Author Revealed

About Joseph Monninger

Q. What is your birthdate?

A. 10/28

Q. Previous occupations

A. Fishing guide, Peace Corps volunteer, director of summer camps.

Q. Favorite job

A. I love to teach....I've been a teacher for almost 30 years.

Q. High school and/or college

A. Westifled, H.S. in Westfield, NJ...then Temple University. Then the University of New Hampshire.

Q. Name of your favorite composer or music artist?

A. I love Ella Fitzgerald. If I could only listen to one person for the rest of my days, I'd probably pick her.

Q. Favorite movie

A. My Life as a Dog

Q. Favorite television show

A. Sports...football and college basketball.

Revealing Questions

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

A. Family, dogs, land, woods, rivers, fish, fire, words.

Q. What is your motto or maxim?

A. What you lose in the whirlygig, you get back in the ding dong.

Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?

A. Oh, goodness. Who can say? I sure like a campfire.

Q. What’s your greatest fear?

A. I don't know that I have a "greatest" fear, but I've always had the idea that one day a shark would get me. Not sure why. Crazy, probably.

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

A. New Hampshire. I love this state.

Q. With whom in history do you most identify?

A. I've always wondered what it would have been like to have been an indigenous member of a group in, say, Hawaii before it was discovered by Europeans. Or Fiji. Or California and Oregon. It seems like it would have been a wonderful way of living.

Q. Which living person do you most admire?

A. I could say corny stuff about my wife and son, but I don't think that's what this question is after. I guess I'll say that I've recently been impressed by the young people who are starting up non-profits to help others. That gives me hope..

Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?

A. I have a phrase I learned a long time ago. When my son used to say he "wanted" something he probably didn't need, I used to say, "Want, want, want, and want will be your master." He probably wanted to slug me.

Q. What do you regret most?

A. Besides war, famine, and human suffering, let's say I regret the times that I have been unkind and insensitive. On a more practical note, I wish I had played baseball longer. I was pretty good and I loved the game.

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

A. I would love to be able to play an instrument well. Bagpipes, maybe!

Q. What is your greatest achievement?

A. I'm not sure about my greatest achievement, but being a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa was probably the "hardest" thing I've ever done...and therefore maybe my biggest achievement.

Q. What’s your greatest flaw?

A. Ask my wife! She'll give out a lengthy list. But I can be impatient. It's stupid to be impatient, but I can't seem to resist.

Q. What’s your best quality?

A. Hmmm. Well, I'm determined. I'm exceptionally good at Monopoly....and know all the rents and hotels fees by heart.

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

A. I'd love to be a dog for a day...or part of a wolf pack.

Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?

A. Beard?

Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?

A. I always liked Robin Hood. When my son was growing up, I became a fan of Encyclopedia Brown.

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

A. Well, I'll avoid saying I'd like to meet a gigantic figure and have a conversation about the meaning of life...I mean, come on...so I'll go with spending a day with Susan Butcher or one of the great dog sled drivers.

Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?

A. When people are late. Drives me crazy.

Q. What’s your fantasy profession?

A. Third base for the Boston Red Sox....no doubt.

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

A. Light-heartedness, sense of humor, and an appetite for adventure or the novel.

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

A. Marshmallow Fluff.

Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?

A. In the Summertime, by Mungo Jerry, Hello, Stranger, Seems Like a Mighty Long Time (not sure of the singer), Heard it on the Grapevine, Marvin Gaye, These Foolish Things, Remind me of You, Ella Fitzgerald, and almost anything by Nina Simone.... ,

On Books and Writing

Q. Who are your favorite authors?

A. I love John Marquand. Hemingway. Carson McCullers. Tolstoy. John D. MacDonald. Robertson Davies. Marjorie Rawlings. Donna Tart. Robert Parker. John Updike. Stephen King. A.J. Liebling. Hans Christian Andersen....Too many to name....

Q. Is there a book you love to reread?

A. I've read War and Peace twice. I'll read it again soon.

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

A. Write everyday.

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

A. Gosh, I don't know. Some readers seem to think I describe nature pretty well.

Q. How did you come to write Eternal on the Water?

A. I took a solo trip down the Allagash several years back.  It's 90 miles through some beautiful land in Maine. The river runs north.  On that trip I met some wonderful people and even the little girls who would serve as a model for the Chungamunga girls. When I began thinking of a love story, I imagined it on that river.

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