Amanda Craig was born in 1959 in Johannesburg, but left as a baby shortly after her parents covered the Sharpeville massacre as journalists. She grew up in Primrose Hill, London, then Rome, and studied English at Clare College, Cambridge. As a young freelance journalist she won two awards, and she became a full-time novelist in 1990. Amanda has published six novels, and lives in London, the subject of her most recent fiction, Hearts and Minds. She is also the children's critic for The Times and reviews fiction widely. She blogs at Amanda Craig.
Why do you blog? > It has become a necessary adjunct to writing at all.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Finding I had more readers than I thought (about three of them).
What has been your worst blogging experience? > See above.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Shakespeare, Coleridge, Keats, Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster and Dickens. Also Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin and Couperin, Piero della Francesca, Palladio, Stubbs, Manet.
What are you reading at the moment? > Re-reading Gilbert and Gubar's The Madwoman in the Attic, the last of Michelle Paver's Chronicles of Ancient Darkness, The Kindly Ones.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > There isn't one single example. I've just read Elizabeth Jenkins's The Tortoise and the Hare, which is right up there with The Leopard, The Great Gatsby and Pride and Prejudice, and barely known.
What is your favourite poem? > Sonnet 116. The perfection of true love between equals.
What is your favourite movie? > Probably Terminator 2.
What is your favourite song? > Verdi's 'La donna è mobile' (and the circumstances in which it is sung). Or its joyous counterpart, Figaro's attack on women (and the circumstances in which it is sung).
Who is your favourite composer? > Bach.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > The existence of Hell.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Any 'ism'.
Who are your political heroes? > Queen Elizabeth 1, Lord Palmerston, Churchill.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Global warming.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > We're on a knife edge, but I have faith in the human spirit and ingenuity.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Do what you love, love what you do.
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? > No.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Imaginative sympathy.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Malice.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > To help a friend, to save a child.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > I have an instinctive fear of anyone whose face I can't see – male or female.
What is your favourite proverb? > 'Revenge is a dish best served cold.'
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Smoking.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > My children and husband becoming mortally sick.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > No. Mistakes, however painful, are what I learn by.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Devon.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Gardening.
What is your most treasured possession? > My wedding ring.
What talent would you most like to have? > Being able to play the piano well.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > Gardener.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Dr Johnson (if he can count), Woody Allen if not.
What animal would you most like to be? > A hawk.
[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.]