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Author Archive: "Anthony McCarten"

An Interview with the Author, Part Four

My endless interrogation of myself continues...

What keeps you awake at night?

Everything that can wait until tomorrow.

When were you happiest?

When I realized that a congenial monotony is the best anyone can hope for. I'm not sure how old I was or what I was doing — perhaps I was 13 and hiking up Mount Egmont with a heavy load on a beautiful day.

If you would get a free first-class air ticket, where would you fly to?

My youth, and I'd like my seven brothers and sisters to fly there with me.

Do you cross the street at a red light?

Pedestrian controls are for children and blind people. When I walk anywhere I am a private legislator.

Where did you spend your last vacation?

Outside Munich, at my favorite hotel in the world, Schloss Elmau, trying to convince the owners — unsuccessfully — that the place would rather benefit from a full-time writer in residence.

What is the most beautiful text message you've ever received?

"I love you. And can you pick up a pint of milk on the wat home xxxxx"

What's the worst question ever in an interview?

"Who are you?" ...


An Interview with the Author, Part Three

My continuing (and somewhat remorseless) interview of myself:

What is the purpose of stories? And of storytelling?

To fool you.

Do you believe that people like or want to be fooled from time to time?

If we did not have the impulse and ability to believe in the impossible, we would not have religion, democracy, or marriage.

Do you believe in any superstitions?

I am so superstitious that I think even discussing this subject is dangerous and will probably bring me terrible luck. Having been raised a Catholic, superstition becomes almost part of your DNA. The challenge is to slowly rid yourself of these little delusions. Not since a boy have I worn the Brown Scapular — which promises that the Virgin Mary will deliver from purgatory those who wear it on the first Saturday after their death — but my sister, to this day, still sends me St. Christopher medals to protect me from death while traveling.

I do, however, believe firmly that smoking will kill you (it killed my father). And I believe that salty soup means the cook is in love.

May I ask you, what is your philosophy of ...


An Interview with the Author, Part Two

Today I'm continuing an extensive interview with myself that began yesterday.

Recently, Mount Tongariro hit the headlines spitting ash and lava. You yourself grew up underneath the crater of Mount Taranaki in New Plymouth. How is life at the foot of an active volcano?

Mount Taranaki is a dormant volcano, not currently active, but not quite dead, either. Like its nearby mountainous sisters, the possibility remains that it might one day violently awake, and while that seems a remote possibility, that doesn't mean the volcano isn't dangerous. The mountain was the central feature of my adolescence. I spent almost every weekend walking its slopes, sleeping "rough," carrying all I'd need to survive from Friday night until Sunday night. And on its slopes I faced death several times, crossing flooded rivers and being swept toward a waterfall, or being lost, stuck on rocky ledges at high altitude as night descended, but always I managed to find a way out of my troubles. I will always be grateful to the mountain for teaching me my limits.

Did you always want to be a writer, or did you learn something else first? ...


An Interview with the Author, Part One

For my second blog post (ever), I wish to conduct a simple (but extensive and even possibly endless) interview with myself. Its purpose is to force the reluctant subject into inadvertent admissions or revelations that the reclusive subject has hitherto kept secret.

You were born in New Zealand. True or false?

Too much importance is placed on where you were born. We are forged in the smithies of our souls, as Joyce put it.

I have a very stereotyped idea of a writer: they drink; they are a little bit dispersed; they have either absolutely no money or, if they are successful, they don't flaunt their wealth. How much of this is correct? And how much of this is a lie?

It's impossible to make a living in the arts, unless you make a fortune. There's almost no in-between. Writers are either broke or rolling in it. Oddly, you can't tell them apart. Both kinds look like shit.

How come New Zealanders name themselves after a fat, flightless bird, the kiwi? Is that a special kind of irony, or what does such an identification tell us about the people?

Every country has ...


My First-Ever Blog Post

Hi to anyone who is reading.

This is my first blog post. Not just for this site, but first ever. As I've been told, the idea here is to reveal what I've been up to — aside from my great pleasure in seeing my current novel, Brilliance, released in the U.S. by the courageous people at Hawthorne Books! — but I should also mention that I'm currently producing a film (along with Lisa Bruce, Eric Fellner, and Tim Bevan) that I have written, which charts the lives of Professor Stephen Hawking and his first wife, Jane. The script is called "The Theory of Everything," and I'll tell you more about it in the coming days.

That the professor agreed to come and visit the set last week, and seemed to approve of what he saw — a large-scale staging of a May Ball in Cambridge, the occasion at which, 50 years before, Stephen and Jane had had their first date — was a special honor impossible to forget, and the fact that he and Jane are content to entrust the telling of their remarkable, beautiful, courageous, and ...


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