Clare Grant was born in Kent and still lives there. She works on a website about the UK National Health Service and spends her free time writing, walking, reading, sewing and collecting interesting people. Clare blogs at Three Beautiful Things.
Why do you blog? > I started because everyone else at my (then) new job had a blog and I didn't want to be left out. I went on doing it because it made me feel good. I think it's good discipline for a writer.
What has been your best blogging experience? > In winter 2004 I mentioned a craving for anchovies in a post. On Christmas Day, I opened my stocking and there was a jar of anchovies among the little presents. This told me that my father was reading Three Beautiful Things.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Post regularly - for example every Tuesday, or every morning before you go to work.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Richard Feynman, Jane Goodall and Germaine Greer.
What are you reading at the moment? > Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde. It's one of a series of punalicous adventures set in an alternate universe where literature has the same place as sport does in this one.
Who are your cultural heroes? > Jane Austen, for writing at a time when writing was something not encouraged in women. And the Bronte sisters for the same reason. Actually, all women who write are heroic - I am convinced (and I'm sure it's not just the feminine victim-complex speaking) that women find it harder than men do to conjure the special kind of arrogance that one needs to really believe that people want to read the words you are putting on the page.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake; or maybe Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson; or it could be Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. It changes.
What is your favourite poem? > 'Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening' by Robert Frost. Again, I'd probably give you a different answer next week.
What is your favourite movie? > Is there any way I can say Star Wars: A New Hope without sounding like a philistine? It's flawed in many ways, but it actually makes my heart race - that bit between 'A long time ago in a galaxy far far away' and the Star Wars March... I love Casablanca, too. And also Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo has left a little mark on my brain for some reason.
What is your favourite song? > This week it's 'Hotel Yorba' by The White Stripes - for some reason I can't get enough of it. It'll be something else soon, but at present, I can't remember ever having liked anything else.
Who is your favourite composer? > Ennio Morricone today. I've been listening to his A Fistful of Dollars soundtrack - I've got it on LP and the cover has a fantastic picture of The Stranger sneering over the barrel of his gun.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > The essays of Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Dawkins; because they made me see what a wonderful, magical thing life is. They make it seem to me that the theory of evolution is the most reasonable option.
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > Less war, more arts, schools and hospitals.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > Civilizations come and go; and with each rise and fall we become a little better, I think. This Western civilization is on its way out - we're decadent and complacent. But whatever comes after us will rise to new heights.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Find three beautiful things every day.
Do you think you could ever be married to, or in a long-term relationship with, someone with radically different political views from your own? > The debating would become tedious after a while.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Self awareness - in the sense that you can step out of yourself and have a good look at yourself from all angles.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Lack of self-worth.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > To save someone's feelings.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Going to the gym.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > I wouldn't worry so much about my school work and I would have more fun as a teenager.
What would your ideal holiday be? > I love overland trips where you get thrown in with a gang of strangers and everyone has to help with the cooking. I love the long drives that give me the chance just to sit and stare as the landscape slips past.
What is your most treasured possession? > I love my pearls. I also love my first edition Grimm's Fairy Tales illustrated by Mervyn Peake.
If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to? > Capability. I think it would make people feel confident in me. If someone called Capability says they can do it, you've got to believe them.
What talent would you most like to have? > Perfect pitch appeals. Or that thing where you can tell if a wall is straight just by looking at it.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > An academic sinecure.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > I would work less and write more; and I would become a patron of the arts - I quite fancy having a huge house where deserving writers can come and stay for a few months for some serious working time.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > The Latin poet Catullus, because I'd love to tell him how his poems made me decide to be a writer if it meant the possibility of people reading my work 2,000 years in the future. Bruce Chatwin, because he sounds very entertaining. And E. Nesbit because she is one of my favourite writers and I admire her lifestyle.
What animal would you most like to be? > A blue whale. Or maybe one of those viruses that flies through space on the tails of comets and seeds planets with life.
[The normblog profile is a weekly Friday morning feature. A list of all the profiles to date, and the links to them, can be found here.]