Kennedy Foster Revealed
About Kennedy Foster
What is your birthdate?:10/14
Previous occupations:Stall cleaner, lifeguard, trade-books buyer for a college bookstore, financial development grant writer, printer's assistant. I've been teaching English as a second language since 1988.
Favorite job:The one I have now, ESL and basic college skills teacher, co-teaching with teachers of accounting, diesel mechanics, collision repair, corrections, and law enforcement. Almost as much fun as writing.
High school and/or college:I went to three high schools: Falls Church HS and JEB Stuart HS, both in Virginia, and Heidelberg HS in Germany; and two colleges: the American University in Paris and Grinnell College in Iowa. My MA is from Boise State.
Name of your favorite composer or music artist?:Hard to do! My current fave is Respighi, those Ancient Airs and Dances.
Favorite movie:I think, still, Stand and Deliver
Favorite television show:Big Love!
- Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
- A. That was cool! What's next?
- Q. What is your motto or maxim?
- A. Let me be worthy of my horses.
- Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
- A. I can't conceive of perfect happiness. It's always gotta be mixed, otherwise there's no point. A summer morning about 6am when the beans have just come up: that comes pretty close, but it partly depends for its deliciousness on the threat of whack-on-the-head heat by lunchtime.
- Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
- A. In the Piazza Santa Margarita, at the Due Torre; second choice: on the West Sands at St Andrews. For about two weeks, and then home.
- Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
- A. I used to identify with Joan of Arc, but I don't think I would have stood the course, never having been a person of strong faith. Lately the person I'd most like to talk to is General George Marshall.
- Q. Which living person do you most admire?
- A. My sister-in-law, who teaches developmentally disabled children in the Chicago public schools.
- Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
- A. Well, I don't know! If I knew I was overusing them, I'd quit using them!
- Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
- A. I sure would like to be able to yodel, although there isn't much call for it in the classroom. And I'd like to be able to ride a lot better than I do, though there's still time to improve that. I hope.
- Q. What is your greatest achievement?
- A. Well, my kids haven't gotten into any really bad trouble yet.
- Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
- A. I dunno! There are so many to choose from!
- Q. What’s your best quality?
- A. If I say I'll do a thing, then I'll do it. Though it might be something everybody wishes I wouldn't do.
- Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
- A. Nothing, I hope. I like to keep in the background.
- Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
- A. Lily Dale, spinster, in Trollope's The Small House at Allington.
- Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
- A. Becky Sharpe, in Thackeray's Vanity Fair.
- Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
- A. I have three: eating, riding, teaching.
- Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
- A. Teaching! It's not a fantasy, but I came to it very late. It looked pretty terrible from the outside, like nothing a sane person would want to do. (Actually, sometimes it looks like that from the inside too.) (But not often.) To be the conduit into the big Ongoing Conversation for somebody who's struggling to find a place in the world--it's a high like no other.
- Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
- A. Openness to the ideas of others, emotional stability, and honesty about money.
- Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
- A. Strawberries. Well, strawberries and blueberries. And corn on the cob. And tomatoes warm off the vine. Okay, meatloaf once in a while.
- Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
- A. "Tempted and Tried," Dolly Parton. "Bergamasca" from Respighi's Ancient Airs. "Cecilia," Simon and Garfunkel. "String of Pearls," Glenn Miller. "Ashoken Farewell," traditional.
On Books and Writing
- Q. Who are your favorite authors?
- A. Jane Austen, Vikram Seth, Jane Smiley, Donna Leon, Craig Lesley, Anthony Trollope, Charles Dickens, Patrick O'Bryan, E. M. Forster, Ford Madox Ford, Sandra Cisneros, in no particular order
- Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
- A. Persuasion, A Suitable Boy, Horse Heaven, Barchester Towers, Bleak House
- Q. How did you come to write All Roads Lead Me Back to You?
- A. To actually WRITE it? A minuscule flat in a foreign city, six months of rain, solitude, Bics and legal pads. To write this particular story? Long residence in this small ranching community. My teaching job, which brought me face to face with the daily courage of immigrants from Mexico, and with the challenge their being among us presents to our communal ideals. And then (I can't really explain this) a couple of characters appeared in my head and started to interact. And they were so neat, so much the sort of people I would enjoy hanging around with, that I just sort of followed where they led. After a while I knew them so well and liked them so much that I wanted to see if I could write them truly. So, Reader, what do you think? Have I been true to Alice and Domingo?