Lyssa Keusch
Senior Editor, Avon Romance

Qualities: Like Tai Shan, the baby panda, I’m quiet and serene when content but can get my dander up if provoked. Watch out!

Which is a good segue into one of my greatest passions outside of the book world: volleyball. The more competition – and trash talking – from the opposing team, the better. Make me mad, and I’m going to stuff you at the net or spike that ball where you ain’t.

Non-career highlights:
Went kayaking in Kauai in February

Won a number of beach doubles volleyball tournaments with my husband

Recently went to a taping of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart (awesome!)

Make a mean wild mushroom risotto

Was co-captain of the Tufts volleyball team (let’s not talk about how long ago that was)

Won the Latin language award in junior high (veni, vidi, vici)

Got kicked out of ballet and Girl Scouts with my best friend (okay, now we’re going way back in the annals)

Scenes from Proust’s Questionnaire:

• Where would you like to live?

In a villa in the rolling hills of Tuscany… sigh

• *Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?

For the classic hero, it would have to be Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. Who doesn’t love him or this romance?
Otherwise, it would be Mark Helprin’s Peter Lake from Winter’s Tale. To me, this book is so amazingly vivid and magical. My husband and I used an excerpt from it as a reading in our wedding ceremony.

• *Who are your favorite heroines in real life?

As a sports fan, I’d say Wilma Rudolph has to be one of my greatest heroines. Born prematurely in 1940, she fought off a staggering number of serious diseases and then a diagnosis of polio. Told she’d never walk, she went on to become a basketball star in high school and then a track star. She was the first American woman to win three gold medals in a single Olympics. Talk about spirit and determination! If only we all had that kind of chutzpah.

An animal lover as well, I also greatly admire Jane Goodall and the conservation work she’s done with chimpanzees in the Gombe Game Reserve in Africa. I had dreams once of being an animal behaviorist, but I don’t think I could ever have sat still long enough.

• *Who are your favorite heroines of fiction?

I’d have to say that one of my favorites is my namesake, Aristophanes’ Lysistrata. This character knows the power of being a woman. If you don’t know the story, you must check it out.

But then I can’t forget Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre.

Oh, and there’s also Maya from The Adventures of Maya the Bee, which I loved, loved, loved when I was a kid. Maybe that’s where my interest in animal behavior began…

• *Who would you have liked to be?

On a total whim, Sir Edmund Hillary. Only because summiting Mt. Everest is something I would not consider in my wildest dreams. I don’t even like the cold very much, and I certainly don’t like that kind of danger. But from the hiking that I have done, I can only imagine that to view the world from that peak must be about one of the most awesome sights ever. And that would be worth seeing. Plus, there’s the sense of pure physical accomplishment – which would sure beat a run on the elliptical machine.


Blogger Cathryn Fox said:

Lyssa, I laughed out loud when I read your love of Maya the Bee! My son LOVED that show. I have hours and hours of it taped. (Packed away now though) Now I'm going to have that song in my head all day...Maya...Maya the bee!!

7:59 AM  

Blogger Lyssa said:

I'm not much a tv person, so I didn't even know there was a show of Maya the Bee. I can only imagine what the song must be. My mom used to read chapters of the book to me and my brother at bedtime. I have such fond memories of that and how much I couldn't wait for the next chapter. Maya, for me, is in my mother's voice...
But I'm glad you're familiar with her! And I'm glad your son loved her, too. I wonder if my brother remembers Maya. I'll have to ask...

4:30 PM  

Anonymous mary reed mccall said:

Kicked out of ballet AND Girl Scouts?

Now that's something even I, with my vivid imagination, might never have dreamed up... :)

I will have to look up Maya the Bee for my youngest. Both of my girls are animal lovers too.

Love the bios posted on this blog - a stroke a genius!


11:54 AM  

Blogger Keri said:

I love Lysistrata! When it comes to strong and clever heriones, she's a tough one to beat.

11:21 AM  

Blogger Stella MacLean said:

Veni, vidi, vici--I came, I saw, I conquered, right? I took highschool latin to escape math. And I played volleyball all through highschool. Love the sport, so much more challenging than basketball.

3:49 PM  

Anonymous Lida said:

I love Lysistrata! When it comes to strong and clever heriones, she's a tough one to beat.

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