What a lot has happened in a few days. In breaking news we see that; Twitter has acquired TweetDeck for more than $40 million in a mix of cash and stock, according to sources! President Obama visits Eire (Southern Irleand) for the first time~ as did Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. The death tell continues to rise after the horrific Joplin tornado and Donald Trump is making a late presidential bid! Now that item is news, even if just for the entertainment factor! This brings me onto my own bit of fun. The latest contender in my Mastermind series. Today's gallows subject is the astounding writer, Larry Enright. Please welcome him and see how he fares against the others. Enjoy!!
Good evening and welcome to tonight’s edition of Authors’ Mastermind. My name is Faith Mortimer and I welcome tonight’s first contender. Could you please state your name and occupation?
Let’s just say for the sake of conversation that I am Larry Enright. You can call me Mr E. Telling you my real name would reveal my secret identity to the world and I would need to relocate my Fortress of Solitude to the North Pole where the property taxes are lower.
Thank you Mr err, E. Now, can you tell us your chosen subject? …
My chosen subjects are siblings and neighbourhood kids who let me boss them around. We are the Caswell Gang. I am their king and they are my court of fools. By the way, your British spell-checker is forcing me to put the letter “U” into words. Bully.
Now would you please answer the following questions on your chosen subject? You have a maximum number of 250 words on each question. If you do not know the answer, say pass and we’ll move on to another question. The total number of passes will be counted and deducted against your final score. Are you ready?
Good then I’ll begin.
I said ‘no.’ Fine, have it your way...
1. Mr. E., how do you describe yourself; as a writer and as a person?
As a writer, I am the bomb. As a person, I am more the bomber. You might recall my famous Alphabet Bombing Campaign from my adventures in Four Years from Home. It was written up in all the important journals of the time, such as the Book of Tom.
2. Do you do anything that would tell us you lead an interesting or indeed a crazy life?
Me, crazy? Do I look crazy? Do I act crazy? I’m not paranoid. Who are you calling paranoid? I refuse to answer this question on the grounds that I’m not crazy.
3. Er, do sit down Mr E and put that away. I said put it away. Now! Okay, okay he’s unarmed now. Let us resume. Briefly, describe your journey into writing your first book and what or who inspired you.
I am totally self-inspired. That comes basically from the fact that no one likes me, but that being said, my journey into writing was my attempt at telling a story of my love for my stupid brother. That was my novel, Four Years from Home. I should have named it, Harry is stupid and why is he missing and why should I care? But the editor said that wouldn’t fly. I miss Harry.
4. Are you working on anything right now?
I am working on two things: the sequel to Four Years from Home, which will be out in the fall, and a serial adventure of the young Tom Ryan, the anti-hero from Four Years from Home, that I publish weekly on the Internet for all to see and throw tomatoes at. The serial is called A King in a Court of Fools. Google it, I dare you. Chicken. If you read Four Years from Home, you’d get the joke behind it all. If you didn’t, why not? Chicken? I knew it.
5b. What is your next book about, and where do you get your ideas from?
My next book, which has the working title, Shut up, I’m trying my best, is about what happens to me after Four Years from Home. Wait, did I say “me?” I meant to say, “Tom Ryan.” I firmly believe that I get my ideas from Mars or some other planet whose name possibly begins with a “U.” Can you prove I don’t?
6. How would you define your writing working day? Give us some indication of where you work, and the length of time you spend on your project.
My best writing time is early in the morning when I still have some energy rattling around in my brain. That doesn’t quite fit with my having a 9 to 5 job, but maybe soon that will change and I can do more writing in those quality hours. My best work is done in what we call “the office.” We called it that long before that TV show I have never seen. I don’t watch TV anymore since they flushed it down the toilet. I spent four years on my first novel. The sequel will take about one year.
7. Tell us about characterisation. How do you develop your characters? Do you feel they are important in the overall picture? Do you ever base them on real people?
It’s all about me. So my characters do what I tell them to do whether they like it or not. If I say, “Get real,” they get real. If I tell them to develop more, they hop to it. I try not to tell the girl characters that, they’re pretty sensitive about things like that and hit pretty hard. Believe it.
