Tell us about your latest creation:
THE ACCIDENT is an international thriller about ambition and corruption; the story takes place over one long, perilous day in the life of a literary agent who receives an anonymous, dangerous manuscript about a powerful man’s secret past.
Where are you from / where do you call home?:
I’m from New York City, and except for university and a modest expat stint in Luxembourg, it’s where I’ve always lived.
When you were a kid, what did you want to become? An author?:
As David Byrne of the Talking Heads supposedly said, “I wanted to be a secret agent and an astronaut, preferably at the same time.” Which is to say: I didn’t have any rational expectations.
THE EXPATS is the novel of mine that’s more true and more special; THE ACCIDENT is a more thrilling thriller. They’re different books, but I think there’s no “best” in the comparison.
Describe your writing environment to us – your writing room, desk, etc.; is it ordered or chaotic?:
I write in a member’s club, which is sort of like a fine hotel lobby, with waiters bringing coffee and food, and a swimming pool on the roof, and lots of people around, all the time. I’m not productive in quiet solitude.
When you’re not writing, who/what do you like to read?:
I read primarily what’s referred to as literary fiction, and also a steady diet of various types of crime novels.
What was the defining book(s) of your childhood/schooling?:
The Sun Also Rises is the book I read the most closely, the most frequently, and thought the most meaningful.
If you were a literary character, who would you be?:
I’d be James Bond. I don’t think I need to explain why.
Apart from books, what do you do in your spare time (surprise us!)?:
I cook, play tennis, do crosswords, play ball with my kids. Sometimes when I ought to be writing a novel, I’ll instead paint the dining room walls.
What is your favourite food and favourite drink?:
Negroni on the rocks is my go-to cocktail. For the past couple of years, my favorite food to cook has been a 24-hour pork roast, recipe courtesy of the River Cottage Meat Book.
Who is your hero? Why?:
My twin sons share that honor jointly. Every day I’m amazed at their capacity for empathy, kindness, humor, enthusiasm, and overall goodness. I suspect the world would be much better if it were run by the children.
Crystal ball time – what is the biggest challenge for the future of books and reading?:
Consumers are spending huge sums on culture and entertainment, but they’re increasingly paying it to device manufacturers, cable network operators, and internet/telecom service providers. Then they expect the intellectual property itself–the books, the news, the films, the TV shows, the games, the apps–to be “free” or approaching it. We have been tricked into lining the coffers of immensely profitable international corporations, while withholding fair compensation from individual artists, performers, writers, and other creators. This is not only unjust; it’s untenable.