20 Random Questions is a feature on Sisterspooky that will show you a different side to authors you may already know and introduce new ones. I ask 20 very Random Questions and they answer them. Simple as that. The idea was inspired from a mixture of things in my head and a random question asked by Jim over at YA Contemporary
Today, the ever so lovely Jane Elson, is on the blog to answer the dreaded 20 Random Questions. Her book, A Room Full of Chocolate, is out now!
To be respectful of people’s differences and to not squeeze everyone through the same system.
(I work with young people many of whom have been labelled stupid by the education system but I find them anything but! They just need a different way to learn.)
That we should all spend more time listening and less time shouting!
Menu systems on telephones would be banned. They are so annoying.
That people stop making products with Ivory, Rhino horn, fur and anything else which causes our endangered species to be poached.
I could go on forever but they are the things that immediately spring to mind.
If you were a super hero what powers would you have? Limit to three powers!
Power 1 – To Fly: obviously it would be amazing and freeing to be able to soar up into the sky and go anywhere you want.
Power 2- To see a tiny bit into the future (not too far, that would be a burden) so if somebody steps into the road you would know if they were going to be run over and pull them out of danger – that sort of thing. That would be really cool. It would also be useful as I am bad at making decisions, so it would be fantastic to see where my decision would lead me.
Power 3 – to be able to see into somebody’s mind and know if they were telling the truth. That would save a lot of time and heartache.
What's your favourite cheese and why?
Wensledale with cranberry. I love this cheese as it’s really soft and the bits of cranberry give it a kick and make it special. I only get it sometimes but it’s a really special treat.
If you were an animal what would you be and why?
I would be a shaggy sheep dog. My hair is always a bit messy.
I tend to bound through life and do many different things like a dog bounding from one thing to another. I am also ungainly. That breed of dog is also sometimes described as a couch potato. I love the part of the day when I can just curl up and watch TV. However dogs are very resourceful and if they don’t get something the first time they try, they will keep finding different ways to do it, till they succeed – which is the story of my life. I am also very loyal which is a quality I prize and one of the lovely things about dogs.
If you could ask your future self one question what would it be?
Have you achieved the skill of not worrying about things that haven’t happened yet?
(I have an overactive imagination and imagine all sorts of scenarios. I constantly strive to relax more. I hope that in the future I will be able to do this.)
What do you think the greatest invention has been?
The telephone – to be able to talk to people who are far away is very special.
What's your favourite type of Pie?
Banoffee Pie is scrummy – I love bananas with chocolate and cream.
If you could steal one thing without consequence what would it be and why?
I would steal a big house with a garden. I would love to have space. I would probably fill it with rescue dogs and other animals that needed a home. I know what I am like it would be a menagerie in no time!
Who's your favourite Villain and why?
Cruella Deville. I thought Glen Close’s performance in the films 101 Dalmatians and 102 Dalmatians was fantastic. The character is so camp and over the top and has entered our popular culture. I have heard people say ‘Oh that’s very Cruella!’ and immediately everyone knows what you mean. The original cartoon of 101 Dalmatians was also my favourite film as a child.
Do you have any superstitions and if so, what are they?
I always touch the statue of Dick Whittington’s Cat on the way to the Whittington hospital. Judging by the fact that the statue has no ear left it’s obviously a lot of people’s superstition. This old man appeared behind me once and said that every time his wife touched the statue she won something in the lottery. I am still waiting for that to come true. Though I did win £25.00 the other day so who knows!
If you had a warning label, what would yours say and why?
Beware she spreads her possessions everywhere and loses everything!
What's your preferred playing piece in monopoly and why?
The dog – because as I said above they are resourceful at finding alternative ways of doing things, a quality very useful for any business entrepreneur. If they can’t jump over a fence they will go under it or round it. That is something I had to learn to do from a very early age as a dyslexic person. Also dogs are loyal and trustworthy – things that can be lacking in the hard world of commerce. A dog would honour his business commitments. The other pieces on the monopoly board are objects so have no feelings.
