20 Questions with Tara Johnson

1. So, what’s your book all about?

My book is entitled The Angel and The Agent. It is based on numerous pastel works by Edgar Degas. One is The Chorus. The three stars are pieces of his work that have been referred to as The Star.

2. What inspired you to write this tale?

I was at the Phillips Art Museum in Washington, D.C., for the fall 2011 special exhibit Edgar Degas at the Barre’: Point and Counter Point.  I overheard some remarks made by several people in the museum, and wanted to yell, “You don’t know anything about art, you philistine!” Instead, I used these remarks as a basis to discuss art in my book.

The secondary inspiration was the theft of The Chorus. This item was stolen from the Cantini Museum in Marseilles, France, as the year 2009 turned into 2010. This is an unsolved crime, so I could really make good use of my poetic license.

3. Do you have a favorite quote about creativity/inspiration etc…? What is it?

I read and hear a number of inspirational quotes. Yet, the most powerful one is from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Yoda simply says, “There is no try. Only Do.”

4. What things do you keep in your “writing space”? Do they inspire you? Confound you? Hold wires in place?

I had to do a fair amount of research on Degas, ballet, and the artists from the impressionist era. I have enough material for a few more books that are brewing in my subconscious. Brandy, my miniature snoozer, is my constant companion.

5. What is your perfect “writing space”?

It is a sunny place, with a good sound system, and a day bed for emergency naps.

6. If your car horn could play any song, which would it be? Can’t say Dixie.

Hmm, the theme from Gone with the Wind? Tara’s Theme? Kidding! It would be Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Ode to Joy.

7. What would you name the first permanent settlement on mars?


8. How tall is the perfect sidekick? Please explain why it even matters.

The perfect sidekick is shorter than the hero or heroine. It might be an inch or a foot, but the sidekick would always literally look up to the hero/heroine.

9. If you were to mess with the time stream, what would you change? Let’s assume a hundred other people already took care of Hitler so you don’t have to say, “Kill Hitler.”

I would be born four years earlier, so I could remember my mother’s two siblings.

10. Let’s say your character has a pet brown bear. What’s the bear’s name?

Something that means bear or brown in another language, e.g., Coco, Brownie, Bruin, Bruno.

11. If you had to give an antagonist an annoying trait, what would it be?

Using a ten dollar word or two in every sentence, even when five cent words would be sufficient. This is the child of Felix Unger and Frasier Crane.

12. What kind of car would your ultimate protagonist drive?

I think Mercedes has the best line of cars. Now, which car depends on the protagonist … how old is she/he? Would it be a sedan or something sporty?

13. You’ve got a year to travel anywhere. Where?

My father was in the U.S. Air Force, so I have lived in about 10-12 places. I would go to each place, in chronological order, for a period of time until I was bored. Any left over time would be spent in Europe, so I could do research for more novels.

14. You just bought a boat with your book fortune. What are you going to call it?


15. What kind of music, if any, gets you typing the fastest?

Whatever fits the current scene I’m typing. For example, as my characters wandered through the fictional French Art Museum, I would listen to light classical music, e.g. Schubert’s The Trout.

16. What’s the punch line to your favorite joke?

Who drives you to the beach?

17. What lyric do you sing poorly, yet loudly?

In our family, we have a tradition of singing Happy Birthday as miserably and as loudly as we can. The birthday dinner can only get better from that point

18. You find a portal to another world in your sink’s drain. What is this other world called? And what is the best way to clean the portal so it doesn’t smell like old food?

The other world is called Hilarity. I cannot live without humor in my life. I have sprinkled some throughout my book. I would need citrus rinds to stuff down the sink, with cold water and the garbage disposal running simultaneously.

19. Where can people learn more about you, your work or any pets you have?

My FaceBook URL is https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Tara-Berry/245464832189349.
Or you can follow my tweets from @TaraBerryAuthor

20. What’s next?

I’m searching for a literary agent for The Angel and The Agent. I’m also writing a second book called Pool of Love. It’s semiautobiographical; I have multiple sclerosis, and so does this book’s heroine.

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