Credo: Jay McInerney

Author, 53
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The Independent Culture

I believe...

I am still struggling to figure out the key to a long and fruitful writing career, but survival is a prerequisite. There was a time in my life when I was living in such a way that no sensible life-insurance agent would have issued me a policy.

I didn't expect to be part of a movement back in the 1980s [McInerney, Bret Easton Ellis and Tama Janowitz were labelled the "literary brat pack"]. In fact, when I wrote my first novel, Bright Lights, Big City in 1984, I wasn't aware of any kindred spirits out there; the only groups I identified with were long gone, like the Beats and the Lost Generation of the 1920s.

The best way to handle the press is in very small doses. Norman Mailer once said to me, "Watch out for those flashbulbs, they bleach your soul."

I'd like to be portrayed by Sean Penn in a film because he'd figure out a way to make me fascinating.

If I knew the key to a successful relationship I probably wouldn't have three divorces to my credit.

The best thing about New York is that the New York state of mind combines jaded cynicism with unabashed optimism. That and the fact you can find anything you want at any time of day or night.

My literary heroes are those who engage the emotions as well as the intellect. As a young man I always identified with the self-destructive writers – Dylan Thomas and Fitzgerald – but after you turn 40 they cease to be viable role models.

If you base a character on a real person [and they know it], it helps to describe that person as very good-looking.

The best wines taste like they come from one particular piece of ground, nowhere else. Not many have that individuality.

If I were to start over again I would like to play lead guitar in a blues band.

'The Last Bachelor' by Jay McInerney (£12.99, Bloomsbury) is out now

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