You Answered Me With No Pretense*

QandAI’m excited and honoured that the very talented (and exceptionally cool) Jill Edmondson has given me this wonderful Liebster Blog Award. It means a lot to me coming from an author whose work and blog I respect the way I do Jill’s.



This award asks me to share 11 random things about myself and then answer 11 questions. So… here goes:


Eleven Random Facts About Me


  1. Teal is my favourite colour. Seriously, I am obsessed.

  2. You’ve probably guessed this from the titles I use for my blog post, but I almost always have songs running through my brain. Yes, a mental soundtrack.

  3. I once went on a ‘camera safari’ in South Africa. Actually I went on two. There is nothing adequate to describe the South African bush at night.

  4. I had the role of Pippi Longstocking (Astrid Lindgren’s fictional character) in our Grade Three play.

  5. Gardening is not my forte. I’ve tried – really. But to no avail. I admire beautiful gardens though.

  6. Once, while I was teenager, I was swimming in the ocean and got hit on the head (accidentally) with a surfboard. That explains so much…

  7. At university, I studied Spanish and economics.

  8. You know those temperament tests they give in secondary school to help students decide on a career path? One of my suggested careers was FBI special agent. I never followed up on that possibility…

  9. My handwriting is so illegible that I even word-process grocery lists. Not joking.

  10. For me, the best places to eat and drink when I travel are where the local people go, not the ‘tourist places.’

  11. I’m not normally afraid of critters, but it was not fun finding a black widow spider in my shower. Yes, that happened. The spider soon discovered the business end of one of my shoes.


Jill has also included eleven questions she’s asked me to answer. So here we go with them:


1. Think of any book you’ve read recently.  If that book (please tell us the title) were a meal, what would the meal be? 

One book that comes to my mind is Edward Rutherfurd’s New York (I like historical novels and I’m a Rutherfurd fan). The meal? New York deli. The best deli places are a composite of the city, just as the novel is.


2. What fictional character would you like to bring to life for just one day, and why?

This is actually the hardest of these questions for me to answer because there are too many that I’d like to meet. I’ve been lucky enough to get acquainted with some amazing fictional characters. So I’m going to artfully dodge this one…


3. Have you ever met anyone famous?  If so, who, when and where?

I’ve actually met a couple, but let me tell you about meeting Billy Joel. He came to the University of Delaware where I was teaching as part of a 1996 Q & A tour of certain campuses. I got to ask a question and later, when the event was over, we all rushed the stage to meet him. I still have the shirt I wore that night. Yes, I have washed it since then.


4. Finish this sentence: If I had to give up one of the five senses, I’d give up…

…my sense of taste probably. I know it’s odd because there are certain foods I love and there is nothing like the taste of a properly brewed coffee. But my hearing and vision are more important to me. And if I kept my sense of smell I’d at least be able to smell the coffee brewing…


5. Where is your happy place?

If you mean where I have most enjoyed being? New Zealand. No question. If you mean places I go on a regular basis? I’m proud to say right now it’s my home office. I say ‘proud’ because I put it together the way I wanted it and it came out all right.


6. What is one piece of writing advice you can offer aspiring authors?

In a word, write. Don’t stop. Keep writing. Even if it’s a few sentences. Even if it’s something silly, write. Get in the habit of it and hone the craft.


7. What subject did you hate the most in high school?  And like the most?

Unfortunately I had some very poor science teachers in high school, so those were the classes I most disliked – particularly physics. The class I liked the most? English, no question.


8. Who among your friends, families, neighbours, colleagues, etc. was most surprised that you wrote a book?

My work colleagues (with one exception) were the most surprised.


9. $10,000 dollars just fell into your lap.  What will you do with it?

I will use it to travel. My goal? To meet in person the bloggers and bllogger/writers who mean the most to me. Life is too short not to reach out. I know $10,000 won’t even come close to covering it all but it’ll be a good start.


