How do you get up in the morning? 



Do you succumb to nostalgia? 

I fondly remember a few times when I did.


Lunch with any three people who ever lived; who do you invite? 

Neil Postman, Anthony Burgess, Dorothy Parker.


Best piece of advice you ever received? 

From the late Doug Kenney, editor of the National Lampoon: Don’t take any wooden suppositories.


Which classic author would you like to see kicked out of the pantheon?

James Fenimore Cooper.


Are you okay with blood? 

I donate pretty much every 56 days.


What country would you want to be exiled in? 

France, please!


What’s your favorite negative emotion? 

Anger at modern Republicans. Of course, that could also be considered a positive emotion.


Is your study neat, or, like John Muir’s, is your desk and floor covered in “lateral, medial, and terminal moraines”? 

Sir Thomas More wished (in Robert Bolt’s A Man For All Seasons) to be hid in the thickets of the law; I prefer to be hidden within the thickets of papers, books, hard drives, and the odd wine bottle.


What is your go-to shoe? 

For me, it’s a Z-Coil. On women, I tend to go for Tod’s or Christian Louboutin.


What’s your poison? 

In the winter, a peaty single malt.


What’s your problem? 

I have to narrow it down to one?


Title of the book you’re probably never going to write, but would kind of like to get around to? 

Little John, Will Scarlett, and the Three-Handled Chalice.


What are you so afraid of? 

“I’m afraid that I’m not sure of / A love there is no cure for…”


How long can you go without putting paw to keyboard? 

Hours. Often as many as three or four at a time.


Do you require a high thread count? 

Prefer, yes. Require, no.


Who reads you first? 

After me, it’s the bride.


Sexy and dangerous, or brilliant and kind? 

A six-pack of each, please, to go.


What character or story haunts you? 

I know it’s a cliché, but Salinger’s “A Perfect Day For Bananafish” just kills me every time. But for good measure I’ll throw in Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron” and Norman Spinrad’s “Carcinoma Angels.”


Does plot matter? 

Only when you lose it.


Does age matter? 

Experience matters. Age, not so much. Except in Scotch. There, age definitely counts.


Do you prefer to write standing, or must you lie prone in a field of dandelions with a steno pad and a good pen? Or what? 

I prefer to scrawl out snatches of prose in my Moleskine on the lower deck of the Star Ferry as it cycles back and forth between Tsim Sha Tsui and Wanchai. Sadly, I don’t get to do that nearly often enough.


Who is the author you’d most like to impersonate online? 

Anyone pulling down a six- or seven-figure salary would work for me. [Apart, I suppose, from Glenn Beck.]