Friday, 20 January 2012

The One-Link Lowdown on...Anne E. Johnson

Writer Anne E. Johnson is my guest today. Author of both children's' and YA fiction as well as novels for adults, Anne has a long list of credits to her name. Along with her fiction writing, Anne - who has degrees in classical languages and musicology - has also published academic works in her specialist areas. Her next fiction publication will be the middle-grade paranormal mystery novel Ebenezer’s Locker, which is due out in June from MuseItUp. I for one will be following up her work soon.

Please join me in welcoming her to the One-Link Lowdown. Anne - the stage is yours. Let's take it from the top!

If you could retrieve one thing from your childhood, what would it be?

I’d retrieve my iridescent blue tricycle with purple streamers on the handlebars. I would love to pedal that around my neighbourhood in Brooklyn.

Those childhood toys! I love them. Anne, tell me - what’s the worst job you've ever had?

I’ve had two jobs that required cold calling, something that utterly terrifies me. One had me calling doctors all over the world to solicit review of medical articles. That was bad, but the worse one was calling people during dinnertime to solicit donations for a university. I lasted two weeks at that. Ironically, I’ve been told many times that I have a wonderful telephone manner. Nobody would pledge money to me, though.

What’s on your bedside table/nightstand?

A stuffed owl wearing a cap and gown and holding a diploma. When you press her stomach, her cap shoots upward like she’s surprised. My husband bought her for me when I passed my driver’s exam and finished a two-year writing course in the same week. I named her Ursula, after a character in one of my novels.

What’s your favourite piece of music?

Igor Stravinsky’s ballet, Petrouchka. This has been true since I was about twelve. I was kind of a strange kid.

I can go along with that. I remember seeing a production of Petrouchka on television and being both spooked and fascinated by it - I do love Stravinsky's music too. On to more prosaic matters! What is your favourite sandwich, and where in the world is the best place to eat it?

Waiter, bring me a ciabatta with fresh, unsalted mozzarella, fresh basil and sliced tomato with a little olive oil. And I’ll eat that on a bench next to the Model Boat Pond in Central Park in New York, please.

Order two - that's my favourite as well! On the subject of food, who would you invite to your ultimate fantasy dinner party?

Although this is a fantasy, I’ll force myself to stick to living people (so that this doesn’t take all day): Rufus Wainwright, Ursula LeGuin, Imogen Heap, Nelson Mandela, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Gustavo Dudamel, John Hurt, Bob Dylan, Guillermo del Toro, Annie Lennox... This list could seriously go on forever. How big is the dining room?

I'll lay in extra chairs! Anne, what drives you seriously nuts?

The trend toward turning verbs into nouns. It’s pure laziness. The most painful example (and one quite popular now in the publishing industry) is the use of “reveal” as a noun synonymous with “unveiling” or “revelation.”

Yup. 'Ask' is another, as in 'a big ask.' Grr. Let's get away from all that for a moment as I lend you my time travel machine! Where would you go, and why?

I did graduate work in medieval music, and teach music history. I would go back and see what this music really sounded like, since we’re just guessing. I’d start in Paris in 1200, when there were all sorts of interesting changes happening in composition and performance.

What's your guilty pleasure?

On weeknights, after a long day of work (especially on a teaching day), I’ve been known to watch dopey TV dramas like Hawaii Five-0. It gives my brain a rest.

Gotta love that dopey TV! Finally, tell me - what single invention would change your life for the better?

Affordable, high-quality, well-maintained housing in New York City. (Oh, I do love science fiction!)

Sure - and yet sometimes it comes true, so fingers crossed! Anne, thanks so much for being my guest today. Friends, if you'd like to know more about Anne and her books, please go along and visit her website here. Good luck with all your future projects, Anne!