1. I leg press two hundred pounds.
2. I once knocked over Stevie Wonder as I exited a ladies bathroom.
3. My favorite movie is Gone With The Wind. Melliandra, in The Book of Words, was named in honor of Miss Melanie.
4. From my bedroom at night I could watch the nuns in the convent.
5. I was the first person in the U.S. to finish Zelda III. To this day I regret not taking my photograph by the end screen as requested by the guys from Nintendo Power Magazine. Gaming fame and fortune could have been mine.
6. As a learner driver, I drove Mumís car (with Mum in it) into the side of a double-decker bus. All the passengers had to evacuate the bus. No one was hurt, the bus was slightly dented. Mumís front bumper was toast.
7. When I was 22 I nearly died of Scarlett Fever.
8. I was the only person in my middle school class who received free lunches. Every Monday the teacher would call my name in front of the class and Iíd have to go and pick up my vouchers. Those walks to the front of the class were some of the longest in my life.
9. Iíve met the second man on the moon, Buzz Aldrin.
10. I canít cook risotto.
11. When I was fourteen, I lost my sense of taste for a week. It happened in that hotbed of teen accident zones: Chemistry class. I was using a pipette to transfer an alkaline solution from a beaker to a test tube when some of the solution got in my mouth. Dr. Hyde, our Chemistry teacher, promptly administered a mouthwash of weak hydrochloric acid to neutralize the alkaline. Somewhere along the pH scale, my tastebuds gave out. I couldnít taste anything for a week.
12. I was the goalie on my high school netball team.
13. I served my first beer when I was nine.
14. My first book signing was at Book Expo in L.A. The late and wonderful Julia Child was signing books at the next table. Seeing that I didnít have much of a line forming, she graciously directed her fans toward me.
15. My favorite foods are all starches: roast potatoes, mashed potatoes, crusty bread, pancakes.
16. One of the few U.S. states I havenít visited is the one I want to see the most: Alaska.
17. In countries where my books are published without an author photo, readers often assume Iím a man.
18. My first pet was a rabbit called Bengie. When she died, I took her to bed with me. I thought she was asleep.
19. Victoria, my middle name, was supposed to be my first name but Mum made a last minute switch on the birth certificate. It sounded too fancy, she decided, so went with the more down-to-earth Julie instead.
20. Smokey Robinson once sang a song to me.
21. Iím scared of surfing. Every time I go out, I get whacked by the surfboard and end up hurt.
22. On clear nights I usually go outside to look at the stars.
23. Despite wearing a ďluckyĒ sweater specifically knitted for the purpose, I failed my UK driving test first time. However, when I took my California driving test I passed with a perfect score and the tester notified me that I was eligible to become a California Driving Instructor.
24. I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.
25. I was in LA during the Whittier Quake of 1987. It was a 5.9 on the Richter scale and lasted twenty two second. I was eight miles west of the epicenter. Plates were flying from cupboards, the walls were shaking, and the entire building was rocking from side to side. It was my first earthquake and I thought it was exciting. Things would be different today.