by Patricia Grandjean
Mar 1, 2011
02:52 PMBox Office
Q&A: Ann Leary
(page 5 of 5)
Tell me a little bit more about your radio show.
There's a little radio station in Sharon—WHDD—that's the smallest NPR affiliate in America. I've been doing the radio show on and off for a couple of years. The theme of the show is interesting people and their creative environment. Interesting homes and their people, interesting people in their homes. I've interviewed Milos Forman, A.R. Gurney, Alice Hoffman—all sorts of authors and different artists. I go into the studio and talk to them by phone at home. The people I interview love it, because they don't have to clean up their houses. But I'm really interested in people's surroundings, especially creative people, and how much their surroundings inform their creative work. The station doesn't have a huge broadcasting range, but you can download the show as a free podcast from iTunes, and I also post it on my website each week.
When does it air?
It airs every Saturday, I think at 4 p.m.—I have to check because I don't even get it. It reaches the Northwest Corner of Connecticut and much of Columbia and Dutchess counties in New York State. It's really up in that area.
So, tell me a little about your house. How does it inform your creative work?
Our house is an 1850s farmhouse that we bought about 12 years ago, when the kids were in the first and third grades. We sensed it was a great place for kids. But it needed a lot of work; the woods came right up to the house. We cleared out some fields because I wanted to have horses. And every time Denis would get a movie or TV show, we'd add on. Now, when we show the house, we say, "Oh, this is from when Denis did Ice Age I; this is Ice Age II . . . It's almost been a never-ending project, but now it's done. It's plenty big—now it's just the two of us here most of the time. But we really love it. It still looks like an old farmhouse from the outside, but the newer parts are actually quite contemporary-looking, very lofty. We like, especially Denis, to have open space. There's a feeling of old and new; the old part of the house is quite dark. We've put a lot of windows in the new part.
Just curious—how many rooms?
I don't even know how many rooms we have—I think we have six bedrooms. It's not a mansion. My favorite place to write is on the bed with my feet on the four dogs, or with them all scattered around me. They make me get up and take them for a walk, and then we get back in the bed.
What's your favorite place in Connecticut?
My favorite place in Connecticut is the Steep Rock Land Preserve. It's a wonderful private land preserve. It's thousands of acres—part of it is Steep Rock and part is actually Hidden Valley. People ride their horses there; some even trailer them in from Massachusetts. It's 10 minutes from my house; I love to hike there. It's an amazing place; the people in this area are lucky to have it. The Shepaug River runs through it. It's amazing how pristine it is—people come from all over to hike but really take care of it. It feels like you could be in Yellowstone; it's really that majestic.