Interview with Dominic SmithOctober, 2009
What Readers want to know...
SS: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
DS: Sailing off the Amalfi Coast in Italy.
SS: What are your most overused words or phrases?
DS: Oh, God, when I read back over my writing and see how many "he stood [verb]" or "dusk"; or some description of light...it makes me feel like I'm a bag of tired, old phrases
SS: What trait is most noticeable about you?
DS: Steadfastness. Friends admire my discipline.
SS: Who is your favorite fictional villain?
DS: Ahab from Moby Dick.
SS: If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
DS: I'd like to have coffee with Dickens and Shakespeare and ask them how to plot my next novel.
SS: How would you describe perfect happiness?
DS: My perfect day: wake up by the beach, meditate, swim or surf, have a great cup of coffee, write, have lunch with a good friend, exercise, spend time with my family, eat sushi for dinner, see a great movie. Repeat.
SS: What’s your greatest fear?
DS: Wasting time on things that don't bring fulfillment.
SS: Which living person do you most admire?
DS: Barack Obama. That's almost a cliche by now but I find him such a breath of fresh air.
SS: What do you regret most?
DS: I've never been a fan of regret.
SS: If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
DS: Mind reading.
SS: What is your greatest achievement?
DS: The jury's still out.
SS: What’s your greatest flaw?
DS: I'm not good at multi-tasking...I devote my attention to one thing at a time.
SS: What’s your best quality?
SS: What is your biggest pet peeve?
DS: Pickup trucks in Texas that don't use their turn signals...more of a petty peeve than anything else.
SS: What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
DS: Freelance adventurer.
SS: What’s your fantasy profession?
DS: International spy.
SS: What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
DS: Happiness, compassion, friendliness.
SS: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
DS: Yellow Thai chicken curry.
SS: With whom in history do you most identify?
DS: Miles Davis, who said "it takes a long time to learn to play like yourself."
SS: If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
DS: A toss up between the Buddha and Harry Potter.
SS: Who is your favorite fictional hero?
DS: Tintin or David Copperfield.
SS: What are your 5 favorite songs?
DS: Bob Dylan's "Tangled Up in Blue," My Morning Jacket's "Golden," Miles Davis's "Freddie Freeloader," any of the Bach Goldberg variations, George Harrison's "Across the Universe"
Questions About Books and Writing
SS: Who are your favorite authors?
DS: Don DeLillo, Peter Carey, James Salter, Joy Williams, David Malouf, Virginia Woolf, Dickens, Tim Winton, Paul Bowles, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Joseph Mitchell, David Foster Wallace, J. D. Salinger, Jim Crace, Andrea Barrett.
SS: What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
DS: Middle Passage by Charles Johnson Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson Waterland by Graham Swift Jesus' Son by Dennis Johnson Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
SS: Is there a book you love to reread?
DS: Don DeLillo's Underworld
SS: Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
DS: Love the work because the rewards are uncertain.
SS: What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
DS: I love the language and the characters.
SS: What were your previous occupations?
DS: Academic advisor, high tech manager, technical writer.
SS: What was/is your favorite job?
DS: A summer job leading canoeing expeditions into the Canadian Boundary Waters.
SS: Where did you go to high school and/or college?
DS: Dover Heights High School in Sydney, Australia and the University of Iowa for undergrad.
SS: Name of your favorite composer or music artist?
DS: Iron and Wine and Bob Dylan.
SS: What is your favorite movie?
DS: La Dolce Vita
SS: What is your favorite television show?
DS: 30 Rock and Litte Britain (the UK version)
SS: What is your motto or maxim?
DS: Do work that makes me happy.
SS: How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
DS: A muddle of solitary rooms and crowded cafes.
Get more on Dominic Smith at SimonandSchuster.com