Interview

Q. Why did you decide to do this interview?

A. Because I get a lot of email from readers, and many of them ask the same questions. Since I am very lazy, I thought it would be a lot easier to answer them in an interview, instead of answering the same questions over and over again in my replies to their emails. That’s why I would be very grateful if my readers would read this interview before asking me questions. To answer a question asked by many, Chiefs is now available from Netflix, I hear. I can’t guarantee it.

Q. First of all, a lot of readers have asked questions about your writing intentions for the future. What are they?

A. My publishers have asked me to write five books a year, including one cowritten novel, so there will be five new books every year for as long as I can stand it.

Q. A number of readers want to know, who kidnapped Holly in Dark Harbor?

A. I never explain my novels, but so many of you have asked, I’ll make an exception in this case. Holly was kidnapped by the people who kidnapped and murdered all the other victims, but Caleb kept her alive in order to help them. Don’t ask about the vacuum cleaner, and before you ask questions about the plots of any other novels, remember: I never explain! It’s all in the book, figure it out!

Q. Shane, from Omaha, and a great many other readers want to know where you get your ideas.

A. I have a fevered imagination and a rich fantasy life, which helps with the sex scenes. I’ve never really had any trouble coming up with ideas; they just grow, like weeds. The weeding is the hard part.

Q. Jim, from New York, asks: “Stone Barrington is, by most readers’ standards, filthy rich. I’m not sure a writer’s lifestyle should leak into his work.” Comment?

A. Stone didn’t start out rich. In New York Dead he was a homicide detective struggling to find the money to renovate a house he’d inherited. After he left the NYPD there is a clear track through the books of how Stone earned his money. Since being widowed, he’s a lot richer, but he’s very uncomfortable with it. Why do you think Stone’s lifestyle and mine are the same? They’re very different. It seems to me that most people are interested in reading about characters who are richer than they are. It’s not much fun reading about somebody who’s having trouble paying his bills, though Stone has frequently had this problem, until recently.

Q. Brenda, from Madisonville, wants to know: “Did you base Stone Barrington on someone real, or is he entirely out of your imagination?”

A. Stone is a fictional character. I know only one NYPD detective, and I didn’t meet him until after the first Stone novel, New York Dead, had been written. I don’t know any lawyers like Stone, either, and he really is not me, although there are a few similarities.

Q. What are the similarities between you and Stone?

A. We share a tailor and a love for Elaine’s osso buco, and there are a few others, but I’m not going to tell you what they are.

Q. Do you still live on the Treasure Coast of Florida?

No, I sold my house in Vero Beach in June of 2004, and a couple of months later I bought another in Key West, where I had previously lived for four years during the nineties. During the time between houses, the warehouse in Vero Beach where I had stored all my belongings was hit by two hurricanes, destroying nearly everything, so I spent the winter of ’04-’05 furnishing the new house. I enjoy spending the winters there, if another hurricane doesn’t blow the house away.

Q. Where do you get your characters’ names?

A. When I wrote Chiefs, I knew I would need a lot of names, so I wrote down the names of all the merchants on Main Street in my hometown, then mixed up the first and last names. I got many compliments on their authenticity. Now I use friends’ names or just make them up. Sometimes, charitable groups auction the right to have characters named after the highest bidder. Somebody paid $5,000 to have his name used in L.A. Dead! No, I won’t name a character after you, unless you follow the above procedure.

Q. Deborah, from Jacksonville, Florida, asks: “Do you find it easier or more difficult to maintain a recurring character’s identity than to start with a new character?”

A. I suppose it’s easier, since I don’t have to start from scratch each time. Early in my career, I resisted suggestions from my publishers that I write a continuing character, but now I find myself with five—Will Lee (though he is unnamed in White Cargo), Stone Barrington, Holly Barker, Rick Barron, and Ed Eagle. I still try to make each book as different as possible from all the others. Too many writers have worn me out as a reader by, essentially, writing the same book again and again. I try hard to avoid that, even in books with continuing characters, since I don’t want to wear out any readers.

Q. Will you write another novel featuring Rick Barron, of The Prince of Beverly Hills?

A. I wrote Prince as a stand-alone novel, one with all new characters, so I had no plans to make him a continuing character. (Of course, I didn’t intend Stone Barrington to be a continuing character, either.) However, I’ve had so many requests from readers for more of Rick Barron, that I wrote a sequel, Beverly Hills Dead, which came out in January 2008. It’s set in the late 1940s, and the very young Vance Calder is an important character, too.

