Foto: Nina Subin
I am really glad you’ve accepted my interview. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions.
Can you tell us a bit more about how you became a writer?
I always wanted to write fiction. But as a young adult looking for a job, I decided that I didn’t want to try to live as a struggling writer; I wasn’t willing to bet everything on it, and risk ending up with nothing. So instead I chose to work in publishing, which I thought would be a viable free-standing career in its own right while also being a viable professional path to writing. But I never got around to making the transition until I was forty years old, when my wife got a job in Luxembourg, where I could no longer do mine. That’s where I began writing The Expats.
Was it difficult for the first book to find a publisher?
Luckily, no. My literary agent submitted the manuscript to a dozen publishers, and we had a deal within a few days. It was completely unexpected, and a huge relief.
Could you describe literature in three words?
Other people’s lives.
Is there a book you would never read? Why?
“Never” is very definitive. There are plenty of books—most books, in fact—that I currently have little or no desire to read. But interests, tastes, and needs change, and I wouldn’t be surprised if twenty years from now I’m reading books that I’d never consider picking up today.
What’s your favorite book? Favorite quote?
Sorry, but I can’t even attempt to narrow down books or quotes—or indeed almost anything—to a single favorite. My favorite sports team is the New York Yankees, and my favorite television show was The Wire, but otherwise I don’t think I can identify any number-one favorites.
EBooks or paper print?
Both. I prefer p, but sometimes e is much more convenient, especially when traveling and for as-yet-unpublished books. Emailed electronic manuscripts are much easier to deal with than a stack of paper.
What inspires you?
Travel. Walking the streets of cities that are not my own, that’s where I’ve come up with most of the ideas for my books. The other ideas ruin my sleep in the middle of the night.
Imagine you were given the opportunity to meet a book character in real life. Who would that be? Please explain.
I’d really like to meet Hal Incandenza, the ostensible protagonist of David Foster Wallace’s magnificent opus Infinite Jest, and find out what the hell happened to him. It’s not often that you finish a non-bad novel and don’t know the fate of the main character.
What’s your worst nightmare?
What a strange question! There are so many horrific possibilities out there. I guess my children dying is the thing that I least want to happen, but of course one day it will. (This scenario crops up in my novel The Accident.)
The best decision of your life was?
Marrying my wife.
I can’t wait to read your next book. Are you currently working on a project? Is there any release date to reveal?
Thank you! I’m in the final editorial stages of The Paris Diversion, which is a sequel to The Expats: Kate Moore discovers that a terrorist attack in Paris is not what it appears to be. The book has no publication date yet, but I expect it will be sometime in the first half of 2019.