Interviews

Barnes & Noble (1)
May 22, 1997

This interview is Copyright © 1997 by Barnes & Noble, and is reprinted with permission. The interviewer was Brian Knapp.



Brian Knapp
What are the first lines of literature of poetry that come to mind?

John Sandford
To be, or not to be; that is the bare bodkin that makes calamity of so long life; For who would fardels bear, till Burnam Wood do come to Dunsinane, but that the fear of something after death murders the innocent sleep; Great nature's second course; And makes us rather sling the arrows of outrageous fortune than to fly to others that we know not of.

Brian Knapp
Describe one thing in your life that you have done but are glad you never have to do again.

John Sandford
Almost everything — but I once solo-paddled a canoe down the Mississippi from the source in Northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. Sixty-nine days of mostly misery, which I remember fondly, and would never, ever do again...

Brian Knapp
Can you recall the most sensuously indulgent meal you've ever had? What was it, and can you share the recipe?

John Sandford
Nope. Not into food. Probably a candy bar someplace ugly. I have a deep-seated affection for Almond Joy — despite their habit of being half-melted when you get them — but I don't know why. Maybe therapy would bring it out.

Brian Knapp
How does journalism and writing novels compare? Are you still involved in journalism?

John Sandford
The key difference — and I mean this seriously, as it is the one problem that most journalists can't deal with — is length. Most journalists are unable (for lots of different reasons, including boredom) to create a unified whole story that stretches out 100,000 words or more and takes months of actual writing time. I still do occasional journalism and would like to do more. I consider myself a newspaper guy on a long coffee break.

Brian Knapp
We have heard you are involved with an archaeological dig. How did you get started?

John Sandford
Ah, my favorite subject. For the Internet-enabled, which I guess everybody here would be, check http://www.rehov.org for an extended run-down, with pictures, of the dig. I've had a life-long reading interest in history and archaeology (most recent work read: the three volume Byzantium by John Julius Norwich), and in fact majored in history and lit in college. I got serious about archaeology a few years back, went around looking at digs and sites, last year spent some hard time on a dig at Beth Shean in Israel and now I'm involved in a heavy way with a new dig at a place called Tel Rehov, which is a half-an-hour by car south of the Sea of Galilee.

Brian Knapp
What is it like?

John Sandford
It's very hot, dusty, butt-kicking work, and totally fascinating. Last year we cleared the iron-age walls of Beth Shean, which are the very walls (well, okay, maybe) where the Philistines hung the bodies of King Saul and his sons after they killed them in a battle near Mt. Gilboa... This year we've got a bit of a mystery on our hands — A very large, untouched tel, obviously the remains of a city, but a city we know hardly anything about. We surveyed it this spring, found pottery from the bronze through the Ottoman eras, which covers the better part of 3000 years... Great stuff. And we're looking for volunteers... see the web site.

Brian Knapp
The Night Crew is clearly not a Prey novel. Why? Are you currently writing a Prey novel, or do you plan to do something else for a while?

John Sandford
I am currently writing a Prey novel. The Night Crew was meant as a break after eight years of Lucas Davenport, but now I'm back, and this one feels pretty good... I don't know if I'll go back to the Night Crew again, but it is a possibility. I liked the Anna Batory character, and Creek, and I'm not sure I'm done with them.