One thing that sucks about not being famous, besides not being handed gift bags full of iPods and designer sunglasses everywhere you go, is that no one’s knocking down your door to interview you. So you have to go knock on a few doors yourself—I knocked on Claire’s, and she emailed me the questions below:
1. If you had the opportunity to write a nonfiction book, what would its topic be and how would you prepare to write it?
Form-wise, something along the lines of Adrian Nicole Leblanc’s Random Family or Susan Orlean’s The Bullfighter Checks Her Make-up—something that would require me to spend a lot of time with a group of interesting people and write about them in a vivid, narrative, predictably fiction-esque manner. I was a journalist for about five minutes, you know. Topic-wise, I think it would be about the circus.
2. Do you have any tattoos? If so, where and what? If not, what would you get and where?
I have one tattoo: a vine wrapping around my left wrist. There are light bulbs growing out of it. Everyone thinks they’re Christmas lights, but they’re not, or at least not more than once a year.
3. You're offered your last book's advance plus $10,000 or 125% of your last advance (whichever is larger) for your next book, but it will only be available in a new proprietary electronic format that few people have adopted and tech critics believe will lose out to another format. Do you accept the offer?
Let’s see, zero plus $10,000 is $10,000, whereas 125% of zero is, um, zero, so I’ll consider the first option. As this question involves numbers and technology, it’s not something I normally think about a lot—which makes you an excellent interviewer.
Sorry, I’m stalling. I’m tempted to say, “Paper-and-cloth books are a format few people have adopted,” but I’ll avoid being quite so cynical. I’d take the $10,000 if my book was one that lent itself well to a high-tech format, a la Geoff Ryman’s 253, in which case I would assume the right readers would find me. My actual second book is kind of crunchy, so I’ll have to hold out for a $200 advance from an indie paper-and-cloth press. Which is why future interviews will most likely also take place on my own blog and not in People Magazine.
4. Deadlines or no deadlines. Explain your preference.
Deadlines. I’m an overachiever and/or I do my best work in the presence of fear. However you want to look at it.
5. Describe your ideal writing environment and its conditions.
I think I’m supposed to long for a cabin in the woods, or at least a sunny loft overlooking Central Park, but I’m actually quite fond of the Coffee Table in Silver Lake. I like a little white noise while I work, and I like having people to watch, and I like snacking. But in my ideal world:
A) The Coffee Table would be right next to my home, AK’s home and my office.
B) The veggie burrito would be free instead of $8.95.
C) The place would not be full of hipster babies wearing tiny little T-shirts touting bands they’ve never listened to. I might allow the occasional quiet baby in a Winnie the Pooh shirt.
D) The guy at the cash register would not make fun of my Starbucks Visa card every time I paid. I guess he wouldn’t even get the opportunity, since everything would be free.
Want to play? Here are the rules:
1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me,” along with your email address. Following Tracy’s lead, I’ll respond to the first five (‘cause I know there are gonna be thousands) who do it.
2. I will respond by e-mailing you five questions. I get to pick them, and you have to answer them all.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.