On writing the book
I've always been given to remembrance and remembering--more when I was younger even than when I was President. When I was a young man, I thought about my childhood all the time. It's a Southern thing; we're all obsessed with the past. I was very blessed that both my mother and I saved virtually everything from my childhood. I was always a pack rat.
I never had writer's block once I started. But I did have periods when I had to just get up and drop it--it was just too hot. I have that pretty gripping scene in the early part of the book where my stepfather was drunk and he had the gun in his hand and he shot it off, and my mother and I were standing in the hall and the bullet goes in the wall between us. I felt it all over again. It was frightening.
I learned some things or at least learned how to describe some things from my life. For example, this whole idea about having a life that required me to be a secret-keeper and how if you have a whole part of your life you can't talk about, then you wind up living parallel lives.
On keeping secrets
The problem with having one part of your life walled off from the other is trying to decide what belongs behind the wall. It gets bizarre. How bizarre was it when I was a kid that I didn't want my daddy to know that I was giving part of my allowance to Billy Graham? How weird is that? I did a good job dealing with all this Starr stuff, I think, and going through all my work. By the way, the flip side of having lived parallel lives is that I was good at it. People have a hard time believing that I could go to work and concentrate on my job, but I'd been doing it ever since I was a little boy. So in a funny way, my childhood prepared me for dealing with this sort of crazy, bifurcated life I had to pursue during that whole impeachment thing.
On his revelation in the book that during much of his time in office he was "seething inside" at Ken Starr
I hid it pretty good, didn't I? You didn't know. I mean, he bankrupted us. He ruined us financially.
Let me tell you what I did. I knew that if all of you guys were more interested in Whitewater than anything else, you might not print or air a shot across Starr's bow unless it came from me. However, one of the things I've learned is, the difference between being Governor of a small state and being President is, if I had had this kind of thing as Governor, I could have been on it every day like a wet blanket, and been on television every night talking about education, economic development, the environment, whatever I was doing. If you're President, you maybe get 20 seconds on television four nights a week. And I had come to realize that for me, on a scale of 1 to 10, a 10 answer on Whitewater was not nearly as good as a 7 answer on education or welfare reform or trade or something that related to the American people. Because if [Whitewater] was the only message they got, they would conclude that that's all I was doing. I don't blame you [in the media]; what's hot's hot.