11. How long did it take to write Impeachment Day?
I started in 2008 and worked on it for about two years, at which point my wife became seriously ill. I took it up again in 2014 after her death, mostly as an effort to keep my mind engaged on things other than memories of a 37-year marriage.
22. Is Impeachment Day based on your own experience?
Only loosely. It’s based on the truly heroic exploits of some outstanding Marines I knew far more than my own military experiences. And it’s based on my knowledge from growing up near Washington and living in Minnesota. The towpath (where mules once walked to tow barges) along the old C&O canal in DC and Maryland plays a role in the book, and when I was a kid we used to regularly ride our bikes on it.
33. Some of your characters are pretty militant bike riders. Are you?
To that, I’ll plead guilty. The summer after my junior year in high school I rode a bike from Maryland to Seattle. I really didn’t know squat about riding at the time, and I used an old Schwinn Varsity 10-speed and carried way too much gear. Only the exuberance and physical strength of youth got me through it. At the end of the trip, I actually passed a couple of logging trucks going up hill in the mountains. The looks on the drivers’ faces were pretty neat.
44. The plot of Impeachment Day involves some very weird legal twists on how the President gets elected if the Electoral College deadlocks. Is that part of the book accurate?
Absolutely, completely accurate. The House of Representatives picks the President, with each state (not each Representative) getting one vote. The Senate picks the Vice President. It’s straight from the Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution.
55. Are you still actively working as a lawyer?
Yes. Far more than I’d prefer, actually. It sometimes intrudes on my writing time. But since the death of my wife, I need to get out of the house, and I enjoy doing legal work. Also, the other people in the firm where I work are good friends and great colleagues, so I look forward to going into the office.
66. Are you working on any more novels?
Yes, a few. I’m going back through some of my early manuscripts and reworking two of them, and I have a special project in mind about a kid from the remotest part of Tanzania who manages to win the Tour de France.
77. Why Tanzania?
A few years ago my brother and I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and went on safari in the Serengeti, and I’m hooked on Tanzania. It’s one of the most unique and beautiful places on earth.