John Lee Brook is the author of the bestselling Blood In, Blood Out: The Violent Empire of the Aryan Brotherhood, published by Headpress of the U.K. Headpress has just signed JLB to write a book about Santa Muerte and the Mexican drug cartels. So it seemed fitting to ask him some questions.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Sitting with a beautiful woman on a California beach, on a warm sunny day, near the end of August.
What is your greatest fear?
Having no one to love and no one who loves me.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Scipio Africanus at the Battle of Zama.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Intolerance. I simply can’t tolerate people who are intolerant of others.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Books. I’ll spend my last dollar on a good book.
On what occasion do you lie?
Only when being interviewed for magazines or newspapers or online outlets.
What do you dislike most about your appearance?
Generally speaking, my looks. I always wanted to be drop-dead handsome.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
The words actually and typical, along with three or four choice swear words.
What is your greatest regret?
Being divorced by my first wife.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
I’ve had three great loves so far. It would be cavalier of me to assign prominence to any of them.
When and where were you happiest?
I sincerely hope that moment is still to come and lies somewhere in my future.
Which talent would you most like to have?
To play the piano.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d prefer to be more interesting, kind of like that guy in the ads on television – the most interesting man in the world.
If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
Remove the ‘asshole’ component from our genetic material.
If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be?
An archangel. It would be lovely to have wings and have God himself whisper in your ear.
What is your most treasured possession?
My loved ones.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Where would you like to live?
Where I do now, splitting my time between Montana and San Francisco.
What is your favorite occupation?
Formula One race car driver: driving cars unbelievably fast in the morning, then chasing temptresses across continents in the evening. Sounds wonderful.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
What is the quality you most like in a man?
What do you most value in your friends?
The ability to carry on an interesting and honest conversation.
Who are your favorite writers?
Don Winslow, Jack Vance, Iain M. Banks, Stephen King, Alistair Maclean, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, and E.M. Cioran. Oh, and mustn’t forget Lewis Sperry Chafer. As you can tell, I favor the so-called hacks. However, I’ve always loved e.e. cummings, too.
Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Mulai Ahmed er Raisuli in The Wind and the Lion.
Who are your heroes in real life?
King David, Elijah and the Apostle John.
What is it that you most dislike?
Emotional abuse of other human beings.
How would you like to die?
If possible, I’d prefer to skip that phase. Riding up to heaven in a fiery chariot a la Elijah sounds much more fun.
What is your motto?
Fuck that shit.