Counting down to Lit Fest

An author presents at Printers Row Lit Fest

What's your favorite font to write in?

Gills Sans Light — I like the straight clean lines.

Do you listen to music while you write? What music?

I may be in the minority here, but I actually prefer quiet when I write.

How do you celebrate after you've finished a book?

After finishing "The Meatloaf Bakery Cookbook," I took a much-needed nap! And then I had a glass of champagne! I'll let you know what I do after I wrap up my second book!

Denise Kiernan

What do you think of when you think of Chicago?

Considering the topic of "The Girls of Atomic City," the first thing that pops into my head is the Metallurgical Lab and Manhattan Project. This is followed quickly by images of rivers, bridges, steak, beer and Capone.

Who is an author you'd like to meet, dead or alive?

Mark Twain in the dead category. No, wait. William Faulkner. No, Mark Twain. Margaret Atwood in the living. Hang on, maybe Joan Didion. Strike that. Atwood.

Anyone who'll have me, really.

What's the worst question you've ever been asked in an interview?

Tough one. Any question that clearly comes from a place of smugness and disdain rather than a place of curiosity always gets my hackles up. I also don't appreciate questions that aren't questions at all, but rather an effort to make a statement or start an argument.

What's your guilty pleasure reading?

Fashion magazines. Not always the "haute" ones, either.

Can you describe a random or unexpected experience you've had while promoting a book?

The daughter of a famous physicist — who worked in Chicago, actually — recently wrote me after her daughter saw me on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. On the show, I had mentioned the physicist and some documents I'd found detailing one element of the discrimination he experienced as an African American working on the Manhattan Project. The family was completely unaware of the document and that specific situation. I was floored and delighted when I got her note.

What's your favorite font to write in?

It's a toss-up between Optima and Times New Roman. I edit more in Times New Roman. If writing online, I might swing over into Verdana territory. I subscribe to a font newsletter. Love love love typography.