Crime fiction writer Janet Dawson talks about everything but writing…
What are your interests outside of writing?
I enjoy birding and hiking, I like to garden, though it seems hard to carve out the time, and I enjoy going to the theatre.
Gush about your celebrity crush.
Okay, Yul Brynner. Been a fan of Yul Brynner for years, dating back to The King and I. I have lots of his movies, and a small collection of movie memorabilia (lobby cards, posters). The first movie I bought on DVD was The Magnificent Seven. I never tire of watching it. Other favorites, besides the two already mentioned: Anastasia, The Buccaneer, The Journey, The Brothers Karamazov.
If you had to give up chocolate or alcohol, which would you choose and why?
Alcohol! Makes me sleepy. Give me more than a glass of wine at dinner, and I’ll be facedown with my nose in the entree. Couldn’t give up chocolate. There’s chocolate (must be dark), and then there’s everything else. Of course, I have to watch it with eating chocolate late in the evening, because the caffeine in it will keep me awake.
What advice would you give the younger you?
Take more risks. It is so easy to do the safe thing, and I have done the safe thing, a lot. However, many of the good things that have come to me in life are the result of my taking risks.
What do you miss about childhood?
Being taken care of. I had good, loving parents who stayed married and took their roles as parents seriously. They looked after me and my brother, saw that we were fed, housed, educated. They were always there for us, and my mother still is (Dad passed on a few years ago). As I grew older, I realized that not everyone has that, and how fortunate I have been in my parents. I once told Mom the rough thing about being sick as an adult is that she’s not there to make me chicken noodle soup.
What remains undone that you’ve wanted to get done for years?
Travel. I would really like to go places and see things. I’ve been to France but would love to see the rest of continental Europe, Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece. Australia, New Zealand, China, India. I haven’t had the time or the money to travel a lot, and would like to do it before I get much older. Over the past few years I have been taking vacations with my mother, who is in her late 80s. I want to do this while she’s still able to travel. We went to New York City and the US Open (she’s a tennis nut) a few years ago. We’ve done a road trip in Colorado, a trip to Yosemite and the Eastern Sierra, a Yellowstone road trip, and last year, a Grand Canyon trip. This year it’s a train trip to Oregon and Washington.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
Oh, my, how to pick one? I’ve had a few of those in my checkered, er, no, multi-faceted career. I was a legal secretary for many years, until I got a job in what I now refer to as “the law firm from hell.” This was a situation that underscored the fact that many lawyers are afflicted with the arrogance gene. There is a reason for the high turnover in legal secretaries. When I left that job and started looking for another, I found that I couldn’t face the prospect of ever working for lawyers again. So I made a career change. An unexpected offshoot of this is that I now find it difficult to read fiction about lawyers.
Would you prefer a quiet life of safety or a life of great adventure and uncertainty?
See earlier answer about risk. I think I prefer a life that balances the two of these. There are times when I like that quiet life of safety and there are times I want the great adventure and uncertainty. Could I have a month of adventure followed by three months of quiet safety, please?
JANET DAWSON is the author of ten mysteries published by Perseverance Press. Her next release is WHAT YOU WISH FOR, a novel of suspense due out in September 2012 (and available for pre-order now). Visit Janet’s website or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.