Thursday, May 19, 2005

Interview with Author John McNally - continued

Back to Interview, part one

NM: This is my third e-mail to you. In very strict terms, I have now crossed the line into stalkerdom, which makes me feel weird and giddy at the same time. I once had this guy who wrote a comment on my blog that said "You are very sexy. I MUST MEET YOU." The caps made it ominous. What's your experience with stalkers?

JM: Having a real stalker is a sign that you’ve made it. It’s like winning the Pulitzer. Sadly, I’m not at that level yet. I’ve had people ask if they could have a picture taken with me, but that’s not too creepy. A little weird but not creepy. I do attract an unsettling number of readers who have gotten out of jail. I suspect if you look at the cover of my first book – Troublemakers – you’ll see why.

Ideally, one hopes to attract a readership of wealthy women, age 35 to 55, rather than down-on-their-luck cons, but so it goes. In the end, your readers choose you, not the other way around.

NM: I noticed your book contains a Reading Group Guide. Did you write that? I hope you didn't because I don't know if I have ever gone to any reading groups and discussed "the setting" or the "relationship of so-and-so," that's more for like high school English or something. Everybody I know would ask, "Which was the character you would like most to have sex with?" or "We're out of tequila, where's the Jaegermeister?" Why is that in there and wouldn't you rather have your readers discuss how attractive your author photo is?

JM: I didn’t write the Reading Group Guide, and, to be honest, I’m not sure I know the answers to any of the questions.

The author photo was on the hardback, and that didn’t seem to work any special magic, so now we’re targeting the people who form their own book clubs and get together at the local Barnes and Noble.

Now, I don’t have anything against anyone getting together to talk about books, but I’m not sure my book is a “book club” book. There’s a certain demographic (see above) for those readers, and I have a hard time picturing them sitting around a table holding my book, whose cover features a spiky-haired kid biting off another kid’s ear. Maybe I’m wrong. I hope so.

NM: In your Author's Note you apologize for the liberties you've taken in the locations, the descriptions of your childhood town of Burbank, Illinois. Why did you feel you have to do that? In the movie My Best Friend's Wedding, Julia Roberts was at Wrigley Field in one scene and McCormick Place the next. In The Fugitive, the El stops were out of sequence and Harrison Ford didn't feel the need to apologize. Why are you really apologizing?

JM: I’m apologizing because the book is actually 100% autobiographical. Okay, I'll admit it: It's all true. There.

NM: I suppose we have to discuss your book, but as of this minute, I've only read the first three chapters, so why don't we just agree that all the characters in the book are really just aspects of you and are not based on real people. I hate it anyway, when these people at book signings want to know which character was based on who in your life. So, why don't you tell us instead, if like Hank in the book, did you really go as Gene Simmons of KISS for Halloween and how far can you stick your tongue out?

JM: To go as Gene Simmons requires serious work. I once went as Chuck Mangione. I put on an old hat and suit jacket, and I carried around a horn. I put on a name tag that said, “HELLO. MY NAME IS CHUCK.” No one got it. They thought I was going as some guy from A.A.

NM: Anything else you'd like to share to us that you have not shared with Pat O'Brien of Access Hollywood?

JM: My feet are shrinking. I used to wear a size 13. I’m down to a size 12 now. Go figure.


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