Q. Rosalie, from Pasadena, wants to know if you’re coming there for a book signing anytime soon, and she also wants to know if you have a family and a dog.

A. A month or two before each book comes out I publish a tour schedule on the website, so you can click on Tour Dates now to see if I’ll be in Pasadena. As for family, I have been married to Jeanmarie Woods since 2013, and we share our life with my fourth Labrador retriever, named Fred. (I name all my dogs Fred.) If you want me to sign books in your town, please ask a local bookstore to call their Putnam representative, several months in advance, to make the request, or email kgrinch@penguinrandomhouse.com. She arranges my schedule.

Q. Maria, from Philadelphia, asks for the recipe for vodka gimlets.

A. Pour 6 ounces from a 750-ml bottle of vodka (you’ll think of something to do with it) and replace with Rose’s Sweetened Lime Juice and a tiny bit of water. Shake and put in the freezer overnight. The water will create ice shards and all you have to do is pour some into a martini glass. You can also make an excellent martini by using 5 ounces of vermouth in a 750-ml bottle of gin. Enjoy!

Q. A lot of readers want to know how they can get a signed copy of a book if you’re not coming to their town.

A. All they have to do is look at the tour schedule, and if they can’t make it to a signing, just call one of the bookstores on the list, order a copy, and when I arrive there, I’ll personalize and sign it. At the end of every signing, I always sign the store’s remaining stock, too, so they will have signed copies until those are sold. The Vero Beach Book Center, in Vero Beach, Florida, at (561) 569-2050, usually has signed copies of several novels in stock. I’m sorry, but I can’t have readers sending me books for signing; I move around a lot, and it gets too crazy.

Q. Clint, from Gainesville, Georgia, wants to ask: “What inspired you to become an author?”

A. My mother taught me to read the year before I went to school, and she did a good job. I became a voracious reader as a child, reading Mark Twain and Dickens and a lot of horse and dog stories from the Junior Literary Guild, then I moved up to my mother’s Literary Guild selections. That has to be the basis of my career. One learns to write by reading, and by the time I was nine or ten, I wanted to write.

Q. Rene, from Berlin, Germany, wants to know: “How much time does it take you to prepare, write, and revise a novel?”

A. When I finish a novel, I ship the manuscript off to my editor, and while she is reading it, I begin a new one. I write half a dozen chapters and a brief synopsis—just enough to get my publishers hooked—then, as soon as I get the first check, I throw away the synopsis and let the book lead where it will. (My publishers have never complained about this.) I tend to think a book ahead. My publishers have asked me to write four books a year and cowrite a fifth, which means I have only a few months to write each book.

Q. Are your books heavily edited?

No, I’ve always been lightly edited; it’s never taken me more than a few hours to address my editor’s notes. On several occasions my editors have told me they have no notes at all. I like hearing this. Some parts of the publishing process overlap from book to book. While I’m writing a new novel, I’ll be working with my publishers on the jacket design and copy for the last book, and I’m always thinking ahead a book, so that when I finish one, I can start another immediately. I write on a computer, using WordPerfect (for Windows, though I much prefer DOS, but it’s hard to update the graphics and printer drivers). I begin the day by reading what I wrote the day before and making small corrections, then I write a new chapter, which is usually five to seven pages. This takes an hour (but I’m thinking all the time!). I seem to have a gift for keeping the story in my head. I don’t usually reread the book when I’ve finished; I just send it to my editor. Recently, though, I was afraid that I may have made some errors in the plotting, so I reread one of my books before sending it to my editor. The only significant change was to add two paragraphs.

Q. A lot of readers want to know why there are so many errors in a published book.

A. There are two kinds of errors—those of spelling, punctuation, etc., and those that the writer makes in plotting or in fact. The publisher employs, in addition to the book’s editor, a copy editor, whose job it is to deal with the minute details of the book, correct mistakes of both kinds, and make sure the plot and timeline track well. By the time the book goes into production, it should have been read by several people, but, unfortunately, errors still slip through. I know that errors annoy readers, but there does not seem to be any economic way to avoid all of them.

Q. Why do you ask, in the introduction to the email function on your website, that readers not write to you with corrections?

