What is your idea of perfect happiness? The very idea of perfect happiness. Who wouldn’t be happy about the proposition that happiness can be perfect?
What is your current state of mind? Optimism and gratitude, so mixed up with nervousness, it’s hard to tell one from the others.
What is your greatest fear? The fact that, until recently, “the end of the world” would have seemed pretentious and evasive, and now seems like the only possible answer.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? It’s a tie: subtlety and frugality.
On what occasion do you lie? I do that for a living.
What is your greatest regret? Only the things I didn’t do. There is, however, much to be said for staying alive.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I’m chronically late. It’s magical thinking: I actually believe I can take a shower and get dressed in three minutes, that the train will be pulling into the station the moment I arrive….
What do you most value in your friends? Forbearance with my chronic tardiness.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? When I finish a draft of a novel, I read through it for words I’ve overused. They differ from book to book. With Day, there were startling abundances of understand, shimmer, and realize, to name three.
Who are your favorite writers? There are hundreds.
Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Dorothea Brooke.
What is your most treasured possession? A handwritten note by Virginia Woolf. It’s like a hybrid of object and living thing.
What is your greatest extravagance? A line of insanely expensive Italian sneakers may not sound all that extravagant, but then you have no idea how many pairs I’ve got.
Where would you like to live? I’m pleased to say that after decades of moving around, I’d most like to live where I actually live.
What is your motto? I wish I had a motto. I’m accepting suggestions.
Which talent would you most like to have? The ability to sing. I’d love to deliver a rock anthem or an aria to a live audience. Writing has considerable satisfactions, but it’s also a little like putting a message into a bottle and tossing it in the ocean.
What do you dislike most about your appearance? Don’t get me started.
How would you like to die? What, exactly, are you implying?
What or who is the greatest love of your life? My husband, Ken Corbett. My most significant accomplishment is achieving this much intimacy and connection with another being. The writing is a close second.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Oh, well, it’s probably a little late for that by now.