What would you be?
If I could be a mythological creature I would be a dragon, because then I could eat all my enemies.
What would you adopt?
If I could adopt a fantastical animal, I would choose a werecat.
Where would you live?
If I lived in Alagaësia, I would live in Tronjheim or one of the other dwarf cities. I would carry a big ax, have a long beard, wear an iron cap, and sing dwarf opera (very badly).
In the Real World
What’s your favorite food?
My favorite food is grass-fed steak. I’m also fond of chocolate. For breakfast I start with a cup of tea, followed by four eggs, six strips of bacon, and a cooked vegetable or piece of fruit. That gives me energy to think, write, and lift weights. On special occasions, I have pancakes made from ground seeds and nuts—such as the elves would make—and served with fresh berries.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve eaten?
So . . . the strangest things I’ve eaten? Hmm. Blood clams, tripe, and uni (sea urchin roe). And what I won’t eat? Brains. Because it’s really hard to make sure they’re safe to eat.
What’s your favorite poem?
My favorite poem is a long one: Beowulf (I recommend the Seamus Heaney translation). In the ancient Old English epic poem, the hero Beowulf fights the monster Grendel, who is attacking a group of Danish villagers at night in their mead hall. I’m also very fond of the first part of Longfellow’s poem, “Hiawatha,” where he describes Hiawatha’s childhood.
Where would you like to visit?
Antarctica would be an interesting place to visit. Of course, if I could get to Mars, that would be fascinating too.
What is one of your favorite paintings?
Death of Elaine, by Thomas Hovenden, is one of my favorite paintings. If I could live in a painting, I’d choose View of Bridge and the Town of Cava, Kingdom of Naples, by Jean Joseph-Xavier Bidauld. The painting glows, and it looks like a magical place to live.
Who are your heroes?
I couldn’t possibly pick one person, there are so many: my parents, authors, those who help make other people’s lives a bit better . . .
What is a word you like?
Here’s a word I like: verdigris. I like its sound and I like its meaning: a green coating or crust of copper salts that forms on copper, brass, and bronze exposed to sea water or air for a long time (Webster’s II, 1984). Every is a word I dislike, mostly because it’s nonspecific and easy to overuse in writing.
If you could change the world, what would you do?
If I could change the world in one way, I would make sure every child was provided with an excellent education and a safe, healthy, loving, and mentally stimulating childhood. I think that would go a long way toward making this a better world.
If you had three wishes, what would you wish for?
If I were granted three wishes, I would first wish that whatever I wished for would come true (linked with an initiating phrase to prevent accidents). With this in place, the other two wishes would become irrelevant.