25th Trillium Award

The Proust Questionaire, with Suzanne Church

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Suzanne Church

Suzanne Church was born and raised in Toronto. She attended the University of Waterloo, earning a BMath, and has never left the Kitchener-Waterloo area. She lives with her two teenage sons, who remind her daily that high school is hard work.

Writing science fiction, fantasy and horror since 2002, her short stories have appeared in Cicada and On Spec, and in several anthologies — including Tesseracts 13 and 14. Her short story "Synch Me, Kiss Me, Drop" can be found online in the May issue of Clarkesworld Magazine. To learn more about Suzanne, visit her website.

Her short story "The Needle's Eye," from the collection Chilling Tales: Evil Did I Dwell; Lewd I Did Live (EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing), is nominated for an Aurora Award. All Canadians are eligible to vote for the winner online. Votes must be submitted by July 23rd.

The Proust Questionnaire was not invented by Marcel Proust, but it was a much loved game by the French author and many of his contemporaries. The idea behind the questionnaire is that the answers are supposed to reveal the respondent's "true" nature. Today, Suzanne tells us about her love for teaching, what she thinks about Stephen King and more.

What is your dream of happiness?
To live each day accomplishing all of my goals: writing, exercising, spending time with my sons and my significant other, with a solid stretch of minutes at the end to read a good book.

What is your idea of misery?
Rain every day (in summer), no snow (in winter) and a world-wide shortage of potatoes. But seriously, losing my health or losing the people I love.

Where would you like to live?
Close to my family, and with someone I wake up loving every day, preferably overlooking a body of water.

What qualities do you admire most in a man?
Sincerity, kindness, a sense of humour, passion for life and self-awareness.

What qualities do you admire most in a woman?
Sincerity, kindness, a sense of humour and enough inner strength to prove to the world that women can do whatever they want, and well!

Chief characteristic?
When I say I'm going to do something, I do it. I have a very strong sense of drive.

Principle fault?
I tend to push myself too hard, at the expense of self.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Generosity to others.

What faults in others are you most tolerant of?

What do you value most about your friends?
They have my back when I'm in need of comfort and they aren't afraid to tell me the truth when I need to hear it.

What characteristic do you dislike most in others?

What characteristic do you dislike most in yourself?
Low self esteem.

What is your favourite virtue?

What is your favourite occupation?
I love being a writer. Though back when I was teaching high school, I did love the part where I stood at the front of the class teaching the lesson. Too bad the job comes with so many other aspects that aren't as much fun.

What would you like to be?
A New York Times bestselling author who has time to spend with family and occasionally sings some bluesy rock-and-roll.

What is your favourite colour?
Black, which technically isn't a colour at all.

What is your favourite flower?
Carnations, though daisies are a close second.

What is your favourite bird?
The loon and heron if I'm near water, the robin if I'm not and chickens because they're so darned funny.

What historical figure do you admire the most?
Any of the big math thinkers: Pythagoras, Descartes, Euclid, Pascal, Gauss, etc.

What character in history do you most dislike?

Who are your favourite prose authors?
Stephen King is at the top, but after that, there are so many I would like to name but then I would go over my word count for the interview.

Who are your favourite poets?
Edgar Allen Poe and Dr. Seuss.

Who are your favourite heroes in fiction?
Aragorn, Roland of Gilead, Fox in Socks, Ripley from the movie Aliens.

Who are your heroes in real life?
Rick Hansen, Pierre Trudeau, Jean Chr├ętien and (even though he's more a cool guy than an actual hero) Ron MacLean.

Who is your favourite painter?
Historically, I would choose Rembrandt for his use of darkness. Today, two of my favourites are Michael Whelan and Shaun Tan.

Who is your favourite musician?
I have almost 16Gb worth of music on my iPod, and there isn't enough room for all of my favourites. If forced to choose at gunpoint, I would have to go with Annie Lennox for vocal brilliance, Colin James for his emotionally-infused blues guitar and Lenny Kravitz for stylishness and overall musicianship.

What is your favourite food?
Really good bread.

What is your favourite drink?

What are your favourite names?
Winston and Ella.

What is it you most dislike?

What natural talent would you most like to possess?

How do you want to die?
Quick, but with a chance to say goodbye to the people I love, and with all of my end-of-life-arrangement-ducks in a row.

What is your current state of mind?
I'm glad to have time to be writing at my computer.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Raising two wonderful sons.

What is your motto?
There's never enough time. (A quote from the movie Timecop).


Look for Suzanne's story, "The Needle's Eye," in the anthology Chilling Tales: Evil Did I Dwell; Lewd I Did Live (EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing, 2011). You can vote here for "The Needle's Eye" to win an Aurora Award.

You can find this work at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

Check back for more Proust Questionnaires with Canada's literati in this latest series of interviews on Open Book.

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