About Kevin Power
Q. What is your birthdate?
Q. Previous occupations
A. Bookseller, PhD student
Q. Favorite job
A. If I couldn't be a writer, I'd be more or less happy as an academic.
Q. High school and/or college
A. I studied English at University College Dublin, where I'm also doing a PhD in American Literature.
Q. Name of your favorite composer or music artist?
A. Right now I'm listening to a lot of Elvis Costello, but I do love Leonard Cohen and Pink Floyd.
Q. Favorite movie
A. The Prestige made a big impression on me - I think it's an underrated film.
Q. Favorite television show
A. The Sopranos.
Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. The condition of being halfway through writing a novel and knowing exactly how to get it finished.
Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A. Spiders. Trite, but there it is. I will never willingly visit any kind of swampy, jungle environment, because I know it will be full of spiders.
Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. America. I'd like to spend a lot more time seeing the US.
Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. When I was 21 I thought I was James Joyce. I even had a girlfriend named Nora. Now, I'm more modest. Let's say... Napoleon.
Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. I admire people who have the capacity to be happy. It's rarer than you think.
Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. "Awesome." Also, "There's this Martin Amis character who..."
Q. What do you regret most?
A. Occasionally I regret never having had a real job (i.e. one that didn't involve books). But then I come to my senses.
Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. I'd like to be a gifted accountant. I hear there's money in it.
Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. Irish people are constitutionally incapable of boasting. But I am glad I learned to play the guitar.
Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
A. My patience.
Q. What’s your best quality?
A. I'm a slow learner, but when I learn something, it stays learned.
Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. I secretly want to be a film director. But I hear you have to get up at 5am all the time. Too early for me.
Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. My apparent normality.
Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. Jason Compson in Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury. A truly convincing monster.
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 meet Thomas Jefferson. I'd ask him to design and build a house for me to live in.
Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
A. I'm irritated by far too many things to choose just one.
Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A. Reading, sadly.
Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
A. I've always wanted to be a CIA agent. But it would probably be less exciting than it seems.
Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A. Honesty, honesty, honesty.
Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A. Steak. I had steak for breakfast in Boston once. It worked surprisingly well as a breakfast food.
Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. "Street Hassle" by Lou Reed, "Gimme Shelter" by the Rolling Stones, "Holiday in Cambodia" by the Dead Kennedys, "One of My Turns" by Pink Floyd, "Who By Fire" by Leonard Cohen.
On Books and Writing
Q. Who are your favorite authors?
A. In no particular order: Martin Amis, James Joyce, Jonathan Franzen, Norman Mailer, Philip Roth, John Updike, Jeffrey Eugenides, Joan Didion, Susan Sontag, Joseph Conrad, Oscar Wilde, Bret Easton Ellis, Cormac McCarthy, Robert B. Parker, Geoff Dyer, Nicholson Baker, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ian McEwan, W.H. Auden, Christopher Isherwood, Vladimir Nabokov, John Banville, Jonathan Swift, William Shakespeare, Philip Larkin, Thomas M. Disch, Don DeLillo, John Fowles, Gore Vidal, Truman Capote, Henry James, Fintan O'Toole, David Foster Wallace, Stephen King, Gustave Flaubert, Jane Austen, Saul Bellow, Evelyn Waugh, Colm Toibin, John Steinbeck, Junot Diaz, Sam Harris, Alan Moore, Franz Kafka, Albert Camus, William Faulkner, Virginia Woolf, Dwight MacDonald, Clive James, J.G. Ballard, Margaret Atwood.
Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Martin Amis, Money Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury
Q. Is there a book you love to reread?
A. United States by Gore Vidal. It always reminds me how much I haven't read.
Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
A. Obey the Ancient Mariner principle - tell your story as if your life depended on it.
Q. What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
A. "And did you go to a private school yourself?" (The answer is no.)