Welcome back to The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe, a recurring series here on Tor.com featuring some of our favorite science fiction and fantasy authors, artists, and others!
Today we’re joined by Cherie Priest, author of more than a dozen novels, including the award-winning Clockwork Century series and the Cheshire Red books. Her latest novel, Maplecroft, is available now from Roc. The first book of The Borden Dispatches, Maplecroft follows Lizzie Borden after the brutal (and possibly supernatural) murder of her father and stepmother. Learn more about the cover design here on Tor.com!
Join us as Cherie shares a whole host of guilty pleasures she doesn’t feel the least bit guilty about!
What’s the most embarrassing guilty pleasure you’ll admit to? (music, movies, pop culture, food, drink, etc… all fair game!)
In order, since you gave me a list: Tom Jones’s cover of Prince’s “Kiss”; anything in the Underworld franchise; Barry Steakfries (video games on my phone); Cheez Whiz right out of the can; and appallingly cheap red wine. Though to be honest, I’m not particularly embarrassed by any of them—these are just the things that sprang to mind as “stuff people have made fun of me for liking.” Like I care.
What is your favorite short story?
“Emptiness Spoke Eloquent,” by Caitlin Kiernan. Not merely because it’s an amazingly creepy, lyrical tale about what happened to Mina Murray after Dracula, but because it challenged the way I thought about time. It had simply never occurred to me before that a woman of (oh, say) twenty years old in 1900 might survive well into the atomic age.
If you regenerated as a new Doctor, what would your signature outfit/accessory be?
Blood red toenails, and an assortment of different glasses. I can’t wear contacts very much anymore, so I make a point to have several different styles of frames lying around—from understated wire jobbies, to crazypants green tortoiseshell cat-eye shapes. Excessive myopia: It’s not a bug, it’s a feature!
Hands down, no question: The Parlour Trick. Their album A Blessed Unrest is the spiritual soundtrack to the haunted house story I’m working on right now (The Family Plot). It’s evocative and interesting, and so intensely atmospheric that it’s just irresistible. I can’t recommend it enough.
Would you rather discover the fountain of youth or proof of life on Mars?
The fountain of youth, absolutely. Then again, I AM from Florida, so I might be biased. Dear old Juan Punched the Lion (thanks, Dave Barry!) and the story of his quest is built into the social fabric, there. Besides, I’m vain and insecure. Give me the juice, and I’ll skip the science of outer space.
Please relate one fact about yourself that has never appeared anywhere else in print or on the Internet.
I have a faint scar in the shape of a fingerprint, to the right of my left hip bone. You can barely see it anymore, because I rarely wear bikinis these days (and subsequently tan the area in question); but I got the scar in question when I was seventeen, and my then-boyfriend was trying to teach me how to surf. I fell off the board and got caught in an undertow—it felt like a hand was pressing on the small of my back, grinding me into the sand. When I eventually washed up on shore, my bathing suit was in tatters and my stomach was one big patch of road rash…but I escaped with just the one wee scar to remind myself that sun and surf were not necessarily my jam, and maybe I ought to stick to the shadows.
If you could choose your own personal theme song to play every time you enter a room, what would you pick?
“Dominion” by Sisters of Mercy. Because I’m a trashy old goth at heart, and I love to dance around in fluffy, swishy skirts. That’s why.
What’s your favorite sandwich?
Meatball—with minimal sauce and extra cheese, on white bread; plus mayo, tomato, onions, and honey mustard. Well, you asked…
List three things you’d like our readers to know about you and your work.
- In any given story of mine, should there be a random animal—pet, wildlife, etc.—you need not fear for its safety. I can’t stand animal abuse or cruelty of any kind, even the pretend kind. Therefore, no matter how dark my material might be, the animals will always survive unscathed.
- I make no such promises with regards to people.
- Or zombies.