Douglas Waller Revealed
About Douglas Waller
What is your birthdate?:6/30
Previous occupations:Before writing books full-time, I was a correspondent for Newsweek then TIME magazine. Before that, I worked in Congress as a legislative assistant.
Favorite job:Every job I've had has been my favorite at the time. I enjoyed being a newspaper and magazine correspondent. I enjoyed as well taking a break from journalism and working on Capitol Hill. Book writing is now my favorite job.
High school and/or college:I went to high school in Richmond, Virginia. I received my undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University and my master's degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Name of your favorite composer or music artist?:For my generation it had to be the Beatles.
Favorite movie:Usually, it's the last one I saw and liked, such as "The King's Speech."
Favorite television show:The murder mysteries on PBS.
- Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
- A. Constantly experimenting, writing, trying new and different things.
- Q. What is your motto or maxim?
- A. Get the most out of life. It's shorter than you think.
- Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
- A. Writing historical biographies. I had a wonderful time prowling archives in the United States and overseas researching my latest biography of Wild Bill Donovan. Producing biographies can be difficult and time-consuming. But the work can be immensely gratifying.
- Q. What’s your greatest fear?
- A. Not having another book idea.
- Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
- A. I'd probably stay in Washington, D.C. For a journalist writing about politics, national security or military history it's the best town.
- Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
- A. I don't know if I identify with him, but I think Franklin Roosevelt was our greatest modern leader.
- Q. Which living person do you most admire?
- A. I can't think of one. Reporters tend not to hero worship in the present.
- Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
- A. My wife and kids say I have a number of them, which they always point out in my early manuscripts.
- Q. What do you regret most?
- A. Not studying harder in college.
- Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
- A. To be a novelist. Nonfiction writing is the best I can do.
- Q. What is your greatest achievement?
- A. Marrying Judy Berson and raising three kids.
- Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
- A. I'm not the best stylist in my writing.
- Q. What’s your best quality?
- A. I am a dogged and meticulous researcher.
- Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
- A. I'm pretty happy just being me.
- Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
- A. I tend to be low key and easy going.
- Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
- A. I love the heroes in Hemingway's novels.
- Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
- A. None stand out for me. I tend to read and forget them.
- Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
- A. I've said in book talks that I would have loved to have been a reporter during World War II and to have covered Wild Bill Donovan. He was such a fascinating character. And I probably would have covered him. Donovan liked to leak to reporters.
- Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
- A. Demagogues and stupid politicians.
- Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
- A. Teaching, reading, and jogging.
- Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
- A. Writing books full-time.
- Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
- A. Honesty, integrity, and compassion.
- Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
- A. I like a good steak, but I'd certainly get tired of them if that was my meal the rest of my days.
- Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
- A. I love tuning into the "Oldies" station on my radio but I'm hopeless remembering the titles to songs.
On Books and Writing
- Q. Who are your favorite authors?
- A. My favorite authors are Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway, and Theodore H. White.
- Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
- A. A Tale of Two Cities, A Farewell To Arms, and the Making of the President series.
- Q. Is there a book you love to reread?
- A. I don't reread books. Even for my favorites, once is enough.
- Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
- A. Write, don't just talk about it, write.
- Q. What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
- A. They tell me I succeed in placing them in the action of the book. They feel like they are there with the characters, which is gratifying for a nonfiction writer.