Author Revealed

About Arthur Salm

Q. What is your birthdate?

A. 5/19

Q. Previous occupations

A. Bus driver; newspaper reporter/editor/columnist

Q. Favorite job

A. Author!

Q. High school and/or college

A. Carlsbad High, Carlsbad CA; University of California, Berkeley

Q. Name of your favorite composer or music artist?

A. John Coltrane

Q. Favorite movie

A. "Dr. Strangelove"

Q. Favorite television show

A. "The Office"

Revealing Questions

Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?

A. Family, books, dogs, books, cats, books, outdoors, books.

Q. What is your motto or maxim?

A. "It doesn't matter how long you put it off as long as you get it done on time."

Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?

A. Being exactly where I want to be, doing exactly what I want to be doing, with exactly the people I want to be with. Right now, for example, I'm perfectly happy because I'm writing something (this!), my cat is on my lap (instead of on the keyboard), and my dog is lying next to me (and not snoring). But in order to be perfectly happy in about half an hour I'll have to be eating lunch.

Q. What’s your greatest fear?

A. Spiders, And shots. A spider giving me a shot.

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

A. Playing in the men's finals at Wimbledon.

Q. With whom in history do you most identify?

A. Wile E. Coyote. He's fictional, but I identify with him anyway.

Q. Which living person do you most admire?

A. Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa.

Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?

A. Can't answer -- if I knew I was overusing a word or a phrase, I'd stop.

Q. What do you regret most?

A. Not taking these questions seriously.

Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?

A. Violin.

Q. What is your greatest achievement?

A. 1) "Anyway*" 2) A spectacular catch I made in Little League.

Q. What’s your greatest flaw?

A. Not admitting that I have flaws.

Q. What’s your best quality?

A. Admitting that I don't admit that I have flaws.

Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?

A. Tennis player Rafael Nadal. But my Spanish isn't very good, so...

Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?

A. I'm a mammal.

Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?

A. Huckleberry Finn.

Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?

A. Wile E. Coyote.

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

A. Mark Twain. I'd say, "Are you free for dinner?" Then we'd talk for five hours. Or rather, I'd try to get HIM to talk for five hours. I'd be as interested in the way he talked as in what he said, because somehow, when he wrote, he made it timeless -- so much of it sounds like it could have been written yesterday, when he actually wrote it more than 100 years ago.

Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?

A. People being rude to waiters or sales clerks. It makes me crazy.

Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?

A. Tennis.

Q. What’s your fantasy profession?

A. Tennis player. You've probably figured that out by now.

Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?

A. 1) Empathy 2) Sense of humor 3) The ability to juggle

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

A. Does "Mexican food" count as only one thing? If not ... enchiladas.

Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?

A. I only have one at a time. So: Rickie Lee Jones, "Flying Cowboys."

On Books and Writing

Q. Who are your favorite authors?

A. Okay, I'm going to name a few. But as soon as this gets posted I'm going to say, "I can't believe I forgot [Somebody]." Then I'll get an e-mail: "How could you leave out [Somebody Else]?", and I'll go, "Oh yeah, [Somebody Else]!" Anyway: Mark Twain, Shirley Jackson, P.G. Wodehouse, Beverly Cleary, David Mitchell, David Foster Wallace, Judy Troy, James Branch Cabell, Sandra Boynton, Ring Lardner, Nathan Englander.

Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?

A. I'll list the first five of my all-time favorite books that I happen to think of -- how's that? Because there's no way I can narrow it down to five: These are BOOKS! So: Catch-22, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Cloud Atlas, Huckleberry Finn, and The Second Fireside Book of Baseball.

Q. Is there a book you love to reread?

A. One Hundred Years of Solitude. And every time I finish it I feel like going back to the first page and starting over.

Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?

A. Read a lot. No, let me correct that: Read A LOT.

Q. What comment do you hear most often from your readers?

A. "Anyway*" is my first book, so the first comment I get will be the one I hear most often. Until the second comment comes in, that is. Unless it's the same comment.. I'm glad it's the last question, because this is getting complicated.