GeneralI enjoy a lot of outdoor exercise, playing tennis or hiking in the Santa Fe mountains. I’m a gardener, especially when it comes to vegetables. Also I enjoy research about physical things like firearms and executive-protection driving. Currently, I’m learning to fly.
MusicI like jazz from the 1950s and 1960s: Miles Davis, Oscar Peterson, Stan Getz, Jimmy Smith (his WALK ON THE WILD SIDE album is amazing). I like Frank Sinatra a lot and consider him to be a jazz singer. In terms of pop music, I’m fascinated by Paul Anka’s long career. As a kid in Canada, I really liked his work and still do. Interestingly, he just released a jazz album from Verve.
MoviesTHE WILD BUNCH is at the top of the list. I admire a lot of Hitchcock’s films: REAR WINDOW, THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (both versions), PSYCHO, NORTH BY NORTHWEST (which my characters discuss in SCAVENGER). If you’re a thriller writer and would like to see some films that are fairly accurate about action and spy tradecraft, these are some of my favorites in the genre: RONIN, SPY GAMES, THE RECRUIT, and PROOF OF LIFE. The plots might be unrealistic, but the way the actors handle themselves is accurate. The way Robert De Niro studies the café at the start of RONIN is spot on. Also, the way James Caan handles his weapon and his balance in the gunfight at the climax of THIEF is extremely accurate.
TelevisionThe classic TV series ROUTE 66 got me started as a writer because of Stirling Silliphant’s great scripts. These days, I’m addicted to THE UNIT, which has excellent military technical advisers. Also BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. What an amazingly creative and engaging series.
BooksI went to graduate school because of my admiration for Ernest Hemingway. In terms of thrillers, I was inspired by Geoffrey Household’s ROGUE MALE (1939), which is about a British big-game hunter who stalks Hitler on the eve of the Second World War. Household’s WATCHER IN THE SHADOWS is also an inspiration to me. I was a professor of American literature and feel close to the classics: Hawthorne and Melville, Henry James, Edith Wharton, and so on. Thoreau’s WALDEN is a book for all seasons and represents my philosophy. I’m a co-founder of the International Thriller Writers organization and enjoy the work of my fellow board members Gayle Lynds, Steve Berry, Lee Child, David Hewson, James Rollins, MJ Rose, and M. Diane Vogt.
HeroesTeachers. Members of law enforcement, the military, firefighters, emergency services, and everyone else who risks getting killed in order to try to keep us safe.
Who I'd like to meet:I would love to have met Steve McQueen in order to ask him how he prepared for his roles. More than most film actors, McQueen had an amazing ability to connect with the camera. Some of that is charisma, but a lot of it is hard work. The precision of his movement is amazing, as is the way he used props, his hat in THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, for example.
- Status: Married
- Orientation: Straight
- Zodiac Sign: Taurus
- Smoke: No