What is your favorite quality about yourself? Perseverance, I suppose. Some call it tenacity, which is a nice way to put it. Truth is, most of the time I’m just too stupid to quit.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself? An embarrassing lack of willpower when it comes down to quitting bad habits. Think of any bad habit out there and chances are good I’ve wrestled with it at one time or another. I’m going to quit tomorrow, I swear.
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why? “I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.” Edgar Allan Poe. I just don’t think you can more aptly describe the desires and frustrations of a writer. It’s so vivid. I like to think I would’ve come up with that line myself if Poe hadn’t delivered it first. I also like just about everything ever uttered by the inimitable Mark Twain.
What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life? Probably the newspaper gig. I’m a crime reporter and columnist at the Sun Journal in Lewiston, Maine. I was named the Maine Press Association’s Journalist of the Year and the column has won all kinds of state and regional awards. It blows my mind a little bit because I literally walked in off the street In 1994, I found myself borderline homeless in Lewiston and thought: Oh, crap. I better find a job. And I didn’t just find a job, I found the best one out there. No training or background, just honest, sweaty desire. It’s worked out beautifully. Every once in a while, I think some editor is going to walk up to my desk with a clipboard and say: “There’s been some mistake. Why, you ain’t got any book learning, boy.” That would be hysterical. I’d write a column about it.
What is your favorite color? I don’t have one. No, really. It’s very sad. I want to say black because it sound all bleak and cool. But orange is pretty sweet, too, because it reminds me of jack-o-lanterns. And blue? Well, what can you say about blue…
What is your favorite food? Probably pizza, and do you know why? Because pizza is humble. It doesn’t demand that you use a fork or a spoon or even a plate. You pick it up, take a bite, chew and swallow. It’s good steaming hot and it’s good cold. Pizza is there when you’re ready to eat. You don’t have to make a big production of getting to the table, arranging your silverware just so and all of that. Eating kind of annoys me in general because it’s such a time sucker. Two or three times a day, you have to drop everything and get your starving body to a food source. I mean, yeesh. I thought someone would have invented food in pill form by now. In the meantime, there’s pizza.
What’s your favorite place in the entire world? Los Angeles, California. I didn’t even have to pause to think about that one. I love LA, just like the song says. It’s warm, it’s charismatic and it’s storied. I love the beaches of LA, but I also love the shabby streets where the characters are always out in force. It’s my ardent dream to end up in Los Angeles, and the sooner the better. If any of your readers have spare rooms, pull out sofas or even just a humble tool shed, have them call me ASAP.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing? My early days were not always happy and often, I retreated into writing. Sometimes I read some of my early stuff – wild stories and even bits of verse written when I was 11 or 12 – and it’s like some psychological profile. There’s a lot of dark stuff in there. I think most writers have some well of darkness they dip into once in a while. That’s probably why some of us drink like fish.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? When I was 6 or 7, I found myself staring out my bedroom window and into the cold dark of Maine winter. There were several feet of pristine snow out there but I saw a set of footprints zigging and zagging across the back lawn. Very mysterious. It suddenly occurred to me that I should write a story about those tracks, and I did. I don’t know what happened to that story (I think I gave it a real spiffy title like “FOOTPRINTS IN THE SNOW!”) but it felt good to write and it became a regular habit. The very next story I wrote was about a little boy who discovered a severed head beneath his bed – a head that talked to him and one which no one else could see. Come to think of it, I probably could have used therapy.
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Genre – YA / Thriller
Rating – PG
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