If you've ever attended one of my author talks, you'll know that I encourage strange, difficult, inappropriate, and challenging questions during the Q&A portion of the evening.
I even award a prize for the most challenging of questions: foreign editions of my books, books I have read and will never read again, and once $2 because I had forgotten to bring a prize.
This tradition was started in honor of a woman at my very first author talk who asked, "How do your ex-girlfriends play a role in your fiction?"
Surprised by the question, I responded, "Why do you ask that question?"
Her answer: "You look like the kind of guy with a lot of ex-girlfriends."
I'm still not sure if that was meant to be a compliment or an insult.
Either way, her question gave me the opportunity to tell a couple of funny stories about my ex-girlfriends, which is what I always do when asked a question. I tell a story.
During the most recent book tour for The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs, I've been asked a fair number of challenging questions, including, "How many of your students have been inspired enough by your success to become writers themselves?"
I think the answer is none, though in fairness, the oldest of my former students are still in their early twenties. I didn't become a published author until I was 37.
But the most surprising, challenging, and possibly inappropriate question asked so far came a couple of weeks ago at a bookstore when a woman said, "You're such a sarcastic person. Do you ever make people cry?"
Sadly, the answer was yes, followed by a couple of funny stories about times when I ended up in trouble because of my mouth.