Sixty Seconds with Howard Shrier
Added May 17, 2012
RTE: Describe yourself in a sentence?
Shrier: A storyteller and professional writer since the age of 21, breaking out on the crime scene with his Jonah Geller novels, while raising two sons with the only woman who could have made it happen.
RTE: What’s the one record you’d take to a desert island?
Shrier: Steve Earle’s El Corazon. He masters every branch of roots music from bluegrass to grunge, from the spell-binding opening, “Christmas in Washington” to the haunting end, “Fort Worth Blues,” his heart-broken eulogy to his mentor in music and drugs, Townes van Zandt.
RTE: What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Shrier: Until nineteen, a singer-songwriter. After that, always a writer, except for a detour into acting in the eighties. The one profession where the rejection was more frequent and unfiltered than writing. What’s with me and that?
RTE: Who’s your oldest friend?
Shrier: Stephen Cooper, once my lawyer, now my financial advisor and poker rival, is someone I‘ve known since Grade 2. And from high school, the always adventurous if not mad Jeff Oberman, now running a small pocket of Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic.
RTE: If I ruled the world…
Shrier: There’d be food, drink, shelter, care and education for all. The Israelis and Palestinians would solve their issues. Religion would be a private matter, with total separation between church and state everywhere. And all NHL hockey rinks would be Olympic-sized. And there’d be no-touch icing and match penalties for fighting.
RTE: Which book do you wish you’d written?
Shrier: Almost any of Elmore Leonard’s mid-career books, especially Glitz.
RTE: What makes you angry?
Shrier: Arrogant assholes. Anyone who mistreats kids or animals. Bullies. BMW drivers, invariably. And that’s just some of the As and Bs. We could be here awhile.
RTE: Name your five dream dinner party guests.
Shrier: Bob Dylan, Steve Earle, John Hiatt, Richard Thompson and Jeff Tweedy. Jim Cuddy if there’s room for six. All with their guitars. And me and my jumbo Guild. Plus my wife on vocals and accordion. We might need a bigger table.
RTE: Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with?
Shrier: Someone whose work I’d just criticized. I also can’t stand heavy scents. If someone is doused with perfume or hairspray, I wait for the next car.
RTE: What inspired you to start writing?
Shrier: I think real life was too overwhelming and I became more of an observer than a doer. And the other kids laughed a lot at what I wrote back in school. Ask Cooper. Maybe he remembers.
RTE: Where would you most like to live?
Shrier: A few blocks down near Hillcrest Park. The houses are a little bigger and with two teenaged boys and their shoes we could use more space.
RTE: Sum up your latest book in no more than 12 words.
Shrier: Still-concussed P.I. Jonah Geller heads to Boston to trace a missing doctor.