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Laferrière Questionnaire

Arthur Slade takes the Laferrière Questionnaire

The self-described "Young Adult Fantastical Fiction Guy" submits to our very own 20 questions, courtesy of Canadian author and all-around provocateur Dany Laferrière.


1. If you were Alice, would you rather stay in Wonderland on the other side of the mirror, or come back to the real world to tell your story?
I'd come back and tell my story but would be sure to add zombies as part of the story so that it would sell better. And I'd add a cute little dog and a tornado, just for good measure.

2. If your home were on fire, what prized keepsake would you grab on your way out?
I'll assume the rest of my family has already escaped and I'm dithering about in the smoke and raging flames. I'd grab my iPad (since I'm sure my iPod would be sewn into the pockets of my pajamas).

3. What childhood fear do you still have as an adult?
Green beans.

4. Would it be okay to have a miserable childhood if that were a prerequisite for becoming a writer?
I have a million questions about this one. Does the miserable childhood lead to unseemly and self-destructive character traits in adulthood? Or is it a story of defeating your childhood demons? Will you get a better book contract? How does this affect sales? All in all, I'd rather have a perfect and unblemished childhood growing up by a pond and catching frogs.

5. Do you wake up at night to read or write?
No. I wake up to look at the clock and roll over.

6. Do you feel anxious or excited when you start to write?
At the very beginning of a project I'm extremely excited. There's endless potential in the words I'm about to put down and the story that's about to unfold. I become more anxious as I get to the end and begin wondering whether I captured any of the perfection of the original idea.

7. Does darkness soothe you or frighten you?
Scares the heck out of me.

8. Do you tend to hang on to a thousand little scraps of paper, or do you regularly clean out your drawers?
I hang onto the scraps until my office is about to explode then go on a mad cleaning spree. Then it starts over again.

9. Which animal would you rather be: a cat or a dog?
A dog. Preferably Cerberus because it would be so much fun to have three heads.

10. Does love dry up your creative juices or make them flow faster?
Romantic love? Platonic love? Unrequited love? Muppet love? I'd say that love makes them flow faster because I wouldn't be able to write if I didn't love whichever story I was working on. That said I usually hate my books by the time I'm done them, but can still create and add to them (and, in the great cycle of things, I fall in love with them again at the end...it's so tempestuous).

11. Do you remember your dreams?
Very rarely. Perhaps I dream too much while I'm awake.

12. What's your favourite colour?
Green. Because:
"Green is the Colour. Football is the Game.
We're all together and Winning is our aim.
So Cheer us on through the sun and rain.
Saskatchewan Roughriders is our name."
What do you expect? I live in Saskatchewan!

13. What's your favourite season?
Autumn. Or Ray Bradbury season, as I call it since he described it so well in so many different novels and stories. And Halloween comes in the Fall.

14. Does pressure motivate you?
Absolutely. Deadlines are very strong motivators. I likely get twice or thrice the amount of work done in the last weeks of a deadline than the first weeks.

15. Would you rather live to write or write to live?
Is that a Zen koan? I'd rather be right in the middle of those two extremes.

16. What published book do you secretly wish you had written?
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury.

17. Are you the paranoid type or calm, cool and collected?
I am calm, cool and collected in my various paranoias.

18. What would qualify as the afternoon of your dreams?
Writing a perfect sentence, eating the perfect meal, and napping the perfect nap.

19. Are you more like the sun or the moon?
The moon. I'm trapped in orbit around the publishing world and am either waning, waxing, full or new.

20. Do you hear voices?
Yes, and they're telling me not to answer any more questions.

Arthur Slade is the author of more than fifteen novels for children and teens, including Tribes, Megiddo's Shadow, and Jolted. His sci-fi horror novel Dust was a national bestseller and winner of the 2001 Governor General's Award for Children's Literature. The Hunchback Assignments, the first novel in his acclaimed steampunk series, won the 2010 TD Children's Literature Award and was nominated for twelve other literary prizes. Island of Doom, the final book in this series, is out now. Arthur lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan with his wife and daughter.  

Photo credit: Brenda Baker

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