From the Eastern bracket comes the delightful Anna Jones Buttimore.
Probably a minor character from Harry Potter at the end of the last book. So no Voldemort related horror and carnage to face, but the ability to wave my wand and have the house magically clean itself.
If you could co-write a book with any author who would you co-write it with?
I have already co-written a book with a good friend and it was a lot of fun and resulted in a book which was far better than either of us could have written alone. But I would love to work with Stephenie Meyer on Midnight Sun, the unfinished Twilight novel. I’m unashamed to admit to being a huge Twilight fan, and the idea of rewriting a bestselling novel from the viewpoint of a different character is an amazing challenge.
How many hours do you spend on writing a day?
Erm… none. I’m lucky if I get fifteen minutes a day – I have a job, three children and I teach Seminary so I just don’t get the time. If I do write it’s generally late at night.
What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
Practice writing. Choose really difficult things to write, like sympathy letters or descriptive poems, or join a writing group where you can learn your craft and be stretched and challenged. Writing is like any other skill – you can get better at it with regular practice.
How have your personal experiences affected your writing?
I like to think they haven’t, in that I’m very careful to keep real life out of my books. Having said that, my latest book, The Saved Saint which is about a Mormon missionary who joins an evangelical church, draws very heavily on my own experiences. Most of the incidents in there are things that happen to me.
How long did it take you to publish your first book after you started trying?
Surprisingly not long; I think I was very lucky. I wrote a book and sent it off, and got a lovely letter back from an editor who said she thought my writing style was very good but the story itself was totally unsuitable. She suggested an alternative story for me, I wrote the book in about six months, and sent it straight to her and it was published.
Is there a movie (gasp) that you prefer over the book version?
Actually, several. My favourite film, The Princess Bride, is much better than the book which is rather slow.
Every Bond film ever is better than the book, and while The Hunger Games was excellent in both formats, there were some extra details which could be included in the film which weren’t in the book (such as showing the “Behind the scenes” of the Gamesmakers which wasn’t in the book because Catniss never sees it) and added a whole new level.
Breaking Dawn part 2 was better because the ending was so much more dramatic and impressive.
Do you write in your PJ's? Sometimes, but since I’m usually just grabbing spare minutes I write in whatever I happen to be wearing.
Do you use a laptop or a desktop for writing?
I prefer a desktop, but I have all my novels in Dropbox so I can pick up my laptop and work elsewhere if I need to. My husband bought me the laptop so that I could write in bed, but I’ve found that isn’t comfortable and I tend to fall asleep with it still perched on my knees, which isn’t good for the laptop.
What is your favorite quotation?
There are too many! Scriptures like “Wickedness never was happiness” or “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear” I have found to be both profound and true. Then there are lines from my favourite films, like “Never give up, never surrender!” My youngest daughter says lots of funny things. On one occasion we’d driven to Heathrow airport to pick up my husband after he’d spent a month working in Russia. Ceri was then about 3 or 4, and ran up to him all excited and happy to see him again. The first words she said to him were, “My penguin is a secret agent!”
What is your favorite cereal?
Kellogg’s Chocolate Cornflakes. I ate them for breakfast every day for several years, and then, to my horror, Kellogg’s stopped making them. In June last year they suddenly appeared in the shops again after a ten-year absence, so I’m back to eating them every single day. No, of course I don’t get bored of them. Have you tried them? Once you do, all other cereals can just pack up and go home.
If you were a crayon what color would you be?
Do you prefer summer or winter?
Summer. But you have to bear in mind that I live in England where it never gets above 80 degrees in summer, and it is absolutely bone-chillingly wet and cold in winter.
What is one thing you hope to accomplish this year?
Finally lose the weight. I have 60lbs to lose and I’m giving myself a whole year to do it in, which means just 5lbs a month. Sounds easy, but as at the end of February I’ve lost exactly nothing, so I’ve got some work to do.
The world would be a better place if . . .?
Every child born anywhere could grow up in a nurturing, loving and stable family where they are cherished, protected and educated. It might take a couple of generations but I believe it would solve a lot of society’s problems.
What is something you've always wanted to try?
Being extremely rich. I think I’d be great at it and very kind and generous to my many servants. But maybe a better answer would parascending (parasailing). I’m actually really scared of heights and yet somehow that looks a lot of fun.
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