A. Because, by the time the readers read the book and write to me, the process is already out of my hands, and I will already know about it. If you find some large, important error and send it to my publishers, perhaps a correction can be made for the next printing, but that doesn’t often happen. The book is going to remain pretty much as it’s first published, errors and all. Also, readers who like to report errors to me always seem to think they’re the first to notice, when, in fact, I may have already heard from hundreds of others on the same subject. (I must have had a hundred emails from helicopter pilots commenting on my description of Stone’s helicopter flying in Two-Dollar Bill. My point was, Stone knows nothing about flying helicopters.) I sometimes make errors such as changing a character’s name from book to book, something which no one needs to point out to me, since that has been done many times already. God help me if I make a mistake about a firearm. I’ll get a ton of email from gun folks about it, and most of them volunteer to be my firearms consultant. Too many readers seem to belong to the AHA! Police. In short, save time for yourself and me, and PLEASE DO NOT write to me about errors and corrections. If you do, I’ll simply refer you back to this interview, and I’ll probably yell at you.

Q. At the end of one book, Arrington has given birth to a girl, but at the beginning of the next, it’s a boy. Why?

A. See the above answer.

Q. I keep seeing the airplane registration number N123TF used in your books. Why?

A. It’s my airplane’s registration number, and I use it to avoid accidentally using somebody else’s. In Orchid Blues I inadvertently used it on two different airplanes, and I’ve had a lot of readers email about it. I apologize.

Q. Terry, of Orlando, Florida, wants to know: “How much time do you spend in Florida, Santa Fe, and Maine? And which do you prefer?”

A. Here’s a clear-cut answer, Terry: It varies. I’m a Florida resident, but generally speaking, I go where the weather is best. That means Florida during the cold months, Maine in summer, and Santa Fe in the spring and fall, when I’m not traveling. And I love them all.

Q. Sherry, in Oklahoma City, asks: “I’ve read just about all your books except for Run Before the Wind, and it’s hard to find. Sometimes it appears on Internet auctions, but it’s always $30 or more. Why is that? Is it out of print?”

A. All my novels are in print, which means that if a bookstore does not have one in stock, they can order it and have it in your hands within a few days. It may not be a hardcover copy, but the paperback will be available. When all the hardback books have been sold, they’re gone and usually aren’t published in hardback again, so if you want a hardcover copy of an older book your choices are: (a) a used bookstore, which can do a national search for you; (b) an Internet site, like amazon.com, bn.com, or eBay; or (c) go to a lot of garage sales. My two nonfiction books are both out of print and will have to be obtained by these means. The price is determined by demand. Thirty dollars is cheap; I’ve heard of copies of Chiefs going for as much as $900. One signed copy went for $4,000! And copies of Blue Water, Green Skipper can go for $300, or more. Many people seem to think that authors sell their own books and write to me about buying them, but I don’t sell books. Good news for those who want a hardcover copy of Chiefs: the novel was republished in March of 2006, in a 25th-anniversary replica edition and it can still be ordered from your local bookstore or amazon.com.

Q. Keith, from Atlanta, wants to know: “Who are the authors that have most influenced your style of writing?”

A. I don’t really know. I’ve read thousands of books and probably hundreds of them have had some sort of effect, but they all tend to run together, as far as their influence goes. I’ve never made a conscious effort to write like another writer (except as a student), though I’m sure influences reveal themselves to some astute readers. It’s probably easier for you to tell me.

Q. Susan, from Long Island, asks: “You seem to really love red wine. Which is your favorite?”

A. It’s true that I’ve been a lot more careful about my health since I learned that red wine helps prevent heart disease. I especially like California cabernets, but I like chardonnays, too. Generally, I drink European wines only when in Europe. I’m not sure I have one particular favorite, but I’ve mentioned some of them in the books.

Q. Eric, of Millersburg, Pennsylvania, wants to know: “Of all the books you have written, which is your favorite, and why?”

A. Chiefs, mostly because it was my first, and because it is infused with my childhood, hometown, and family experiences. It may also be my best, but that’s for other, more objective readers to determine. (As mentioned above, Chiefs was republished in March of 2006 in a 25th-anniversary replica edition.)

Q. Ashley, from Cyr, asks: “Where did you get the idea for Chiefs?”

A. When I was nine or ten years old, I was rummaging in a closet in my grandmother’s house and I found a shoebox filled with family memorabilia. One of the items was a large brass policeman’s shield, and it had been half shot away with buckshot. My great-aunt Ruby, who was in the house at the time, told me it had belonged to my maternal grandfather, William Henry Callaway, who had lost his cotton farm to the boll weevil in the late nineteen teens and, for want of any other work, became the first chief of police in the new town of Manchester, Georgia. He was later killed by a man who was in a malarial delirium and mistook him for someone else. That, and some other stories from my hometown, formed the basis of the novel. The murders were entirely fictional.

