Awhile ago, VegasGustan asked me a set of 5 questions as an "interview." I got really busy at the time and never got around to answering them. But now I've answered them (though I don't know how well). If you would like to submit to an "interview," let me know and I'll come up with 5 questions for you!
1. What style of writing do you most love and why?
Lately I've been completely immersed in memoirs. I've gone through many different phases -- mystery, horror, true crime, odd history books, straight biographies -- and I still read many of those genres now. But memoirs of non-famous people -- there's nothing like knowing the intricate details of someone's life that you would otherwise never feel the need to delve into. It's like saying, "Hey! Here's someone normal who's really not normal at all; just like me!"
2. How would you describe our world to aliens?
I think if there are aliens out there, they have the technology to know what our world is like without my telling of it. But if I had to say, I'd say, "We have the technology to live without war, but by nature we are a people of war. We have the ability to live without fear, but we are by nature a people of fear. We have the knowledge to live in harmony with the world around us but we are by nature a people of disharmony. Holes in the ozone will get bigger, animals and plants will become extinct, and one day so will we. But in the meantime we will continue to 'live life to the fullest' without worry about those other species. We're having fun, after all." But really, if I saw an alien I'd more likely say, "Holy shit, can I get your picture? No one's going to believe this!"
3. Are there any redeeming qualities to James Patterson's books?
My automatic response would be, "No. Good kindling."
But beyond that, I think that his best quality is twofold.
a) As with other "bad" authors, he gets people to read and that is magnificent. Masses of people see something in his writing, and whether they are attracted to his thin plots, stereotyped characters or unrealistic "plot twists" -- hey, who am I to judge?
Anything that gets people to somehow read is okay in my book. And maybe by starting off with crappy books they'll be really amazed when they get to the good stuff!
b) If he can publish that many books, maybe there's still hope for me!
4. (James Lipton Alert) what is your least favorite sound, why?
The sound of silence (cue Simon and Garfunkel). I've never been good at being alone. I'd rather be in a bookstore reading a book that I have at home than sitting home all day by myself reading. I don't sleep well if I’m the only one in the house, I don't read comfortably -- really all I do well on my own is clean. I'm a cleaning machine at home by myself.
5. Someone once said, "It is better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all". How would you finish it, "It is better to have loved and lost, than…"?
I wonder if Alfred Lord Tennyson expected that two lines of his In Memoriam of his to live on so famously. There are so many great quotes of his, too. I think my favorite is "Knowledge fades but wisdom lingers." But you asked me about that love quote. I might end it "It is better to have loved and lost than only been able to watch a mockery of it on cable television." Better not mess with a classic though.