[The following post was originally published on January 7, 2010 less than a week before Melanie Benjamin debuted with the historical novel, Alice I Have
Been. Two years later The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb appeared on bookstore shelves and then Melanie became a NYT Bestselling author with The Aviator’s Wife and most recent, The Swans of Fifth Avenue. All books are available in paperback editions.]
Next Tuesday, January 12, 2010, Melanie Benjamin will offer readers a gloriously haunting tale when her historical fiction novel, Alice I Have BBeen becomes available in bookstores and from online retailers. The “Alice” of the title is Alice Liddell — muse/model — for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and her story will be presented here on Monday, January 11, 2010.
For now, though, the focus is on Melanie. Who is this author of the book described as “a love story and literary mystery?” According to the back cover of the Advance Reading Copy:
MELANIE BENJAMIN lives in Illinois, where she is at work on her next novel.
Fortunately, Melanie Benjamin, who lives with her family in the Chicago area, reveals much more in the following Q&A:
Q: How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A: Blessed, surprising, interesting, amusing, repeat.
Q: What is your motto or maxim?
A: I don’t really have one. I do believe in looking forward, always; I never look back. I suppose that’s the closest thing to a maxim I have.
Q: How would you describe perfect happiness?
A: Going to bed at night knowing that I have something interesting and creative to do the next day.
Q: What’s your greatest fear?
A: Terrible things happening to my children.
Q: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be? Estes Park, Colorado.
Q: With whom in history do you most identify?
A: Oh, goodness! I can’t answer this; I’ve never thought to do that. I’m coming up empty with this one!
Q: Which living person do you most admire?
A: Tina Fey.
Q: What are your most overused words or phrases?
A: “Me.” “I want.” “Will you…?”
Q: If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A: The ability to speak many languages fluently.
Q: What is your greatest achievement?
A: I don’t think in terms of achievements. I would say the trait I’m proudest of is the ability to keep working, keeping moving forward, regardless of the past.
Q: What’s your greatest flaw? A: Vanity.
Q: What’s your best quality? A: The ability to put myself in others’ shoes.
Q: What do you regret most? A: Not having the courage to go for what I truly wanted when I was younger. It took me a while to find that courage.
Q: If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A: I’m pretty content with who I am right now.
Q: What trait is most noticeable about you?
A: My work ethic, I hope.
Q: Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A: Rhett Butler.
Q: Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A: Nathan Radley.
Q: If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A: Peyton Manning – I’m a huge Colts fan! I’d probably giggle and mumble and maybe finally ask him to sign my Colts sweatshirt.
Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
A: People who write “your welcome” when it should be “you’re welcome.”
Q: What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
Q: What’s your fantasy profession?
A: I’m pretty sure I’m living it right now.
Q: What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A: Honesty, humor, intelligence.
Q: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be? A: Peanut butter sandwiches.
Q: What are your 5 favorite songs?
A: “Long Black Veil,” “Ring of Fire,” (Can you tell I’m a Johnny Cash fan?) “Love at the Five and Dime” and “Gulfcoast Highway” by Nanci Griffith, “Desperado” by the Eagles.
Q: What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A: HOWARDS END by E.M. Forster; THE MARCH by E.L. Doctorow; GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell; TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee; LITTLE WOMEN by Louisa May Alcott.