About Paul Pickering
Q. What is your birthdate?
Q. Previous occupations
A. Journalist, playwright, director, actor, steelworker, farmhand...
Q. Favorite job
A. Being a novelist.
Q. High school and/or college
A. Royal Masonic Schools and University of Leicester
Q. Name of your favorite composer or music artist?
A. Ludwig van Beethoven
Q. Favorite movie
Q. Favorite television show
A. The Prisoner - original version with Patrick McGoohan
Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
A. Moving ever closer and closer to the edge.
Q. What is your motto or maxim?
Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. Following a friendly star on a warm night far out at sea.
Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A. Fear. And the curious tea time calm that usually precedes it.
Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. Speyside, Tobago.
Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. Cromwell for the sweep of history: Rupert of the Rhine for the clothes.
Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. Any mother fighting to feed her children in the Third World.
Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. For the moment...
Q. What do you regret most?
A. Not starting a bigger coup in Paraguay on Sir James Goldsmith's Now! magazine American Express card while looking for the Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele. I should have got a credit upgrade.
Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. Unicycle. J.G. Ballard was very good. I think Dickens dabbled.
Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. My books.
Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
Q. What’s your best quality?
A. Hard driving empathy.
Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. Hitler's Moustache: To make him sneeze uncontrollably at crucial moments. It is hard to embark on world slaughter if everyone is saying, 'Gezondheid, mein Fuhrer,' all the time. The duty of writers is to get up politicians' noses.
Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. Hopefully a sense of humour and the absurd.
Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A. At present Prince Myshkin in Dostoyevsky's The Idiot
Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. Behemoth the giant, subversive cat in The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgarkov.
Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. Caligula: 'I see George Eliot's Middlemarch does it for you too.'
Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
A. The incineration of infants described as collateral damage.
Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A. Thinking about the next book.
Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
A. My own.
Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A. Kindness, calmness and courage. Could be better in all three.
Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A. Honey roast banker.
Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. My Uncle Used To Love Me But She Died, Roger Miller, Take Me In Your Arms And Love Me, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Missa Luba, Sanctus, Soave sia il vento, Cosi Fan Tutti, Mozart, Beethoven's Symphony No 9, choral fourth movement.
On Books and Writing
Q. Who are your favorite authors?
A. Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Gustave Flaubert, Albert Camus, Emily Bronte, Graham Greene, Ernest Hemingway, Mikhail Bulgakov, Evelyn Waugh and Roberto Bolano.
Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger, Moby Dick, Herman Melville, The Heart of the Matter, Graham Greene, The Sailor who fell from Grace with the Sea, Yukio Mishima, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway.
Q. Is there a book you love to reread?
A. I read 101 Dalmations by Dodie Smith more than nine times when I was eight to shut out the fact my father was dying. I can sample Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh forever.
Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
A. Believe totally in yourself but don't let your mother know.
Q. What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
A. 'You made me laugh out loud yet it moved me...' That is such bliss it renders me speechless.