Verlagsgruppe Droemer Knaur

Auf dem roten Teppich: Sara Gran

Sie hat's geschafft, den Umstieg von Kaffee auf grünen Tee! Und statt Entzug coole Bücher geschrieben. Wir sagen: Respekt!


Describe yourself with three words.

Really? Only three? No.

What puts you in a bad mood? And what puts you in a good mood?

Oh, lots of things bug the hell out of me, but it's only my own stupidity that can put me in a bad mood. Most things that make me upset really aren't that big of a deal in the scheme of things. Keeping that in mind can help bring about a good mood. Sometimes.

If you could take breakfast, lunch and dinner at three different places in the world - where would you go?

Breakfast at Millie's in Los Angeles, lunch at Cafe Gratitude in Berkeley, Dinner at Hangwai in New York City.

Tea or coffee?

I drank coffee for years and years, and so much of it—oceans of coffee, rivers of coffee! But now I stick to green tea. One of the best decisions I've ever made.

What makes a day a perfect day?

Focusing on the good things—like the incredible luxury of clean running water, a refrigerator filled with food, a safe and weather-proof place to live, a job I (mostly) love. If you focus on the bad—the late checks, the bad weather, the cranky phone call--the day can turn bad pretty fast.

How do you come up with ideas for your novels?

Everything is an idea for a novel! I have tons of ideas, but most of them are terrible. The problem isn't coming up with ideas, but whittling them down.

Do you work as a full-time writer – and if so, what would have been an alternative to writing?

I work full time as a writer—and thank God, because I hated working other jobs. I really don't know what my alternatives would be, because the things I like to do don’t make enough money—I'd like to teach yoga, work with books again (I worked in bookstores for years), and start a publishing company, but I wouldn't make much of a living doing any of them. I think I'd just be poor.

Do you have a favourite author? If so: Who and why?

It's hard to pick one favorite—Raymond Chandler, Charles Portis, and Shirley Jackson might be my top three. They all write very directly. Instead of wrapping themselves up in fanciness and unneeded complexity, which I think is a sign of insecurity, they just say exactly what they want to say. Which, oddly, can bring more mystery and strangeness to the work than a half-page sentence filled with ten-dollar words.

Which book did you read lately?

I'm reading William Vollman's The Royal Family. It's about 1300 pages, and it demands to be read slowly—every word is loaded with meanings. So I'll be reading it for a year or more. The only time I've something like this is with the Tao De Ching, which I read a few lines a day of for a year. The whole experience was kind of wonderful and it's interesting to apply it to Vollman's world of prostitutes in San Francisco's Tenderloin district.

Which book would you recommend to everybody?

Nelson Algren's strange little book Nonconformity. It's a book that will change you as you try to puzzle out what it means.

Which person from a novel, a film or the public life would you like to meet? And what would you say to them?

Oh, I'm still working on the people I actually know. They're enough for me to handle. I don't need Abraham Lincoln of Jesus coming around to make things complicated.

Which historical event would you like to have witnessed?

I'm pretty content with the historical events I've witnessed—Katrina, 9/11, a few dozen crime waves, smaller events of local historical interest. I'd like less historical events in my life, not more. I'd like to go through a year where nothing experience is in the newspaper.

If you had those famous three wishes - what would you wish?

Will I sound like a Miss America contestant if I say world peace? I'll try to phrase it more originally, since that is what I get paid for—I would wish for self-realization for all. Then we wouldn't need anything else, so I could put the other two wishes on the shelf for the inevitable moment when we all become assholes again, and I could wish for self-realization all over again.

What is your philosophy of life?

Lord, I'm still working on that one! Let's say something like: find your inner voice, and do exactly what it says. It's smarter than you and smarter than anyone you know.

Any plans for the next project?

Yes, I'm working on the second book of the Claire DeWitt series, set in the San Francisco bay area.

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