Steve Hely is both a comedy writer (American Dad!) and a real writer (How I Became a Famous Novelist). As you can see from this piece he wrote in The Believer, Steve’s mind is rich with loving observations of the many terriblenesses of book-writing. I wanted to interview this hot young talent for the Nerd World blog, but what with the transcribing and the question-thinking-of and live-person-talking-to, it seemed impossible. So I asked Steve to write a fake interview between myself and him on the topic of first novel:
MATT SELMAN: Thanks for agreeing to this interview.
STEVE HELY: My pleasure, Matt!
MS: I really enjoyed the book.
SH: (LAUGHING GENTLY) Thank you.
MS: For those who haven’t yet had the pleasure, can you briefly summarize the plot?
SH: A young and lazy, rascal tells the story of what happened when he set out to win fame, fortune, and revenge by writing a bestselling novel.
MS: What emotions do you hope to evoke from readers?
SH: Laughter, pleasure, and thinking.
MS: Who will enjoy this book?
SH: I think it will be enjoyed by anyone who likes the novels of Danielle Steele, Tom Clancy, Cormac McCarthy, John Grisham, Nora Roberts, Dan Brown, Stephen King, or Lauren Conrad.
MS: What is the hardest part of writing a book?
SH: Picking which words to use.
MS: Why, in 2009, does anyone decide to write a book, instead of, say, a bunch of tweets?
SH: The main reason is woeful misinformation about how much money is involved. Some books, it’s true, are written to offer some expression on the nature of existing, or to wrestle with some aspect of the human condition. But a lot of books would go away if people really knew about the money.
Me, I did it because no other medium gives you as much freedom to tell a story from inside another person’s brain. This is the great miracle of literature. Still, I wish someone had explained to me about the money.
MS: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
SH: Disable your internet.
MS: Do you believe the Kindle will replace printed books?
SH: Not until it feels as nice when you rub it against your face.
MS: What are some other books that are good?
SH: Dog of the South by Charles Portis. The Time Machine Did It by John Swartzwelder. It Happened In Boston? by Russell H. Greenan. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck. Son of the Morning Star by Evan S. Connell. All these are good books to read once one has finished How I Became A Famous Novelist.
SH: My pleasure!