About Noah Charney
Q. What is your birthdate?
Q. Previous occupations
A. I have been a student, a professor, and a writer
Q. Favorite job
A. Writing full-time is just about the best thing ever--like getting paid to eat buccatini all'amatriciana
Q. High school and/or college
A. I went to Choate Rosemary Hall for high school, Colby for college, and then for post-graduate study to The Courtauld Institute, Cambridge University, and University of Ljubljana
Q. Name of your favorite composer or music artist?
A. I love punk music, particularly the Dropkick Murphys and Rancid
Q. Favorite movie
Q. Favorite television show
A. The Simpsons
Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
A. Coffee, food, Europe, art, art crime, writing, coffee
Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. Ars Ardor Forma Amor
Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. Wandering through Rome, alternating visits to favorite masterpieces in Roman churches with visits to favorite caffes, in a sort of "cappuccino and Caravaggio crawl." I take a perhaps unholy degree of pleasure in visiting churches to look at the art inside, and the only thing that could be better than that is eating great food and drinking great coffee between visits.
Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A. Fate impeding my path to accomplish all of the tasks, personal and professional, that I hope to complete in my lifetime
Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. Where I am, sitting in the Umbrian countryside, writing
Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. When I was younger and more Romantic I would have said Marcus Aurelius...does that still count?
Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. Obama is the easy answer, of course, but I take such little interest in politics, that I'd have to say David Ortiz (go Red Sox!)
Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. They are silly phrases in Slovene, which I speak (with atrocious grammar) with my wife
Q. What do you regret most?
A. I always wanted to accomplish things at a younger age, and a first novel at 27 seems a bit late, although I know that, for non-abnormal people, that's plenty early
Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. Painting and drawing as brilliantly as the artists I admire
Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. Founding ARCA, an international non-profit organization that studies and combats art crime
Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
A. I have no patience for details--I want to grab the big ideas by the throat, and then I'll rush passed the "I' dotting and "T" crossing
Q. What’s your best quality?
A. Efficiency, confidence, and relentless optimism
Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. My dog, Hubert van Eyck, has a pretty sweet deal going
Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. I have black hair, but a red beard, which everyone thinks is dyed (it's not!)
Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A. When I have my literary hat on, it's Margeurite Yourcenar's Hadrian. When I have my normal person hat on, it's Homer Simpson.
Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. Villains always tend to be more interesting than heroes, but I like characters who are simultaneously heroes and villains. See how I managed not to answer the question?
Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. I'd like to go out for beers with Raphael, Michelangelo, Leonardo, and Titian, and watch them argue. I'd go out with Bernini and Caravaggio, but I think they'd wind up punching me.
Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
A. People who dismiss Europe, food, and art without engaging it...to know the good stuff is to love it
Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A. I love teaching, preferably art history while on location in front of the art
Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
A. Were I a better artist, I'd love to be a great painter. Were I a better artist and chemist, I'd love to be an art conservator. But if I'm honest, I've always wanted to be a pro baseball player. I was really good in 8th grade.
Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A. Kindness, compassion, and loyal friendship
Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A. Sticky toffee pudding
Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. "Nessundorma," Social Distortion's "Angel Wings," Dropkick Murphy's "Fields of Athenry," Radiohead's "Fake Plastic Trees," Sunny Day Real Estate's "In Circles"
On Books and Writing
Q. Who are your favorite authors?
A. Michael Crichton, John le Carre, Frederick Forsyth, Marguerite Yourcenar, Milan Kundera, Stephen King, Marcus Aurelius, Julio Cortezar
Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. Yourcenar's "Memoirs of Hadrian," Marcus Aurelius' "Meditations," John le Carre's "The Russia House," Frederick Forsyth's "Day of the Jackal," Milan Kundera's "Book of Laughter and Forgetting"
Q. Is there a book you love to reread?
A. I reread two masterpieces, and humbly take notes: Forsyth's "Day of the Jackal" and Le Carre's "Russia House"
Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
A. Do not let anyone convince you that your product is not good, if you believe that it is good--breaking into the industry is about perserverance and relentless optimism
Q. What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
A. If you could steal any artwork for yourself, what would it be?