Charity Shumway Revealed
- Q. What’s your greatest fear?
- A. Maybe not my biggest but certainly my most frequent is a terror related to inadequate computer backup. I live in fear of losing work.
- Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
- A. At one point I had to go through my manuscript and cut out the word "lovely." I think I'd used it like 133 times or something outrageous like that. What can I say, there are a lot of lovely things in this world.
- Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
- A. Talent, or superpower? I'd like the power of transport -- click my heels and I'm there. More realistically, I wish I had more of a talent for zingers and impressions. Sadly, the only accent I can do is mine.
- Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
- A. I'd love to spend a few afternoons having tea with Flannery O'Connor. Hopefully, I'd get off the hook without saying much and she'd talk and talk.
- Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
- A. Procrastination. I don't mind it in others, but my own procrastination drives me bonkers.
- Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
- A. Gardening. I like how physical it is. I like how magical it is. Like is much too mild a word.
- Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
- A. Ice cream. I come from a long line of ice cream lovers. My grandmother, in her 80s, pretty much gave up on other foods. Her fudge ripple arguments were very persuasive.
On Books and Writing
- Q. Who are your favorite authors?
- A. At the tippy top of my list are Marilynne Robinson, Alice Munro, and Steven Millhauser.
- Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
- A. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson is my all-time favorite.
The Beggar Maid by Alice Munro is right up there.
The Age of Grief by Jane Smiley is another personal favorite. It's a novella about dentists, and it's amazing.
The Great Gatsby surprises me every time I read it.
Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro does me in as well.
- Q. Is there a book you love to reread?
- A. I've read the Beggar Maid by Alice Munro maybe a dozen times. It still astonishes me every time.
- Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
- A. Sometimes certain stories or projects just aren't going to work. It doesn't mean you're a bad writer. It just means you need to try another idea.