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The Kindle Blog Interview

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Joined: 02 Mar 2004
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Location: People Republic of Northern California
The Kindle Blog Interview  Reply with quote  

Hey kids. Not to get all "it's all about me" on you, but here's another interview I did recently with the Amazon Kindle Blog Peeps. I was just going to paste the link, but I honestly can't find it.

The Authorguy talks to the Kindle Peeps.

You've been writing for quite awhile now and have certainly secured a certain fan base and popularity as an author. How would you describe your ďaverage fanĒ and to what do you attribute your ability to maintain this cult status?

Well, I think the secret to cult status is not to sell enough books that anyone actually thinks anyone else has ever heard of you. Iíve achieved this by a targeted program of stealth publicity, which utilizes cutting edge technology and is enormously expensive, but remains totally undetectable. My average reader is a 37 year old trauma nurse who is divorced and has 1.7 kids. I have fans that are 13 year old Goth girls and 70 year old grandmothers (not at the same time) but nursie is the mean.

How do you react when a new book is about to be released? Do you pop Percocet, go into hiding, or is this all just old hat?

Yes popping Percocet and hiding is my normal, day to day life. Usually what Iím doing before a book comes out is working out at the gym a lot to get in shape for the book tour. I know that sounds ridiculous, but a different airport, hotel, bookstore, and crowd every day for a month can really wear you down. I find that the better shape Iím in, the better chance I have of not getting sick. As a writer you spend a year in a room making clicky noises on a keyboard, with little to no outside contact, so you develop the immune system of a bubble boy. Then you go out, climb into a can with 200 other humans, and get hurtled through the sky while breathing each others fumes, then eat and drink strange things and have a couple of hundred people line up to shake hands and breathe on you every night Ė and you donít know where any of them has been. Iím not saying itís not fun, Iím just saying that you can catch the sniffles or the plague pretty easy. So, you know, push ups and treadmill and stuff help.

Do you consider your career as separate from the rest of your life? Do you have a sort of ďhome from workĒ mentality, or is the writing just a natural part of your lifestyle?

Writing is what I do and who I am. My entire life revolves around the book Iím working on, the one Iím about to start, or the one that just came out. Either by research, travel, promotion Ė whatever. I think about it all the time. And I like it that way.

Although all of your books have been optioned for films, you have said that as of yet ďnone of them are in any danger of being made into a movie.Ē Which novel do you think would translate best into this medium and since youíve already exercised your screenwriting chops with ĎGriffí would you prefer to write the screenplay?

Iím not really interested in writing the screenplay for any of them. Originally I wanted to do Bloodsucking Fiends myself, but since then Iím worked in Hollywood a little and Iíd rather not work under those circumstances. With books I donít have some lawyer second-guessing what I write. Iíd like to see A Dirty Job made into a film for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is the Hellhounds, who are giant, 400 pound, indestructable dogs who eat toasters and stuff and basically rule. I think it would be cool to see them. Chris Columbus has that book and I think heís terrifically talented, so Iím really hoping to see it made.

To give ĎYou Suckísí goth teen Abby Normal the right vernacular, you spent a lot of time trolling MySpace and various vampire-themed websites and blogs. What is the most alarming or hilarious thing you came across in your research?

I think the biggest surprise was the casualness that kids had toward sex. I sort of expected the dread and the darkness and the morose attitudes, but the sex thing threw me. I remember reading one girlís blog talking about having had sex with three different guys in the previous 24 hours and coming home to find her step-father having a wank in the living room, and she sort of listed all the events with about the same gravity as she did describing buying a new ďEmilyĒ hoody. I incorporated that sort of jaded precociousness into the character, but it was definitely not what I expected. The funniest thing was the way these Goth kids would change from morbid to perky with whiplash transitions. One sentence talking about the meaningless of life and how it wasnít worth going on in the uncaring, harsh world (horny for the grave, is the term I use for it) and the next going off about the great new green Carebear that their mom bought them today.

This month marks the first anniversary of Kurt Vonnegutís death. Which of his works influenced you the most?

