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29 Questions for M.J. Fievre

A vos plumes!

Jessica Fievre (also known as M.J. Fievre) is the author of several mystery novels and children’s books in French. Her publications include Le Fantôme de Lisbeth and Les Fantasmes de Sophie. Her short stories and poems have appeared in P’an Ku, The Mom Egg, Writer’s Digest, 365 Days of Flash Fiction and Haiti Noir (Akashic Books) […]

We [used the] Proust questionnaire [to] find out about [Jessica’s] personality.

1. Your favorite virtue: Equanimity. Seneca said, “Happy the man who can endure the highest and the lowest fortune. He, who has endured such vicissitudes with equanimity, has deprived misfortune of its power.”

2. Your favorite qualities in a man: Creativity, decisiveness and “street” smarts.

3. Your favorite qualities in a woman: Compassion and intellectual curiosity.

4. Your chief characteristic: I’m an indomitable spirit.

5. What you appreciate the most in your friends: They help me grow as an individual.

6. Your main fault: I’m a perfectionist.

7. Your favorite occupation: Writing.

8. Your idea of happiness: A piña colada + a notepad

9. Your idea of misery: January 12, 2010.

10. If not yourself, who would you be? A photographer like Annie Leibovitz.

11. Where would you like to live? Somewhere rustic, where I can be surrounded by dogs and cats and acacia trees and araucaria trees. I imagine a river nearby, picnics in the woods, a choir of coqui frogs at night…

12. Your favorite color, flower, and bird: I love green and brown—earthy colors. I love anthuriums, pink laurels, and oiseaux du paradis. The smell of ylang ylang flowers. As for birds, I love Florida’s blue jays.

13. Your favorite prose authors: Currently, Anton Chekhov, Tobias Wolfe, and Emile Zola. Hemingway. Tennessee Williams. Agatha Christie. Dean Koontz. I love The Great Gasby and The Postman Always Rings Twice. In Haiti: Margaret Papillon and Gary Victor. I’m the administrator of the Gary Victor Fan Club on Facebook.

14. Your favorite poets: Coriolan Ardouin, Guillaume Apollinaire and Pablo Neruda (particularly the odes).

15. Your favorite heroes in fiction: Westley in The Princess Bride. Sam and Dean Winchester in the TV series Supernatural. Angel, the vampire with a soul. Beaumont (Jean-Paul Belmondo) in the French movie The Professional. Dexter, the lovable serial killer.

16. Your favorite heroines in fiction: La Femme Nikita. Nancy Botwin, in Weeds. As a kid, I just loved Fantômette, the teenage heroine.

17. Your favorite painters and composers: It’s always fun to look at a Picasso or a Pollack. I like Jean-François Millet. As far as Haitian paintings go, give me the underwater world of André Blaise or the creations of Ralph Allen. My favorite composer has to be Beethoven. When I suffer from writer’s block, I listen to the 5th symphony. If I just want to unwind after work: Ode to Joy or Moonlight Sonata. Fur Elise brings back happy childhood memories: my sister Patricia at the piano, the cat sprawled on the carpet, while I hovered around my mother in the kitchen, wondering if the labouyi bannann was ready. I also love Bizet’s Carmen (Habanera). L’amour est un oiseau rebelle…

18. Your heroes in real life: Jesus. Martin Luther King. Doctors without Borders. Red Cross volunteers. Bill Gates and the Facebook guy. Oh, and whoever discovered cough medicine.

19. Your favorite heroines in real life: My mother is my ultimate heroine. She’s funny, kind, and result-oriented. She managed to raise four daughters and keep her spunk. Also: Marie Curie, the physicist and chemist. Hellen Keller. I’m fascinated by Lilith, Adam’s first wife; she refused to become subservient to him. I know, I know, I’m getting into mythology. What was the question again?

20. What characters in history do you most dislike? Hitler—I think. In Haiti: where do I even begin…?

21. The military events I admire the most: The Haitian War of Independence. The Battle of Thermopylae.

22. Your favorite food and drink: Favorite food: Sweet potatoes purée. Favorite drink: piña colada.

23. Your favorite names: Leila. I wouldn’t name my kid Alcibiades, but this character was so interesting in Roman history that I just love pronouncing his name over and over again…

24. What I hate the most: Commercials that bring feelings of inadequacy.

25. The natural talent I’d like to be gifted with: If only I could sing (sigh)

26. How I wish to die: I don’t worry about death. I live to believe I’m just like a cat—with seven lives.

27. What is your present state of mind: Feeling a bit restless.

28. For what fault have you most toleration? I’ll go with Proust on that. “Faults for which I have the most indulgence. Those that I understand.”

29. Your favorite motto: “Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.”


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