Having been asked a lot of questions after the release of my first novel, Numb, I now realize that most interviews follow a very standard set of questions. In order to provide future interviewers with some of the most requested information up front, I decided to put together this FAQ based on the questions I’ve heard most often. My hope is that interviewers can use this information as a jumping-off point.

Q: What time is it?

A: Chances are that any answer I give you will be wrong. There are several reasons for this. First, I am not now where you are, and there’s no telling that we’re in the same time-zone. If I were to say, “3:37,” and you were in Chicago, you would think me insane because for you it would be 2:27. Second, there’s no guarantee that you’ll read this at the moment that I give my answer. For instance, I just now pointed out that it “is” 3:37. But it’s not, it’s now 3:38 and I’m still working on my answer. Then there’s proofing and sending and posting and who knows how many hours, days, weeks, before you read this to know that it is 3:38. Third, I’m not sure that you’re genuinely asking me what time it is, or merely singing that early ‘90s half-hit by The Spin Doctors, in which case the answer would be “4:30.” All of this is a long-winded way of saying that it is 3:42.

Q: Whatever happened to the Spin Doctors?

A: I don’t know. They kind of dropped off the radar, right? I’m sure they have a WikiLeaks page or something. You should probably try there.

Q: Why are you doing that?

A: I’m not sure. To be honest, I’m a little unclear about what “that” is. There are a lot of possibilities. Most likely, I’m doing “that” because it feels really, really good.

Q: Is there any question you won’t answer?

A: Next question.

Q: How much should I tip?

A: This is always a trick question. When I say “15%” I get the “Isn’t-that-a-little-low-given-how-things-are-going-in-this-economy?-look and when I say “You want a tip? Don’t look at the sun,” I get stared at as if I just insulted a nun. My solution is to tip nothing and steal a bar glass.

Q: Paper or plastic?

A: I hate condoms.

Q: Did you see that?

A: Again, without knowing what “that” is, it’s really difficult to answer this question. But chances are good that I did see that. In fact, I’m probably more than a little responsible for that.

Q: Don’t you feel guilty?
A: About that? Of course I do. I have a motto: Regret everything. It’s the philosophy of the anti­­­­-Nietzsche (Tiger Woods).

Q: Did you hear that?
A: I’m not sure.

Q: Did you remember to lock the back door?
A: Oh my God, no, I don’t think I did.

Q: Did you hear it that time?
A: I think so. Yes, I did. Oh my God. Oh my God.

Q: Are you scared?
A: Do you think I normally wet myself like this? I’m goddamn terrified.

Q: Want to grab a bite to eat?

A: How can you ask that at a time like this!? I mean, what was that noise!? There could be anyone down there!

Q: Who are your favorite authors?

A: You know what? I think I did lock that back door. And that noise was probably just the cat. And I am feeling kind of peckish.

Q: What?

A: I didn’t say anything.

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SEAN FERRELL is the author of Man in the Empty Suit (Soho Press, 2013) and Numb (HarperPerennial, August 2010). His short fiction has appeared in The Cafe Irreal and won the Fulton Prize from The Adirondack review. He lives and works, in no particular order, in New York City. You can find him online at www.seanferrell.com

15 responses to “WTF: What the Faq?”

  1. Gloria Harrison says:

    I hate condoms


    Also, 15%, more if the service boggled the mind.

  2. Sara Habein says:

    My tipping amount is around 15%, +/- the skill at refilling my beverage.

  3. Perhaps best title ever, Sean. I’ll be quoting it for weeks! Ah, the Spin Doctors. I saw them open for the Verve Pipe once. Not The Verve but the Verve Pipe. That’s how cool I am.

    • Sean says:

      I always thought it would have been great to have a triple bill show:

      The The
      Verve Pipe

      The radio promos would have sounded like a tremendous stutter.

  4. Greg Olear says:

    Loved this, Sean.

    If you….want to talk for hours…just go ahead now…

  5. VERY Funny! I always worry about the back door, too.

    And about condoms. Are there people who wear them who LOVE them? People who put them on for fun? Just curious. I”m not in the world of condom-users so don’t really know anything about them.

  6. Are you sure it’s not the boutonniere that’s cheapening your tux??

  7. Sean says:

    If by “boutonniere” you mean “lei” then you may be on to something.

  8. Gabriel says:

    15%, really? I and everyone I know in NYC tips a minimum of 20%, unless the service was very bad. Waitstaff depend on their tips due to their base pay only being a few dollars per hour, and the tip gets split between them and several other people.

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