Author Revealed

About Ann Redisch Stampler

Q. What is your birthdate?

A. 1/5

Q. Previous occupations

A. lawyer, therapist, hopelessly devoted at-home mom

Q. Favorite job

A. This! (although I do miss having my kids underfoot…)

Q. High school and/or college

A. Went to a year of high school at Dos Pueblos HS in Goleta, California and a year at Bishop Anstey's High School in Port-of-Spain. Graduated from Pomona College (Go Sagehens!) and grad school in Ann Arbor, Berkeley, and UCLA.

Q. Name of your favorite composer or music artist?

A. Long, long playlist. Completely depends on my mood.

Q. Favorite movie

A. Casablanca

Q. Favorite television show

A. Modern Family, but I have also been accused of being a Law and Order junkie. Also holding my breath until Mad Men comes back.

Revealing Questions

Q. What is your motto or maxim?

A. If not now, when?

Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?

A. Well, of course, swords hammered into ploughshares and Total World Domination by people who think peace would be a pleasant change. But on a more personal level, good relationships, good books, good food, good music, writing going well, kids catapulting toward what they love, good health, movies with popcorn, a walk in the hills with my husband, a drive up the coast, a rainy day followed by brilliant sun only the sand is still wet and the ocean is grey. Daydreaming.

Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?

A. I am very happy where I am, sitting on the white couch in my bedroom, writing and looking out at the view of LA down to the Pacific. But I really wouldn't mind sitting in a cafe in Florence right now. Also, very fond of tropical beaches.

Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?

A. Actually. Really. Really. Actually. You got a problem with that? Really...

Q. What do you regret most?

A. That I didn't commit to doing what I love sooner.

Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?

A. Painting! It kills me that I can't illustrate my own picture books. (I mean, I could, but they'd be really bad and nobody would publish them.)

Q. What is your greatest achievement?

A. Not screwing up my kids.

Q. What’s your greatest flaw?

A. I have several flaws competing for greatest: not enough patience, not enough self-discipline, temper, too perfectionistic, too sensitive (and not in the good way).

Q. What’s your best quality?

A. I'm nice. I think it's a greatly undervalued quality. I remember teachers railing about the blandness, lack of specificity, and overall blah nature of the word "nice." But I beg to differ. As interesting as it is to observe cutting wit and clever meanness from afar, I like nice. I don't mean that it's good to be nice in the face of Horrendous Evil or to roll over and not stick up for yourself or to be saccharine without a sense of humor or irony. But in everyday interactions, with family and friends and total strangers, I think it's important and it makes everything...well...nicer.

Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?

A. I like being myself.

Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?

A. One hopes this is something like wit, charm, and integrity but worries it is actually huge thighs or pathetically bad hair.

Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?

A. Elizabeth Bennett, no question

Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?

A. Lady MacBeth

Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?

A. Susan B. Anthony: You go, girl! You can't even imagine how far we're going to take this.

Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?

A. I have so many of these that my propensity for pet peeves might qualify as one of my greatest flaws: bad drivers, people who cut in line or who save places for their 20 closest friends, people who are rude to waiters, people who are just rude, people who unwrap candies during concerts...lots of candies...endless candies, people who aren't nice to their dogs (While I was rewriting, during weeks of torrential rain, there was a gorgeous, sad golden retriever abandoned on the hill behind my house. We couldn't lure her into our house, but our neighbors finally caught her and rescued her and love her madly. But I actually wanted to hunt down her former owners and drop them off somewhere in the rainy wilderness.), people who park in two parking spaces, and all forms of snootiness.

Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?

A. Reading. Hanging out. Movies. Walks in cool/beautiful places.

Q. What’s your fantasy profession?

A. Writer. I can’t believe how lucky I am to be doing this

Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?

A. kindness, integrity, sense of humor (all right, so sense of humor is not up there with honesty or having a sterling character, but I really, really like it)

Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?

A. Chocolate soufflé, but only if the whipped cream counts as part of the one thing. If not, a toss up between warm chocolate cake and ripe mangoes.

Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?

A. Warning: very old school songs ahead – Grapefruit Moon, Someone to Watch Over Me, Here Comes The Sun, Love is Just a Four Letter Word, and (just because I danced to it played on steel drums one starry night on the Equator) Whiter Shade of Pale.

On Books and Writing

Q. Who are your favorite authors?

A. You got all day?

Q. Is there a book you love to reread?

A. Pride and Prejudice

Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?

A. I am going to pass on Jane Yolen’s three word suggestion, not even a whole sentence, and that is "butt in chair." That's it. You can think about writing, read about it, take classes about it, talk about it, and all this is very useful and good. But you have to sit in the chair and do it, whether or not you feel inspired or there's something else on your mind or you don't quite feel up to the task. Butt in chair. Sit there. Sit down and do it. It can't just be your fantasy, your dream, or your plan. It has to be what you actually, physically, sit there and do.