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Alex Smith

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Sally & Proust: S.A Partridge Responds to the Infamous Questionnaire

S.A.PatridgeAn award winning author and barely in her twenties, S.A Partridge has cornered the local market for cutting-edge teen fiction. Her forth and newest novel Dark Poppy’s Demise is getting great reviews. Here the rising star of gritty, relevant YA, contemplates crossroad devils, the predator instinct and social media as an inspiration.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
It’s that moment when you realise that you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, doing anything else, or be with anyone else, but just there, together, completely removed from the rest of the world.
What is your greatest fear?
Losing my ability to write, whether it’s from disease or an accident. I wouldn’t have a purpose anymore.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Arthur Conan Doyle, because he proved it’s possible to be both mad as a hatter and brilliant at the same time.
Which living person do you most admire?
The musician Jack White, and not only because he can construct a guitar from a Coke bottle, a block of wood and some strings. His music is that sell your soul to the devil at the crossroads style of rock n roll. Listening to the White Stripes and The Dead Weather is an important part of my writing process.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
The fact that as soon as you put me in a social environment I lose all ability to function as a human being.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
That predatory strand of nastiness that lives inside most people’s DNA.
What is your greatest extravagance?
I live in an apartment that I can’t afford because its quiet and lovely, but most of all because its mine.
What is your favorite journey?
When I lived in Harfield Village, I loved the walk past the quaint little cottages to the station, followed by the complete juxtaposition of the city – all buildings, and pedestrians and sidewalk stalls. The train is a great way to discover your own city.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
On what occasion do you lie?
I try not to. Guilt tends to sit on my shoulder like a little squirrel monkey.
What do you dislike most about your appearance?
All the bits that don’t look the same as they did when I was twenty-two.
Which living person do you most despise?
As a habitual holder of grudges, there are far too many to mention, but included at the top of this list are all those who have at some point in my life, made me cry or fearful for my own life.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I have developed a bad habit of telling the same story more than once, more than a few times actually. I think this is because as an introvert, I have learned to save up all my stories for those occasions when I am required to talk to people that are not my boyfriend, my father or my cats.
What is your greatest regret?
My heart has one idea, my brain will tell you something else.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Books. I can’t live without them, I wouldn’t want to.
Which talent would you most like to have?
I admire those that can compose music out of nothing. It’s a neat trick. I think musicians think the same of us writers.
What is your current state of mind?
I am currently inspired and itching to lose myself in the made up places of my imagination.
If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
I think I would like for them to have more sense.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My greatest achievement is the total independence I have achieved for myself. As a kid I didn’t think I would ever have the strength to live in the world by myself. I thought it would consume in me in some way, like a giant commerce monster.
If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
A Starling.
If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be?
A writer’s cat; possibly the most spoiled creature of all time.
What is your most treasured possession?
My Alchemy Gothic “Three Penny Hex” ring. I tend to channel Frodo when I think I’ve lost it. It’s my good luck charm, and also my “fake wedding ring” that all women should wear at functions when men drink too much and get too friendly.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Rejection. That black-doggedly wretched feeling of being unwanted or despised.
Where would you like to live?
In an apartment facing the sea. It must be falling apart, with wooden floors and high ceilings. It must smell like age, and be at least one quarter covered in ivy.
What is your favorite occupation?
What is your most marked characteristic?
I tend to make mountains out of molehills.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Good intentions.
What do you most value in your friends?
I love that they are all intelligent women, who I have nothing but respect for. When I see them I feel all the better for it.
Who are your favorite writers?
Deborah Harkness, Susanna Clarke, China Mieville, JK Rowling, Arthur Conan Doyle, Stephen King, Stephanie Meyer. It’s a schizophrenic collection.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Mark Petrie from Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot. It was a whirlwind workshop in writing for teen. I learned that no matter what you throw at teenagers, even a town full of vampires, they will always bounce back stronger. Harry Potter is the same.
Who are your heroes in real life?
Anyone who died for what they believed in. I don’t want my epitaph to read “She sat in front of a computer all day.”
What are your favorite names?
Tesla, Sadie, Jude and Trew. No Michaels or Amys for me.
What is it that you most dislike?
War, murder, cruelty, especially to animals. I wish for the opposite of the Rapture to happen, the Reaping is what it should be called, where all the scumbags on earth get scooped up into space and deposited into a black hole.
How would you like to die?
I would like to die, smugly, knowing that whoever is about to put me to death is wrong, and I’m right, and no matter how many times over they kill me, I’ll still be right.
What is your motto?
Trust no one.

Dark Poppy was my online nickname, although I mostly used it for chatting and forums. It came to me in the moment when I opened the account and had about twenty seconds to choose a name. Mom used to own this ridiculous straw hat with a red silk poppy on it that she always wore when she went out. She also wore it on the day she left for good. I’ve had mixed feelings about the flower ever since.

From S.A Partridge’s most recent novel, Dark Poppy’s Demise.


Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Alex Smith</a>
    Alex Smith
    February 17th, 2012 @12:48 #

    Diane Awerbuck answers the infamous questionnaire on Monday!


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