When Judy Merrill Larsen, a former high school English teacher, wrote her debut novel, All the Numbers, she brilliantly told the heartbreaking story of losing a child. And, although it was purely fiction, the book resonated with so many who had lived through that tragic nightmare. In fact Judy was overwhelmed with “thank you” mail for giving voice and respect to their grief.
With her talent and literary skill grounded in the core values of middle America, it’s not surprising that this author simply says: “I live in St. Louis, MO with my husband, our five kids, a really sweet (but very dumb) golden retriever and a diabetic cat.”
Now let’s g;et to know Judy much better through what she reveals:
How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A: Really happy, very lucky, always grateful, needs coffee.
What is your motto or maxim?
A: It is what it is and it’s all good. (Or Go Packers!)
How would you describe perfect happiness?
A: Recognizing and appreciating how good I have it when I have it. Not to be all preachy or anything, but I sometimes have to catch myself to enjoy the moment without wishing for more. Most days, I choose to be happy.
What’s your greatest fear?
A: Something really bad happening to one of my kids or my husband. That and being in a snake pit.
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A: Somewhere warm (I’m pretty sick of winter these days). More specifically, I’d love to be in the South of France or in Tuscany, enjoying the view, the wine, and my husband.
With whom in history do you most identify?
A: This is hard because mostly I look at people who have struggled/made a difference/survived and I’m in awe, thinking, how did they do that? Where’d they find the strength to do what they did? And I wonder how I’d hold up under such pressure. I like to think I’d stand up for right, that I’d be strong, but I haven’t been tested in the ways so many people throughout history have been, so it seems wrong to compare myself to anyone like that.
And just regular folks like me don’t really stand out in history.
Which living person do you most admire?
A: Barack Obama.
What are your most overused words or phrases
A: Okay okay okay. Just a minute. I’ll be right there. Is the wine open?
If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A: I’d love to be able to understand how to write music. Or draw and paint. That would rock.
What is your greatest achievement?
A: Raising my sons who’ve turned out to be really fun, kind, happy young men.
What’s your greatest flaw?
A: Hmm. I’m impatient. And cluttered. I’m a bit of a hypchondriac. (I just asked my husband and he said, “Not having any flaws.” Ha!)
What’s your best quality?
A: Understanding the importance of family and friends and learning from experience.
What do you regret most?
A: Not having a third (or fourth? Eeek!) baby.
If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A:I’d love to be a roadie for a Bruce Springsteen tour–you know, the person who tosses him the guitar.
What trait is most noticeable about you?
A: According to my husband, I’m pretty much without pretense (which isn’t always a good thing).
Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A: Atticus Finch.
Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A: Quentin Compson from The Sound and the Fury. He’s just so wonderful to hate. And it all comes back to bite him in the end.
If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A: Brett Favre. I’d thank him for all the fun and excitement of watching him over the years. And then I’d ask him to please apologize to my son for going to the Vikings.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
A:Probably rudeness and intolerance– they both seem so pervasive these days.
What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A: Reading or cooking or planning my next trip.
What’s your fantasy profession?
A: I think I’d love to be a chef or a singer in a band.
What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A: Honesty/integrity, a sense of humor, kindness
If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A: Really good pizza or my mom’s chocolate chip cookies. Oh, or homemade chex-mix.
What are your 5 favorite songs?
A: Fly Me to the Moon, Thunder Road, Sweet Baby James, Little Darlin’/Here Comes the Sun, Brown-Eyed Girl
What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A: To Kill a Mockingbird, Crossing to Safety, The Things They Carried, The Sound and the Fury, and Grapes of Wrath
Would you like to know even more? Become Judy’s friend on Facebook and welcome her next Wednesday when she guest blogs during a special week at The Divining Wand.
Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away both of Kristy Kiernan’s novels, Catching Genius and Matters of Faith, as a duo. Please leave a comment on this post to be entered into the random drawing. The deadline is tonight at 7:00 p.m. EST. with the winner announced here in tomorrow’s post.