About Owen King
Q. What is your birthdate?
Q. Previous occupations
A. My first job was as a groundskeeper at the local ballpark in the town where I grew up. There was a lot of down time, and I got to drive tractor, so it was pretty good gig. I've also taught creative writing, dabbled in reviewing and journalism, and toiled as a screenwriter.
Q. Favorite job
Q. High school and/or college
A. Bangor High School, Vassar College, and the Columbia University SOA
Q. Name of your favorite composer or music artist?
A. The Faces
Q. Favorite movie
A. The Apartment
Q. Favorite television show
A. The Wire
Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
A. Trying really hard not to be too embarrassing.
Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. Don't be too embarrassing.
Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. I suspect that perfect happiness is not possible for me. I suppose if I was ever selected for eternal life - the moment I was informed - that would bring me the closest.Some more common occurrences that make me happy: watching movies with my wife, reading on the couch, nachos, pancakes, coffee, sunny days and warm nights at Fenway Park, listening to records, not being sick.
Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A. Some very unpleasant death - to drown, to suffocate, to be slowly eaten, you get the idea. Grim. Let's move on.
Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. At this moment, I feel a little hungry. So: the Cafe Schwarzenberg. I'll have the kaiserschmarrn.
Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. All the other people who have found themselves wishing to be at Cafe Schwarzenberg on Thursday afternoon in November.
Q. What do you regret most?
A. This is like asking a parent to choose their favorite child. I just can't. My personal history is strewn with massive errors in judgment. They're all precious to me.
Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. I'd love to be able to draw or play guitar or dance. All three at the same time: that's the talent for me.
Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. I've been working on this questionnaire for at least two or three months. If I finish, that'll probably be it.
Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
A. It's a tie: 1) Not diligent with questionnaires; 2) I get hurt feelings too often.
Q. What’s your best quality?
A. I try as hard as I can to understand why people do what they do. I don't believe I exactly deserve a medal for that or anything, though.
Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. It be cool to be eagle for a little while, do some soaring. But not for an indefinite period. Maybe I can just be a shape changer? I could try out being a lion, too.
Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. I have a massive head. I mean that literally. Not that I don't have a healthy ego, but my actual skull is extremely large. Hats can be a challenge.
Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A. Esther Summerson.
Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. I'm not sure if we're talking fictional or real here, but I'll go for an obvious one: Abraham Lincoln. I'd say, "Mr. President, it's an honor." Then, I'd invite him over for cake, or pie, or whatever we had, whatever he wanted. The larder is open to the 16th president.
Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
A. Starting right fielder, Boston Red Sox.
Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. "Jolene" - Dolly Parton, "Don't Forget Me" - Harry Nilsson, "Glad and Sorry" - The Faces, "1952 Vincent Black Lightning" - Richard Thompson, "The Beast in Me" - Nick Lowe,
On Books and Writing
Q. Who are your favorite authors?
A. Kate Atkinson, Tom Bissell, Kelly Braffet, Emily Bronte, Charles Dickens, Joan Didion, Joshua Ferris, Jonathan Franzen, Lauren Grodstein, Lauren Groff, Joe Hill, Graham Joyce, Stephen King, Tabitha King, Rachel Kushner, John Lanchester, Anita Loos, Martin McDonagh, Ian McEwen, Larry McMurtry, John McNally, James Meek, Mark Jude Poirier, Charles Portis, Dennis Potter, Stacey Richter, Karen Russell, Zadie Smith, Peter Straub, David Foster Wallace, Sarah Waters, Colson Whitehead...
Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. Bleak House, Great Expectations, Madame Bovary, Wuthering Heights, and… something wonderful I haven't read yet.
Q. Is there a book you love to reread?
A. Great Expectations, particularly the first section about Pip's childhood.
Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
A. If you want to write stories, you need to read stories - lots and lots of them.
Q. What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
A. Some variation on, "What's your problem with E.T.?"