Photo credit Sarah Harris.
I am really glad you’ve accepted my interview. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions.
It’s my pleasure !
Can you tell us a bit more about how you became a writer?
I started writing professionally when I was fourteen years old, covering sports for my local hometown newspaper. The thing I loved wasn’t necessarily writing, but having people read me—having an audience for my words. It made me want to write things that entertained them, that moved them, that delighted them. In some ways, I haven’t changed at all in the thirty years since then. My primary goal is to entertain people with the written word.
Was it difficult for the first book to find a publisher?
I wrote three novels and threw all three away because I didn’t think they were good enough. That was certainly difficult—and painful. Then, finally, I wrote the book that became NICHT EIN WORT. From there, finding a publisher was easy. But only because none of them saw those three discarded manuscripts.
Could you describe literature in three words?
Keep. Them. Guessing. Or at least that’s why I try to do.
Is there a book you would never read? Why?
I am the most impatient reader ever, so there are tons of books I won’t read. If I pick up a book and the writer hasn’t hooked me within two pages—either with voice, character, or plot—I put it down and move on. Life is too short to read bad books.
What’s your favorite book?
If I had to pick just one? TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. It’s wise, suspenseful, warm, memorable, shocking—the best of what crime fiction can be. I’ve reread the book several times since I was a teenager, and I’ve gotten something different out of it every time.
« I hate writing. I love having written. » — Dorothy Parker
EBooks or paper print?
I’m glad we have both. For authors, it’s an exciting time to be writing. Our work has never been more instantly accessible by such a large number of people. Personally, I read a fair number of eBooks. Sometimes it’s simply more convenient to read on screen, especially when I’m reading for work—no more carrying around bulky manuscripts. That said ? If I’m reading strictly for pleasure, there’s nothing better than a print book. Sometimes I just want to get away from the screen.
What inspires you?
Animals. One species in particular. It’s a mostly hairless primate, found in every continent on the globe, that has evolved the ability to tell stories. I find this species infinitely fascinating and inspirational.
Imagine you were given the opportunity to meet a book character in real life. Who would that be?
Charlotte, the spider in the children’s book CHARLOTTE’S WEB.
She’s got the best writing gig ever. All she has to do is write one little fragment of a sentence—like « SOME PIG »—and people come from miles around just to read it. They marvel that she can write at all ! That’s the kind of low bar I think I, as a writer, could consistently clear.
What’s your worst nightmare?
I’m at a book group that’s reading my book, but they don’t know I’m there. I’m trapped somehow, so I can’t escape. And I’m listening to them savage my work, unaware I can hear every word. Chilling.
The best decision of your life was?
Falling in love with a woman named Melissa when I was nineteen. Actually, it wasn’t so much a decision as something that happened to me. But twenty-five years and two kids later, she’s been the most consistent source of happiness in my life.
I can’t wait to read your next book. Are you currently working on a project? Is there any release date to reveal?
It’s about an out-of-work actor who is hired by law enforcement to infiltrate a prison, impersonate an inmate, and befriend a disgraced banker who knows the location of hidden documents that can topple a Mexican drug cartel. In English, it’s called THE LAST ACT. I’m not sure what the title will be in German but it should be headed your way soon. Thanks for asking, and thanks for interviewing me !