The Next Chapter·Proust Questionnaire

Why Joy Fielding is a regular user of this salty four-letter word

The bestselling novelist and actor takes The Next Chapter's version of the Proust questionnaire.
Joy Fielding is a Toronto novelist and actress. (CBC)
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Toronto novelist Joy Fielding writes psychological suspense novels featuring strong women. These characters need to be strong because Fielding tests their resolve with all kinds of calamities. But her heroines are often up to the challenge.

Fielding's latest, All the Wrong Places, is a thriller that follows the lives of four women who are being stalked by someone who uses online dating apps to target his victims.  

The author of bestselling novels such as Someone Is Watching recently took The Next Chapter's version of the Proust questionnaire. 

Name your favourite writers.

Philip Roth and Leonard Cohen. I love the writing of both of them. Probably my favourite at the moment is a Swedish writer by the name of Fredrik Backman. I absolutely loved Bear Town. I ran out and bought all his other books.

What phrase do you most overuse?

I don't really overuse any particular expression. The one thing I do, which is bad I guess, is that I love the sound of certain swear words. Virtually the first word out of my mouth every morning is a four-letter-word. It starts with F.

On what occasions do you lie?

On very many occasions. I'm a pretty honest person, so when I lie it's usually about something small. It's usually either to make a story a little bit better or to spare somebody's feelings.

The one thing I do, which is bad I guess, is I love the sound of certain swear words.- Joy Fielding

What is your principle defect?

I have zero patience. Every time there's any kind of interruption to what I'm doing, I get very agitated. In the car, I yell at everybody on the road. I should not be allowed to drive. I'm always swearing and screaming and it's over things I have no control over, so that is really unfortunate. It's unfortunate for me because my blood pressure is higher now than it used to be. It's silly.

What is your greatest fear? 

Like any parent, my greatest fear would be something happening to one of my children. Now that I have grandchildren, it's compounded and feels worse. I worry about something happening to them. I have often used my books to deal with some of my worries. I've often explored things happening to family in my books. I think, especially as a mother, you always feel guilty and you always worry.

What is your greatest regret?

My greatest regret would be that my mother died so young. She was 62 when she died. I was just into my 30s at the time. It was four months after my first daughter was born. I was very close to my mother. It's not a regret of anything I had to do with. But if I could go back and change anything, it would be that.

I have often used my books to deal with some of my worries.- Joy Fielding

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

That's an impossible question for me. I really don't know how anybody can be perfectly happy if you have a brain. But probably it would be having everybody in my circle being healthy and reasonably satisfied with their lives. Another would be a good book, a nice glass of wine and just peace.

Joy Fielding's comments have been edited for length and clarity. 

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