What was the last thing you ate?
Ice cream and pancakes. I have just come back from having a special dinner with Josie, a young lady who I used to look after on occasions when she was a child. She was one of the driving forces behind why I wrote Chocolate. We went out to celebrate the publication of A Room Full of Chocolate – one of many celebrations.
Who would you want to be trapped on a desert island with? Pick no more than five people!
I am trying to think of people apart from Martin Luther King, Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama who everyone usually says they would invite to a fictitious dinner party or be on a desert island with. I think mine would be:
1, Monty Roberts – the horse whisperer. I love horses and would like to learn more about his techniques. However on a practical level if there were wild beasts on the island he would be really good at taming them and keep us all safe.
2, Rosa Parks, the African American Civil rights activist. She was arrested on 1st December 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama for refusing to obey bus driver James F Blake’s order that she give up her up her seat on the bus, in the coloured section, to a white passenger. On a practical level she would be good to have on a desert island because she famously said ‘I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.’ That would definitely be a good mind set to have when dealing with being stuck on a desert island! She was a brave amazing lady and would be a very good person to have around whilst trying to survive on a desert island.
3, Shakespeare. I would love to talk to him and find out all about the rehearsals and the performances and what the actors were like. He would just have so many stories. We could become a company on the desert island and perform in his plays to entertain ourselves. In Elizabethan times there were no right or wrong spellings – you could spell things how you wanted. So a dyslexic’s paradise! Shakespeare himself is responsible for many words and sayings in our English language.
‘As merry as the day is long’ from Much Ado About Nothing would be a good attitude to have on the desert island.
He also invented ‘Better Foot forward,’(King John) – this has become ‘best foot forward’ which you would need to say when you got tired and thirsty and needed to build a shelter for the night and forage for food on the island. On a practical level -
Shakespeare wrote The Tempest - which is a play I have performed in. It is set of course on an island so I reckon Shakespeare would be an expert on how to survive. Food did not come in plastic cartons in Elizabethan times so I think Shakespeare would know better than the rest of us which berries and plants are safe to eat.
4, Nicholas Winton - the man who organized the transportation to England and safety for 669 mostly Jewish children from German occupied Czechoslovakia on the eve of the second world war. What a special man, and anyone who could organize something so amazing and on such a grand scale would find it easy to organize life on a desert island.
5, Leonardo da Vinci – the dyslexic genius. I have written a play about him called Leonardo Stole my Crayon set in a young offenders institution. I would love to talk to him so much. Apparently he never finished things, which is a fault I have myself – typically dyslexic! I think that Nicholas Winton and Rosa Parks would get us organized though. On a practical level Leonardo invented flying machines, diving suits and the parachute – so I think he would find a way to get us all off the island when we wanted to return home.
What song would you say best sums you up?
The Four Non Blondes song ‘What’s Up’. The lyrics ‘trying to get up that great big hill of hope for a destination’ - my life has definitely felt like that.
What was your first job?
I worked, probably illegally, in a hairdresser’s when I was only 13. I was very bad at washing hair – I used to nearly drown people by accident with the shower attachment!
What's the scariest thing you've ever done?
There’s been a lot of things but taking my driving test springs to mind. I was attempting to do a three-point turn and the examiner asked what I was waiting for? I replied that lady over there.
He replied very sarcastically, ‘Are you planning to drive on the pavement dear?’
What's the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
To try and be in the moment and not to look too far ahead.
What is your favourite comfort food?
Apart from the obvious chocolate, I find mashed potato a comfort especially if it has cheese mashed into it.
What was your favourite childhood toy and why?
Bob who was a bear on wheels. I learned to walk holding on to him and my first word was Bob.
Thanks to Jane for taking part in the feature. You can find out more about Jane and her work on her website and by following her on twitter