Today, I am hosting an interview with Rich Leder as part of the Funny Books book tour hosted by VBT Café. I hope that you enjoy the Q&A as much as I did.
- Website: laughriotpress.com/richleder
- Blog: laughriotpress.com/blog
- Facebook: facebook.com/laughriotpress
- Twitter: twitter.com/laughriotpress
- Pinterest: pinterest.com/laughriotpress
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8304523.Rich_Leder?from_search=true
- Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Rich-Leder/e/B00N66JNN0/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1410055056&sr=8-1
Book Genre: FUNNY MYSTERY // FUNNY
Publisher: LAUGH RIOT PRESS
Release Date: AUGUST 2014
Buy Link(s): Amazon
MCCALL & COMPANY: WORKMAN’S COMPLICATION
ACTRESS. MURDERED PI FATHER. NEW DAY JOB.
JUGGLER, PORN STAR, MONKEY WRENCH
office building, two big fat bullet holes where his eyes used to be—but I wasn’t listening.
business card and said, “Date and time’s on the back. Monday morning, ten thirty.”
shock that had been constructed in the same second the fire hydrant had delivered the bad news, which, as he said, was his job.
trouble on the job. Jimmy always worked that kind of thing out for himself and had told me, “Never cozy up to the cops unless you’re
impersonating one.” I deleted Harriman’s message and didn’t call him back. Maybe that’s what he was going to tell me, that Jimmy had been murdered. Anyway, now Barnes had told me.
What came first for JUGGLER, PORN STAR, MONKEY WRENCH, the characters or the story itself?
JUGGLER is the reasonably accurate story of my life as a screenwriter in LA. Some of it is exactly true, some of it is inexactly true, but all of it is preposterously true enough. So sometimes the characters came first, and sometimes the story came first, but most of the time these things smashed together at the same moment.
What about your MCCALL & COMPANY characters surprised you while writing?
How important each one of them told me they were. Of course, Kate McCall is the star of the show, and she was very clear about that from the get-go. Both she and I expected her tenants in the House of Emotional Tics and her off-off-off-off Broadway acting company, the Schmidt and Parker Players, to understand that fact and behave accordingly. But not a one of them did. In every instance, they were so vibrant and real and living actual, dysfunctionally functional New York City lives, that they refused to be contained. The result, for me, was hilarious. It’s all Kate can do to hold her own, solve her case, and find her father’s killer.
How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in your books?
Plenty. JUGGLER screenwriter Mark Manilow is not me, but he’s not far off either. And clearly I’m not a 45-year-old woman, so I’m not exactly Kate McCall. But Kate’s tough, and she’s fearless, and she’s funny, and she’s romantic, and she’s a fighter, and I like to think I’m kind of like that on my good days. I didn’t say I was like that; I said I like to think I am. Which means I think there’s a lot me in Kate and some of her in me. I could do way worse. I like Kate a lot. I think writers often stumble upon a conscious spark of essence in some aspect of their being that appeals to them in a universal way, meaning they think if this aspect is so strong and identifiable in them, then it must be so in others as well. And these kinds of things filter into their characters because they have to, because that’s what makes their characters three-dimensional people that writers and readers recognize as real. It’s what makes books resonate for weeks and months and longer after you put them down. It’s not so much the story as it is the characters that are living it. Anyway, that’s what happens to me.
Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
I write funny books with smart/crazy/crafted stories and eccentric, hilarious characters. I’m a fast, fun, and easy read. So I’m writing for readers who want to jump off the speeding train of their lives for a few minutes and get lost in a world of lunatics maneuvering through stories that charge causally forward and make them laugh out loud. My life is so full and insane sometimes that all I want to do is sit on my screened porch and disappear in a book that transports me—heart and soul and sense of humor—to somewhere, anywhere else. Just give me a few minutes; that’s all I ask. I’m not special, so I think lots of readers feel the same way.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
All at the same time, I founded Laugh Riot Press, a genre-specific social media marketing and self-publishing company, and self-pubbed—though LRP—my three funny books. So just surviving that journey has been pretty dang rewarding. I think my path is a little different than most self-published authors, or even most traditionally published authors. I was a screenwriter in LA for twenty years. My screenplays were produced into movies eighteen times. I imagine for many indie authors simply having their work out in the world at large is a big deal and rewarding as hell. It should be. What an amazing accomplishment! Congratulations to you all! I have experienced that feeling many times in my life on a global scale. I feel it this time too, but not the same way as when my first film aired on CBS. That was all adrenaline-fueled excitement. Self-pubbing has given me a deeper sense of self-fulfillment—and the adrenaline-fueled excitement. Who am I kidding? I’m stoked. Okay, so the question was “most rewarding experience.” Easy. Readers telling me they laughed out loud.
If someone were to write a biography about you, what do you think the title of the book should be? Why?
AN UNEXPECTED LIFE. When I was a kid, I wanted to be Walt Frazier. And then I wanted to be Bruce Springsteen. I had no idea I would be a professional screenwriter and then novelist and then publisher. Zero idea. It still amazes me. This is what my bio says: Rich Leder has been a working writer for more than two decades. His screen credits include 18 produced television films for CBS, Lifetime, and Hallmark and feature films for Paramount Pictures, Tri-Star Pictures, and Left Bank Films. He has written four funny novels to be released in 2014: McCall & Company: Workman’s Complication; McCall & Company: Swollen Identity; Juggler, Porn Star, Monkey Wrench; and Let There Be Linda. He has been the lead singer in a Detroit rock band, a restaurateur, a Little League coach, an indie film director, a PTA board member, a literacy tutor, a magazine editor, a screenwriting coach, a commercial real estate agent, and a visiting artist for the University of North Carolina Wilmington Film Studies Department, among other things, all of which, it turns out, was grist for the mill. He resides on the North Carolina coast with his awesome wife, Lulu, and is sustained by the visits home of their three college kids. Maybe the title should be AN IMPROBABLE LIFE. I never saw any of it coming. How could I have done so many disparate things and not imploded? Maybe I did implode. It’s improbable for a person to live that life. You would never plan it that way, would you? NOTE: IF YOU’RE RUNNING MY BIO SEPARATELY, INSTEAD OF … This is what my bio says: RUN THIS: If you look at what my bio says, then maybe the title should be AN IMPROBABLE LIFE. I never saw any of it coming. How could I have done so many disparate things and not imploded? Maybe I did implode. It’s improbable for a person to live that life. You would never plan it that way, would you?
What book do you love that doesn’t get a lot of hype?
TRUST ME ON THIS by Donald Westlake. Smart, hilarious, and smart. Westlake was a giant and is one of my heroes. He wrote the Dortmunder books, of course, and dozens of others under a six-pack of pseudonyms. But Sara Josyln, his smart, brave, fearless, and funny star of TRUST ME ON THIS, was inspirational for me. I think Kate McCall is someone Westlake would have liked. At least I hope so.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I know more or less everything there is to know about wedding planning.