What questions do you dread that I'll ask?

Now, if I were to name them, I’d feel compelled to answer them in defense of why I didn’t want to in the first place. And yes, I do that much mental tail-chasing all the time.

Name some things that make you smile.

The moon in the daytime. When I was about six or seven, I decided that seeing the moon in the morning on my walk to school meant good luck, that it would be a good day. I’ve never been able to keep from smiling at the moon in a blue sky ever since. Other than that, I don’t smile at all. It causes wrinkles.

What excites you about writing?

Finding a particular order of words that makes the thought in my mind solid and textured, so it looks on the page just the way it felt in my head.

What's it all about, Alfie?

It’s all about the travesty of Michael Caine being the most underrated hottie of all time.

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

Why not? I’m often humid and make greenery wilt.

Is there a dream that used to flash like twilight lightning for you, but hangs limp in memory now?

I think know what you mean, unless it’s a literary reference that is showing me up for the trailer trash I really am. It’s a hard question to answer. Most of my dreams are like that, vivid right up until I try to relate it. I do a lot of lucid dreaming, which is being aware, as it’s happening, that it’s all a dream. I can mostly change, stop, rewind, and jettison my dreams as it pleases me. I’ve never had to have that falling dream since I figured out how to do this. I didn’t realize that everyone didn’t lucid dream until I was in my twenties.

Or wait, did you mean ‘dream’ as in ‘aspiration’? If so, then no, I’ve always been short of ambition.

"For the most part, people are... " what?

A pain in the ass. That’s why I count the ones I enjoy as worth their weight in diamonds.

You often write with a first-person voice. How do you like that voice to come across: what emotion, manner, outlook - what type of person - do you convey in that voice?

So far, I’ve conveyed three different people in the first person: a fledgling ghost, a corrupt police officer, and a woman who wants nothing more than to be suburban normal, but she’s got… um… obstacles. So, when I think of this question, the answer that comes to me is that we can’t be anything other than the axis of our own lives. We are essentially egocentric, even Mother Theresa, because that’s how the world is – one life at a time, everywhere simultaneously. I want to portray that one-way filter of fundamental solitude.

First person is play-acting, and I think probably the easiest way to get prose to ring true, if you do it right. So sadly, I probably use the first person point of view because it’s an easy way out. That’s Path-of-Least-Resistance-Perks and she comes with all the accessories shown here.

I do have a novel nearly done that’s in third person, though. And it turns out I love that just as much as first person, if not just a teeny bit more.

Is that person a reflection of you, either in reality or in some ideal or alternate persona?

Sure. I think every person I’ve made up has hatched from some dream egg of my own laying. I’m greedy. I want a thousand lives. So, until my plan for body-snatching and soul-eating is realized, I live through these tendrils of my daydreams. Inventing adversarial situations and ways out of them is wonderful mental exercise. I think it makes our lives larger in a very real sense.

What’s really great is that I live just as fully through characters that other people create as I do my own. When a book is well-written, I absolutely ache to be in that fraternity, to be one of the people who can do that for others – create bigger, better playgrounds for their minds to run and fall and get dirty and push and shove and win and lose. All from the comfort of their very own bed, bus seat, airport terminal bench, hammock… you know.

If you were to remain one age forever, what age would that be?

Ha! I used to pretend that my Barbie dolls were twenty-eight. Always twenty-eight. I don’t know why. Twenty-eight was a good enough year for me, but as far as what age I’d like to stay forever, I haven’t hit that yet. Physically, I’d like to reverse gravity by a dozen years or so, but barring that, there’s always Botox.

Does 'being a writer' effect any changes in you, any expectations of yourself in terms of character or manner -- anything other than writing itself?

I expect of myself that I have to try harder than other people to make sure that fantasy does not supplant the reality that whooshes past me all day, every day. I can rewind my dreams, but I can’t rewind Thursday. Plus, if I’m mindful, I can use it.

What are the characteristics of a writer - the way you'd like to be seen and remembered as a writer?

That I was good. That’s all. I desperately want to be good at this.

Are there any reading experiences you've had (emotions, epiphanies, impressions, etc.) that have shaped your conception of how you'd like your readers to react to your own works?

Oh yes. The most obvious one is a book that hasn’t been published yet. I trade work with a guy who is one of the most talented writers I’ve ever read. Watching his book glitter as he tapped facets into it was the most inspiring thing I’ve ever witnessed.

He got both elements of fiction so right. It was a riveting story told through the most gorgeous words possible. And he knows what in a scene is most worth relating. His fly-on-the-wall is the greatest cinematographer of all time.

If I could do that…

I resist imitation as best I can, but everything I read, from the shampoo bottle to the next book in the stack on my shelf, can be chock full of examples of what I’d like to achieve or sins against verbiage that I hope never to commit.

Do you finish books you don't like? What do you get from them?

Sometimes. What I get out of them is the shame of being so damned cheap that I’ll throw good time after bad money.

Describe your favorite or ideal writing mise en scene -- that is, how, where, when you like (or would like) to be situated when you're writing.

I love my office. When this house was built, there was a small error in the plans and this room ended up smaller by two feet in both length and width. We tried using it as a guest room, but in all honesty, it was really more of a guest cell. So I moved my office area in here and it’s perfect. I’ve vowed only to have things I love in this room. Everywhere I look, I smile. Oh shit. I just betrayed my answer to question two as a fib. Sorry.

My husband asked if it bothered me that the room was too small to accommodate a chair for someone else to sit in, to keep me company. But the answer is – not at all. Mine, mine, mine, all mine. If you want something from me while I’m working, you’ll have to stand at the door and feel like a pest.

So, the short answer to your question, now that I’ve wandered around the block, is: any time, day or night, in my office with the window open and the neighbor’s dog not barking. It has to be quiet.

What inspires you to switch gears and write a poem?

I love it when that happens. It’s just a phrase that’ll pop into my head, a sideways arrangement of a point. Then I’ll build on it from there. And it’s funny, I very much prefer to write prose on the computer, but I have to write poetry by hand.

Of the questions that you hoped I'd ask but didn't, which would you most like to answer? (Go ahead, then!)

You didn’t ask me what my favorite flavor of ice cream is. Other than that, this was a really terrific set of questions and I really enjoyed working out the answers to them. Thank you.

Oh. It’s mint chocolate chip.