Which do you consider stranger – reality or fiction?
Reality is stranger than fiction because God doesn't have to worry about being plausible.
Do your own ideas, like the concept for the Ax or Hook, ever scare you?
My own ideas delight me. Why not?
I won't ask you about your own writing habits, because I previously wrote a piece mocking those who ask authors that question, but I am curious about your choice to use a typewriter instead of a computer. You're probably tired of explaining that choice but indulge me please: Why not use a computer? And if you don't like to use computers how is it that we are communicating via email?
I learned on typewriters, and still use the make and model I started writing on when I was 17. That means, when I work, I'm thinking about the work and not the equipment. E-mail is a convenience I finally cottoned to in 1999, so that I said I was entering the 20th century just as everybody else was leaving it. The computer is extremely useful for research, if you're careful about your sources. But when I write, or read, I don't curl up with a good computer.
What question -- besides the one about the typewriter and questions about your Richard Stark alter ego -- are you most tired of being asked?
What advice I would give to anybody about anything. Life is a slow-motion avalanche, and none of us are steering.
What question do you wish interviewers will ask that they don't ask? Because this is your lucky day – you get to ask it and answer it.
I was once — and only once — asked if I could have had a writing career without the movies. That stopped me, and I was very happy to have to think about it, and decide I knew the answer. Yes; not this career, but a career. Without movie money, either from writing screenplays or selling rights to novels, I could still have enough of a career that I could support myself and not have to work at some other job, but it would be, shall we say, a less lavish lifestyle.
Who are your three favorite living writers and why?
That is impossible to answer. I like this, I don't like that. Nobody hits a home run every time at bat. See you in Part Two.