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Powell's Q&A

Amy Dickinson

Describe your latest project.
My book is called The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter, and the Town That Raised Them. It is an affectionate memoir of my years as a single mother raising my daughter, Emily, and of the women in our lives who helped and supported us in our hometown of Freeville, New York.

  1. The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter, and the Town That Raised Them
    $5.50 Used Hardcover add to wishlist
    "Dickinson's irresistible memoir reads like a letter from an upbeat best friend." Publishers Weekly (starred review)

    "Buoyant and bright, Dickinson offers a refreshingly open and sincere tribute to life's most important relationships." Booklist


What fictional character would you like to date, and why?
I would like to date Nick Carraway from The Great Gatsby. He is a sharp observer with a keen sense of impending doom, which comes in handy when dating someone like me.

What's the strangest or most interesting job you've ever had?
I once worked renting mopeds to tourists on a small island. I also worked as a lounge singer.

Offer a favorite sentence or passage from another writer.
"The last good kiss I had was years ago."
—James Crumley, The Last Good Kiss

How do you relax?
TV. Doritos. Couch.

Have you ever made a literary pilgrimage?
My daughter, Emily, and I have made repeated pilgrimages to Emily Dickinson's house in Amherst, Massachusetts. For some reason (probably related to our presence), the house is always closed when we get there, so we walk around and look in all the windows.

What is your astrological sign? If you don't like what you were born with, to what sign would you change and why?
I'm a Scorpio. Scorpios are supposed to be opinionated big mouths, so I guess I fit my sign. I'd rather be a Libra, however. Libras have a more balanced reputation. Libras are awesome. And attractive.

What is your idea of absolute happiness?
Riding through the countryside in my husband's truck, looking at the moon.

What is your favorite indulgence, either wicked or benign?
I like the occasional cigarette. I guess it's not an indulgence, more of a failing, but I'd rather smoke a cigarette than get my nails done.

Why do you write?
I am congenitally lazy and need to do work I can perform while reclining.

Share an interesting experience you've had with one of your readers.
Because I am an advice columnist, my readers have constant access to me. I occasionally spot one of them on the crosstown bus, reading my column, and I love that.

Name the best television series of all time.
30 Rock is the best television series of all time because it's a television series about a television series and they get all the details exactly right.

Who's wilder on tour, rock bands or authors?
Authors are too insecure and poor to trash hotel rooms.

On a clear and cold day, do you typically get outside into the sunshine or stay inside where it's warm?
I'm an outside girl.

Talk about your vision of the ideal life.
I am happy to say that I am leading it. It's a balance between country and city, family and work, and if you get it right, you've really got it right.

Do you read blogs? What are some of your favorites?
I don't read blogs. I can barely tolerate my own thoughts and don't have much room for others'.

Dogs, cats, budgies, or turtles?
Dogs, cats, budgies, and turtles.

Recommend five or more books on a single subject of personal interest or expertise.

Five Books I Read with My Daughter:

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling

The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

÷ ÷ ÷

Amy Dickinson is the author of the syndicated advice column "Ask Amy," which appears in more than 150 newspapers nationwide. She is the host of a biweekly feature on NPR's Talk of the Nation and is a panelist on NPR's quiz show Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me! She lives in Chicago and Freeville, New York.

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