10/10/2014 08:45 am ET Updated Oct 10, 2014

A Brief Interview With Jane Smiley

Jane Smiley

Brief Interviews is a series in which writers discuss language, literature, and a handful of Proustian personality questions.

Jane Smiley is the author of a number of short story collections, nonfiction titles and novels for both adults and young adults. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992 for A Thousand Acres. Her latest book, Some Luck, was published this month. The first in a trilogy, it chronicles a farming family in the 1920s Midwest.

Where do you like to read?
In the hot tub. Every time I look at a book, I pick up a towel.

What did you want to be when you grew up (besides an author)?
1. A jockey
2. A nuclear physicist

What's the best thing about being a writer?
Independence. You can plan your day on your own, decide what you want to write, think for yourself, nose around on the internet or in the library for information, pay attention only to what you are curious about.

If you could have any 5 dinner guests, dead or alive, fictional or non-, who would they be?
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Anthony Trollope, Marguerite of Navarre, Black Beauty, and Ladd, A Dog

What word or phrase do you overuse?
"Just" as in "Just a little, thanks," or "I just think that you should..."

Which books are currently in your to-read pile?
The third volume of Miklos Banffy's Transylvanian trilogy, 1491, by Charles C. Mann, and We, by Evgeny Zamyatin