Robert W. Merry Revealed
About Robert W. Merry
What is your birthdate?:3/5
Previous occupations:Reporter, editor, publishing executive.
Favorite job:Political Correspondent for The Wall Street Journal.
High school and/or college:Undergrad: University of Washington; grad school: Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Name of your favorite composer or music artist?:Mozart.
Favorite television show:Madmen.
- Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
- A. A jumble of random events looking for coherence
- Q. What is your motto or maxim?
- A. It all comes down to honor.
- Q. What’s your greatest fear?
- A. Bears and snakes.
- Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
- A. Right where I am at this moment: Big Sky, Montana.
- Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
- A. Andrew Jackson.
- Q. Which living person do you most admire?
- A. No one comes to mind.
- Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
- A. Painting in water colors. Or concert pianist.
- Q. What is your greatest achievement?
- A. Filling out this questionnaire.
- Q. What’s your best quality?
- A. My tendency to avoid answering such questions.
- Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
- A. Blue eyes.
- Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
- A. George Smiley.
- Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
- A. Trig Marsden.
- Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
- A. Julius Caesar. I would probe him on what he actually felt about the Roman Republic, which he overthrew.
- Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
- A. CEO of a publishing company.
- Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
- A. Dirigible pilot.
- Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
- A. character, courage, sense of humor.
- Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
- A. Ode to Joy; Smoke Gets in Your Eyes; I'll Be Seeing You; Bo Jangles; Eleanor Rigby.
On Books and Writing
- Q. Who are your favorite authors?
- A. Robert K. Massie
William F. Buckley Jr.
Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.
- Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
- A. The Decline of the West, by Oswald Spengler
War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy
Martin Eden, by Jack London
Dreadnought, by Robert K. Massie
The Rise of the West, by William H. McNeill
- Q. Is there a book you love to reread?
- A. Martin Eden, by Jack London
- Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
- A. Narrative drive, narrative drive, narrative drive.
- Q. What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
- A. They wish to know if I take liberties with quotes. (The answer is no.)
- Q. How did you come to write Country of Vast Designs?
- A. The idea came from my editor at Simon & Schuster, Alice Mayhew, who asked me, ``What do you know about the Mexican War?'' I said I knew little but understood that the politics surrounding that war and the expansionist zeal that had captured the country during that time were extremely intense and fascinating. So I embarked on a research initiative and crafted an approach to telling the story. Alice liked it and set me on my course. The result is A COUNTRY OF VAST DESIGNS.