8. What about the editing and redrafting process? When do you do this?
I am perfect, so the question hardly applies, does it? But if it did, I would do it whenever I wanted. You can’t stop me.
9. How have you overcome any trials and tribulations of rejection?
Oh, you really do not want to know what I am capable of. Read Four Years from Home, you’ll see what I’m talking about.
10. If you were not writing, what would be your choice of employment?
I would be a diplomat. I am very diplomatic. People do what I tell them to do. That’s what it’s all about, right?
Thank you. Your score on your chosen subject is 7. You failed on 3. You chose two subjects in question 1 instead of 1 subject. You lost points for verbal abuse in calling me a bully, I’m not! And you lost another point for striking me, the question master, with a child’s bucket and spade.
Now for the General Knowledge section.
What’s with all the questions? My agent said I only had to answer ten. Okay, whatever. Just to show you I’m easy.
1. Which book(s) are you reading at the moment?
The Gifts, by Linda Prather and Confessions, by Ryne Douglas Pearson. Both are great books.
2. Name your five favourite authors.
That’s like asking me to name my favourite songs. There are too many. Sorry, Ryne, Linda, Mark, Frank, and Agatha.
3. Who, out of your five favourite people would you like to invite to dinner at your house. You will be doing the catering. What is your ideal menu, you would provide? (You must be able to cook this!)
Mother Teresa, George Harrison, Michael Palin, and two street people chosen at random. The street people for their wisdom, George would play for us, Michael would make us laugh, and Mother Teresa would remind us why we are really here. I would make Chilli. I make the best chilli east of Mullica Hill and west of Glassboro.
4. Do any authors inspire you? If so, which ones?
Tough question, too tough. Uncle.
5. What things in your life would you love to do that you haven’t yet achieved. Your answer should NOT be ‘become a rich and famous author’. If you fall back on this answer, then 3 marks will be deducted from your overall score.
I want to be on Letterman, play guitar and talk about anything I want.
6. Describe your ideal day; working and leisure (only clean answers please).
Wake up, realize I am still alive, and make the most of it.
7. What has been the most memorable thing that has happened to you in a, your writing career and b, in your private life (again, only cleans answers will be accepted).
When my Dad said he liked Four Years from Home.
8. Are you a disciplined person in everyday life? How would/does this reflect in your writing?
Yes, my wife and children discipline me every day. It reflects in my writing like the warm sun off the blue lake on a clear mountain morning. How’s that?
9. Do you keep a dart-board handy with rejection letters from Publishing House editors’ photographs pinned to it? If so, what is your highest score?
10. What are your five desert island books?
Swiss Family Robinson, Gilligan’s Island, Treasure Island, Fantasy Island, Kidnapped.
Tie-breaker question. Tell us the most outrageous/embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you. What were the consequences? A bonus of 5 extra points will be awarded to the best answer from contenders to the Authors Mastermind Crown.
In high school, I was asked to compete in a writing contest. The winner would be chosen as class valedictorian. I thought the whole thing was a joke. I was definitely a rebel without a cause at that point in my life. So I wrote a speech that vividly expressed my disdain for the education system and resentment at having been thrown into a world not of my own choosing. But the speech also spoke of hope if only we, the graduates, would accept the challenge and begin a process of change to make it better for those that follow us. I delivered the speech and won the contest. That embarrassment became a defining moment in my life when I gave the speech at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh in 1968.
Thank you. Your time is now up. You managed to complete all questions with no passes. However you failed on three of these. You failed to give the surnames of your favourite authors. You bragged about your chilli when everyone knows MINE is best and you passed completely on naming any inspiring authors – and just who is Uncle?
Your overall score would therefore normally be 14, but I have deducted 10 marks for being a smart-arse. And for your information that is arse, not ass as this is a British run Mastermind competition. Mr E, I don’t think we’ll be inviting you back for measuring your head for the crown with a total score of just 4, but for entertainment value I’ll award you the extra 5 points for the tie-breaker question. Your final score is now 9.
Well done and thank you.