5 QUESTIONS

WITH ERIK LARSON

Our bookseller Sandra got the chance to ask one of her favorite authors five questions. Of course she couldn't stop at just five...
To find out more about Erik Larson and to see a list of his books, click here.  

1. You are so talented in bringing history to life, have you ever considered teaching the subject? What other profession would you pursue if writing was not an option?


I’ll answer the second part first: I can’t imagine doing anything else, except maybe trying to make a living as a painter. So I’d probably go to art school and get an MFA and live under a bridge until my paintings started selling. No doubt I’d end up spending a lot of time sketching the underside of the bridge. As to teaching: If you mean have I ever considered teaching history, not really. There are people who are natural teachers. I am not one of them.
Erik Larson quote
 

2. It was exciting news to hear of Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese teaming up to bring your work to the big screen. Do you feel that they can do justice to your immense detail?


Any film adaptation of Devil in the White City would entail a lot of distillation down to key elements, whether a 5-hour film or a 90-minute film. If anyone can do it, it’ll be DiCaprio and Scorsese, and Billy Ray, who’s been tapped to do the screenplay. I have lots of confidence in these three. And I plan to stay out of it completely. They’re the film pros. Not me.
 

3. If you could re-live your life as any historical figure, who would you choose?


Winston Churchill, during World War II, provided of course that I also had his personality and not my own. He was kind of a charismatic sociopath, decisive to the point of being reckless. It didn’t serve him so well in World War I, but in WWII he was the man for the moment. I can’t imagine how he dealt with the challenges he faced without losing heart.
Erik Larson quote
 

4. If you could "re-write history," what event would you alter?


9/11.
 

5. What is your least favorite part of the writing process?


When I’m between books and looking for my next idea. A very trying time.
 

6. What piece of advice would you offer a new writer?


First find an interesting job that provides rich contact with your fellow man, e.g., become a cop, or a reporter, or a prosecutor in a big-city DA.’s office. Something compelling that also pays the bills. And then write about your world.
 

7. Can you offer us a hint of your next project?


No, because I don’t know what it is, as yet. Unfortunately.
 

8. Most important question: Do you dunk or twist your Oreos?


Neither. I like ‘em straight, with coffee on the side. Black coffee.
Erik Larson quote
 
 
To find out more about Erik Larson and to see a list of his books, click here.
Friday, November 20, 2015 - 4:15pm