Why is writing important to you and why do you think it's an important medium for the world?
Lately, it has been a way to make being curious into a profession. I've gone through three phases: short story writer, academic, and nonfictionist. In my nonfiction I tend not to cast myself as an "expert" but as a "learner" with a twist. I can't imagine a world without books. If it was a question of books or penguins, one had to go, it would be a tough choice.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer's block?
Writing nonfiction is a pretty good way to avoid writer's block. It's less ego or performance centered than fiction and more like providing a service. As a nonfiction writer you're less likely to be left hanging when malaise sets in, and it's much easier to shake it off. You just need a good project!

What is your favorite time to write?
When one feels awake. In my teens and twenties I was a night bird. Now I start writing after breakfast and continue through the early afternoon. This assumes, of course, there is no day job to interfere.

What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received and would like to impart to other writers?
Much of the advice I received didn't really take. I can say that in nonfiction, having a good title can really help guide one's efforts. Also, to avoid being overwhelmed, it's easiest to research and write one chapter at a time. Hemingway’s advice to write “one true sentence” and then follow on it seems reasonable.

What excites you most about being a writer in today's age?
As a reader, I'm amazed at how many imaginative people are on the loose in the world. As a writer I can only hope our work gives people a sense of calm or hope or resolve in disastrous times.

Fred Nadis's Star Settlers: The Billionaires, Geniuses, and Crazed Visionaries Out to Conquer the Universe is out now with Pegasus Books.