If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future? The past for sure. I’m having too much fun creating my future, day by day (not that it’s always a walk in the park…)
If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose? I could imagine trying to coax a few stories out of Samuel Beckett over a glass of Rioja, and if Albert Camus and Marcel Proust were there it would be even more interesting. I would probably have to brush up my French before the dinner. I would not invite James Joyce, because he’s such a downer, don’t you think? But I’d definitely have Albert Einstein along, as well as Stephen Hawking. They’d get along, wouldn’t they? The party would get awfully stuffy with all these men, so I would also like to have Reese Witherspoon there, just to liven things up for Einstein (and me). And if I could invite a couple more women, why not add Virginia Woolf and Grace Kelly? I see Grace hitting it off with Reese, and it might be entertaining to watch the sparks fly between Virginia Woolf and Camus.
If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you? A floppy hat, because I like a little sun but not too much. A box of DTBs (dead tree books, for those who don’t know) to tide me over till I’m rescued. And a satellite phone with full battery power with which I could call for my rescue once I got tired of being off the grid (three months? Six months?)
What is one book everyone should read? The Bible. But I also thought Stephen King’s “The Stand” was pretty darned good.
If you were a superhero what would your name be? Super Potawatomi – keeping watch over the streets of Chicago.
If you could have any superpower what would you choose? The ability to force people to make peace with each other.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Mint chip.
If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose? Abraham Lincoln. He was a good writer.
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Veggie skillet with a fried egg or two, English muffin, coffee.
Night owl, or early bird? More early bird than night owl, but if I pull an all-nighter it all blends together, you know?
One food you would never eat? Okra. I’ve tried to make friends with it, but it’s kind of slimy. Maybe I just haven’t found the right recipe.
Pet Peeves? I don’t like the word “no,” closely followed by the word “can’t.” I don’t get along with people who use those words a lot. It’s like an allergy.
Skittles or M&Ms? M&Ms.
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book. Either one of my books will make you laugh out loud – guaranteed.
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? A 3rd Annie Ogden book is on the way in 2013. Then I plan to plunge into the deep water of literary fiction.
What inspired you to want to become a writer? I always loved to read. I liked the feelings I got when reading books, strong feelings. I think I became addicted to those emotional highs and lows as a reader, first. In high school I had the idea I could write a book myself. Then I spent quite a few years dreaming about it before actually doing it. I learned that writing a book is the only way to intensify that rush you get from reading a good book. Writing one yourself is the best way to feed the addiction. Sounds like a sickness, but it’s a nice one to have.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. I love getting emails from people who have read my books. There is nothing more gratifying than knowing someone just spent ten or twenty hours in the virtual world I created with all my heart and soul. My email address is info (at) frederickleebrooke (dot) com. I try to answer all my emails.
If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world… which would it be? Well, you caught me on a bad day. I’d be happy to jump into just about any fictional world right now, and live there. Throw me into the desert in “Dune,” or wherever. But let me pull myself together and think about it for a second. You know, I loved “A Suitable Boy” by Vikram Sethsoooooo much, I think I would like to jump into that world and experience with my own senses the world of Lara, Khan and Haresh and all the others. As with any great book, I could not stand it that that story ended.
What is your dream cast for your book? I will gladly let my Hollywood casting agent field this question. We don’t want fights breaking out in the Malibu fitness studios.
What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen? I was definitely a “Charlotte’s Web” fanatic. I also loved every book Beverly Cleary ever wrote. “Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret” was a shocker for me. Excuse me, you wanted one title? Are you crazy?
Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters? It’s you again, you want me to give you one song? ONE song? How about a little representative list of Annie Ogden theme songs:
“Never Going Back Again” by Fleetwood Mac
“Kiss” by Prince
“Little Wing” by Jimi Hendrix
“Give Me One Reason” by Tracy Chapman
“I’ll Take You There” by the Staple Singers
“Every Breath You Take” by the Police
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? Attach butt securely to chair. Oft-quoted, but no less true for that. I cry for all the great books that never got written because writers got distracted by alcohol, or the good life, or whatever. Writing is hard work, and there is no substitute for the endless revising that we do.
If you could choose only one time period and place to live, when and where would you live and why? Now and here. It’s the only time and place I can really believe in.
If you could be one of the Greek Gods, which would it be and why? It would be Hermes, who was the god of travel, messengers, writing, language, diplomacy, things like that. Hermes would be the god of Kindle and would make sport of dallying with the livelihood and career aspirations of independently published authors.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? I’m a great fan of Istanbul. But it’s not so much the place that counts, or even the scenery or the weather, but the people you’re with, right?
What is your favorite Quote? Just a little something I stumbled upon from Albert Einstein: “I fear the day when technology takes over our humanity. The world will then be a generation of idiots.”
When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”? A writer.
If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play the lead role and why? Leonardo Di Caprio would do. I like his face, and his acting. I liked him in “Blood Diamond” as well as a much earlier movie from 1993, “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.” Do you think people would understand me better if Leonardo played me?
