MM: You started out as a self-published author, and now The Martian has been traditionally published and is a feature film. How does it feel to be living every author’s dream?
AW: Feels great! It’s all of my dreams coming true. The only problem is now I have to write another book. Will it be as good? I don’t know. I guess we’ll find out. But there’s definitely pressure.
MM: If NASA were to plan the ultimate mission to Mars, would you be on the first launch out of here?
AW: No way. I write about brave people, but I’m not one of them.
MM: What are some of the coolest space nerd things you’ve gotten to do as a result of publishing The Martian?
AW: I got to do a four-day tour of Johnson Space Center in Houston, which included a visit to the Mission Control Center. They let me sit at one of the stations there and control a camera mounted on the outside of the International Space Station.
MM: Your book is 2016’s One Book, One Marin selection. What part of the partnership are you most excited about?
AW: The part where a bunch of people read my book. I think deep down, every author is motivated by that: the knowledge that someone out there is reading and enjoying his or her work.
MM: How involved were you in the cinematic retelling of your novel? What was that experience like?
AW: Mostly my job was just to cash the check. Though they did send me the screenplay to get my opinion, they weren’t required to listen to anything I had to say. They kept me updated on the production because they’re cool. And in the end, the film is very true to the book, so I’m happy.
MM: What drew you to this subject matter? Space junkie? NASA enthusiast? Other?
AW: I’ve always been interested in space travel, ever since I was a little kid. So yes, I’m a space junkie and a NASA enthusiast.
Local Page Turners
The Martian by Andy Weir (Mountain View), Crown, $15. After a freak storm leaves him stranded on Mars, astronaut Mark Watney has to find a way to survive on a planet with no water and minimal provisions — and let Earth know he is alive. Despite incredible obstacles, Watney uses science and his irreverent humor to survive and even make contact with his homeworld.
Discovering Vintage San Francisco by Laura Smith Borrman (Oakland), Globe Pequot Press, $16.95. An amazing way to travel back in time through the eclecticism and vibrancy of San Francisco, this book is a collection of fascinating stories about the city’s neighborhoods, restaurants, and landmarks. Choose where to visit by neighborhood, category, and era.
Girl Behind the Door by John Brooks (Fairfax), Scribner, $24. John Brooks’ life took a tragic turn when his daughter jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge. By reading through her journals and letters and consulting therapists, Brooks hopes to understand and provide hope to other struggling teens.
What Is Zen? by Norman Fischer (Muir Beach) and Sue Moon (Berkeley), Shambhala, $15.95. Two extraordinary teachers come together to write about Zen Buddhism, creating an ideal introduction for those wishing to learn more. The book, written in a question-and-answer format, can be read as a story or used as a guide in the development of Buddhist practice.
The Heart of Sustainability: Restoring Ecological Balance from the Inside Out by Andres Edwards (Fairfax), New Society Publishers, $19.95. This book considers the human dimension to the international desire to change the world. In addition to education, ecology, and equity, which can be seen as the future of sustainability, Edwards calls on readers to reconnect with themselves, others and nature in order to face ecological challenges with compassion and creativity.
Book picks by Book Passage Classes Coordinator Lauren Summsergill.
This article originally appeared in Marin Magazine’s print edition under the headline: “Author Talks.”