TCL’s Countdown Questions #1: Author Melanie Benjamin.

An Alternative Author Interview:

TCL’s Countdown Questions.

My fellow blogger Jill Doyle has a lovely thing on her blog called “Five on Friday” where she asks authors five questions that each require five answers. I thought this was really great idea, mostly because I’ve never done an author interview myself – at least not a good one. I mean, I’ve asked authors for guest posts, but so far, I’ve only given them one question to answer. That’s not really an interview. So, I thought that if I could come up with a set of fun questions to ask authors, maybe I’d do it myself. After quite a bit of thinking, I came up with the following:

  • If you could visit five (5) places you’ve never been, where would you go and why?
  • Name four (4) foods or dishes that you enjoy so much that they’ve practically become part of your personality.
  • There is the past, the present, and the future – if you could choose, which of these three (3) would you prefer to live in, and why?
  • Best and worst – you choose which – name two (2) of either your best moments of your life, worst moments of your life, or one of each.
  • Name one (1) book you’ve read in the past year (or so) that you wish you had written, and why.

To get this going, I reached out to authors of books I’ve read (or am reading) and reviewed on this blog, as well as (real life and virtual) friends who have written books in genres I don’t read, but which I’ve promoted here. Interestingly enough, the first author to reply to my request was from someone I’ve long wanted to read (and only recently got the chance), Melanie Benjamin, author of the novel “Mistress of the Ritz” that was released on May 15, 2019 (for which I’ll be putting up my review later this week)! Here is how she answered:

  • If you could visit five (5) places you’ve never been, where would you go and why?

Australia because I have a dear friend who lives there but I’ve never been to visit, while she’s come to the US to visit me. Japan, because it just sounds intriguing. Russia, ditto.  Italy because it’s next on my bucket list of foreign countries.  Ireland, just because.

Melanie Benjamin Flags

  • Name four (4) foods or dishes that you enjoy so much that they’ve practically become part of your personality.

When I’m home and I’m not cooking for entertaining, I make a pasta – penne – with one Amy’s chicken sausage cut up and sautéed, along with a red pepper, spinach, basil and onion.  All sautéed together in olive oil.  It’s my comfort food.  Then, I love Chicago pizza – Lou Malnati’s.  A good burger made by my husband – he has his own method which includes mayonnaise.  And finally, my egg salad – I’m famous in my family for it; eggs, Dijon mustard, celery (it has to be VERY finely diced!), mayo, salt, paprika.

LouMalnatisPizza
https://www.loumalnatis.com/
  • There is the past, the present, and the future – if you could choose, which of these three (3) would you prefer to live in, and why?

Past, every time.  I’m just more intrigued by what we’ve already done than what we will become; that’s why I write historical fiction.

  • Best and worst – you choose which – name two (2) of either your best moments of your life, worst moments of your life, or one of each.

Pass.  I don’t think in these terms; I just live my life with no regrets.

  • Name one (1) book you’ve read in the past year (or so) that you wish you had written, and why.

I admire all books but wish I’d written very few of them; I respect the fact that I’m a different author than, say, Cormac McCarthy. Some of my recent favorites, even if I don’t wish I’d written them, include: News of the World, The Improbability of Love, and Whiskey When We’re Dry.

 

Thank you Melanie (can I get that egg salad recipe, please?)!

 

melanie-benjamin-2015-200-shadowMelanie Benjamin is the author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling historical novels The Swans of Fifth Avenue, about Truman Capote and his society swans, and The Aviator’s Wife, a novel about Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Her latest historical novel, The Girls in the Picture, is about the friendship and creative partnership between two of Hollywood’s earliest female legends—screenwriter Frances Marion and superstar Mary Pickford.

Previous historical novels include the national bestseller Alice I Have Been, about Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Alice in Wonderland, and The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb, the story of 32-inch-tall Lavinia Warren Stratton, a star during the Gilded Age.

Her novels have been translated in over fifteen languages, featured in national magazines such as Good Housekeeping, People, and Entertainment Weekly, and optioned for film.

Melanie is a native of the Midwest, having grown up in Indianapolis, Indiana, where she pursued her first love, theater. After raising her two sons, Melanie, a life-long reader (including being the proud winner, two years in a row, of her hometown library’s summer reading program!), decided to pursue a writing career. After writing her own parenting column for a local magazine, and winning a short story contest, Melanie published two contemporary novels under her real name, Melanie Hauser, before turning to historical fiction.

Melanie lives in Chicago with her husband, and near her two grown sons. In addition to writing, she puts her theatrical training to good use by being a member of the Authors Unbound speakers bureau. When she isn’t writing or speaking, she’s reading. And always looking for new stories to tell.

8 thoughts on “TCL’s Countdown Questions #1: Author Melanie Benjamin.

  1. Love all your questions but especially the one about favourite dishes- it is so unusual and yes, you’re right, it does allow your to understand the other person’s character!

    Like

  2. Great questions. I’d like to answer this: Name one (1) book you’ve read in the past year (or so) that you wish you had written, and why.

    I’d love to have written “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” It’s complex–uses everything from emails to essays to tell the story. The interactions between people are spot on (especially those related to school and I know because I was a teacher/principal), the insights to the world of Microsoft are fascinating and the characters and plot line well developed. It’s quite simply a fascinating read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting! I never read that book, but I did read her second novel “Today Will be Different” and well… if you look for my review here, you’ll see that I didn’t care for it all that much.

      Like

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