Where are you from?
The Chicago area.
Who are your favorite writers?
Garrison Keillor, T.R. Pearson, Nick Hornby.
Which book/books have had the biggest influence on your writing?
Writers' Fighters' by John Schulian. Before he became a TV scriptwriter, Schulian was a newspaper sports columnist. This is a collection of his boxing columns, and it's so good, it will either inspire you to keep writing or lead you into despair that you'll never amount to anything.
What are your hobbies and outside interests?
I like to read and exercise. Not at the same time.
What is the single best piece of advice anyone ever gave you?
If you want to be a great writer, write every day and read every day.
What is the question most commonly asked by your readers? What is the answer?
The question sports fans ask me in Chicago is, Are you a Cubs fan or Sox fan? To which I reply, neither. In my role as a sports columnist I root for the story, not the team. That answer never satisfied them.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I've always wanted to write one. I had written a couple novels that never saw the light of day. Every time I talked to an editor or agent about a novel, they said, "Why don't you write about what you know best?'' I finally saw the light. But if anyone is interested in a novel …
Where do you write?
I have an office in my home, but I also travel quite a bit, and so I've also written on airplanes and hotel rooms.