Interview with Sidney D. Kirkpatrick

April, 2012
Sidney D. Kirkpatrick

Quick Start


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

SK: Reasonably attractive, caring, devoted, and intelligent. Unreasonably tenacious.

SS: What is your motto or maxim?

SK: Details tell the story.


What Readers want to know...


SS: What’s your greatest fear?

SK: ball room dancing

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

SK: sailing in the Aegean Sea

SS: With whom in history do you most identify?

SK: Revolutionary War spy Caleb Brewster

SS: Which living person do you most admire?

SK: tennis champion Roger Federer

SS: What are your most overused words or phrases?

SK: Peripatetic. I keep trying to use this word in each of my books but editors keeping cutting it out.

SS: What do you regret most?

SK: I turned down an opportunity to co-write a book with David Bowie

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

SK: ball room dancing. Arthur Murray helped, but it wasn't enough.

SS: What is your greatest achievement?

SK: The first eleven pages of my biography of Edgar Cayce, from the introduction to the book

SS: What’s your greatest flaw?

SK: Impatience

SS: What’s your best quality?

SK: I occasionally learn something from the mistakes I’ve made

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

SK: head of development at a major Hollywood film studio

SS: What trait is most noticeable about you?

SK: I am an inveterate snoop – have been since I was toddler.

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

SK: olives

SS: How would you describe perfect happiness?

SK: Discovering evidence of Atlantis on a remote Bahamian island, accompanied by my wife, son-in-law, and our four children.

SS: Who is your favorite fictional hero?

SK: Medea, from Greek mythology. (I'm fortunate to be married to my own Medea).

SS: Who is your favorite fictional villain?

SK: Hannibal Lecter

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

SK: I would matriculate in the Academy at Athens and enroll in a class with Plato, with whom I would discuss such subjects as Atlantis, Egyptian history, and the nature of reality. If all the classes were full (as I would expect they would be), independent study with Socrates or Aristotle would do. Imagine the field trips we might take!

SS: What is your biggest pet peeve?

SK: TV pundits

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

SK: traveling to exotic locations.

SS: What’s your fantasy profession?

SK: billionaire philanthropist

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

SK: a sense of humor, a sense of humor, and a sense of humor

SS: What are your 5 favorite songs?

SK: Bobby Darin's "Beyond The Sea"; Natalie Cole's "Unforgetable"; Roland Orzabel's "Mad World" from the Donnie Darko soundtrack; K.D. Lang's "Helpless"; and the Tallis Scholars performing Allegri: Miserere


Questions About Books and Writing


SS: Who are your favorite authors?

SK: (ancient) Roman historian Tacitus
(contemporary) John McPhee,Tracy Kidder, Edmund Morris, A. Scott Berg, John Irving, David Sedaris



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

SK: (biography) Stillwell and the American Experience in China,  by Barbara Tuchman
(memoir) The Seven Storey Mountain, by Thomas Merton
(poetry)  The Far Field, by Theodore Roethke
(fiction)  All the Pretty Horses, by Cormac McCarthy
(travel) From the Holy Mountain: A Journey among the Christians of the Middle East, by William Dalrymple

SS: Is there a book you love to reread?

SK: A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean

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

SK: Don't give up, you'll actually grow to like it.

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

SK: I ought to write for the movies


General Questions


SS: What is your birthdate?

SK: 10/4

SS: What were your previous occupations?

SK: A waiter at the Three Village Inn in Stony Brook, Long Island. I worked there from age 12 until I was 24.

SS: What was/is your favorite job?

SK: Inventorying the personal papers of legendary film director King Vidor.

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

SK: Kent School, in Kent Connecticut, Hampshire College, and N.Y.U. Tisch School of the Arts

SS: Name of your favorite composer or music artist?

SK: Sarah Brightman

SS: What is your favorite movie?

SK: Groundhog Day, with Bill Murray.

SS: What is your favorite television show?

SK: Jon Stewart

Get more on Sidney D. Kirkpatrick at SimonandSchuster.com

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