Who are your favorite authors? Glen David Gold, Diana Wynne Jones, George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, John Irving Who has had a major influence on your writing? My grandfather was a brawler from Boston with a fondness for poems like “Evangeline” and short stories like “The Moon Is Down.” He loved language and taught me to do the same. Other big influences might be Madeleine L’Engle, Frank Herbert, Stephen King, and the illustrations of Arthur Rackham and Ivan Bilibin. I bow down before the world-building genius of Holly Black and George R.R. Martin. Name a book you never finished? I once picked up Masters of Modern Drama intending to read every play in it. The first one was Peer Gynt, so that was a short-lived endeavor. What word or words do you always have trouble spelling? I always have to think twice with peek/peak. What three adjectives best describe you? I’ll go with Prickly, Opinionated, Merry. Hmm, I sound like a Dickensian drunk. Which of your characters would you want to be and why? I’d like to look like Genya and have her powers, but I wouldn’t want to be saddled with her past. Which author would you invite to dinner? Neil Gaiman. He’d bring Amanda Palmer,and I’d get just tipsy enough to be charming. Then Joss Whedon would drop by with ahomemade pie. Where do you write? At my dining room table. When do you write? At all hours, but I prefer to write while there’s daylight. What makes you happy? My marvelous friends, my adorable dog, hearing that someone stayed up too late reading one of my books. What do you most fear? Failure. Also monkeys, sharks, and blimps. What is your favorite vice? Luxury. I’m a sucker for beautiful, unnecessary things. What is the quality you most like in yourself? I’m easily amused. What are the qualities you most like in your friends? Their wit, their intelligence, their goodness. Would you be lying if you said your works were not autobiographical? Let’s say I’d be fibbing. I have something in common with all my characters– particularly the very bad ones, so watch yourself. What part of your personality do you detest? I’m deeply, sometimes paralyzingly insecure. What is your favorite adjective? Toothsome. What is your favorite book? Oh, you’re impossible. What book would you read three times? I’m big on revisiting favorites, but I’ve reread Agatha Christie’s Tuesday Club Murders short stories countless times. They’re perfect little jewels that never really get their due. To whom would you award the Nobel Prize for Literature and why? Neil Gaiman. Then he’d have to come over for dinner. Please nominate three “must reads” for Members of TheReadingRoom.com Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold. Puzzles, heartbreak, history, adventure. Howl’s Moving Castle by Dianna Wynn Jones. She was so remarkable. If you don’t know her work, this is a good place to start. The Shipping News by Annie Proulx. This is an exquisite book. I try to pretend the movie never happened.