What books are currently on your nightstand?
They vary from time to time, but the first title on the list is always there:
- Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
- Mr. Mike: The Life and Work of Michael O’Donoghue by Dennis Perrin
- Sailor’s Holiday by Barry Gifford
- The Stranger by Albert Camus
- You’ll Die Next by Harry Whittington
- Shock II by Richard Matheson
Who is your favorite novelist of all time?
Who are your favorite writers — novelists, nonfiction, journalists, poets — working today?
What genres do you especially enjoy reading? And which do you avoid?
Of all the genres you write in, which is the most fun? The most difficult? The most rewarding?
What books might we be surprised to find on your bookshelves?
Unheralded writers. Whom should we be reading?
Do you enjoy fiction in translation? Stories from particular corners of the world?
Of the books you’ve written, which is your favorite or the most personally meaningful?
What kind of reader were you as a child? Your favorite book? Most beloved character?
When I was a small child, my favorite books were The Wizard of Oz and Peter Pan. I still love those books, and I wish Hollywood would quit trying to do clever, hip things with Frank Oz’s world and characters and just adapt the damned books already. And adapt them faithfully, okay? Don’t turn them into gigantic, bloated trilogies drawn from a single novel like a certain director. Just do the books!
But I quickly discovered the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs and the stories of Richard Matheson and Ian Fleming’s James Bond books, and I was off and running. I started reading everything I could get my hands on.
If you could pick your next book to be turned into a movie or TV series, which would it be and why?
What book hasn’t been written that you’d like to read?
What books do you find yourself returning to again and again?
What do you plan to read next?
A mystery by Ruth Rendell called The Keys to the Street and Shadow of a Broken Man by George C. Chesbro.
An Addendum – Knowing that authors hate the question “Where do your ideas come from?” The Literary Chick generally spares them that one. However, Ray’s have been captured in his MRI. Seriously. Ask him. He has a picture of them. He now carries a picture of that MRI with him, and every time someone asks him that question—“Where do you get your ideas?”—he will willingly take it out, point to that spot on his brain, and say, “See this? That’s where they come from. That’s my cerebral idea sphincter. The ideas come out of there. Sometimes in fragments, sometimes in one whole piece. It’s long been speculated that every writer has a cerebral idea sphincter, mine is the first one that’s ever been captured in an MRI.”