Q. Winston, from Broken Bow, asks: “Do you write short stories? Do you ever think about abandoning your easy chair and writing something totally different?”

A. I wrote some short stories in college, which are now, mercifully, lost. Since then I’ve written only one, for a yachting magazine, and that story became the basis for Dead in the Water. If I had an idea for a really good short story, I’d write it, but I’d rather turn the idea into a novel. And what makes you think I write in an easy chair?

Q. Susan, from Colts Neck, asks: “Are you planning any more travel books like A Romantic’s Guide to the Country Inns of Britain and Ireland? I thought it was sensational!”

A. Nope. The research is way too much work, the expenses are too great, and I gained way too much weight doing it.

Q. Luke, from Dayton, Ohio, asks: “What is the most satisfactory part of being a writer?”

A. The freedom. I’m as much my own master as anyone can be, without being the master of others. I can write anywhere—all I need is an hour of solitude and a computer, and I can write a chapter. Since my work is portable, I can live anywhere I like.

Q. Marie, of Northfield, asks: “Where can I find a complete listing of all your books?”

A. Questions like this make me crazy, Marie. The complete list is published in the front of every book, in reverse chronological order. (Some editions of some paperbacks may not adhere to the proper order.) Alternatively, you can go to the Books page of the website, where they are listed in reverse chronological order with pictures of their covers and the dust jacket copy. You can even print out a checklist, take it to a bookstore, and buy all the books! I have received hundreds of emails from readers asking me to send them a list, in chronological order, of all the books, or just the Stone Barrington books. They are, apparently, too lazy to look in the front of the book they have just finished, or to consult the website, and they expect me to sit down and type out a list for them. Go figure.

Q. Bill, from Orlando, asks: “In your Stone Barrington novels, you do very well with the legal terms, but according to your bio, you don’t have any legal background. Where do you get the knowledge?”

A. I was a big fan of L.A. Law and I’ve seen just about every episode of Law & Order. If I get really stuck, I call one of the lawyers I know.

Q. Sharon, in Stockton, England, wants to know: “Is it time for Stone Barrington to settle down and marry? And when will you visit England? You have fans here, too.”

A. He’s tried, but it hasn’t worked. I haven’t had a British publisher for a while, now, since HarperCollins London completely screwed up my sales there. I last toured in Britain in 1991, but if somebody will invite me to tour or speak and come up with some expense money, I’ll go again.”

Q. Carol, from Petawawa, asks: “Have you ever written any novels under another name?”

A. Nope. I thought of using Margaret Mitchell, but it was taken.

Q. Ian, from New Jersey, asks: “Which of your books have been turned into movies or TV dramas? I feel many of them would make great movies.”

A. I cannot but agree, Ian. Two of the books—Chiefs and Grass Roots—have been made into TV miniseries, in 1983 and 1993, respectively. Chiefs is available from Netflix. Half a dozen of the other novels have been optioned but never actually made. People keep asking me why more of the books haven’t been filmed: my own opinion is that film producers don’t, as a rule, read. Instead, they read “coverage,” a one-page summary of the plot by a hired reader. Maybe if more producers read for themselves, more of my books would be filmed. Who knows?

A lot of people seem to think that I can, somehow, simply will the books to be made into films, but that is not so. If you are a movie producer who would like to film one of my books, or if you just have too much money and wish to invest fifty or sixty million dollars of it in a film, please contact my West Coast agent, Matthew Snyder, of the Creative Artists agency.

Q. Brian, from Dallas, asks: “Who is your favorite author, other than yourself? What would you recommend us to read while we await your next book?”

A. Mark Twain. I read mostly history and biography these days. Although I no longer read in my own genre, I admire Elmore Leonard, my friends Evan Hunter (aka Ed McBain), who died in 2005, Douglas Preston, and John le Carré, who I think is one of the greatest living writers in the English language. Apart from those, my reading habits are catholic, which is another way of saying indiscriminate.

Q. Tom, of Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, asks: “In two of your Stone Barrington novels, you mention Stone as drinking a particular wine, a ’91 amarone. Have you ever drunk this wine? I didn’t like it as a ’91 vintage; it was one of amarone’s worst.”

