Interview with Roz ChastApril, 2012
SS: How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
RC: Brooklyn girl. Cartoonist. Wife, mother (two kids). Birds.
SS: What is your motto or maxim?
RC: Never put bananas in the refrigerator.
What Readers want to know...
SS: How would you describe perfect happiness?
RC: I'll quote Alfred Hitchcock: a blue sky without any clouds.
SS: What’s your greatest fear?
RC: A bad thing happening to either of my children.
SS: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
RC: In a hot bath, upstairs.
SS: What is your greatest achievement?
RC: Learning to drive at age 38.
SS: Who is your favorite fictional villain?
RC: Tom Ripley.
SS: What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
RC: I'm going through a big modular origami phase at the moment.
SS: What’s your fantasy profession?
SS: What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
RC: Tactfulness; o.k. teeth; sense of humor.
SS: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
RC: Peanut butter on saltines.
SS: What are your 5 favorite songs?
RC: Save Me (Aimee Mann); La Mer (Charles Trenet); All Tomorrow's Parties (Velvet Underground); Every Day is LIke Sunday (The Smiths); Road Runner (Jonathan Richman);
SS: What are your most overused words or phrases?
RC: Several swear words come to mind.
SS: What do you regret most?
RC: That I don't speak fluent Italian.
SS: If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
RC: I'd like to be a really good ice skater.
SS: What’s your greatest flaw?
SS: What’s your best quality?
RC: I'm a consistent flosser.
SS: If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
RC: A museum.
SS: What trait is most noticeable about you?
RC: Nervous laughter.
SS: Who is your favorite fictional hero?
RC: Harriet the Spy.
SS: If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
RC: Sigmund Freud. "Thanks a lot, pal."
SS: What is your biggest pet peeve?
RC: My own physical laziness.
Questions About Books and Writing
SS: Who are your favorite authors?
RC: In no particular order: Charles Dickens, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Mann, Charles Portis, Bruce Jay Friedman, Alice Munro, Sarah Waters, Jennifer Egan, Patricia Highsmith, Ian Frazier, Joseph Mitchell, Richard Yates, Richard Russo, Lorrie Moore, Truman Capote, John Cheever, John Updike, Philip Roth, Philip Larkin, Julie Hecht, Paul Bowles, Paul Theroux, Nabokov, Jonathan Franzen... so many. I'm sure I'm leaving people out, which makes me anxious.
SS: What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
RC: Tender is the Night. The Magic Mountain. The Sheltering Sky. Stern. Lolita.
SS: Is there a book you love to reread?
RC: The Sheltering Sky
SS: Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
RC: Not really.
SS: What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
RC: It's a tie between, "This really made me laugh" and "I don't get it."
SS: What is your birthdate?
SS: What were your previous occupations?
RC: I colored in needlepoint canvases for a while. Also, I babysat.
SS: What was/is your favorite job?
SS: Where did you go to high school and/or college?
RC: Midwood High School in Brooklyn, then RISD.
SS: Name of your favorite composer or music artist?
SS: What is your favorite movie?
SS: What is your favorite television show?
RC: The British version of The Office
Get more on Roz Chast at SimonandSchuster.com