1) Why is it so many writers seem to be migrating to Ireland? Or if you don't feel like answering for everyone or think I'm imagining things, how about you in particular?
I don't think you're imagining things, but I'll speak for myself anyway. :)
First, I'm an Irish citizen. My family got back in contact with our Irish family about fifteen years ago (the story of which is here) and we've been talking about moving over here since. So we finally did. :)
For me, there's the political situation in the States. I had an idea of what the US looked like, or what its ambitions were. That idea was a socialist state where our elders and our children were taken care of, where art was important, where military spending was not disabling, where education was valued and where people could in fact make the American Dream come true. The 2004 elections were a vicious blow to my idealism. It became clear to me that enormous numbers of people had a *very* different vision of what the US was supposed to be than I did, and I lost faith that the entire mechanism would eventually lumber its way toward socialism. At that point, I started to wonder why I didn't just move to a country which, while it would no doubt have its own host of problems, at least shared those basic precepts that I thought a government should provide.
There's the tax break. Artists in Ireland are not taxed on anything below the first quarter million euros they make a year. That's nice. Flip side of that, of course, is that the dollar is low against the euro so any real tax benefits you might get for living here at this juncture are eaten up by the exchange rate. Still.
There's also national healthcare. It may not be the best healthcare in the world (although God knows things with Ted's broken arm went smoothly), but as a writer, one does not get healthcare. This is not exactly dreadful if you are young and healthy, but youth and health do not bar catastrophe (re: Ted's arm), so there is significant appeal in living in a country where that kind of thing is dealt with on a national level.
There are other things, but I'm blanking on them right now. Well, easy travel to Europe, for example, that's one. :)
2) Name the author with the very best idea that you wish you'd thought of first. What was the idea?
*stares* Holy bejeezus. Uh. I ... wow. Uh. Oh! I remember an idea that I *really* wished I'd thought of. I haven't even actually read the book 'cause it was out in hardcover and I couldn't afford it, but lemme see if I can find the title and author...
...crap. I don't remember enough to get Google to come up with it. The inside cover teaser was to the effect of:
What if you lived in a world where people with mutant powers were feared and hated? What if you were an anti-mutant cop who shot a mutant who looked like an angel?
...what if it turned out you'd really shot an angel? How would the world around you react?
I really wanted to read that book, but I couldn't afford it at the time. I have no idea what happened in it, but when I read the cover teaser I REALLY wished I'd thought of that idea. I *really* liked the idea. (If anybody reading this knows what book it is, please tell me!)
3) What would you have done differently with that idea?
I have *no* idea, but I'm sure my story would've been completely different.
4) What bothers most people but NOT you?
Self-confidence to such a degree that it appears to be arrogance. The difference, in my opinion, is the sense of humor involved, but I've observed that when people are that confident, other people often can't see the humor.
5) Since the chocolate chip plan has somehow failed me despite its utter brilliance, how would I actually get from you that custom-inscribed book with your favorite epithets included? No, really, I mean it. It would be too fun to have (especially since turning into this "for the love of all that's holy, would he please just shut up about it already" running joke) and so much cooler than most autographed books. Cash? Goods...no wait, tried that already? Binding contract agreeing to never put it on eBay (not that I would, but how would you know that)? Restraining order (against me, of course)? Or shall we just never speak of this again?
I'm rather fond of we shall never speak of this again, just to make you squirm. *laugh* Hm. Perhaps I should demand that you walk barefoot through the driving snow both ways uphill in the dark of the year to a convention I am attending, whereupon I will sing holy angellic choirs and present the book to you with my hands raised high above my head.
Hm. No more interview questions for me! Sniffle!