Deb Caletti: A Self Portrait
Deb Caletti Revealed
About Deb Caletti
Previous occupations:I've pretty much always been a writer, in one form or another.
Favorite job:The one I have.
High school and/or college:I went to Lake Washington High in Kirkland, Washington, and graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Washington in Seattle.
Name of your favorite composer or music artist?:Waaaay too many musicians to love to have a favorite. Music is second to books in my household.
Favorite movie:Every home movie of my kids when they were small and squeeky-voiced.
- Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
- A. Rich and endlessly surprising
- Q. What is your motto or maxim?
- A. "Knowledge is power."
- Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
- A. A good book, a pool, a cold drink on a sunny day, with my loved ones cheerfully occupied nearby.
- Q. What’s your greatest fear?
- A. That my children will be hurt or harmed. That, and squirrels.
- Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
- A. One of the villages of the Cinque Terre in Italy, with my feet in the sea.
- Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
- A. Henry the VIII (kidding), More like a twisted combination of Casper the Friendly Ghost, Belle from Beauty and the Beast, and Virginia Woolf, minus the mental illness.
- Q. Which living person do you most admire?
- A. Anyone who has the guts to pursue what they are passionate about.
- Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
- A. "Oh *!" and "Damn it, where is it?!!" and "Get out of there!" (That's to the dog). Also, "Love you," and "Hey sweetie" and "Give it a go, you never know" and "Drive carefully" (see question #5). "You won't believe what happened" is being used a lot lately. So is "Oh, I'm a lucky woman." If the backspace key were a word, that would be in there, too.
- Q. What do you regret most?
- A. Letting bad people into my life, and letting them stay there much too long.
- Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
- A. To play the piano with the kind of dramatic, flying fingers you see in the movies.
- Q. What is your greatest achievement?
- A. Raising two amazing, interesting, interested, good hearted and good humored people.
- Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
- A. Impatience - with the fates, and occasionally with others.
- Q. What’s your best quality?
- A. Curiosity.
- Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
- A. Myself, ten years ago. With the insight I have now.
- Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
- A. I wear my niceness on my sleeve.
- Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
- A. Ramona the Pest
- Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
- A. Jay Gatsby - hero/villain and ultimate bad boy.
- Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
- A. I'd like to meet Michelangelo, though conversation would be a problem unless he's been studying English in his spare time Up There. How about I just watch him work instead?
- Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
- A. People talking loudly in the library. I also hate it when someone picks up a book I'm in the middle of and starts reading and perusing. It's like cutting in between a happily dancing couple. I'm very clutchy about my books.
- Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
- A. Surgeon (ha). Reading, of course.
- Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
- A. To be the owner of an antiquarian bookstore. One of those stuffed, dusty ones you see that never actually seem to be open for business.
- Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
- A. Integrity, good humor, compassion.
- Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
- A. Sourdough bread and butter
- Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
- A. That's as impossible as choosing my five favorite books.
On Books and Writing
- Q. Who are your favorite authors?
- A. Flannery O'Connor, Hemingway, John Cheever, Richard Ford, Charles Baxter, Richard Russo, Anne Tyler, Barbara Kingsolver, oh man, how much room do we have?
- Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
- A. I KNEW this was coming!!! I hate this question. Impossible! All right, but only because I'm forced. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Farewell to Arms. The Sports Writer. Flannery O'Connor's Collected Stories. Frog and Toad Are Friends. The DSMIII. Okay, that's six.
- Q. Is there a book you love to reread?
- A. Hop On Pop (not really). Actually, I'm not much of a re-reader - there's still too much out there I can't wait to get to.
- Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
- A. If it's who you are, you'll make it happen.
- Q. What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
- A. Mostly, I hear professions of love for a book, followed by, "It was so REAL." Love right back at those readers!!!!
- Q. How did you come to write Secret Life of Prince Charming?
- A. Choosing a partner, especially a life partner, is one of the most important decisions we can make, I think, and its lifetime consequences are sometimes fabulous, sometimes disastrous. A lot of times disastrous. And yet, no one tells you how to actually make this choice. Or they tell you, and the advice is really, really bad. The idea that "relationships take work," for example, can get us stuck in bad places for a very long time. Can you tell that I know about this? Uh huh. REALLY know about this. So, I decided to write everything I knew on the subject, through the voices of the many women that the main character and her sisters meet throughout the book. Maybe I just wanted to put my own bad romantic history to good use. But maybe more than that, this book was an urgent plea of sorts - to my own kids, to all the rest of us with vulnerable hearts. Listen carefully, watch carefully, know your own history.