Author Revealed

About David Goodwillie

Q. What is your birthdate?

A. 3/25

Q. Previous occupations

A. Baseball player, Private investigator, Sotheby's auction house expert, Internet entrepreneur, Journalist.

Q. Favorite job

A. Writing books.

Q. High school and/or college

A. Kenyon College (Gambier, OH); St. George's School (Newport, RI)

Q. Name of your favorite composer or music artist?

A. Okkervil River

Q. Favorite movie

A. The Sting

Q. Favorite television show

A. The West Wing

Revealing Questions

Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?

A. Intriguingly atypical and still very much in development.

Q. What is your motto or maxim?

A. The words on my screensaver: "Sit down and write, you idiot."

Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?

A. As a fictional conceit.

Q. What’s your greatest fear?

A. That my publisher will make me Twitter.

Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?

A. I keep thinking about Marfa, Texas, though I've never been.

Q. With whom in history do you most identify?

A. The 1969 Mets.

Q. Which living person do you most admire?

A. Paul Newman. I know, I know, not applicable, but can you come up with anyone better?

Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?

A. Apparently, I start too many sentences with the word "And".

Q. What do you regret most?

A. Not taking my baseball career more seriously.

Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?

A. A stronger throwing arm.

Q. What is your greatest achievement?

A. My two books.

Q. What’s your greatest flaw?

A. Too many to choose from.

Q. What’s your best quality?

A. Open-mindedness

Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?

A. A young Leonard Cohen

Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?

A. I always wear boots.

Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?

A. Henry Gondorff

Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?

A. Doyle Lonnegan

Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?

A. Martin Luther King. And I'd say thank you.

Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?

A. Sequels

Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?

A. Books, bars, beaches.

Q. What’s your fantasy profession?

A. Being Dan Brown's literary agent.

Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?

A. Passion, humor, independence.

Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?

A. French charcuterie

Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?

A. At the moment: My Only Offer (Mates of State); Better Son/Daughter (Rilo Kiley); Plus Ones (Okkervil River); Wake Up (Julia Darling); Two Steps Forward (Emmy the Great).

On Books and Writing

Q. Who are your favorite authors?

A. Martin Amis Saul Bellow Don DeLillo Kiran Desai Junot Diaz Joan Didion Dave Eggers Louise Erdrich F. Scott Fitzgerald Ian Frazier Alan Furst David Gates Adam Gopnik Phillip Gourevitch Amy Hempel A. J. Liebling Ian McEwan Jay McInerney Joseph Mitchell Richard Price Phillip Roth James Salter Zadie Smith Gay Talese Benjamin Taylor David Foster Wallace Tom Wolfe

Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?

A. "The Corrections" "The Electric Koolaid Acid Test" "Brightness Falls" "American Pastoral" "We Wish to Inform you that Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families"

Q. Is there a book you love to reread?

A. The Corrections

Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?

A. Revise, Revise, Revise.

Q. What comment do you hear most often from your readers?

A. "Can I send something to your agent?"

Q. How did you come to write American Subversive?

A. I was initially interested in how my generation—now in their late twenties and thirties--was reacting (or not reacting) to a changing America.  On the one hand, our country, in the new century, is still the envy of the world—it’s only superpower, a beacon of freedom. At the same time, so many things seem headed in the wrong direction—culturally, politically, economically.  The book’s two main characters, Aidan and Paige, developed out of this dichotomy. They’re well educated and similar in age, and yet they see America, and their place in it, incredibly differently.  I wasn’t interested in liberal and conservative, rather apathy versus engagement, cynicism versus sincerity. How should the next generation act (and react) in a country flying on autopilot at a dangerous altitude?  Have we learned any lessons from the past? And can a single person still affect change in a country run by opinion polls and mass consensus?  With my two main characters staking out such extremes, I realized pretty quickly that plot would involve bringing them together, not just physically, but temperamentally. They would come to save each other--or at least try.  Once the characters and themes were established the plot came quite naturally, and the book became far more suspenseful than I ever envisioned (which is never a bad thing). It also became quite research intensive.  I’m a stickler for facts, even in my fiction, and I ended up speaking with all kinds of experts, from an FBI ordnance specialist to a former member of the Weather Underground. It was important that the book “feel” real, that the reader could envision these events actually occurring.



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