First Word: Ryan David Jahn

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  • 15 October 2009
First Word: Ryan David Jahn

One of America’s most exciting young writers, Ryan David Jahn’s debut novel, Acts of Violence, has led to favourable comparisons with James Ellroy and Bret Easton Ellis. Here he reminisces about Bambi and first dates

First record you ever bought
I ordered three at once from a mail-order catalogue. The Beatles’ Revolver, Nirvana’s Bleach, and Public Enemy’s Fear of a Black Planet. I didn’t exactly buy them, however: when the bill arrived I ignored it.

Last time you were chatted up
At a bar a couple of years back a flirty woman asked me at least half a dozen times if she recognised me from TV, and each time I insisted she did not she became more certain I was being coy. Finally her boyfriend dragged her away.

First film you saw that really moved you
Bambi. I watched it again last year and it holds up.

Last lie you told
I don’t remember. But I’ll probably tell another before I’m finished with these questions.

First movie you ever went on a date to
So I Married an Axe Murderer at a drive-in theatre. My date’s older sister drove us.

Last time you cried
At a funeral earlier this year. I hate funerals. The next one I attend will be my own.

First thing you do when you’ve got time off work
Find more work to do.

Last great meal you cooked
Spinach salad with bay scallops and baked apple slices topped with a home-made vinaigrette.

Last extravagant purchase you made
I don’t really make extravagant purchases. The last thing I bought other than books or food was a sweater. If I ever own a house, though, I’d like to put together an upside-down room with upside-down pictures and furniture bolted to the ceiling. I like the idea of walking into that room.

First crush
Helena Bonham Carter.

Last book you read
Savage Art, a biography of Jim Thompson.

First great piece of advice you were given
Always obey your parents, when they are present.

Last time you were star struck
Taking an elevator down to a parking garage with Oliver Stone. I’m still not sure why he struck me. I didn’t do anything to deserve it.

First thing you’d do if you ran the country
‘The country’ for me is the United States, so the list of possibilities is endless, but I guess I’d start by implementing a universal healthcare system.

Last meal on earth – what would it be
Coq au vin.

First song you’ll sing at karaoke
Talking Heads’ ‘Psycho Killer’. I would have said ‘A Clean Break (Let’s Work)’ but karaoke selections tend to be rather limited.

First time you realised you were famous
February 13, 2016.

Last time someone criticised your work
About a week ago when I talked to my mom on the phone.

First three words your friends would use to describe you
Obsessive. They’d say it three times.

Last time you made an impulse buy and regretted it
I bought an unfortunately flavoured packet of gum a couple of days ago.

First concert you ever attended
The Flaming Lips. They were opening for someone else, but I can’t remember who.

Last time you bought someone flowers
For my wife. About two weeks ago.

First thing you think of when you wake up in the morning
Doors opening.

Last thing you think of before you go to sleep
Doors closing.

Acts of Violence by Ryan David Jahn is published on Fri 6 Nov by Macmillan New Writing.


1. Kathleen A. Ryan16 Oct 2009, 3:09pm Report

Terrific interview. Love the questions you posed, loved his answers! What an impressive cook, too. Thanks for giving us a peek into the world of Ryan David Jahn.

Congratulations, Ryan, on the publication of your first novel; I look forward to reading it.

Best wishes.

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