About Me

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Kings Mountain, North Carolina, United States
"A mind lively and at ease" is a blog by a first-generation Russian-Ukrainian immigrant Maria K. (Maria Igorevna Kuroshchepova). An engineer by education, an analyst by trade, as well as a writer, photographer, artist and amateur model, Maria brings her talent for weaving an engaging narrative to stories of life, fashion and style advice, book and movie reviews, and common-sense and to-the-point essays on politics and economy.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Writer interview - John Booth

I introduced John Booth to you in the 2010 Christmas Reads post. Since then, John had graciously agreed to an interview, and I decided to combine it with the recap from the earlier post just to refresh your memory.


Is it possible to be a major contributor to a brand new publishing house, a brilliant author with a sense of humor so wicked, it consistently leaves his readers in stitches, and still remain a genuinely nice guy? Apparently, yes. Enter John Booth.

Those who have read his naughty Drizzle stories, which I can only describe as psychedelic fantasy, might be startled to discover that the guy behind the curtain, who breathed life into the servant dwarf, his frequently clueless master and the rest of the insane retinue, is easily one of the sweetest people on the planet.

John's latest offering Wizards is a great book to offer as a set with Diane Nelson's Dragon Academy, as it too pushes the envelope of traditional fantasy and young adult literature.

Perhaps Eddie Izzard was onto something, when he said in Glorious that hopscotch was an ancient sacred ritual only girls understood. Well, Jake Morissey is a boy who appears to have figured it out... only to land in a truckload of trouble and mischief.

Visit Amazon Kindle or Amazon Kindle UK to get an e-copy today.


Your favorite virtue: This has got to be kindness. In the end, all the other virtues have their place, but a world without kindness wouldn’t be worth living in.

Your favorite qualities in a man: Trustworthiness and humor, I suppose. I’ve never given this a lot of thought, but I couldn’t spend a lot of time with a man I didn’t trust. Men gossip much like women and I have a tendency to be more open than I should. I also have a warped sense of humor and while I rarely tell jokes as such, I like men who get my humor and have some of their own.

Your favorite qualities in a woman: Strength of character, wicked humour and a streak of naughtiness. I remember being introduced to a girl who promptly sat on the back of the armchair I was sitting on. I turned and asked her what she was doing as it felt a bit weird to have her hovering over me with a pint of beer in her hand.

“Watching your dandruff fall,” was her answer.

Kudos to her.

What you appreciate the most in your friends? Steadfastness. Sometimes I go a little crazy and retreat back into my own world. I don’t get depressed these days, but I go through down periods when I doubt myself and my world. My friends have to accept that this is part of me and wait it out.

Your main fault: I have so many faults you could write a book about them, possibly a series. In the world of work I am always being accused of sounding certain of what I say regardless of the evidence or other people’s views. Several of my bosses have said I don’t suffer fools gladly, especially if the fool in question is my boss.

Your idea of happiness: Happiness is having a goal and not having irrelevant problems getting in the way of achieving it. Making money to pay the bills is in the class of irrelevant problems. I need to be creative. I used to create, design and implement systems, solve problems and keep my staff employed. That was the most fun I ever had. These days writing novels gives me a similar buzz.

Your idea of misery: Not meeting my family’s needs or my personal obligations. I’m trying to get a business off the ground at the moment and I’m very much aware that money is trickling away each day I don’t get work. Not having enough money to keep the wolf from the door is misery. But having said that, good health for those close to me is massively important.

If not yourself, who would you be? Funnily enough I’ve never wanted to be anyone than me. I’ve wanted to be a better me, but I’ve never put myself into another person’s head except when I’m writing. It may be that my MC’s are better me’s or possibly worse ones.

Your favorite heroes in fiction: Lazarus Long from Heinlein’s books, Honor Harrington by Weber, Telzey Amberdon by Schmitz, many of van Vogt’s superman style heroes.

Your heroes in real life: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Roger McGough and Keith Olbermann.

What characters in history do you most dislike? Joseph Stalin is top of my list, followed closely by Pol Pot. I could throw Idi Amin in as well if I thought long enough about it.

Your favorite food and drink: I love a simple British fry up, sausage, egg and chips (fries in American) is my favourite meal. Fruit is another favorite, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, always make me smile.

I used to be a massive Southern Comfort fan but recurring migraines put an end to my love affair with strong liquor and indeed, alcohol of any kind. I love English Breakfast Tea and filter coffee. However, I prefer the more sensual and delicate taste of Blue Mountain to the strong bitter coffees favored by coffee shops. I drink Lattes in them.

The natural talent I'd like to be gifted with: I’d love to be able to paint and draw. I can imagine exactly what I want but I’m unable to realise it even with photoshop and drawing tools. It can be incredibly frustrating not to be able to get the effects I want.

What is your present state of mind? The last six months have been very stressful. My father died at the same time I went through a long redundancy process and I was juggling being his executor as I was considering my future. Even now the ramifications of those two events are still echoing down the corridors of my life. I’d like to make enough money from writing to concentrate on that, but that is staggering unlikely. So I guessed my state of mind is stressed.

Your personal motto: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." – George Santayana

This is a universal truth. If applies to all the major events in life and politics. I am tempted to shout it at news reports every day.


Bill Kirton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bill Kirton said...

(Apologies for the blank before - my usual lack of keyboard skills.)
Congratulations to both. You set it all up beautifully, Maria, then asked questions that seemed simple on the surface but opened John up (not that he needs much prodding). And the answers confirmed your assessment of the man. He really is as nice as he seems - damn him.