an interview with david haynes   introduction  
photo of david haynes

  Bold Type: Who are the five people, living or dead, you would most like to invite to a dinner party? What would you serve?

David Haynes: Don't know who I'd invite, but I'd probably serve Dr. Ione Wilson Simpson's Lipton Orange Chicken recipe. (See Heathens for the full description).

BT: What do you dread most about the upcoming millenium?

DH: I just hope that a bunch of apocolyptics don't take up in my backyard waiting for their spaceship or whatever. I mean, they'd be coming in to use the bathrooms, and then they'll be all depressed when on New Year's day when they wake up and find out they've still got to go to work Tuesday morning.

BT: What historical or cultural event would you like to have witnessed?

DH: I would love to have been on the mall in Washington for the "I have a dream" speech with my grandfather. He wanted my mother to put my siblings and me on the train and meet him there (he lived in Brooklyn, we in St. Louis) but we were still really young and that wasn't about to happen.

BT: You're on a book tour now, what has been your worst book tour experience?

DH: Well, of course the worst is when you go to the store and then no one shows up. I always feel worse for the events coordinator than I do for myself (I'm rather used to it, to be honest.) But the absolute worst was I was in this large chain store trying to concentrate on what I was the reading and there were these two people sitting there who were looking for a comfortable place to freeload on the world newspapers. They kept giving me dirty looks as they noisily turned the pages. I guess I was cramping their style.

BT: During a reading of your own work, what face would you most hate to see in the front row? Whose face would you most like to see, etc.

DH: I was reading a sort of vulgar scene from one of my novels and looked up to see my mother perched in the front row. That was a nightmare, but she did seem to laugh in the right places. On the positive side, it's always nice to see a friend who you didn't know was around and who you haven't seen in a long long time.

BT: What's your favorite place that you've visited?

DH: I love any warm place with an ocean and a long open beach.

BT: If you were exiled from your own country, where would you move to?

DH: Canada. I'm tempted to move to Vancouver, BC even if they don't throw me out.

BT: What's your favorite children's book?

DH: Too tough. I was a middle school teacher for many years and have a long list of favorites, none which would probably too familiar to any but the sixth graders out there. I love the writers Katherine Patterson and Gary Paulsen and Mildred Taylor.

BT: What is your favorite childhood memory, and has it appeared in your work?

DH: I have fond memories of vacationing with the family at Lake of the Ozarks, but I've yet to really write about it. I also had a dynamite 5th grade teacher, and we put on a really wonderful play. Also have yet to mine that one.

BT: What publications do you read religiously?

DH: Doubletake, Granta, Harpers, the Utne Reader, the New York Times Book Review, and the Glimmer Train Stories.

BT: What is the greatest thing about being a writer/worst thing?

DH: Writing. (Answers both)

BT: What are you currently reading?

DH: Criminals by Margot Livesey and Big Trouble by J. Anthony Lukacs.

BT: What is your favorite word?

DH: heathen

BT: If you were suddenly given a gift of three weeks during which time you couldn't do anything but read--no music, no chores, no writing--what books would you want to have by your side?

DH: The several dozen on my shelves I haven't gotten to yet.

BT: What writer, dead or alive, do you admire most?

DH: Alice Munro

BT: What's the worst job you've ever held in order to support your writing?

DH: I've only had one job since I started writing, and that has been being a school teacher. I love teaching.

BT: If you were ten years old again, what would you reply when asked "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

DH: Solvent

BT: Any last words of advice?


Photo of David Haynes © copyright Donna Kelly
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