How did you know you should become an author? That was one of those things you don’t know, you just believe. Then came a lot of hard work, and then I suddenly realized while writing and revising “Doing Max Vinyl,” hey, I really love doing this. I love this work. That’s when I quit my day job.
Who are your favorite authors of all time? OK, here we go. Shakespeare, Milton, Beckett, Proust, Camus, Tolstoy, Dickens, and then in modern times I would mention Tracy Chevalier, Geraldine Brooks, Vikram Seth, Jonathan Franzen, Orhan Pamuk, Carl Hiaasen, Christine Nolfi, R.S. Guthrie, Laura Elliot and Martha Bourke. Of course, there are dozens more, but attention spans are limited.
Can you see yourself in any of your characters? There’s a little bit of me in all my characters. But only a little bit. You know, they’re mostly all bad news. Can I take the Fifth Amendment on this?
What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had? No writing idea is crazy. The best ideas survive the revision process. Sometimes – often – the craziest ideas are the best ones. Everyone knows that.
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you? Eat your vegetables. What, you don’t like that answer? What’s wrong with vegetables?
Hidden talent? I speak German, French and Italian and I’m learning Turkish.
Favorite Food? Lasagna, next in line Thai curry, or Indian curry, or vegetable fajitas. Bon appetit!
Favorite Candy? “Zombie Candy.” It’s my book, silly.
What movie and/or book are you looking forward to this year? I’m looking forward to the World War Z movie that they’re making. When I was writing “Zombie Candy” I had to read some zombie books and watch some zombie movies, and I grew to enjoy them, in a weird dystopian way.
Nickname? They call me Jimi because I like the music and pretend to be left-handed. He would have been 71 years old this year, you know. Born in 1942.
How do you react to a bad review? I read them carefully, and sometimes learn things and kick myself. Lots of times people don’t like a book because it’s not their cup of tea. Not the kind of book they like to read in general. Those people can get a bit vitriolic in their reviews, and those I take with a big grain of salt. I believe in honest reviews.
If you were a bird, which one would you be? A pelican, gliding over the surf with a few friends, in formation.
If you were a super hero what would your kryptonite be? Dark chocolate.
If you could have a signed copy of any novel what would it be and why? A play signed by Shakespeare would be interesting. According to the Bill Bryson biography, there are only six or seven confirmed signatures in William Shakespeare’s hand, and among these there are five different spellings. He had certain things in common with Leonardo Di Caprio, don’t you think?
You have won one million dollars what is the first thing that you would buy? Dinner in my favorite restaurant, then first class air tickets to somewhere. That’s assuming the college tuition is already covered; otherwise …
Which authors have influenced you most, and how? The authors who have influenced me the most are the ones who have created characters I fell in love with, used language that charmed and hypnotized me, or created a plot so unusual and unpredictable that it burned an image on my mind. They are too many to name, but for example the character of Birdie Kaminski in “Treasure Me,” by Christine Nolfi – you can only fall in love with her, there is no other option. Or the language in Orhan Pamuk’s “My Name is Red,” and this my friends istranslated from Turkish into English.
What do you do in your free time? Read, cook, walk, hike, exercise and talk to friends.
If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be? “Burning the Vegetables: A Biography of Frederick Lee Brooke”
Give us a glimpse into a typical day in your day starting when you wake up till you lie down again. A lot of hot tea in the morning. Writing. Light lunch. Exercise or walking, errands, phone calls. Social media, blog, emails in the afternoon. Later on, family duties. Cooking, eating, reading. The lives of my characters are much more interesting, honestly.
What’s your favorite season/weather? Autumn – crisp mornings and blue sky over Lake Michigan, leaves changing color and piling up in the yard, begging to be raked.
Who or what inspired you to become an author? The authors who have influenced me the most are the ones who have created characters I fell in love with, used language that charmed and hypnotized me, or created a plot so unusual and unpredictable that it burned an image on my mind. They are too many to name, but for example the character of Birdie Kaminski in “Treasure Me,” by Christine Nolfi – you can only fall in love with her, there is no other option. Or the language in Orhan Pamuk’s “My Name is Red,” and this my friends istranslated from Turkish into English.
How did you celebrate the sale of your first book? Privately. I attempted high-fives with the cat.
What is your guilty pleasure? When I am in the U.S. I like to go out for breakfast. Clean plate club, and all that.
What TV show/movie/book do you watch/read that you’d be embarrassed to admit? I don’t get embarrassed. What do you mean? What are you implying?
Finish the sentence- One book I wish I had written is…. The one you always wanted to read.
Favorite places to travel? Turkey … Japan … USA … Italy
Favorite music? I like John Hartford, Bob Dylan and Neil Young, but I also listen to classical music a lot, and blues. Hooray for iTunes.
In your wildest dreams, which author would you love to co-author a book with? I cannot imagine co-authoring a book with anyone. I am patient and capable of compromise in many things, but writing is not one of them. Co-authoring wouldn’t be for me.