Chris Bohjalian: A Self Portrait
Chris Bohjalian Revealed
About Chris Bohjalian
What is your birthdate?:8/1
Previous occupations:Advertising executive
High school and/or college:Bronxville High School; Amherst College
Name of your favorite composer or music artist?:WAY too humiliating
Favorite movie:The Right Stuff OR Sophie's Choice
Favorite television show:The Office
- Q. How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
- A. Spectacularly blessed -- though still challenged by my iPhone
- Q. What is your motto or maxim?
- A. "Have we learned nothing?"
- Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
- A. I am always happiest when I am with my wife and my daughter.
And when we are together in -- Warning, Mid-Life Novelist Cliche Dead Ahead -- Italy, I am especially content. Give me my family, a bicycle, and a bottle of wine and I am one happy fellow.
- Q. What’s your greatest fear?
- A. Well, that's a cheery question. When we get past the basics -- fearing for my wife and my daughter's safety and worrying about their health and happiness -- leaving behind a mediocre body of work when I die.
- Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
- A. A village called Montisi in Italy.
- Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
- A. F. Scott Fitzgerald -- not in terms of talent, but perhaps in terms of demons.
- Q. Which living person do you most admire?
- A. Barack Obama
- Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
- A. Phantasmagoric
- Q. What do you regret most?
- A. Oh, Lord, I could fill library shelves with books of my regrets. But here is one: My first novel. It is the single worst first novel ever published, bar none.
- Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
- A. Singing well enough to be in a musical in the West End or on Broadway.
- Q. What is your greatest achievement?
- A. Raising a wondrous and big-hearted daughter, who happens to have the voice of an angel.
- Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
- A. Impatience and micro-management.
- Q. What’s your best quality?
- A. I am dogged. Alas, that's as good as it gets.
- Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
- A. A very pampered cat. Also, a Major League baseball pitcher wouldn't be bad. Or a Tony awarding winning actor.
- Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
- A. Atticus Finch
- Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
- A. I tend to prefer moral ambiguity to straight out evil.
- Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
- A. George Bush. What were you thinking? Really, now? What?
- Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
- A. Loud cell phone conversations on beaches or airlines before the main cabin door has shut.
- Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
- A. I like to cook.
- Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
- A. Broadway actor; baseball pitcher.
- Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
- A. Generosity; curiosity; a good sense of humor.
- Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
- A. Pecorino cheese
- Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
- A. Really, it would be embarrassing. Awfully embarassing. TOO embarrassing.
On Books and Writing
- Q. Who are your favorite authors?
- A. John Irving, Pat Barker, Ian McEwan, Joyce Carol Oates
- Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
- A. To Kill a Mockingbird
The Cider House Rules
The Joyous Season
The Great Gatsby
- Q. Is there a book you love to reread?
- A. The Great Gatsby
- Q. Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
- A. Care so deeply about the subject - find it so extraordinary - that you are willing to give it at least a year or two of your life.
- Q. What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
- A. I loved Midwives and I thought you were a woman!