Which celebrity, living or not, do you wish would invite you to a coffee shop?
My definition of celebrity is someone whom I admire, who I think has contributed to society in his actions or words. To me, celebrity is more than a pretty face. He does more than recite words that someone else wrote, acting out a story that someone else has planned out and directs.
Eric Kimmel is my favorite celebrity. I always love talking to him. Another celebrity I can’t wait to meet is Monica Kulling. Of course, I’d love to talk to Mark Twain, too, about his adventures riding the stagecoach west and his time in San Francisco. And Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams, about the times she lived in.
But let’s be real: my friends are the celebrities in my life.
Which book do you find yourself recommending passionately?
I am currently reading — for the second time—John Adams by David McCullough. I love McCullough’s blending of narrative and research, creating such a powerful story. Of course, we know all of history is a story. He does it so well. I just finished Einstein, by Walter Isaacson. For a long time I always thought I’d love to meet Einstein, speaking of celebrity. It turns out, while he didn’t like the label “celebrity,” he certainly lived the life. Einstein was such a hound dog. For all his lofty thought experiments about space and time, he really didn’t have a clue about life on this planet. He had an interesting, complex life, and saw a lot of history. It would be more interesting to speak to one of his friends, wives, or girlfriends, to see their reaction to navigating such a complex personality. One of my favorite movies is IQ, in which Walter Matthau plays Einstein as an old man. I like that Einstein.
Even more interesting, I bet it would be cool to listen to a conversation between Einstein and Stephen Hawking!!
Another book I just read was Happy Birthday, Alice Babette, written by Monica Kulling and illustrated by Qin Leng. This books tells a gentle story about a birthday party between two friends, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. Of course, we know the history of those two celebrity writers, which makes this book all the more impressive.
Favorite city to visit?
I’ve visited many historical cities and towns as I researched my stories. I visited Gettysburg, PA several times, walking the battlefields, as I researched my Girls of Gettysburg. I’ve driven along the Mississippi River for a ways, as I researched life along the river for my Big River’s Daughter. I’ve been to Boston and the surrounding area, which is intently interesting as it relates to John Adams. I’ve been to Washington, DC, of course, and just love that history. I’d like to go again and check it out more, especially Arlington National Cemetery. And I’d love to go to Philadelphia, for all the history.
Tea? Coffee? Milk? Soda? What’s your favorite go-to drink?
Diet Coke, most definitely. Although I’ve cut down quite a bit since my young years and now drink more water. I recently had my first cup of coffee, made very weak and included sugar free hazelnut creamer. Very tasty! And it did the trick: I was up at 4, and I had a long day of traveling ahead of me. I was able to make it through without nodding off.
What a tricky good question!
Pluto is a hound dog, and he’s every bit as loyal a friend as Lassie and Old Yeller. Just like Mickey Mouse!