A. Surely you cannot be referring to the Masi ’91? (Sometimes I get questions from crazy people.)

Q. Al and Pat, of St. Paul, inquire: “How did you acquire your love of the sea?”

A. For the answer to that, you’ll have to track down a copy of Blue Water, Green Skipper, which answers the question in some detail, or wait until I get around to finishing an autobiography. But by then, you could be too old to care.

Q. Angele, from Sumiton, Alabama, asks: “Will there be another book like Chiefs?”

A. Not from me, Angela. I’ve got only one of those in me. The Will Lee books continue the family saga, though.

Q. Diane, from Kansas City, asks: “How old are Stone and Dino? And if the Stone books were filmed, who would you like to see play Stone?”

A. They’re in their early forties, and will remain so; it’s the only way I can fight old age. I’ve had lots of suggestions, among them George Clooney, Jeff Bridges, Stephen Collins, Pierce Brosnan, Bruce Willis, and Dylan McDermott. It’s pointless for me to fixate on a particular actor since, if the books were ever filmed, Hollywood would, perversely, cast someone else.

Q. Kellie, from Phenix City, Alabama, asks: “How did growing up in Manchester, Georgia, influence your work?”

A. Someone once said that a writer’s childhood is his capital. Manchester gave me whatever capital I have, and I pretty much squandered it all on Chiefs.

Q. Georgia, from Santa Maria, California, inquires: “With which character in your books do you most identify?”

A. Will Lee, I suppose, but each of my characters has something of me in him, even the evil ones. Maybe especially the evil ones.

Q. Angela, in Charleston, South Carolina, asks: “Your characters are so real: Do you do a lot of research on them?”

A. Almost none, unless they’re based on real people, as they sometimes have been. Hugh Holmes, in Chiefs, for instance, was based on James S. Peters, from my hometown. Harper Lee said, in To Kill a Mockingbird, that if you want to understand a man, you have to crawl inside his skin and walk around. I try and do that with my characters.

Q. Ole, from Yellowknife, Canada, asks: “Do you have your pilot’s license, and if so, have you done much flying?”

A. I got my private pilot’s license in February of 1986 and my instrument rating in May of the same year. I’ve got something over 3,200 hours of flying time, and I’ve owned a Cessna 182RG, a Beech Bonanza B-36TC, a Piper Malibu Mirage, and a Cessna Citation Mustang. I still own a JetPROP—a Mirage that has had the piston engine replaced with a turboprop, which is a jet engine turning a propeller, and it’s now for sale. I now fly a Citation M-2. I’ve flown all over this country, around Colombia, while researching White Cargo, and around Europe, after my former wife and I (before we were married) flew the Bonanza nonstop across the Atlantic in 1991, from Gander, Newfoundland, to Shannon, Ireland. I fly myself on all my book tours, among my three homes, and wherever else I want to go.

Q. Fred, from Miami, asks: “Do you get mail from women who want to have a relationship with you, because they think you’re like the characters in your books?”

A. If I’m lucky (but send pictures). I get mail from women (and sometimes men) who want to meet Stone Barrington, but Stone is always out of town.

Q. Leigh, from Atlanta, asks: “At the end of Dead in the Water, it seemed as though we might see Allison Manning return to Stone’s life. Any chance of that?”

A. Funny you should mention it, Leigh: Allison stepped back into Stone’s life in Cold Paradise, which was published in 2001.

Q. Geoff, from Short Hills, asks: “What awards have your books won?”

A. Chiefs won an Edgar from the Mystery Writers of America, and Palindrome was later nominated. Imperfect Strangers won the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière, from the French Academy, I think. Once, I spoke to a lawyers’ group and was given a very nice paperweight.

Q. Maggie, from San Francisco, asks: “Why don’t I see your books advertised more? And when you were working in advertising, did you ever create any ads that we may know?”

A. That’s what I keep asking my publisher! Actually, they have a budget for each book, mostly on in-store promotion, but some print advertising. And you’re way too young to remember any ads I wrote. Almost everybody is.

Q. Sally, from San Diego, asks: “Did you find writing Run Before the Wind to be a cathartic experience?”

A. Not particularly. That was my stab at a coming-of-age novel, and Will Lee’s first appearance as a protagonist. It was suggested by real events described in Blue Water, Green Skipper.

