A. Played bass in a R&R band (3 months), founded and taught in a "free school" (1 yr); First job was page in the Bryant Library, Roslyn; Teletype operator, Dispatch clerk for the phone company, when there was only one phone company; Office Coordinator for Personnel Agency; Data entry position morphed to Database Manager, Systems Analyst for law firm (now defunct) in asbestos litigation.
Q. Favorite job
A. I prefer writing.
Q. High school and/or college
A. Roslyn Public Schools, Roslyn, NY; University of Wisconsin, Madison (1 semester); SUNY Stony Brook, Bachelors in English
Q. Name of your favorite composer or music artist?
A. J.S. Bach
Q. Favorite movie
A. The Dead (John Huston)
Q. Favorite television show
A. 49ers Football, SF Giants baseball; guilty pleasure is Dr. Drew's Celebrity Rehab
Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
A. One damn thing after another
Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. This too shall pass
Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. My idea of bliss: after a good day's work, I go outside and feed the koi in our ponds, then settle down in the hammock with a good cigar and a great book.
Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A. I have a phobia about dead critters.
Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. Oddly enough, I'm happy right where I am.
Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. Pete Seegar
Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. "it occurred to him/her"
Q. What do you regret most?
A. Any and all acts of unkindness
Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. I wish I was a much better musician.
Q. What is your greatest achievement?
Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
Q. What’s your best quality?
Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. I'd have liked to have been a professional athlete and/or musician.
Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. I don't suffer fools gladly.
Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A. My current favorite is Lee Child's Jack Reacher
Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. Heep! Heep! Heep!
Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. I'd love to have met Charles Dickens. But I wouldn't be the one doing the talking, I'd be the one doing the listening.
Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
A. Poker players who misread their hands and win anyway.
Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A. My weekly Tuesday night poker game.
Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
A. How about playing for the San Francisco Giants—any position.
Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A. Kindness, patience, perseverance
Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A. Tuna fish sandwiches
Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. Now that's a hard one. Easier to pick some favorite albums (a term that dates me, I'm afraid): Graceland, Van Morrison and the Chieftains, Exiles on Main Street, Bach's Suites for Cello Solo
On Books and Writing
Q. Who are your favorite authors?
A. Dickens, Fitzgerald, King
Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. David Copperfield
The Great Gatsby
The Deptford Trilogy
War and Peace
Q. Is there a book you love to reread?
A. I read War and Peace every 10 yrs or so.
Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
A. First: finish your novel!
Q. What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
A. (Since the comments are all positive, modesty forbids.)
A. Several years ago, I had one of those spells of inspiration where a character just grabs the pen (or in my case, takes over the keyboard) and starts writing. Nearly a hundred pages later, I had an extended first-person narrative which appears in Boys as the life story of Luke Sweet, but had no idea how to turn it into a book.
So I put Luke's story aside and wrote When She Was Bad. And by the time I'd finished that book, my subconscious had figured out how to combine Luke's story with another plot I was working on, and The Boys From Santa Cruz was the result.