Linda Holeman is the Winnipeg-raised author of the bestselling historical novels The Linnet Bird, The Moonlit Cage, and The Saffron Gate. Her most recent novel is The Devil on Her Tongue. She now lives in Toronto and Santa Monica.
1. What are three words you associate with your first relationship?
If you mean romantic or sexual, then confusion, secrecy, awkwardness. Stress on awkwardness.
2. What’s the worst thing you ever did for money?
Gave my blood in Athens, at a different clinic every week for two months—that’s eight times in 60 days. No cross-checking records or blood screening in Greece in the ‘70s. It paid enough drachmas for a few days worth of food, as well as a hard-boiled egg and a glass of something orange and sweet that was definitely not orange juice. It seemed like a good deal, worth that weird sea-legs feeling I had for most of those two months.
3. What is your least favourite song?
“The Mighty Quinn.” Every time I hear Manfred Mann’s “Come all without, come all within, you ain’t seen nothin’ like the mighty Quinn” I want to smash something. What was Bob Dylan thinking when he wrote that?
4. What is your favourite song?
That’s like asking me to name my favourite book. There are just too many and they keep changing as I do. I have old favourites that make me want to dance (“Shout” or maybe “Billy Jean”) and favourites to make me try to remember the years I don’t really remember (it was the ’60s—anything by Led Zepplin or Jim Morrison or Crosby Stills and Nash) and favourites that make me remember my less-experienced heart’s highs and lows (Sam Cooke or Nina Simone and maybe something sappy from Air Supply). Currently I’m listening to and loving lots of Regina Spektor’s offerings.
5. What’d you have for breakfast this morning?
Strong coffee with cream—I’m addicted to morning caffeine—and grainy toast with chunky peanut butter. I’m all about texture in my food. And I know, cream and peanut butter. I know.
6. How do you feel about Joni Mitchell?
I wish I could have met her. I would have liked to have been a free man in Paris with her.
7. How did you learn what sex was?
With horror from my best friend when I was 11. I accused her of making it up or lying. She told me to ask my mother, because my mother had done it five times to have me and my siblings. Of course I couldn’t do that: I knew my mother wouldn’t know anything about sex. I still believe I was right about that.
8. Where do you imagine all our lost T-shirts go?
Probably hanging out with all the lost socks, planning some kind of behind-the-dryer revolt.
9. Who do you consider the funniest person in the world that we would know?
Woman, Melissa McCarthy. Man, Ricky Gervais. I laugh just by hearing him laugh.
10. What’s a deal breaker for someone you’re in a relationship or in love with?
Since I’ve never been in a relationship where I have to worry about the real deal-breakers, like violence or abuse or just plain meanness, I’ll go for something lighter, like being cheap, especially with tipping. The way a person tips says a lot about them. And I don’t buy the word frugal. That’s an excuse.
11. What’s something you do every night before bed?
Look at the lights of the city from my Toronto balcony and wonder what all those hundreds of thousands of people out there are doing before they go to bed. I’m thinking of buying a high-power telescope so I can stop wondering.