Q. Lou, from Warren, New Jersey, asks: “Do you have as much fun writing the books as we do reading them?”

A. I wish I did, Lou, but any way you slice it, it’s work. (I enjoy writing the sex scenes, though.)

Q.A Long Island reader asks: “What are your plans for the future, both professionally and personally?”

A. For professional plans, see the early part of the interview. Personally, I’m going to be on the water more, in both Key West and Maine, in Indian Summer, my new Hinckley T38 motor vessel, and aboard Enticer, a 1935 Trumpy motor yacht of 85 feet, in which I am a partner.

Q. Ms. Davis, from Santa Maria, asks: “What prompted you to write about murder and crime, which are rather depressing subjects?”

A. Murder and crime are depressing only if they’re happening to you. And they’re among the most compelling human dramas, if you like that sort of thing.

Q. Abdullateef Al-Ali, of Abu Dhabi, UAE, inquires: “How do you justify your tendency to despise the Arabs in your novels, as you did in Imperfect Strangers?”

A. I’m not aware of any tendency of mine to despise Arabs in general, though, in light of 9/11, I certainly despise some of them. I believe I described some surly passengers on an airplane, which was based on a personal experience. The only people I despise are bigots, of any stripe. And people who feel that smoking cigars is a mark of social distinction. And the Republican House impeachment managers during the Clinton years. And the people at that boatyard in Vero Beach who stole my money. And pedants about the Rules of Golf.

Q. You have a lot of rules about contacting you by email. Why?

A. I should have thought the answer was obvious. I’ve answered more than a million emails since establishing this website, and it’s a lot more work if people don’t know their return addresses, and my replies come back as undeliverable. (An astonishing number of them still do.) All the suggestions there are simply to make it easier for me to respond to readers. Also, it’s annoying when readers write with questions that have already been answered in the biography or this interview, even though I’ve asked them to read these before asking me questions. Would you enjoy answering the same questions again and again, hundreds of times? Neither do I.

Q. Any new suggestions?

A. Yes. Please don’t send me attachments; and they are often passed from user to user and contain viruses. I never open them, so don’t bother, unless you’re a beautiful woman and you’re sending your photograph. Please don’t add me to your mailing list for jokes, political causes, charities, prayers, poetry, chain letters, family newsletters, begging letters, or anything else. I never read anything that has a lot of names in the address, unless it’s from somebody I know. If you don’t get a fairly prompt response to your email, it’s probably because I’m traveling, and I’ll reply when I get back. I should mention, too, that sending email in all capital letters is the equivalent of shouting, and that people who don’t capitalize or punctuate make me crazy. And if you have a spam filter that requires me to fill out an application in order to answer your email, you won’t be hearing back from me.

Q. You seem to have put a lot of your personal political views into Grass Roots and The Run, and you were awfully hard on Republicans and awfully easy on Bill Clinton. Why?

A. If I’m writing a political novel, whose views should I use, if not my own? I don’t hold with Mr. Clinton’s peccadilloes, nor did I like some of his pardons any more than anyone else, but, those things apart, I think he was an excellent president, and, given the miserable performance of Mr. Bush and his administration, he’s looking better every day. After all, we had historically low unemployment, a balanced budget (indeed, a big surplus!), the greatest economy in the history of the world, and we weren’t at war. If Bush had followed Clinton’s economic plan, we would have paid off the national debt in 2009! Now all that has changed for the worse. As regards the impeachment, I get mail from right-wingers who don’t seem to be able to distinguish between an ordinary crime, like perjury in a deposition, for which Mr. Clinton was punished by the loss of his law license, and a constitutional crime, which would be something like treason, which he didn’t commit. I think the behavior of congressional Republicans during the impeachment process and during the eight-year-long investigations of the Clintons was reprehensible and that they should be held accountable for it. I am enjoying giving money to their opponents in elections.

I was an early supporter of Hillary Clinton, but after Barack Obama got the nomination I was increasingly impressed with him, and I think he’s done a terrific job in his presidency. The Republicans in Congress are behaving badly, of course, trying their best to erode Obama’s support, but they’re just biting at his ankles.

I sometimes receive emails from Republicans who are offended when I make disparaging remarks about right-wing politicians, especially the former president. I always write back and ask them if they’re proud of Mr. Bush and his record. I never hear from them again.

Q. Anything else you’d like to say to readers?

A. Yes. I’d like to express my very real gratitude to them all for reading my work, for recommending the books to their friends and families, and for taking the time to write to me. I’d also like to suggest that your local bookstore is the best place to get the books, and that everybody should have his own copy!