Why is writing important to you and why do you think it's an important medium for the world? It's important to me because it has allowed me to tell the stories I've always wanted to tell. And it's important for the world because we must have stories to pass down to the next generation, it gives our lives meaning and helps us understand the world we live in and how we either made it better or screwed it up. Without the stories, we're just taking up space.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer's block? The fear of nothing getting paid if I don't finish the book on time.

What is your favorite time to write? Pretty much anytime--mornings are good; afternoons even better. I don't write as much in the evenings as I used to.

What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received and would like to impart to other writers? From Pete Hamill--Before you learn how to write, learn how to read. And read everything--from books new and old; to papers, magazines. See as much as you can--plays, movies, TV shows. Travel if you can--absorb it all. You learn every day. The education never ends.

What excites you most about being a writer in today's age? That I still am able to be published and get to write the stories I want to tell.

Lorenzo Carcaterra's Three Dreamers: A Memoir of Family is out now with Ballantine Books.