Elle Newmark is the acclaimed author of The Book of Unholy Mischief and The Sandlewood Tree. Sadly, she died in 2011 after a long illness; before which she lived and worked in the hills north of San Diego.
Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
A. one surprise after another after another after another
Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. remember to breathe
Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. To wear the world like a loose garment.
Q. Whats your greatest fear?
A. not writing well
Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. In a clean well-lighted place working on my next novel
Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. Maybe Alfred Hitchcock. Like me, he was a late bloomer and a little odd
Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. The Dalai Lama because, well, you know.
Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. Seriously. I mean that's the word: Seriously. I'm not kidding. Seriously, I use seriously way too much. I'm serious.
Q. What do you regret most?
A. Nothing. It was all necessary.
Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. Dancing like leaves in the wind
Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. It's either writing a novel or raising children. Both incredibly difficult and equally rewarding
Q. Whats your greatest flaw?
A. Impatience with stupid people
Q. Whats your best quality?
Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. A great writer
Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. I'm friendly? How would I know what other people notice.
Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A. Robinson Crusoe. Love a resourceful man.
Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. Tom Ripleya sociopath with touching vulnerabilities. He is so terrifyingly human.
Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. Buddha. I'd ask him how you find enlightenment WITHOUT leaving your children behind.
Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
Q. What is your favorite occupation, when youre not writing?
Q. Whats your fantasy profession?
A. Ballerina. The swan neck, the stork legs, the breathtaking leaps. Oh, yeah.
Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A. Intelligence, Integrity and Humor
Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A. How horrible! But if I had to choose, I guess really really good brick oven pizza. Can I at least get different toppings?
Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. American Pie, Il Partiro, The Boy in The Bubble, I Will Survive, Fly on The Wall
On Books and Writing
Q. Who are your favorite authors?
A. OMG, there are so many. Those that pop up immediately are Geraldine Brooks, John Steinbeck, Ian McEwan, Tom Wolfe, Peter Mathiessen, A.S. Byatt, Gregory Maguire, Richard Russo, Chris Cleave, Sebastian Faulks, Tolstoy, Isabelle Allende, Kazuo Ishaguro, David Mitchell, William Styron, David Sedaris, Vladimir Nabokov, Barbara Kingsolver...I could go on and on...
Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. Of Mice and Men, People of the Book, Sophie's Choice, The Remains of The Day, At Play in The Fields of The Lord
Q. Is there a book you love to reread?
A. Sophie's Choice
Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
A. Keep writing.
Q. What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
A. My readers appear to enjoy my descriptions of places and food
Q. How did you come to write Book of Unholy Mischief?
A. I love Venice, my father is an Italian chef, and I like mysteries with something to say. I like juicy books
About This Biography
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