Helen Humphreys is the 2000 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize-winning author of Afterimage. Her latest novel, The Reinvention of Love, about the love affair between Charles Sainte-Beuve and Adèle Hugo, wife of writer Victor Hugo, is being released this week in paperback. In writing her novels, Humphreys has come up with a list of questions she asks of the main characters in her books — everything from what their favourite colour is to where they like to travel — to help develop them as fully realized personalities. We turned the tables on Helen and asked her 10 of her own questions. Here are her answers.
1. Best trait?
2. Worst trait?
Over commitment, which leads to the inability to follow through.
I used to have more loftier ambitions. Now I simply want to keep floating this particular boat that is my life and all it contains.
4. Places you want to travel to and why?
I’ve traveled a lot in the past couple of years. Mostly, these days, I just want to stay home.
5. What makes you happy?
My partner. My dog. Being in nature.
6. Favorite possession?
My dog. Although I’m not sure you can call a living creature a possession. But I did buy her, and therefore, I guess, “own” her.
Not living long enough.
8. What do you find attractive in other people?
Honesty. Humour. Not taking themselves too seriously.
9. Mistakes you have made in life?
Too many to list, but most have been caused by disregarding my true feelings about people or situations and acting against my instincts.
10. Attitude towards life?
I’m an optimist. I believe that tomorrow will be a better day than today or yesterday.