I first met Dennis at the Mysery Writers of America Edgars Award ceremony, when Dennis was a Best First Novel honoree.
Our paths have crossed many times and every time we find ourselves wending down dark and occasionally (as in: always) wooly paths to our secret obsessions, such as the Zodiac killer, UFOs and George Hodel’s house:
We begin with Dennis’s kind compliance with our blog questionnaire, below.
We are lucky to have him visiting him today for many reasons, including learning about his predilection for peanut butter parfaits—that fact alone earns him a hug.
1. what is your greatest fear?
Sharks, followed by spiders. Just seeing a spidershark would kill me.
2. what is your favorite way of spending time?
Laughing, especially with my kids. They’re hysterical.
3. what is your most treasured possession?
I’m terrible at holding on to stuff. I have a box full of little things my kids gave me over the years with painted rocks and things, so I’ll go with that.
4. when and where were you happiest?
Other than boring suburban dad stuff about my kids, I would say getting off the train in New York to sign my book contract. I felt like I really belonged in the city for the first time.
5. what is your greatest indulgence?
Barbecue from Virgil’s on West 44th. Alternately, the Peanut Buster Parfait, from Dairy Queen.
6. where would you like to live?
I don’t think one place is going to do it for me. I love the city and the desert and the ocean. I think given endless resources I’d go back and forth between New York City, Martha’s Vineyard and Vegas.
7. what is the quality you are most drawn to a person?
It’s some combination of tough-minded smartass and essential kindness. It’s rare, but I just find it irresistible.
8. how would you like to die?
Of really, really old age. I want to live long enough that people are shot up with medico-nano-bots that keep us young and healthy forever. I want to live long enough to find out how everything turns out.
9. what is your secret superstition?
When I’m on a plane, I have to watch out the window as we land and take off. My watching ensures that everything will go well.
10. what was the best dream and worst nightmare you ever had?
I have terrible nightmares. I don’t think I’ve ever had a pleasant dream, though I’ve had boring ones, mostly about work. I think my worst nightmare was somebody with a huge, misshapen head looming over my bed. I put that one in my first novel, I think to exorcise it.
11. what song do you most hear in your head?
It’s a toss-up between the “Internationale” and the theme from the Woody Woodpecker show.
12. what do you read/watch/listen to when you are feeling badly?
Books: I’ve re-read The End of Vandalism, by Tom Drury, a bunch of times. It’s a great book, and for some reason it’s become like literary comfort food for me. There are some E.L. Doctorow and Annie Proulx books like that, too. Music: “Wolves,” by Phosphorescent, “NYC” by Interpol, “No Cars Go” by Arcade Fire. Movie: The Pianist, I think because it makes my problems seem pretty tame.
13. what do you consider to be the greatest elixir/restorative?
14. what’s something you never told anyone?
Man, do I like hugs.