One of the best young authors around today. His debut novel, American Rust, was awarded the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, was a New York Times Notable Book, landed on a number of "Top Ten Books of the Year lists, and was listed on Newsweek's "Best. Books. Ever." The New Yorker listed him on their 20 under 40 list…all this after he dropped out of high school at the age of 16 and spent the next 20 years working odd jobs, beginning writing, studying writing at Cornell, working as a derivatives trader on Wall Street, quitting his job as a derivatives trader in order to focus more fully on writing, failing to be admitted into every MFA program to which he applied, moving back in with his parents, writing two novels that were rejected by every agent and publisher out there, working as an EMT and a construction worker, and writing American Rust. Awesome.
SIX SIMPLE QUESTIONS
WITH PHILIPP MEYER
1) Do you feel writers should write each day or "when the mood strikes"?
I write every day. If you want to get good, you have to. I doubt you could reach the professional level in any field by practicing only when the mood strikes.
2) Do you have a "writing spot," or do you move around?
I move around. Some spots are more comfortable than others, but if you think you can only work in one place, you are procrastinating. You need to be able to work anywhere, in almost any condition.
3) What is the one book (written by someone else) you would have liked to have written yourself?
Hmmm. I am not sure I really think of books like that. I am just happy when I stumble across a very good one. 'Out Stealing Horses' by Pers Peterson is one I liked a lot recently.
4) What is the one book you feel every aspiring author should read?
It's a short book called 'Hemingway on Writing,' or something like that.
5) What is the best writing advice you have ever heard/read?
The best writing advice I ever got was "keep writing." You are probably going to fail for about 10 years longer than you think you will.
6) What is the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
See number 5. I think because we are all literate, we think that writing a paper, or writing in our diary, is the same as creating a piece of art for an audience. It is not the same. Being literate and deciding you are going to be a writer is like having two working legs and deciding you are going to run in the Olympics. You can do it, but it's going to take a lot more training than you probably think.