Describe your latest book.
The fourth book in the Secret Series, This Isn't What It Looks Like, is the latest book I have had the bad judgment to write. As the title suggests, anything I say about the book — if indeed it really is a book — would amount to misdirection. Undoubtedly, it would be best that you not look at This Isn't What it Looks Like at all. If you persist in knowing more about it, however, I will admit that the book concerns the adventures of one character in the past, one character in the present, and the return of a character from a past book into the present one. There is also a magical monocle. A magnetic rock. And a lot of chocolate. Repeat this to no one. Or almost no one. Secretly, PB
If someone were to write your biography, what would be the title and subtitle?
PB Or Not PB: Wait, What Was the Question?
Writers are better liars than other people: true or false? Why, or not?
True AND False: in my experience, authors learn to lie on paper because we're such bad liars in person.
Offer a favorite sentence or passage from another writer.
Mark Twain, in an interview with Rudyard Kipling: "Get your facts first... then you can distort them as much as you please." (See above.)
How do you relax?
In a secure bunker.
Have you ever made a literary pilgrimage?
Yes, to the home of Sigmund Freud whom I consider to be one of history's greatest novelists. I fell very ill afterward and even now I feel nauseous whenever I think of Vienna.
What is your favorite indulgence, either wicked or benign?
Dark chocolate. Benign in terms of health effects. And very, very wicked in terms of the lengths I will go to get it.
Why do you write?
Because I can't keep a secret.
Recommend five or more books on a single subject of personal interest or expertise:
Five Detective Classics for Aspiring Young Detectives
These titles are hardly secrets but they represent the roadmap I followed as a youngster destined for a life of literary crime. Recommended for all readers graduating from the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew.
The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe
Introduces fiction's first detective, Auguste Dupin.
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
My favorite Sherlock Holmes story when I was young.
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
The Hecule Poirot classic sure to make any novice detective want to board a train to Istanbul.
Lord Peter: The Complete Lord Peter Wimsey Stories by Dorothy L Sayers
Sayers's mysteries gave me my lifelong taste for murder (or at least for murder stories), not to mention a lifelong taste for the trappings of British aristocracy.
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
A great first encounter with noir.