Have you ever... Emma Neale

Dunedin author Emma Neale was an Ockham Award finalist last year for her short story collection The Pink Jumpsuit. She is  working on poetry, looking at "lies, falsehoods, cheats and cons". What better preparation for a few confessions?

Have you ever... lied about reading a book you really should have read?

Never. I hang out with so many keen book lovers that I know I’d never get away with it. 

They’d start drilling down into the minutiae: "What did you think about the tree metaphors at the end of each chapter?

Did you think they were heavy-handed or essential?"

Or, "What did you think of that scene with the antagonist’s daughter?".

 I’d have no chance of faking it.
Have you ever... snuck in without paying?

Yes, to an outdoor swimming pool complex at a hotel in San Diego, California: but in my defence, I was 8, and led there by my mother’s best friend, a wonderful, cigarette-smoking, gin-drinking, sunny, warm, affectionate expat Scottish woman called Joan, who knew both how to have a good time and to make sure children had a blast too. 

And I didn’t know we were trespassing until my mother confessed just a couple of years ago!
Have you ever... been arrested? 

No: the closest I’ve come was being kettled in a cul-de-sac by police on horseback at an anti-fascist, anti-Nazi rally in London in the ’90s. 

Possibly more frightening was being taken aside by an immigration officer and separated from my husband when arriving in Dover, England after we’d been away for a couple of nights in France. 

The officer was weirdly insinuating and sly, saying, "You don’t want to do that", to every answer I gave to his questions, whether it be "I’m travelling with my husband", to "We’ve just been away to a wedding". 

He was a prize creep.

Have you ever... eaten the last slice of cake and blamed someone else?

Definitely. But I am always caught. I’m a recidivist and irredeemable, irremediable. 

I’ve even had to replace the chocolate oranges that Santa gave my children because I couldn’t resist them when left alone in the house with the stocking spoils.

Terrible. Some people just don’t make very good mothers, do they?
Have you ever... slipped an extra hundy from the bank during a game of Monopoly when no-one was looking? 

Anything to make the game more interesting: it is so dead boring and just makes me think of carpet dust and grey winter drizzle. 

Have you ever... got a tattoo somewhere you regret?

There is still time!