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Meet the WritersImage of Stephen Coonts
Stephen Coonts
Good to Know
Coonts once held jobs as a taxi driver, a police officer, and an attorney.

He was a trustee of West Virginia Wesleyan College from 1990-98 and was inducted into the West Virginia University Academy of Distinguished Alumni in 1992.

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In the summer of 2003, Coonts took time out to answer some of our questions.

What was the book that most influenced your life -- and why?
Fate Is the Hunter by Ernest K. Gann. This book convinced me that I wanted to learn to fly. Gann explained the craft of flying so that the reader would understand what it was the pilot did, which allowed him to create tension, suspense, and emotion in the cockpit, something a great many writers before and after him failed to do. I tried to do the same thing in my first novel, Flight of the Intruder and in subsequent flying stories.

What are your all-time favorite books -- and what makes them special to you?

  • The Odyssey by Homer, translation by Robert Fitzgerald. The world's first novel, and perhaps the best. It seems that everyone who ever learned Greek tried his hand at translating The Odyssey, but in my opinion, Fitzgerald did it best. No one else has even come close.

  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. Hemingway correctly labeled this book the greatest American novel, and it still is. It was very avant-garde when it came out, due to its spare lean style and lack of moral viewpoint, and pointed the way for modern American fiction. Due to its use of racial epithets common to 1840s Missouri, politically correct pinheads like to ban it from classrooms today. You should read it for that reason, if no other.

  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. This timeless classic was, perhaps, the first modern action adventure. This is how adventure should be written.

  • The Time Machine by H. G. Wells. A classic masterpiece, one of the books that created the genre of science fiction.

  • The Army of the Potomac trilogy by Bruce Catton. The epic myth of the American Civil War has never been told better.

  • The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill by William Manchester. This is an extraordinary biography of one of the towering figures of the 20th century and perhaps the greatest Englishman of them all, by one of America's greatest writers. Manchester is sublime.

  • The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth. Simply the best thriller ever penned.

  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson. A sizzling, dazzling tour de force, although not for everyone. It is fiction so good that most readers assume it is literally true.

    What kinds of movies do you like?
    I like cowboy movies, action adventure, and chick flicks.

    What are your favorite books to give as gifts?
    Dr. Seuss books never go out of style. Buy a handful for every kid you know, and every set of new parents, for Christmas, birthdays, and the 4th of July.

    What are you working on now?
    The next tale is tentatively titled The Wages of Sin. It will be a Tommy Carmellini novel. We hope to see it on the street in 2004.

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  • About the Writer
    *Stephen Coonts Home
    * Good to Know
    * Interview
    In Our Other Stores
    * Signed, First Editions by Stephen Coonts
    *Flight of the Intruder, 1986
    *Final Flight, 1988
    *The Minotaur, 1989
    *Under Siege, 1990
    *The Cannibal Queen, 1992
    *Red Horseman, 1993
    *The Intruders, 1994
    *War in the Air, 1996
    *Fortunes of War, 1998
    *Cuba, 1999
    *Hong Kong, 2000
    *America, 2001
    *Combat, 2001
    *Saucer, 2002
    *Liberty, 2003
    *Victory, 2003
    *Liars and Thieves, 2004
    *The Traitor, 2006
    Photo by Deborah Coonts