10. Do you think there is any truth to Astrology or Zodiac signs?

I don’t swear by astrology, no. I think people are far too complex and affected by too many factors for astrology or any other one element to explain it all. But I will say this: in an informal poll taken of my doctoral cohort, it came out that of the twelve of us, six were Sagittarians. Do with that as you will…


11. If you could have any musician/composer/group/singer – whether living or dead – provide a soundtrack or a playlist for your latest book, who would you choose and why?

Oh, come on now, Jill! You didn’t know the answer to that already? Really? 😉  In all seriousness I would choose Billy Joel. No question and no hesitation. He’s supremely talented, has a real respect for fans, and works very hard at what he does. And his work is varied enough that the soundtrack/playlist wouldn’t be ‘sound-the-same.’


Now, I’m supposed to pass the baton on to eleven other blogger/writers. But I don’t like making anyone feel obligated. So instead of that, here is what I will do. I’m going to invite you to visit Jill’s excellent blog and website. Then, I’m going to ask you to check out her books Blood and Groom, Dead Light District and The Lies Have it. They’re easily available on U.S. and U.K. Amazon for very, very reasonable prices and I can recommend them. Seriously, give ’em a try. Jill’s Sasha Jackson is a terrific character, the Toronto setting is very well done and the mysteries are engaging. I really like the sense of humour in the novels too. Folks, let’s all give Jill (and Sasha) some love. G’head – check it out!

Jill’s website

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Billy Joel’s And so it Goes.


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30 responses to “You Answered Me With No Pretense*

  1. Lots of interesting info here. I love the part about your illegible handwriting.

  2. I’m heading over to Jill’s place — even the titles of her books are enticing.

    Very fun learning all these things about you, Margot. I never would have guessed you were a student of economics. That was my favorite subject in high school and college, especially Comparative Economic Systems.

    • Pat – Oh, I hope you’ll like Jill’s books; to me they are funny, interesting, engaging and have solid mysteries too. And it’s nice to find a fellow economics student. It’s actually helped me understand a lot of the debate that goes on about how we should handle our resources.

  3. Fascinating Margot and I bet you just loved Billy Joel. I’ve noticed he is a recurring theme in your song choices and I’ve spotted that poster on your wall!

    • Sarah – A-ha! You are observant. And yes, I am a deep-dyed unapologetic fan of Billy Joel and have been since my teen years. And yes, his music plays a prominent role in my mental soundtrack…

  4. Interesting insights, Margot. And I have a weak spot for a lot of Billy Joel songs – my father was a “piano man” in his day, and that song still affects me deeply.

    • Les – I learned to waltz to Piano Man. I taught a friend to waltz to the same song. There’s something about it… What’s interesting is that Mr. Joel has said that it reflects only a few months of his life, when he was an L.A. club singer. But it has resonated through the decades hasn’t it?

  5. I really enjoyed all those interesting snippets Margot – and yes, I’d noticed your leaning towards Billy Joel. When you get that $10,000 make sure to include me on your itinerary! (Winchester, UK, very nice place to stop off)

    • Moira – Why, thank you 🙂 – And yes, I am an proud Billy Joel fan. Thanks too for the invitation. When I get my money (are you listening, Jill? 😉 ), I will plan to stop in Winchester.

  6. Billy Joel is a consummate musician (I was fortunate to see him in concert in Australia in the late-1980s, though I didn’t *meet* him) but I suspect it’s his lyricism that accounts for his appeal to writers. I have such strong associations with his early songs that when one pops up on the iPod shuffle, it transports me straight back to my late teens – most recently, ‘Everybody loves you now’.

    Another bizarre ‘fact’ about horoscopes: if you’re sitting around a table discussing horoscopes and a person or persons say they don’t believe in them, you can guarantee they’ll be Capricorns. 😉

    • Angela – LOL! I didn’t know that about Capricorns – I’ll have to keep it in mind…
      As to Billy Joel, I couldn’t possibly agree more about his lyricism. He’s able to weave such remarkable stories with words (and I happen to like Everybody… quite a lot). I also like the fact that Mr. Joel is a classy person. He respects fans, he doesn’t take his fame for granted (at least not obviously) and he seems like a very down-to-earth person.

