Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Amy Lignor is talking with Simon Plaster, author of News: A Tale of Too Much Information and a Girl
FQ: As a person who has actually been in Henryetta, Oklahoma, can you tell our readers if this story is based on Cowboys Quarterback Troy Aikman's hometown, or is this a fictional world only? If fictional, where did this idea first come to you? And, are any or all of the characters based on real people in your life?
PLASTER: The tale, like all my other written ones so far, is in fact set in the small Oklahoma town that was once widely known as HOTA ---- Hometown of Troy Aikman ---- but is now more widely known as HOTAGG ---- Hometown of both Troy Aikman and Gaylord Goodhart ---- since publication of my tale, titled Sumbitch, about Goodhart's football exploits that surpassed Aikman's. The idea for it first came to me in my head, out of a bottle of Merlot, I expect. My impressions of real people are usually that they are characters, so it's hard to say which are based on which.
FQ: This is the 10th satirical book you've written. Do you believe that humor is a "must have" or, at least, a great addition when it comes to writing a mystery?
PLASTER: Well, jokes and mystery stories both tend to be about being surprised that things turn out to be not in sync with what you might normally expect, so...I have no idea if there's a "must have" connection to anything except women.
FQ: Is there a genre you have not yet delved into that you would like to attempt in the future?
PLASTER: I could be wrong, but Attempted Genre sounds like it might be a crime in the State of Oklahoma. So, I don't know if I will ever delve that way or not.
FQ: Who are your favorite authors?
PLASTER: I don't read much, not at all actually, but would say my own books make set-abouts that are about as good as anybody's that I've seen on a shelf or coffee table.
FQ: How did the writing path first begin for you? Did you have teachers that helped you along, or a mentor that perhaps encouraged you to write?
PLASTER: My writing path started with printing, and yes, I had a high school teacher, Ms. Tuck, who helped me a lot with the letter S. But longhand, in my opinion, is a talent you're either born with, or without. Not only has no one eve encouraged me to write, most have advised me to stop doing it.
FQ: Tell us about a perfect Simon Plaster writing day. Your surroundings? Music has to be playing in the background? CNN running on the TV? What makes it "just right" for writing?
PLASTER: A perfect writing day for me would take a pot of coffee, about three packs of cigarettes, and a good looking gal rubbing my shoulders. But I live in an imperfect world, so have to make do with just coffee and an unlit cigar.
FQ: On a serious note, how do you feel about the tabloid journalism that seems to have taken over the world we live in today? Do you believe anyone tells the truth anymore?
PLASTER: If you're talking about The New York Times, no. Nothing it's put out since Gus was a pup is "News Fit to Print," in my opinion. As for actual tabloid-size papers, I always take cans of food through the supermarket express check-out lane, so I am only familiar with the the headlines and pictures put out by National Enquirer and the like, which usually look pretty dang interesting.
FQ: What is next up for you? Can you give readers a "sneak peek" at what you're working on right now?
PLASTER: Just finished OPRY, A Semi-Musical Tale of Honky Tonk Lifestyle, which has a singin', drinkin', cheatin' story line such as you would find in both many if not most country songs and old-time, high-brow, foreign language musical shows from overseas.
FQ: Readers love this question, so I must ask: If you could have dinner with one author, living or dead (but they would be, of course, alive for dinner), who would it be and what would be the one question you would love to ask them?
PLASTER: I have dinner with my own self all the time, and always ask the same question about every subject that comes up: "What the hell were you thinking?"
FQ: Thank you for your time. And thank you for a great book!