Friday, June 29, 2007


by Mark Haskell Smith

I'm on tour promoting my new novel, SALTY (a Book Sense Notable Book for July!) and tonight is my event at Book Passage. I'll be in conversation with Matt Richtel, author of HOOKED. The evening will be facilitated by David Hewson and could become some kind of "one-word title" smackdown between me and Matt. You just don't know what will happen. He's younger than me, but my kung fu is strong. Fireworks start at 7:30pm.

In the new psychological horror film, 1408 starring John Cusack and Samuel Jackson, Cusack plays an author on his book tour. In the original screenplay, when the author showed up at a bookstore he was greeted like a conquering hero with a hundred cheering fans waving copies of his books and screaming his name. I know this because I'm friends with Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (THE PEOPLE vs LARRY FLYNT, ED WOOD), the screenwriters who did the rewrite of the movie. Scott and Larry decided it would be funnier and more realistic if they used some of their friend Mark's (that's me) real life book tour stories in the movie instead of what was originally written. So now you get John Cusack walking into a bookstore and introducing himself, "I'm here for the big event." And the bookstore clerk saying, "That's tonight?" Cut to: 3 people and dozens of empty chairs as Cusack gamely offers to "take questions from the audience". Granted they left out the Korean woman who didn't speak English and fell asleep that one time or the guy who opened a tin of sardines and ate them with his fingers while I read...

I told you it was a horror film.

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