  7. I would have pegged you for a gardener for sure. Teal, an original choice.

    • Patti – I wish I could garden well. I respect skilled gardeners and I do love greenery and natural settings, etc.. I just don’t have the skills myself. And about the teal? I can’t help it – it catches my eye and is really hard to resist.

  8. Margot: Considering your vocation how did you make notes on student essays and exams when your handwriting was a challenge? I can understand you could make computer notes now but what about the olden days.

    When I was in law school there was one student whose handwriting was so hard to read that all the professors, but one, would have him come up to their office and read his exam answers to them aloud.

    • Bill – You ask an interesting question. What I used to do was print as carefully as I could. Same thing happened when I had to use the black/whiteboard for in-class presentations. That made it at least possible for students to read my comments and notes without too much difficulty.
      I’ve also had students whose writing was difficult to read, but I don’t think I’ve ever gotten to the point where I had to as a student to read answers aloud.

  9. Congratulations, Margot. You deserve everything you get. And, yeah, teal is a pretty awesome color…

  10. Love that you were Pippi! One of my favorite characters ever. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your answers with us….it’s fun learning more about you.

  11. Margot, well done! I knew you would get Billy Joel in there somehow. 😉
    And we have something in common my three failures at Physics A level exam make it my most unpopular subject. I did pass it eventually.

    • Norman – Thank you – And yes, of course I had to get Billy Joel into my post in some way or another… 😉 It’s good to know I’m not the only one who struggled with physics. You did well to pass the A level even if it did take you a few tries. I really do wish I’d had a better physics teacher.

  12. So many things I learned about you. I don’t even know what teal looks like. Thank goodness for that. How cool that you met Billy Joel. And love your writing advice. I hope I get to meet you someday.

    • Clarissa – Thanks for the kind words. I hope I get to meet you too. Teal looks very much like turquoise; I always think it’s such an…alive colour. And as for Billy Joel, yes I feel very fortunate I got to meet him…

  13. As a comparative newcomer to social networking, I’ve never commented on a blog before, but I loved this one so much I felt it was time. So here goes – I have been following your blog lately and enjoying it very much, but this particular one made me laugh. And that has to be good! I mean, how many people have it suggested to them that they might consider becoming a FBI Secret Agent? As for the Black Widow Spider – it got what it deserved, and it’s good to know you did actually wash that shirt. Common sense prevails.

    New Zealand is beautiful, isn’t it. I never thought I’d see it – it being about as far away from the UK as you can get – but then my elder daughter married a New Zealander, and that changed everything!

    • Dawn – Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I love what I learn from comments on my blog and you are no exception. Please feel free to ‘speak up’ at any time. I rather felt that spider got what it deserved too. I mean, I don’t go invading black widow spider webs do I? And let me tell you, I checked my shower most carefully for a few weeks after that before getting in *shudder.* It’s funny about that suggestion to become an FBI special agent; I did think when I got that result that it might be glamourous – for about ten minutes. Then I thought that it’s a much more lonely and dangerous life than I wanted.
      I couldn’t agree with you more about New Zealand. I love being there and only wish it were easier to get there more frequently. Unfortunately I don’t get paid the way corporate execs and fat-cat politicians do, so that’s not an option for right now. I’m very glad you got the chance to go there though. And with your daughter married to a Kiwi, you’ve got the best excuse in the world. 🙂

      • Thanks for the reply. I’ll probably feel a little more confident about doing so again now. I think you’re right about the FBI agent, sounds impressive but definitely dangerous and lonely.

        As for the corporate execs & fat-cat politicians – we have them here too, I’m sorry to say. And our Kiwi son-in-law loved England so much, he decided that was where he wanted to live – so bang goes our chance to spend more time in NZ! Nice though that they are not so far away from us.

        • Dawn – Well, there you go. At least you got a bit of a visit to NZ. And I think fat-cat politicians and execs are everywhere *sigh.* On one hand that’s in an odd way a relief as it means it’s not just an issue with one culture. On the other, that means the issue is a major one…
          I’m glad you feel more comfortable commenting. Stop by any time.

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