Q. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

A. Cross-country skiing in the Norwegian mountains, coming home in a vermilion ski, writing. Then a fine dinner, glass (or two) of red wine, an evening reading in our cabin, in front of a log fire. Then bed.

Q. What is your greatest fear?

A. Losing my mind, more than has gone already.

Q. Which historical figure do you most identify with?

A. All those who are flawed but honest.

Q. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

A. Worrying.

Q. What is the trait you most deplore in others?

A. Bullying and selfishness. They go together.

Q. What is your greatest extravagance?

A. Flowers for the house. Wine.

Q. What is your favorite journey?

A. East Coast railway line, as it leaves Newcastle and enters the wilds of Northumberland and the Scottish borders.

Q. What do you dislike most about your appearance?

A. Ankles.

Q. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

A. Do I?

Q. What is your greatest regret?

A. Not being a singer.

Q. What or who is the greatest love of your life?

A. My family.

Q. When and where were you happiest?

A. Pretty much now, though there have been moments in between, but those I ain’t telling about.

Q. Which talent would you most like to have?

A. To be able to sing.

Q. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

A. My family, and a bit of smuggling years ago, for the ANC.

Q. If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?

A. Who’d want to come back?

Q. What is your most treasured possession?

A. My home.

Q. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

A. Being unable to write. Rowing with my children.

Q. Where would you like to live?

A. Other than where I am?  On the hilltop above the East Coast of Barbados, before the developers ruin it.

Q. What is your favorite occupation?

A. Writing.

Q. What is your most marked characteristic?

A. I think my optimism. Everyone else thinks it’s my pessimism.

Q. What is the quality you most like in a man?

A. Kindness.

Q. What do you most value in your friends?

A. Kindness and humour and intelligence. And just having had the huge pleasure and privilege of knowing them for years and years so that so much can be left implicit. What a comfort they all are!

Q. Who are your favorite writers?

A. Shakespeare, obvs. Emily Bronte. Jean Rhys. Marilyn Robinson. Annie Proux.

Q. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

A. Ee-yore. Much underrated misanthrope.

Q. Who are your heroes in real life?

A. Nelson Mandela. Doreen Lawrence. Everyone who has fought out against injustice and prejudice.

Crammed with romantic and political drama, Mary Chamberlain’s prizewinning debut novel, The Mighty Jester, to be released June 7, 2014, charts the turbulent progress of a Caribbean island towards nationhood.

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