Author Revealed

About Jeff Mariotte

Q. Previous occupations

A. I have: delivered newspapers, moved furniture, done groundskeeping on an Army base, worked in a comic book store, worked at Jack in the Box, done maintenance and groundskeeping for a shopping center, been VP of Marketing, then Senior Editor, for a comic book publisher, been Editor-in-Chief for another comic book publisher, and done technical editing for a military contractor.

Q. Favorite job

A. Writing. By a mile.

Q. High school and/or college

A. High school was at Herndon High in Virginia and Mannheim American High School in Germany, college was San Jose State University.

Q. Name of your favorite composer or music artist?

A. Brian Wilson.

Q. Favorite movie

A. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. In real life, Butch (under an alias) sometimes cowboyed for the Erie Cattle Company, which used the land on which the Flying M Ranch now sits as some of its rangeland.

Revealing Questions

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

A. City boy on a remote ranch, writing: Contradictory.

Q. What is your motto or maxim?

A. If it's worth doing, it's worth trying to do it better the next time.

Q. What’s your greatest fear?

A. Moths. I don't know if it's a "greatest fear" so much as it's "what repulses you the most?" They're just nasty, and then when you kill them (which you have to do, or they'll kill you) that moth dust gets everywhere. Possibly moths in clown makeup, with those big shoes, would be worse, but I'm not sure about that.

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

A. Right where I am, on the Flying M Ranch. Though Paris would be okay, too.

Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?

A. "When do I get paid?" Hey, I'm a freelancer!

Q. What do you regret most?

A. The answer to "What are your most overused words or phrases?".

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

A. Flight.

Q. What’s your greatest flaw?

A. Sometimes I'm a little too perfect...

Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?

A. James Bond is pretty cool. So are Robert B. Parker's Spenser, though, and Ross Macdonald's Lew Archer. And Harry Potter. And...this could take a while. Let's just settle on Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird) for now.

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

A. My teenage son and I just participated in PizzaQuest 2011, an event that we made up. Pizza from a different source for dinner for six nights straight, comparing and contrasting. Having survived that, I think pizza would have to be up there. But that might mean giving up chocolate (and, by extension, chocolate chip cookies). Hmmm... going to have to think on this a while.

On Books and Writing

Q. Who are your favorite authors?

A. Wallace Stegner, Graham Greene, Stephen King, William Goldman, Ross Macdonald, James Lee Burke, Laura Lippman, Charles Bowden, Barbara Kingsolver, Richard Price, Raymond Chandler...this could take a while; I hope you're sitting down...Harper Lee, Irwin Shaw, Don Winslow, Edward Abbey, Ann Zwinger... We'll come back to this.

Q. Is there a book you love to reread?

A. The Wind Chill Factor, a great thriller by Thomas Gifford. Never gets old.

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

A. Read a lot, write a lot, then repeat.