How did you become a writer?
I was a kid in Mahopac N.Y. who decided to write for my high school newspaper, The Chieftain. One of my early articles was a column on why cheerleading wasn't really a sport. I wrote it, and when it came out I was surrounded in the cafeteria by a bunch of angry cheerleaders, screaming at me. I was 17, sorta geeky, and these girls were beautiful and popular. And it was light a light bulb appeared over my head that screamed, "Holy shit! All this from writing!"
Name your writing influences (writers, books, teachers, etc.).
My dad, Stanley Herz, who authored a book, "Conquering the Corporate Career." Greg Orlando, a wonderful video game writer who attended the University of Delaware when I was there. Mike Freeman, longtime sports writer; Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald; Bill Fleischman, former Philly Daily News writer. Joe Lombardi, longtime sports editor of the Patent Trader in Cross River, N.Y.
When and where do you write?
Generally late into the nights, oftentimes at coffee shops near and far. I love the buzz of people surrounding me; the illusion of social interaction. I need that. Sitting near a buzzing refrigerator doesn't work.
What are you working on now?
I have a book out in November titled, "Gunslinger." It's a biography of Brett Favre.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?
It's not something I get too often. But if I do I play some Xbox or take a walk or scream at the demons inside my skull. It passes.
What’s your advice to new writers?
Reporting is 1,000,000 times more important that writing. Tons upon tons of your competitors can also turn a quick phrase; create a cute lede. But will they outwork you? Will they make the extra call? Will they dig, then dig some more?
I'm the author of six books; former Sports Illustrated senior writer; blog regularly at www.jeffpearlman.com.