Griff: If you could magically heal any one of your physical problems, which one would you choose to get rid of, and why?
Kay: That's easy. The back gets fixed, no question about it. Anything else wrong with me has negligible impact on my life in comparison.
Griff: You find an envelope containing two thousand pounds on the street. On the outside of the envelope is an inscription in a foreign script that you don't recognize. What do you do?
Kay: That depends on which street. I know that may seem odd, but it makes a difference. The way I imagine the scenario, I've found it on the High Street in Coventry, so the first thing I do is I walk the very short distance to Lloyds' bank and pay the cash into my account. Not because I'm stealing it, but because it's safe there; carrying that amount of cash around town seems crazy when I can keep it safe. I'm then almost equidistant between the police station and the central library. Having disposed of the money safely, I'll head to the library to see if I can discover what the script is and obtain a rough translation. You may think it none of my business, but the more help the police can get in returning the money the better, and my time's cheaper than theirs. Then off to Little Park Street, where I hand in the envelope, which I've handled as little as possible so as not to obscure prints, and fill in the paperwork for the police, handing over the deposit receipt so they can see when it was paid in.
Griff: What are your three greatest gifts? Your three greatest faults?
Kay: I'm a decent writer, I have a fair ear for music, and I'm a good judge of character. I'm overanalytic, cynical and prone to despair.
Griff: If you could receive a telephone call from anyone from your past, who would it be and what would you talk about?
Kay: I hope you'll forgive my not naming names. I'd like to hear from the first guy I fell in love with. I'd like to know what's been going on in his life, and to let him know how things turned out for me. I'd also want to tell him that I never stopped loving him.
Griff: Pick one and explain why you chose it: Being cured of all your illnesses in exchange for twenty years subtracted from your life, or coming into enough money to live well in exchange for ten years subtracted from your life.
Kay: This made me laugh, you know. I'm 44 this year, and I'm not exactly healthy. Who says I have ten, let alone twenty, years to trade? I might pick either option and find myself either very well or very rich but also dead! This is a question to ask a much younger person, or an economist or actuary who could work out the rational probabilities. My illnesses I can live with, to be honest. They're awkward and inconvenient, but I still have a bloody great life when you take the global view, so, since I must choose one or the other, I choose the oodles of money and the less-reduced lifespan.
Danny: What sort of books do you read most often? What sort of stories do you write most often? Are there any common themes that pop up in what you read? How about in what you write? (Yes, that's all one question.)
Kay: I'm pretty omnivorous when it comes to books, though I have fits where I choose one genre over another for a while. At the moment it's historical fiction, with an emphasis on mediaeval murder mysteries. As to my writing - most of what I'm doing now, when it comes to fiction, is Harry Potter slash. I have some original work-in-progress, but that's ripening slowly. Thematic commonality.... hm. To the extent that genres have recurring themes, I suppose there must be, but I don't think I tend to read or write deliberately in that way. I suppose that if I have a writing theme right now, it's exploring how the individual learns to define him- or herself relative to family or culture. That's pretty bloody woolly though, isn't it?
Danny: What do you do when faced with writer's block?
Kay: Honestly? panic. I worry about whether I'll ever be able to write again, whether the people who are waiting on me to write something are getting really ticked off with me. Or did you mean what do I do to counteract it? the current plan is to shrug, say "Shit happens", and try to write something, anything. There's always the chance that the juice will start to flow again.
Danny: If you could have one currently living political leader assassinated, which one would it be, and why?
Kay: Only one? That's tough. Mugabe? hmmmm. Tempting. Very tempting. But I'm going to go with offing whichever of the Burmese military régime it would take to enable the whole lot of them to be swept away. I'm so pissed off with the way they're treating Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD, and what they're doing to the country. Unfortunately, she wouldn't agree with my doing that, because she's a damn sight better person than I am.
Danny: How did you meet Justin?
Kay: Online. He posted to soc.motss back when I hung there, just a little shy oneliner that I initially dismissed as a troll. Then I wondered whether it was or not, and wrote back saying "If you want to talk, here I am," on the grounds that if it was a troll, so what, and if he was someone who needed a friendly shoulder, then I could do some good.
I'm indescribably glad that I did.
Danny: What is the most physically painful experience you've ever had in your life? The most emotionally painful? Which one was worse for you, and why?
Kay: I'm going to answer that backwards. Emotional pain, I think, always has the capacity to be worse, since there doesn't seem to be the self-limiting mechanisms that come into play with physical pain. That makes thinking of the most physically painful experience difficult, since after a certain level of intensity it just doesn't seem to get any more painful. The headache, or whatever it was, I had a couple of years ago that landed me in hospital for a week was a good contender: it made a migraine feel like a mild discomfort. That was a doozy. As to emotional pain, I would say that the deterioration and eventual death of my grandmother wins there. It was a long time ago, but there are still huge raw patches inside me from that.
Many thanks to griffen and worldmage for those!