Thursday, February 25, 2010

It Takes a Lot to Laugh

So I interviewed author Chris Warner yesterday, and after the interview, we started swapping funny stories we've been told while covering the Gulf Coast.

Chris and I crossed paths because he's currently writing a biography of Joe Gilchrist, owner of the Flora-Bama lounge. A friend of mine told him about my books and how they're all set in this area, and then she told me about Chris. So I decided to do a "Get to Know" feature on him.

Anyway, he told me a story Joe had related to him about how once the tide around Orange Beach was glowing because of all the phosphorus in the sea life or something. (Of course, I thought of Steve Zissou.)

The story went that Joe saw it and closed the Flora-Bama. He then gave his patrons two options: go home or go skinnydipping.

LTM: (LOL!) I love where we live!

So I was thinking of rewatching Zissou, but instead I hit "play" on Darjeeling Ltd. It's been hanging out on the DVR for almost a year now, and I've watched it a few times. I haven't deleted it yet because, you know. Some days are just those kinda days.

I like the movie primarily because I also like Bottle Rocket, and it's fun seeing Wilson revisiting the Dignan character. That, and I totally get the sibling relationships portrayed. Francis is so my self-appointed third guardian/older brother in that film.

"On the spiritual journey, it's crucial that we don't splinter into factions or not include somebody who has advice and may know better."

Anyway, I hadn't watched Darjeeling since writing Debut Novel, and I had to giggle at the brothers' reaction to Jack's book. Primarily because he insists it's a work of fiction whereas the movie demonstrates it's definitely not.

It was funny because my small group of test readers have already begun deciding which characters are which friends, and I'm just floored. Guys! They really ARE fictional!

But despite being works of fiction, the setting of my books is very real. I had lots of fun surrounding my fictional characters with local landmarks, events, folklore, history, etc. Even some of the names are derivations of actual family names in this area. (I'm planning to make sure that's OK before it's published, hold the emails.)

So I'm happy people are really getting into the books. What makes me even happier are the playful demands for more pages--stat! (whee!) Hopefully things will level out before long, and I can just have one writing job.

I buried the lede. As of now, I've gotten three requests so far--one for a partial and two for the full manuscript--from three different, reputable agencies. Yay!

I'm encouraged, and please do keep your fingers crossed. This is only Round 1 after all. But I'll keep you posted.

And keep those positive comments coming. I really appreciate it.

As for Darjeeling... What's up with all the spectacle-raising? Is that symbolic?

It made me think of Stephen King's advice to read back through your books, and if you notice any symbols, go ahead and play those up. (BAH!!! Thanks, "Uncle Stevie," for validating my writing style.)

And wouldn't it sound great if you could hear a train going by off in the distance right now?


JRichard said...

Well, really the best one of the bunch is still The Royal Tennenbaums, and OW plays a somewhat Dignanesque character there as well. Sort of. Also, what ever happened to Bob Mappelthorpe? Not naughty, good-use-of-lighting-for-painful-intimate-procedures Bob Mappelthorpe, but that fellow from BR that kind of looks like Louis Franklin? Also, as a bona fide SK reader, I have to say that you still probably don't want to model yourself on his current writing style. Best shot, go back and read Carrie, The Dead Zone, maybe the Dark Half; or for pure story, just go for Christine. These are not necessarily his BEST WORKS (that honor, obviously, is reserved for Misery), but they show a writer of true craftsmanship who has not yet been called upon to gaze into his oevre that closely.

Further, instead of assigning real people to your characters, let's assign their movie roles:

Julian: That beefy Lautner fellow
Anna: Alexis Bledel with a perm
Jack: Chris Pine
Lucy: Jessica Simpson
Cheryl Bieck: Heather Matazzaro

Finally---everybody hears a train in the distance; everybody things it's true.

LTM said...

no no no--don't pollute the pool. There are no supernatural beings in my books. Or zombies. The Foley "Catman" has a cameo, but it's just for a practical joke. The character you ref. is tall/skinny, not short/beefy.

Oh, Champs Elysees!