Interview with Christopher Dickey

October, 2009

Christopher Dickey

Quick Start

SS: How would you describe your life in only 8 words?

CD: A chronicle of war, an exploration of family.

SS: What is your motto or maxim?

CD: Literature is news that stays news.

What Readers want to know...

SS: How would you describe perfect happiness?

CD: That sense of security and belonging implied by the word "home."

SS: What’s your greatest fear?

CD: To warn of disaster and to be ignored.

SS: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?

CD: Walking through Central Park

SS: With whom in history do you most identify?

CD: At the moment, Jacob Riis

SS: Which living person do you most admire?

CD: Joan Didion

SS: What are your most overused words or phrases?

CD: "it seems"

SS: What do you regret most?

CD: Time away from family.

SS: If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?

CD: Anything musical.

SS: What is your greatest achievement?

CD: Six books.

SS: What’s your greatest flaw?

CD: Tunnel vision.

SS: What’s your best quality?

CD: Listening, when I come out of the tunnel.

SS: If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?

CD: Who I am.

SS: What trait is most noticeable about you?

CD: It seems I look angry a lot of the time, but this is misleading.

SS: Who is your favorite fictional hero?

CD: Ed Gentry

SS: Who is your favorite fictional villain?

CD: Alden Pyle

SS: If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?

CD: I'd like to meet James Jesus Angleton again to tell him his long twilight war would end.

SS: What is your biggest pet peeve?

CD: Corked wine.

SS: What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?

CD: Watching movies.

SS: What’s your fantasy profession?

CD: Producing and directing movies.

SS: What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?

CD: Truth, passion and compassion

SS: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?

CD: Pasta fagioli.

SS: What are your 5 favorite songs?

CD: Judging from the most-played on my iTunes list: Shootout at the Candy Shop (Jess Klein); The Fightin' Side of Me (Merle Haggard); Forever and Ever, Amen (Randy Travis); Amazing Grace (Laura Love); Line in the Sand (Lucy Kaplansky)

Questions About Books and Writing

SS: Who are your favorite authors?

CD: George Orwell, Graham Greene, Joan Didion, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Dickey

SS: What are your 5 favorite books of all time?

CD: Ones I keep returning to are Orwell's collected essays; Greene's "The Quiet American"; Fitzgerald's "Great Gatsby"; Didion's "Slouching Towards Bethelehem"; my father's collected poems.

SS: Is there a book you love to reread?

CD: Orwell's essays.

SS: Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?

CD: Write what you mean, but allow the keyboard to help you discover what that is.

SS: What comment do you hear most often from your readers?

CD: How did you live through that?

General Questions

SS: What were your previous occupations?

CD: Documentary film maker.

SS: What was/is your favorite job?

CD: Paris Bureau Chief and Middle East Regional Editor for Newsweek -- my current job.

SS: Where did you go to high school and/or college?

CD: Public high schools in Los Angeles and in Leesburg, Virginia, then the University of Virginia and Boston University.

SS: Name of your favorite composer or music artist?

CD: Mozart

SS: What is your favorite movie?

CD: I'm going through a Frank Capra phase at the moment.

SS: What is your favorite television show?

CD: 60 Minutes

SS: What is your birthdate?

CD: 8/31

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