Why is writing important to you and why do you think it's an important medium for the world? It lets me externalize myself and put it into contact with the world on the page. As for writing's importance to the world, it is one of the last bastions of nuance and direct extended conversation about life, whether through fiction or nonfiction. It's trite, but the wonders of the internet must be balanced with the losses. Writers are champions of a complicated, paradoxical, and refreshingly human view of the world.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer's block? I'm not sure I have found any solutions to writer's block, at least the shorter kind. I like to think it allows me to recharge and reflect. I have not had a problem with longterm blockage, in part because as a historian the words on the page and the plot are not entirely mine alone to create.

What is your favorite time to write? I say to myself it is the morning but often find that it is the afternoon. The key is not so much time of day as lack of distractions in a busy home.

What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received and would like to impart to other writers? Have at least one trusted other read what you have written, to see if it makes sense, moves a narrative along, jumps off the page. Swear them to honesty.

What excites you most about being a writer in today's age? I am a biographer at heart, and the most exciting thing for me aside from the writing itself is figuring out the proper relation to the subject. It is simultaneously understanding that your depiction of a life is about a person who has been on this earth and yet a Fiction of your own making Speaking of biography, at its best it is an antidote to the social media/big data approach to what human beings are at their most complex.

Robert H. Abzug's Psyche and Soul in America: The Spiritual Odyssey of Rollo May is out now with Oxford University Press.