, wait... Probably perfectionism.
SS: What’s your best quality?
EH: A fierce devotion to laughter.
SS: If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
EH: A beautiful, pale green carpet of sphagnum moss.
SS: What trait is most noticeable about you?
EH: Unbridled enthusiasm -- which is why I tend to blather on about subjects that fascinate me.
SS: Who is your favorite fictional hero?
EH: It's a tie between Sherlock Holmes and Sydney Carton from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.
SS: Who is your favorite fictional villain?
EH: Richard III.
SS: What is your biggest pet peeve?
EH: Wastefulness -- well, that, and lazy language and bad grammar. Don't get me started on the misuse of apostrophes.
SS: What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
EH: Reading, cooking, listening to music.
SS: What’s your fantasy profession?
EH: Theater director.
SS: What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
EH: Integrity, creativity, empathy.
SS: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
EH: Mountain Lion Colorado peaches.
SS: What are your most overused words or phrases?
EH: Well, I write suspense, so naturally the answer to this question has to be: "Suddenly..."
SS: What do you regret most?
EH: You mean, apart from starting this questionnaire? Not sticking with playing an instrument, probably.
SS: If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
EH: Oscar Wilde --but I'm sure I'd be speechless.
Get more on Erin Hart at SimonandSchuster.com