Getting to Know… Elvie
Elvie was raised to view books as on about the same level as food and water — utterly necessary for survival! One day, her parents realized that the guest bathroom was the only room with no books. Elvie proudly carries on this tradition, although she has thoughtfully provided her guests with reading material, too. As a German translator, she is lucky enough to be able to troll for great reads in two languages. She is particularly fond of historical fiction and romance, all fantasy, and sci-fi. When not sucking down books in mass quantities, Elvie enjoys cross-stitching, genealogy, movies, and wasting time on the internet. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and daughter
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST FEAR?
WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT STATE OF MIND?
Frazzled. I have too much to do and not enough time to do it!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE OCCUPATION? (WAY OF SPENDING TIME)
I have to pick just one?? I have so many hobbies and have the worst time deciding what to do with my free time. I guess my most favorite free time activity is listening to audiobooks while cross-stitching beautiful pictures (not those country sampler thingies!).
WHAT HISTORICAL FIGURE DO YOU MOST IDENTIFY WITH?
I don’t really “identify” with any historical figure that occurs to me off the top of my head, but there are certainly many historical figures that I admire or that fascinate me. I think Eleanor of Aquitaine is one of the most amazing women in all of history, but I certainly wouldn’t say that I can identify with someone so intelligent, powerful, beautiful, and devious.
WHICH LIVING PERSON DO YOU MOST ADMIRE?
It’s sad to say, but I feel like there’s a real dearth of admirable people in our public life at the moment. Everyone seems to have clay feet, and it’s not really fair to put people on pedestals, anyway. How’s that for a cop-out answer?
WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE FICTIONAL HERO?
Ooooh, so many to choose from. I’ve “met” so many amazing characters on the page, it’s nearly impossible to pick. I suppose if you really twist my arm, I’d have to go with James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser of Diana Gabaldon’s excellent series, but I have a serious weak spot for a certain Viking vamp named Eric Northman… I also really enjoy spending time with Robert FitzGervais of Waringham, the hero of , a wonderful German historical fiction novel about England in the 14th century by Rebecca Gablé.
WHO ARE YOUR REAL-LIFE HEROES?
My real-life heroes are people who know what they want to do with their lives and go out and make it happen, no matter what obstacles are in the way.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST TREASURED POSSESSION?
I guess I would have to say my laptop, since it is truly my window to the world. It’s my contact with friends and relatives far away, the tool of my trade, keeps me informed about what’s going on in the world, probably my greatest source of entertainment, my best way to waste time, and lets me play when I have a few dozen hours free… I would be lost without my laptop. It’s a 17″ monster that barely deserves the name portable, but I love it anyway. Did I mention it has Harman/Kardon speakers for my mp3 collection?
WHEN AND WHERE WERE YOU HAPPIEST?
My second semester at Dickinson College, in Carlisle, PA. It was a fabulous time in my life – wonderful friends, interesting mental challenges, athletic success, and a great boyfriend.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST OBVIOUS CHARACTERISTIC?
Well, nobody’s going to mistake me for stupid. It must be all those SAT words I throw around…
WHAT IS THE TRAIT YOU MOST DEPLORE (HATE) IN YOURSELF?
WHAT IS THE TRAIT YOU MOST DEPLORE IN OTHERS?
I deplore hypocrisy and self-righteousness (although I suppose that’s two traits).
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST EXTRAVAGANCE?
Eating in restaurants. So expensive and naughty, but there are just far too many times when I don’t feel like cooking!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE JOURNEY?
Without doubt, my favorite journey was my first trip to Europe when I was 16. It was one of those 7-cities-in-10-days tours, which my German teacher organized for Spring Break. We started in Vienna, and worked our way back across Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and southern Germany, leaving from Frankfurt. I was so exhausted and overwhelmed by impressions by the time we were through that I crashed and had a fever for two days when I got back, but it was worth it! The trip started a life-long love affair with Europe. Although I’ve traveled extensively in Europe since then, nothing ever quite matches the wonder and excitement of that first time.
WHAT DO YOU MOST DISLIKE ABOUT YOUR APPEARANCE?
Sticking to things that are beyond my control, I’ll go with my height. It would be nice to be able to reach the top shelf of the kitchen cabinets without a stepladder.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE MOST OVER-RATED VIRTUE?
Patience. Oftentimes, that seems like a code word for apathy.
ON WHAT OCCASION DO YOU LIE?
If I get driven into a corner and need to do a little CYA.
WHICH WORDS OR PHRASES DO YOU MOST OVER-USE?
“There’s that about it,” when conceding a counter-argument or acknowledging a point.
IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I would like to be able to better estimate how long things take. Be it how long it will take me to get myself out the door, the amount of time I’ll need to cook dinner, the amount of time a project will take, or just about anything else, I always think things will go faster than they actually do, putting me perennially behind schedule.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?
My translation of an entire novel from German into English (, by Tanja Kinkel). Unfortunately, it hasn’t been published, which would definitely up the relative value of the achievement, but maybe someday…
WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO LIVE?
I would love to live in Germany again, but only if I can come back to the USA to visit my friends and family regularly! (Also, the Germans haven’t figured out about crab legs or macaroni and cheese, and I have to get my fix every so often…)
WHAT IS THE QUALITY YOU MOST ADMIRE IN A MAN?
The ability not to get bogged down in stereotypical ideas about masculinity. I like guys who are secure enough in themselves that they can admit to enjoying , or [insert chick flick here].
WHAT IS THE QUALITY YOU MOST ADMIRE IN A WOMAN?
I admire women who ignore female gender stereotypes. This includes not going too far in the opposite direction and being anti-feminine. By either subscribing to a stereotype or wasting your time fighting it, you’re letting the stereotype control the dialogue. Just be who and what you want to be, and who cares what the world thinks?
WHAT IS IT YOU MOST DISLIKE?
Negativity. It NEVER helps.
WHAT DO YOU VALUE MOST IN YOUR FRIENDS?
Understanding and acceptance.
HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO DIE?
Quickly and painlessly – nothing lingering, please!!
IF YOU WERE TO DIE AND COME BACK AS A PERSON OR AN ANIMAL, WHAT DO YOU
THINK IT WOULD BE?
I think I had to answer this question on a college application once. I didn’t have a good answer then, either. I guess I would like to come back as a house cat in my next life – utterly independent, sleeps 16 hours a day, and minimal responsibilities beyond a little pest control. Sounds like heaven to me!
IF YOU COULD CHOOSE AN OBJECT TO COME BACK AS, WHAT WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
A beautiful painting – they are well taken care of, and provide unending enjoyment to unlimited viewers. They don’t wear out from being looked at too much, and time does not erode their beauty, but rather increases their value.
WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO (WORDS YOU LIVE BY OR THAT MEAN A LOT TO YOU)?
Better late than never!
WHO HAS BEEN THE GREATEST INFLUENCE ON YOU?
Without doubt, my parents. I owe who I am, what I value, and how I think about things to them. They raised me without stifling me, and knew when to let go, but are still there for me if I need help or advice.