1. If you were running for office what would your platform be?
Oh, dear oh dear oh dear. Umm. I can't go with "tigers and beer," because I don't like beer, and "tigers and froofy drinks" just doesn't have the same ring to it.
My college had a tradition of putting a faculty or staff member in an apartment in each dorm, partly to supervise us and partly so that there would be someone who cared and could get things done about it if one of the washing machines broke or the heat went out or whatever. This person was called the Head Resident. My freshman year HR was a guy called Robert Helgeson, and he was great. Helgeson sat us down and said, "The one rule of living here is: don't be a jerk." Don't smoke anything in the (unventillated) non-smoking sections, but also don't get nosey about what the people two flights up are smoking in their smoking section if it doesn't affect you any. Don't keep your neighbors up all night before their GREs, but also don't insist that your neighbors go to bed at 9:00 sharp. Clean up after yourselves, work things out politely, ask for help when you need it. Don't be a jerk. It was a great rule, and I think it's my platform.
2. What author influenced you the most when you were a child? Do you still like him/her?
When I was a child. How old is a child? I'm going to say under 12. Twelve is an adolescent, and 12 (for me) is reading grown-up books, so okay; childhood is now 11 and under.
I'm bad with total orderings. Everybody is hereby put on notice that me and total orderings, we just don't get along sometimes. Every once in awhile we manage to work it out in restricted circumstances. Mostly no.
Still. I'm going to have to go with Lloyd Alexander, and not just his work in general, but The Kestrel in specific. Blood and politics, blood and politics! oh, how I loved that book when I was 8. Still do. Very much so. If someone would write me a -- well, shit. Never mind. I apparently have to do it myself. (Stupid brain. You train it to go and then it won't stop, and that, said pameladean, was all I needed to know about one of the panels I didn't go to this weekend.)
I've talked before about how L.M. Montgomery brought all of history crashing down on my head with one book when I was a kid, and I haven't recovered from that yet. It's not the book I remember it being (that is, it's Rilla of Ingleside, but it's not as captivating as I remember it), but it's still interesting.
3. I'm coming for dinner...what are you making?
Do you have dietary restrictions? Do I know that you particularly like a certain cuisine?
One of my default meals for people who don't have any dietary restrictions is "company chicken," lemon almond garlic dill chicken, usually served over rice. We call it company chicken because it uses up enough dishes that it's not usually worthwhile to make for just ourselves. We throw a salad with it and serve bars for dessert, unless I'm inspired to something fancier. I like to cook things that are tasty but not overwhelmingly fancy when we have new guests.
I also make a good chili in both carnivorous and vegan versions. And cornbread (for those who can have animal products) or rosemary buns (for those who can't).
4. Tell me what you like most about Minnesota.
Oh, honey, everything.
I'm really fairly serious here, because what I like best about Minnesota is that it's mine. My state, my city, mine mine mine. So that includes walking around the lakes when it's crisp and autumnal, yes, and going to Fest and the Winter Carnival and having dozens of people (some of them perfect strangers) pine for herring with me at Minicon. But it also includes the mosquito bites and the little dance you have to do at the gas pump when the high that day is supposed to be -10 F not including windchill and the fact that some people will aggressively pretend to like you even when it's plain that they don't. It's all mine. The genre bookstores and the old friends and the new friends and the family members and Dayton's even though it isn't called that any more. The ice cream shop where my parents used to go when they were kids. The ice cream shop we just discovered the week we moved home. I'm perfectly happy to have some of it evolve, but I wouldn't give up a single piece of it as a sudden excision. This is where I belong. When people threaten to move to Canada, I know I never could, because as nice as Canada and Canadians are, and as similar as some parts of them are to home, they're not mine, and this is.
I've told this story before, and I'll probably tell it again: the back of my credit card is smudged, and I use my credit card a lot. I was lazy and didn't get a new driver's license for several months after we moved here, and every time I bought something and they checked my credit card, the clerks would ask if I was from California. And I would hasten to assure them that I was not, that we had lived there awhile but were now back, and every single time -- most days of the week, for several months straight, the clerks would say, "Well, welcome home!" That's my Minnesota.
5. Style, or substance?
Yes, please. Thanks.
On the other hand, everybody reading this knows I have a thing for geeks (don't you all by now? well, there are new people, so: I do), so substance. Yah. As long as the style doesn't go so far as to get in the way of it. That's the thing: I think they ought to be related to each other. In writing I see it especially: if you write with a style that has nothing to do with the substance of your book, you're doing it wrong. Choosing between them is like choosing between plot and character: if you have to make the choice, you probably screwed up a previous choice somewhere.