The Author Questionnaire: Is This a Trick Question?: A guest post by Heather Lende

I have been trying to fill out an author questionnaire sent to me recently by the PR woman at my publisher. She is very nice, and has no idea what anxiety she has caused me. She assures me this is quick and easy and fun. It has now occupied way more of my waking thoughts than it should. Here are some answers I didn’t send her:

1. Describe your new book in one sentence.

I took me 287 pages to describe what it was about. If I could have done it in one sentence, I’d be a poet.

2. Where do you do your best writing?

If I knew of a place where I could go to do my best writing, all of my writing would be the best.

3. What is your motto or maxim?

Should I have one? Is this common for writers? Not one editor ever has asked for this. They don’t teach writer mottos or maxims in the UAA MFA program. Should it be in Latin?

4. Do you have any secret skills (besides writing, of course?)

Secret? Me? Well, maybe, but they have to do with sex. (I’m grandmother. Trust me, some things should be secret.)

5. Describe the plot of the first story you remember writing.

It was called Gloria’s Last Ride and about a woman who rode a dead, frozen horse like a sled down a hill in Haines and off the dock, in January. I won a prize for it at the Southeast Alaska State Fair. It was rejected by several literary magazines as just too far-fetched and odd. The thing was, it was very close to being true. A frozen horse did slide down the hill and off the dock, and someone did try to ride it, and someone a lot like Gloria died, not right then, but later. Also, the other character really did put rum in my instant coffee and wear a sou’wester to fix a leaking pipe in his basement. That’s where the pool table they laid Soapy Smith’s body on for his wake was kept.

6. If you had to change professions, and needed no credentials, what would you do?

Is writing a profession? Can I have health insurance?

7. Which band would you like to have follow you around, playing the soundtrack to your life?

A Mariachi Band. The Moscow Symphony. My children with kazoos. Asleep at the Wheel. Maybe the Mormon Tabernacle Choir? (Do I have to house and feed them?)

8. What is your all-time-absolute-favorite book?

Is this a trick question? (I’ve written a spiritual memoir, so I should say the Bible, but the writing isn’t all that good, especially the modern translations.)

I don’t mean to disrespectful, and it is very gratifying to be asked such questions. It just took so long to answer them, is all. I have shared this so that you will better prepared than I was. It’s never to early to start thinking about which band you would like to follow you around playing the soundtrack to your life.

6 thoughts on “The Author Questionnaire: Is This a Trick Question?: A guest post by Heather Lende”

  1. Andromeda Romano-Lax

    I loved this! Especially the story about the frozen horse — and the question about the soundtrack band.

    I don't have a book coming out, but I'm feeling distracted right now just trying to think how I'd answer those questions.

  2. Welcome all to the Land of the Sound Bite, where creative complexity is delivered in fewer than 140 characters! Thoughtful content is soooo 15 minutes ago!

  3. Heather Lende is this funny in person too! Once, she was telling me a story and I was laughing so hard that I wanted to give her the Mark Twain Prize for Humor right then. Sometimes, we can tell a humorous story, but it's hard to translate that to the written word. Heather can do both!

  4. Fun read. Publishers hire these young starving bright people who want to work around books and authors and their concept of all things is this moment. They will take a breath and enjoy life like Heather does–one of these days. Good web site. See you the 20dth. Jim Misko

  5. Dear Alaska Authors: I'm not from Alaska but I love to visit there. I'd love to know where to come to find the L street address of Raven Place, but since you all are from there, you didn't put the town/city/village where it is, so I'm clueless! Help Help – the price is very reasonable, and I'd like to plan on staying there my next Alaska trip.

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