A. I taught in the public schools, and for a long time I was a journalist.
A. Being books editor of my newspaper. But even that pales besidde being able to write books full time, which is what I do now.
A. I went to four different high schools, and then to the University of Texas at Austin. Kinky Friedman and I were both in the Plan II program there.
A. Michael Smith, a fabulous songwriter/singer from Chicago. Get his CDs - you'll love them!
A. Little Big Man.
A. Buffy the Vampire Slater and Married with Children. Sorry - it's true.
A. I'm always eager to learn more about everything.
A. If you're bored, you have no one to blame but yourself.
A. It's never happened in my lifetime, and probably never will, but I think I would personally get as close to perfect happiness as is possible for me if the San Francisco Giants ever won the World Series. I've been waiting since I fell in love with baseball in 1958.
A. I know it sounds pretty obsessive, but I dread every having a moment in my life when I can't think of anything to do. I don't want to become an old man who has lost interest in everything.
A. Tough question - I'm always happy being with my wife and two grown sons, but I aalso love being out on the road in my car, driving somewhere to interview someone about whatever is the subject of my current book project.
A. My personal heroes are Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., John Steinbeck and Admiral James Stockdale. I realize I don't have Holmes's intellect, Steinbeck's compassionate writing excellence, or Stockdale's personal courage. But I can at least do my best to emulate them.
A. Jimmy Carter.
A. "This isn't good enough."
A. The list would be endless. I guess I think I could have been a much, much better parent and husband.
A. My secret dream would be to play in a rock band, but I have absolutely no musical talent. I can't even hum on key.
A. That's not for me to say.
A. I'm much too impatient. I live in a near-constant state of irritability, though my irritation is usually directed at myself more than at anyone else.
A. Again, I'm not qualified to say. Maybe my intense curiousity about everything around me - that, in my opinion, is the most important quality a writer can have.
A. Truthfully, I'm envious of Baloo the Bear in Disney's Jungle Book. I always thought he had everything just where he wanted it to be.
A. I'd like to say it's my sparkling blue eyes, but more and more it's my age and weight. I'll never get anywhere based on looks.
A. The Wart in T.H. White's The Once and Future King.
A. Moriarty has no peer, at least in my opinion.
A. I'd like to know what Lee was really thinking prior to Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg. How could such a brilliant man make such a terrible decision?
A. Laziness. Mine or anybody's else's. I'm not real high on self-pity, either.
A. Playing tennis, eating Mexican food, and managing my fantasy baseball team.
A. Rock star. Really.
A. Integrity, energy, imagination.
A. Mexican food.
A. Too many to narrow down to five - it changes from day to day. I have over 2,000 CDs that span every musical genre.
A. Gee, so many - in fiction, they are John Steinbeck, T.H. White, David Ebershoff and Robert Olen Butler. Nonfiction, I'd say Teddy White, Robert Caro, Iris Chang and Stephen Ambrose.
A. The Once and Future King by T.H. White, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe, Little Big Man by Thomas Berger and The Path to Power by Robert Caro.
A. The Once and Future King. There's so much wisdom in it.
A. Perseverance is just as important as talent.
A. "I never knew that before."
A. Though I didn't realize it for a long time, all my books are about the way our society shapes its versions of history based on what we want to believe rather than what really happened. My plan was to write a book titled Along the Tall Tale Trail about iconic American people and places and the myths we have actively, if sometimes subconsciously, built up about them. I planned to use Bonnie and Clyde as one chapter, but the more I learned about them, the more I realized they needed to be the focus on an entire book. They really were the first celebrities created by electronic media - in a sense, Brangelina and Brittney are their cultural heirs.