Originally conducted by Kissa Starling
I’m here today with biography writer Victoria Benedict. She’s the heroine in a new release, Devil Falls, written by Angelle Trieste. It took me weeks to catch up with Victoria.
KS: Victoria, I know you’re a woman on the go. Who’s the most famous person you’ve ever written about?
Henry Kissinger. It was a short biography for students, but very challenging since Kissinger of course has done a lot of incredible things in his life. It’s really difficult to explain the significance of his work to high school kids who usually don’t know the background, but I think I did a decent job. :)
KS: Tell us the five top items you must have in your suitcase when traveling.
Laptop, lotion, something to read, comfy shoes and a good fold-up umbrella, not necessarily in that order.
KS: What do you think about the current gas crisis?
[Shakes head] With the increase in population and dwindling of resources, it was inevitable. But what really worries me is that even after what happened in the ’70s, we haven’t done anything to reduce our reliance on foreign oil. That’s got to change.
KS: What is your favorite stress reliever?
Oh, pilates! I don’t even have to go to the gym—all I need is a flat surface. Josef Pilates was a genius. Also, chocolate is better than any drug.
KS: You spend a lot of time alone writing and researching. Did that fact draw you to Damien Kirk? Do you see part of your own personality in him?
Actually I got the job because of his manager, Miranda Cross, who thought it was time he had a biography out. Of course, he disagreed. [Laughs] You know Damien. But really, it’s incredible how little personal information is available about him. I mean, he’s in the media all the time, he has friends and so on, but most people know him only very superficially. I value my privacy and all, but the lengths he’s gone to to guard his astounded me when we first met.
KS: Tell us a little bit about your background. Where did you go to school? Which crowd did you hang out with? Where does your family live?
I was born and raised in a small town called Faith Plains, Idaho. My father was a minister, so I was expected to associate with the proper crowd. I was basically a good girl. You really don’t get a chance to mess up when people are watching you to see if you behave with the decorum suitable for a minister’s oldest child. When my father passed away three years ago, I moved to San Diego. I wanted a change and to surround myself with the kind of people I’d never have met in Faith Plains. Not to say that they’re wild or anything, but they aren’t people who spend their entire lives in a small town, if that makes sense. My mother’s on the west coast, and so is my brother, who’s going to college right now.
KS: You must have a lot of reading time high in the sky flying from one place to another. Magazines or paperbacks? Who’s your favorite writer?
Magazines. I try to keep up with current events, but don’t have the time to read newspapers, so I rely on Fortune, Newsweek, Time and so on. My favorite writer is Trevanian. He’s an incredible wordsmith. The Summer of Katya was maybe the most poignant book I’ve ever read.
KS: What is your favorite season and why?
Definitely spring. I love the promise of a new beginning.
KS: If you could ask Angelle Trieste one question, what would it be?
I thought you didn’t like dogs. Why did you give Damien not one, but TWO Dobermans?
KS: What type of computer do you work on? How long does it take you to write a biography?
I have a Toshiba with Windows XP. I haven’t upgraded to Vista since I don’t need it. It usually takes me about three months to write a biography once the research’s finished. Of course with someone as difficult to interview as Damien, it takes longer.
KS: Tell us what your favorite kind of car is.
If you’d asked me this question a year ago, I’d have said anything I don’t have to make payments on. Recently, though, I’ve become kind of partial to Maseratis.
KS: What kind of date would you plan for your soul-mate?
A nice long walk on the beach at sunset, a scrumptious meal cooked over a pit dug in the sand, and then later a slow dance with the waves gently lapping at our feet. Mmmm.
KS: What is your signature pick-up line with men?
“What winks and screws like a rabbit?” Then when the guy says “What?”, you wink at him. Works every time. [Laughs] No, seriously, I haven’t ever really, uh, picked up a guy. There was no way I was going to do anything like that in Faith Plains, and by the time I left I was kind of out of that stage. Fortunately or unfortunately.
KS: It’s been so nice having you here today. Please come back soon!
Thanks for having me, Kissa! It was fun! To learn more about my encounter with Damien (a happily ever after guaranteed!), check out www.angelletrieste.com.