Galapagos and Bluebeard. The first because of itís take on human evolution, about how our big brains really werenít that great an idea, and the second because of the unorthodox way in which itís told, with Vonnegut saying that you could arrange the passages in any order and they would still work. And you know what, heís right. I experimented with it. Overall, his influence was his ďgetting away with itĒ, if that makes any sense. It inspired me to try to get away with it, too.

While youíre working on your novels, you very helpfully keep fans at bay (or at least try to) by suggesting books to read while theyíre waiting for the latest Christopher Moore offering to be released. What are you reading now?

Well, I think we all know that because you work for Amazon, you can probably look at my buying record and answer that. (But Iíve blocked the web cam, so you canít actually WATCH me read. And the helmet blocks your Amazon purchasing waves. And just try and get by the garlic over the door!) Anyway, I suppose weíll go through this ruse as if you donít really know. Iím reading The Private Lives of the Impressionists, by Susan Roe, and Vincent Van Gogh: A Self-Portrait in Art and Letters by H. Anna Suh. I just finished reading Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon. I have about fifty books Iím supposed to be reading for comment, which Iíll never get to, but I assure you they are all wonderful and everyone should buy two copies of each.

Youíve held down an eclectic mix of jobs prior to becoming a successful writer from roofer to DJ, and have hung around with marine biologists and taken flying lessons to research the occupations of the characters in your books. If you werenít a novelist, how would you like to make a living?

How would I like to make a living? I think being a marine mammal biologist would be very cool. I wouldnít mind doing stand-up or radio if I could do it without someone telling me what to do all the time (although I have no delusions about those things being easy.) Iíd like to take pictures for a living, too. What Iíd probably be doing, though, is waiting tables.

Who was your favorite Buffy: Kristy Swanson or Sarah Michelle Geller?

Thatís tough. I liked them both, but I guess because of the seven-year run of the series, Sarah Michelle Geller is my iconic Buffy.

In the postscript of Lamb, you ask people not to take his take on Christ's missing 30 years as serious stuff. How much negative feedback did he actually get from readers? How many of those had actually read the book vs. just taking offense with the premise?

Iíve received over 20,000 e-mails regarding Lamb since the book came out in 2002. Three (3) have been negative. Two were from people who hadnít actually read the book (both from Alabama, by the way), but who just didnít like the idea of it. Iím sure they are happily performing some act of human cruelty on behalf of God right now. The other was from a retired Monsignor from Montreal, who took issue with my theology, which is completely understandable. As a Catholic monsignor you are not trained to take the Gospels as being ďopen to interpretationĒ.

If you were hosting a dinner party for eight writers, who would your seven guests be? What would you serve?

John Steinbeck, Lord Byron, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, William Shakespeare, and I would serve strawberry banana smoothies, because the blender would scare the crap out of Shakespeare and that might be fun to watch.

Whatís the most absurd thing you own?

A tuxedo. Then again, maybe the stuffed squirrel wearing an Elizabethan gown. But that could come in handy. No, definitely the tuxedo.

Youíre a fantastically funny guy. What or whom is funny to you these days?

Iíve been sort of immersed in British humor for the last couple of years as I worked on a book set in medieval England, which will be out next year, so lately: Eddie Izzard, Richard Curtis (screenwriter of Four Weddings and Funeral and Many Others), Mil Millington, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders in their various series. (The Vicar of Dibley, which stars French, was written by Curtis as well.) P.G. Wodehouse. H.H. Munro. As far as comedians, I always go see Jake Johannsen and Paula Poundstone when they are in town. I like My Name is Earl, a lot Ė Jamie Pressly always cracks me up, and I thought 30 Rock got pretty good as the season went on. The Office is good, but it kind of makes me squirm, as does Larry Davidís show. Except for Mil Millington, I havenít discovered many ďnewĒ funny writers in the last few years. Iíd love to, but I keep picking up books that say they are funny but simply arenít.

You've gotten to dive with whales and take trips to the South Pacific as book research. In Christopher Mooreís perfect world, what would be next?

Iím going to learn to paint with oils and speak French (yeah, at the same friggin time). Really. I want to do another whale book and hang out with the killer whale guys (theyíve invited me to hang out), but my agent keeps telling me not to do it because people hate whales, so that has to wait until he has a heart attack.


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