Piers Anthony is one of the world’s most popular fantasy authors, and a New York Times bestseller twenty-times over. His Xanth novels have been read and loved by millions of readers around the world.
Q. Who are your favorite authors?
A. If I lost my memory and had my choice of reading matter, I hope my favorite would be Piers Anthony. I try to write what I would like to read. As for other authors, I have admired many in the Science Fiction and Fantasy fields, from Robert A Heinlein on down. I am also an admirer of the plays of George Bernard Shaw, and not just because he was a vegetarian.
Q. What advice do you have for other writers?
A. Publishing is changing so much now that much of what I might say would become dated about ten minutes after I wrote it. So I’ll just say read and study the genre you are in, keep writing and improving, and may the world go well with thee.
Q. What’s the best thing about being a writer?
A. For me the best thing is getting to exercise my imagination and being independent. I can’t be fired for someone else’s mistakes.
Q. What’s the hardest thing about being a writer?
A. It used to be dealing with publishers, who were like insensitive robots interested only in money, regardless what they claimed. But the old order is passing and the new publishers I am dealing with are generally more compatible. Some of them even like good fiction. So now the hardest thing is facing the prospect of my declining ability with advancing age. I’m not capable of simply letting it go and retiring. So when I no longer write well, I hope I am the first, not the last to know it.
Q. Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
A. My web site is http://www.hipiers.com where I have a monthly column, commenting on whatever is on my mind, and background information on my titles. I have also written two autobiographical books: Bio of an Ogre and How Precious Was That While.
Q. Where can a reader purchase your book?
A. From wherever the publisher puts it.
Q. What are you doing to market the book?
A. Precious little. I’m a writer, not a marketer.
Q. Who inspires you?
A. The world inspires me.
Q. Have you written other books? Where can readers purchase them?
A. I have written about 175 other books. Readers can find many of them listed on Amazon. Many readers like my Xanth fantasy series, which now number 42 novels, not all in print yet.
Q. Who or what inspired you to become a writer?
A. I needed to decide on my college major. I pondered a day and a night, and it came to me: I wanted to be a writer. It was like a light turning on and it has guided me ever since.
Q. Does your family support you in your writing career? How?
A. My wife supported me. She went to work so I could stay home and try to be a writer. That was when I broke through with my first story sale – for $20.00. But it led to greater things, in time.
Q. When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
A. Writing is my passion and my life. All else feels like dross. But I do make the meals and wash the dishes, as my wife is infirm. I also like to play cards on the computer, mainly Free Cell, which I believe is the best card game ever.
Q. What is your favorite line from a movie?
A. Great lines in movies are myriad, but it’s the quiet personal ones that get to me the most that others may not even notice. There was one whose title I don’t remember, where a man, a widower, got a girlfriend he was considering marrying. His early teen daughter lived with him. When the woman made them a meal, the man told the teen to do the dishes. The girlfriend intervened. “No, she doesn’t have to do that. I’ll do it.” Why? “She’s your daughter and I want her to like me.” That disarming candor surely ensured that the girl would like the woman.
Q. What do you like to snack on while you write?
A. I maintain my college weight, and I exercise seriously. I don’t eat between meals. I’m pretty fit for my age, pushing 82, and mean to stay that way.
Q. When you walk into a book store, where is the first place you go?
A. The last local book store closed down.
Q. What is the funniest thing that you’ve been asked during an interview?
A. At the moment I’m not thinking of anything funny in an interview. But I was amused by a sentence in my fan mail: “Ha! Caught you reading fan mail!”
Sometimes I do learn things from my fan mail.
I had a suicidally depressive girl in one of my novels (Virtual Mode, if you must know) who regularly cut her wrists so that they bled. So she wore red bands on her wrists to conceal the blood. A reader wrote that I had it wrong: blood dries black, so she needed black wristlets. I suspect she spoke from experience.