Here are a few answers to questions asked by the editors at Loyola Press, publishers of my latest book, "Good People. . .From an Author's Life."
Q. Where are you from? How, if at all, has your sense of place colored your writing?
A. I lived the first sixty years of my life in small-town Minnesota, and although I moved to Minneapolis eight years ago I donít suppose my fiction will ever leave small towns.
Q. When and why did you begin writing? When did you first consider yourself a writer?
A. I began to write on September 10, 1970, at the age of 37. I believe I had imagined myself a writer form the age of five, when my parents read to me, but I was a late starter. On that morning I awoke to a voice in my head saying, "Half your life is over, Hassler, you'd better get started."
Q. In a sentence or two, what is the point of your book? Why should someone read it?
A. "Good People" is a kind of memoir of my first 65 years on this earth. I think the memoir is a fascinating art form because we continually compare our experiences and reactions to the writer's as we read.
Q. Are there any personal experiences that were important in inspiring you to write this book?
Q. Why do you think that religion and spirituality has been the fastest-growing part of the publishing business in recent years?
A. Obviously the reading public hungers for spiritual direction.
Q. What books have influenced your writing most strongly in recent years?
Q. What are you reading now - both professionally and for relaxation?
A. I have just finished former bishop James Shannon's autobiography called "Reluctant Dissenter," a fascinating account of a person following his conscience no matter what dire things might result.
Q. What trends do you see in religion in the coming decade?
A. I'm afraid I foresee an even greater division between the liberal and conservative wings of believers.
Q. What book would you like to read that no one has written yet?
Q. What is your favorite book? Who is your favorite author?
A. I have a couple of favorite authors--William Trevor and Alice Munro--although the best book I've read in the last two years was "Plainsong" by Kent Haruf.
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