Eric Smith, author of Textual Healing – about a once-famous author who finds his former bestselling book in the sale bins of Barnes and Noble – talks about his book, John Cusack, and sugar gliders.
- Textual Healing is such a fresh concept – a support group for writers struggling with writer’s block. However did you come up with it?
I actually had a bizarre dream in college. I had written a book, and the day it came out, I discovered it on clearance at a bookshop for super cheap. I had this nervous breakdown, started crying, etc. I keep a dream journal and jot down my more strange dreams… and this one stuck with me. When I was working on my thesis for my undergrad, which was to be a novel or a collection of short stories, I went with that dream, and expanded it. The result was the silly book you just read.
- Ace strikes me as sort of this generation’s Rob Fleming of Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity, only instead of a former DJ-turned-record store owner, you have a former bestselling author-turned-bookstore owner. Has anybody ever told you that? Were there any other literary comparisons made with your character?
Why thank you! Hornby is a huge influence and one of my favorite writers. Ever. A couple of people have made that comparison, and that absolutely thrills me. That’s exactly what I was going for.
- What, exactly, is a sugar glider? I kinda have this idea that it’s a baby bat with a sugar fetish (I’ll Google later to see if I’m wrong).
Hahaha. They are these perfectly harmless, adorable marsupials that people often keep as pets. They can glide around, much like a flying squirrel… but don’t be fooled. They are actually a kind of possum. And that’s your fun fact of the day.
- I have to you give you props for the whole pirate-versus-ninja subplot – and the costume ideas. I tend to giggle when I remember them. Were there times you’ve thought, “this is too much” and removed parts of the book?
Oh, plenty of times. That whole subplot was a lot longer, and some of the ridiculous inner-dialogue sequences with Ace were also cut. I had to keep some semblance of believability, despite the cliché everything-moves-really-quick romantic comedy structure and the strange characters.
- Will we get to read more of Andrew “Ace” Connor soon? A sequel, perhaps?
Eh, probably not. Right now I’m working on a sort of Philadelphia tourism guide and concentrating on short essays. I’ve got another novel kicking around, but I’m still waiting to see where else Textual Healing goes.
- Really Random Question: If Textual Healing became a TV series, who’d you want to play Ace?
Oh man… in a dream world, John Cusack. But I don’t think he’d do television. So maybe Fry from Futurama.
It could happen. 🙂