Mal Peet. We just love his name. Mal Peet. It sounds like some delicious dutch treat, something sprinkled with powdered sugar and chocolate sauce. Anyhow, he is most definitely not a baked goodie. Nope, he's the author of Tamar: A Novel of Espionage, Passion and Betrayal--winner of the Carnegie medal no less--and of a brand-new novel, The Penalty, which is described as "a time-shifting thriller about a vanishing soccer star, occult secrets, and the dark history of slavery." Whoa....any guy who can make those elements work together has got to be some kind of genius, right? So we put his genius to the test and gave him our much-feared and yet beloved Bookburger pop quiz....
Who is your favorite writer that most people have never heard of? Gabriel Garcia Marquez, William Trevor, Russell Hoban, Donald Barthelme, Geraldine Mcaughrean (check out her Not the End of the World and The White Darkness)
What kid or teen books rocked your world growing up? Back in the Stone Age when I was growing up, there wasn't really any teen writing. Between 10 and 13 I had a serious Biggles habit. Biggles (Captain James Bigglesworth) was a fighter pilot in World War I. The kind of plane he flew was a Sopwith Camel, which, incidentally, is what Snoopy flies in the Peanuts cartoon strips. After that, I guess I went straight on to adult stuff. I was into US crime fiction pretty quickly, and haven't grown out of it yet. I still love Elmore Leonard.
Describe your ideal place to write. The attic I write in now, but transported to some tropical paradise where lovely women with dark eyes bring me exotic cocktails every couple of hours and soothe my fevered brow.
Your life is a TV series. Name the theme song, one event that would be on the "best of" episode, and one that would be on the blooper reel. Good Grief! Ummm... the theme tune would have to be 'So What?' by Miles Davis. That would be a good title for the series, come to think of it. I'm struggling to think of an event that wouldn't be on the blooper reel... Nope, can't do it.
Burger-flippers want to know: have you ever had a job that required you to wear a geeky uniform? Details, please! The Lord has been merciful to me when it comes to geekwear. Worst I've had, I think, was a dinky little waiter's jacket and a bow tie (in which I looked dead cool, as I remember). Mind you, you have to remember I haven't had a proper job for thirty years.
We'd like to name a burger in your honor. What kind of fixins should
it have? Wow. I'm not worthy, but thanks. OK, I guess it would have to be the El Gato: free-range catburger (preferably from the one that yowls in my yard at night) with jalapeno chutney and lemon mayo, with dried chili flakes on the fries. Hot!!