New from Simon & Schuster

Author Revealed

About James S. Hirsch

Q. What is your birthdate?

A. 7/27

Q. Previous occupations

A. newspaper reporter

Q. Favorite job

A. being an author

Q. High school and/or college

A. Clayton High School/University of Missouri School of Journalism/LBJ School of Public Affairs at the Univesity of Texas

Q. Name of your favorite composer or music artist?

A. James Taylor

Q. Favorite movie

A. Chinatown

Q. Favorite television show

A. Mod Squad

Revealing Questions

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

A. I love my wife; I parent, I write.

Q. What is your motto or maxim?

A. I live to write the perfect sentence.

Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?

A. My 8-year-old son gets the game-winning hit.

Q. What’s your greatest fear?

A. Factual errors.

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

A. Las Vegas

Q. With whom in history do you most identify?

A. The reporter in "Citizen Kane."

Q. Which living person do you most admire?

A. Cindy Pasquarello, Pediatric Nurse, Joslin Center

Q. What do you regret most?

A. My son's faulty beta cells.

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

A. To fix anything in the house.

Q. What is your greatest achievement?

A. Five books.

Q. What’s your greatest flaw?

A. I chase open-ended straights.

Q. What’s your best quality?

A. I listen.

Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?

A. I'm quiet.

Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?

A. Stephen Dedalus

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, Jr. Thank you.

Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?

A. Pretentious language.

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

A. Racquetball.

Q. What’s your fantasy profession?

A. baseball player

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

A. honesty, humor, intelligence

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

A. bagels

Q. How did you come to write Willie Mays?

A. In 2000, after I wrote a book on Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, someone suggested I should write a book on Willie Mays. While I never saw him play, his name is magic to any baseball fan, and his career -- from 1951 to 1973 -- exquisitely overlapped the modern civil rights movement. Mays was one of the most prominent blacks in America at that time, so any authoritative biography of him would be about more than baseball. I was able to track down one of Willie's few trusted friends, and he asked Willie if he was interested in cooperating on a biography. Willie said no. I returned to Willie's friend two years later with the same request, and Willie again said no. I tried a third time, and had the same result. I then tried a fourth time -- seven years after I made the initial effort -- and this time Willie agreed to meet me. It was worth the wait.

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