Sunday, May 20, 2007

Five questions from Ima

Ima, who writes a fascinating blog called I Was Just Thinking (, sent me the following five questions as part of an interview series she coordinates. Here are my answers:

1: When you were ten years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Fantasy-wise, I wanted to be James Bond. I'm 49 now, so when I was 10, Sean Connery was cool beyond cool. Reality-wise, I would have opted to become a sports hero: either a great quarterback or a prolific home run hitter.

2: You have one year and unlimited funds to travel around the world. Which three countries or regions will you visit first, and why? Which three will you skip, and why?

I've only traveled outside of the United States to three locations: once to Cambodia to adopt a child; once to Canada when I was very young; and many times to the Caribbean on cruises, etc. So by no means am I a world traveler.

Which three would I visit?
1: Great Britain/Ireland. Why? I love the intelligence and diversity of the people, and the terrain seems mesmerizing.
2: Costa Rica: It's gorgeous, diverse, and friendly to Americans. I only wish I had bought land there ten years ago when it was more affordable.
3: New Zealand: I'm a huge LOTR fan and would love to visit the different film sites.

Which three would I skip?
1: Anywhere there's a war going on. Not because I'm afraid for myself, but because I wouldn't want to inflict that kind of heartache on my family.
2: Venezuela. I don't like Bush, but Chavez scares me even more.
3: Siberia. I hear the mosquitoes are as big as bumble bees -- and mosquitoes love the taste of my blood more than any other.

3: Sports ... some people love them, some people hate them. Some people have dearly loved favorites and others that they can't stand. But, even if you love all sports, you are now required to banish one team sport and one individual sport from the face of the earth forever. Which ones, and why?

Is tag-team wrestling a team sport? Hmmm. I love football, baseball, basketball, and hockey, so I wouldn't want to ban any of those. Auto racing bores me to tears, so gentlemen, stop your engines. As for individual sports, I love golf and bowling. Men's tennis doesn't do much for me, but women's tennis ... yummy. Hmmm. How about celebrity poker? That enrages me, for some reason. So out it goes.

4) This one is just for me. You mention that George R.R. Martin is one of the authors you most enjoy reading. I've tried to read A Game of Thrones three or four times, but I've never managed to get through it. Convince me to give it another try.

Very good question. In my opinion, some books/writers are just plain fun. You read, you laugh, you cry ... and you don't have to work at it. Some books/writers take more effort. There's a density to their prose that can be downright tiresome. Martin is the latter. There's nothing easy about his fantasy series, but when you dig deep and really concentrate, you'll see that there's a brilliance to it that is in some ways unmatched. No one does medieval quite as well, yet his characters are what make the series so groundbreaking. They are as sophisticated as they are believable. In addition, I'm stunned by his attention to detail. His descriptions of cities, castles, fortresses, costumes, armor, and weapons are first class, and his fight scenes reek of authenticity. He's so damn good, it makes me jealous. But I respect genius -- and very much enjoy reading it, even when it starts out kind of slow.

5: What was your favorite thing about working as a journalist? Your least favorite thing?

My favorite? There was never a dull moment. Hours passed like minutes, minutes like seconds. My least favorite? It sucked out all my creative energy, to the point that I had none left for my true love: writing novels. That's why I had to retire before I could achieve this dream.

Would someone else out there like me to ask them five questions. If so, here are Ima's rules:

1) Leave me a comment telling me you want to be interviewed. Either leave your e-mail address in the comment or e-mail me. (See bottom of my blog.)

2) I will respond by e-mailing you five questions of my choice.

3) You answer the questions in your blog.

4) When you post your answers, include this explanation in the post and offer to interview someone else.

5) You send five questions of your choice to those who ask to be interviewed.


lma said...

Great answers, Jim. I'm so glad you volunteered to be interviewed.

Oh, and you've convinced me to give Martin another try. It might be awhile - my to-read list is pretty tall right now...literally, as my actual, physical to-read pile which lives by my bed has now mutated into a tall pile and a not-so-tall pile, and I at least have to get through the books I have out of the library before I can get to the ones I own. But I will give A Game of Thrones another chance.

Again, thanks for playing.

Jim Melvin said...

You're welcome. And thanks for including me in your series! As for the "to-read pile," man do I know what you're talking about. I wish I could freeze time for about a decade so that I could catch up. The more I write, the less I read.


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About Me

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Clemson, SC, United States
I was born in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., but grew up in St. Petersburg, Fla. I graduated from the University of South Florida (Tampa) in 1979 with a B.A. in Journalism. I now live in South Carolina near the Blue Ridge Mountains, a pleasant setting for writing, to say the least. I was an award-winning journalist at the St. Petersburg Times for twenty-five years and I currently work at the Charlotte Observer. I am married with five daughters.

The author

The author
Jim Melvin, a veteran journalist, debuts as novelist.