“Romantic stories cling to objects like gum to shoes.”
If your current release were to be turned into a movie, who would you love to see play what characters and why?
Tom Hanks could play the protagonist, Robert Tarza. He’s about the right age and could pull off Tarza’s wry sense of humor. Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) could play Jenna James because she displayed in her performance in Winter’s Bone the same sense of relentless determination that Jenna displays throughout Death on a High Floor. Phillip Seymour Hoffman doesn’t look like Serappo Prodiglia as he is described in the novel, but he could easily portray Serappo’s quirky European snottiness.
What are your favorite aspects of writing?
Creating interesting characters and seeing what happens when they meet.
Your least favorite aspects of writing?
Responding to copy edits.
Who are some of your favorite authors/books?
The Leather Stocking Tales by James Fenimore Cooper; Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel; Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese; Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
If you could have a dinner party and invite five authors - dead or alive - who would they be and what would you serve them?
James Fenimore Cooper, Hilary Mantel, John D. McDonald, Jane Smiley and Herman Melville. I would serve them sushi (being sure to include at least some pieces that did not contain raw fish). It would probably be a new cuisine for several of them, so it should be a good ice breaker. Melville should be particularly taken with the food.
What is a book that you wish you could say that you had written and why?
Day of the Jackal, because it manages to maintain its suspense throughout even though you know the outcome (Charles de Gaulle is not assassinated) from the very first page.
What is the greatest piece of advice (for writing and/or just living) that you have heard?
Just finish it!