"They" say that author interviews are a good way to promote your book. But there are a couple factors that hamstring me a bit in hawking my work, like a job that requires me to be a bit less crazy and obnoxious than I might otherwise be inclined, and an evolving personality trait that is nudging me toward hermit status. So I've had to turn down some requests that might have already catapulted Runaway Trane into best-seller status.
But, you know, it's actually kind of fun telling Oprah "no." I got the impression she doesn't hear that much. And when I told O'Reilly he couldn't handle me in the no-spin zone, that was kind of cool too. It's almost empowering to do this whole Salmon Rushdie-Hunter Thompson reclusive author bit.
But then, last night, one of my two dogs, Huckleberry, came into my library/greenhouse/spare bedroom and jumped up on the bed behind my chair at the desk. He gave me his serious look and said: "We need to talk."
At first I was startled, but then amazed, that this dog with two brain cells could actually speak. Nobody will believe me, I figured, so I flipped on the tape recorder (yes I still have a mini-cassette recorder). But Huck slapped his paw on the stop button and said: "I have some questions for you about this new book of yours, off the record."
As a former reporter myself, I figured it was off-the-record for him to report my answers, but okay for me to do so. Later that evening I transcribed the conversation to the best of my recollection.
Here's how that author interview went:
Huck: "Rumor has it you have a new book out. Is that correct?"
Me: "Yo, Dog."
Huck: "Don't call me Dog."
Huck: "In this book, apparently there's some guy named Bobby Trane who gets in the middle of some trouble in this town and tries to save it and the pretty girl. Is that correct?"
Me: "In a nutshell, yeah."
Huck: "And, in this book, does that Bobby Trane have a dog?"
Me: "Yes. He kind of adopts this ranch dog who wasn't eating and was depressed because his master, a little girl, was missing."
Huck: "We don't call you 'masters.'"
Me: "What do you call us?"
Huck: Depends on the person.
Me: "What do you call me?"
Huck: "You don't want to know. But back to the book. Does this dog have a name?"
Me: "Yes. Stanley."
Huck: "You realize we have a Stanley dog in our house?"
Me: "Our house? You paying rent now?"
Huck: "Don't change the subject."
Me: "Yes, I'm very well aware we have a Stanley in this house."
Huck: "And is there another dog in that book, perhaps named Huckleberry?"
Huck: "Why not?"
Me: "Frankly, you have not earned literary status yet. Stanley has."
Huck: "What does he do that I don't?"
Me: "It's more about what you do that he doesn't do?'
Huck: "Such as?"
Me: "You eat poop. He doesn't."
Huck: "Oh, like you've never eaten poop?"
Huck: "Wish we could all be as perfect as you, Prince boy. What else do I do that you find so objectionable?"
Me: "You take off running throughout the neighborhood whenever you get the chance and don't come back when we call you."
Huck: "Oh, so when Thomas Jefferson wants freedom it's a good thing, but when ol' Huckleberry wants a little hair-of-the-dog I'm the bad guy?"
Me: "Just looking out for you so you don't get run over."
Huck: "Anything else I do?"
Me: "You drool excessively while watching us eat. It's pretty gross."
Huck: "So I have over-active salivary glands. Sue me."
Me: "Don't get me wrong, we love you even with your flaws. It's somewhat endearing."
Huck: "But not endearing enough to get me in the book."
Me: "Frankly, there wasn't a role for another dog. Tell you what, I'll try to work you into a book in the future."
Huck: "Like Stanley? Rescuing people and being all Lassie-like? You do realize how obnoxious he's been now that he's in a book? He's all nah-nah-nah and stuff."
Me: "Well, no guarantees."
Huck: "You don't sound very convincing. I'm disappointed in you."
Me: "Uff da, what is that smell?!"
Huck: "Oops, add another thing to my list."