Heather Lende is many things: wife, mother, obit writer, Alaska spokesperson, radio personality, all-around-inspiration, and author of If You Lived Here, I’d Know Your Name. Now she’s back with a new memoir, Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs, a reflection on life after an almost-fatal bike crash (share the road, people). We have a little blog interview with Lende today, where she talks about her double life as a DJ, her bold affinity for John Cage, and the last thing you’d probably ever want to use as a sled.
1. Describe your new book in one sentence.
It’s a memoir set in tiny Haines, Alaska, about faith, friends, and family–and how I was run over by a truck and got better.
2. Where do you do your best writing?
At my desk on the stair landing of my house, on a laptop, with two fingers.
3. What is your motto or maxim?
The Golden Rule. It’s a goal I rarely meet, but I try.
4. Do you have any secret skills (besides writing, of course)?
Country & Western radio DJ.
5. Describe the plot of the first story you remember writing.
It was called Gloria’s Last Ride and was about a woman who rode a dead, frozen horse like a sled down a hill in Haines and off the dock in January. I won a prize for it at the Southeast Alaska State Fair.
6. If you had to change professions, and needed no credentials, what would you do?
I’d become an architect. I love designing houses and public buildings.
7. Which band would you like to have follow you around, playing the soundtrack to your life?
Asleep at the Wheel (and some days John Cage).
8. Where do you hope to catch people reading your new book?
On an Alaska state ferry.
9. What is your all-time-absolute-favorite book?
Is this a trick question? Should I say Pride and Prejudice which I’ve read several times, or anything by Anne Tyler and Ellen Gilchrist since I love them? I can say that Irene Hunt’s young adult book, Across Five Aprils, was the most influential.
10. What books have you read recently that you’d recommend?
Elizabeth Berg’s Home Safe, Richard Russo’s That Old Cape Cod Magic, and The Fall of the Year by Howard Frank Mosher. I am also addicted to Alexander McCall Smith’s series.