Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Parker's Non Friction a comedic, romantic romp from an unlikely hero

You know right off the bat when an author addresses a woman, 'princess' the hero is going to fall, hard, and stand up slowly, aching from emotional pain. Remember that old saying: Nice guys finish last? What this sagely advice really means is recognize a nice guy when you see him, because for some reason a bad boy is more attractive, alluring, and spontaneous, good in bed, and all sorts of presumptions. Parker has hit it out of the park with Non Friction. He flips the tried and true romance tropes over and gives us a funny, true-to-life, romance story about love; the most important part of love, knowing what you really want and then going after it. To do that, you have to make some mistakes. Are they worth the discomfort? If love was easy we'd all be born with a manual. And that's what makes this story great. I cheered for Oliver. I wanted him to find happiness again. I yelled at the screen whenever the guy just couldn't get his act together. A definite must read for anyone who ever thought nice guys finish last.

1. Before you tell us about your book, why don’t you share a little bit about yourself.
Thanks, Alex! Well, I’m Morgan Parker but that’s not my real name. I use a fake name for a variety of reasons, namely to avoid taxes and death threats. When I’m not dealing with tax problems or exes (fake and real exes alike), I’m a normal Canadian guy with two wives and a kid. I meant two kids and a wife. The kids are a boy and a girl, and the wife is a lady, which is the diplomatic thing to say, I suppose. And no, I didn’t list them in order of favorite but pretty close because, hey, I’m human and I pick favorites.

2. Outside of writing, what sort of activities do you enjoy?
What a great question. I rediscovered how much I enjoy living recently when my wife and I made a spontaneous trip to Chicago to celebrate our 10-year anniversary. I love being active and watching people; I spend a great deal of time at our local hi-tech incubator which shares space with Google, and I love seeing how successful entrepreneurs interact socially just as much as I enjoy witnessing the social change that is happening on Chicago’s “challenged” West end. People are my passion and if I could sit and observe people, that’s what I would do for a living. Instead, I write about them.

3. Do you have a favorite food, snack, and/or beverage?
Nothing beats a double-espresso cappuccino from my favorite (but local) coffee house, Balzac’s. One sip is enough to remind me that all of life’s greatest experiences have a taste to them. Heaven, I’m sure, tastes like my Balzac’s cappuccino. Love, for example, tastes like lemon-filled cookies, and relaxation tastes like Hershey chocolate.

4. Authors draw from a wide variety of experiences, from their own lives as well as the lives of others. Which is the richest source for you?
My distorted view of my experiences has provided all of my inspiration thus far. Distorted because our memories change with time. What we might remember as a painful and life-ending breakup may someday be remembered as a simple, romantic struggle.

5. Of the stories you have written so far, which is your favorite and why?
Textual Encounters has been my favorite because there really wasn’t much writing to it. I literally pieced together a bunch of texts and the story emerged from this dialogue between two people. I felt there was an enduring love story between Jake and Christine, one that was based on character rather than appearances, chemistry or anything else. As well, I think a lot of us have had a “textual encounter” or two and know just how different these textual relationships are, how much they can touch us and how deeply they can cut us.

6. Embarrassing moment. Do you have one? Or better yet, are you sure you want to put it out there?
Are we talking about today, yesterday, or any day? I manage to embarrass myself anytime I open my mouth, Alex. I think that’s why I’m typing my answers.

Okay, today I was at Balzac’s and, Leah, the young woman who made my cappuccino, stared me straight in the eyes and swore that she knew me from somewhere. I shrugged, lost, unable to provide her with a reassuring response. She said: “Look at me.” I looked at her, and then she added: “Where do you know me from?”

A smart guy might have humored her and said, “I know you from my dreams,” or “I’m not sure because I would never forget a pretty face like yours,” or something equally sweet. Instead in a writer and being unable to outline my response and later edit it, I spewed the first thing that came to mind, which was: “I’m horrible with faces. Sorry I don’t know you.”

Conversation over, and instead of crafting a heart with the froth of my cappuccino, she just dumped the non-fat milk into the cup and walked away.

That was a little embarrassing, especially since I’m well aware that you never upset your barista. Tomorrow will have to be a cap-free day now. Ugh.

7. What genres do you write for? Are there any that you haven’t that you would like to explore?
I’ve seen The Secret and I’m supposed to say that I write “bestseller fiction,” but that’s simply not the case. Because all of my stories incorporate a love story of some form, they’re more likely to be considered Romance with a splash of Humor.

I’d love to write for the Mystery and Suspense genres (Ian Rankin, Colin Harrison, Dennis Lehane are among my favorites) but because no one really takes me seriously, I think I’ll stick to my current genre.

8. What advice would you give new authors?
Understand people first, understand Story second, and always pretend you’re experiencing life the same way a 4-year old would. Think about this: you know better than everyone else at 4. You’ll lick that electrical socket at 4 despite your parents telling you not to – you’ll even remove the safety plug to get to that socket. You’ll take stupid risks as you step up onto the roof and throw your ball straight into the sky and think it will make it to the moon, then you’ll say “$v#% you!” to the world as you chase that ball into the middle of the street without looking first. As writers, especially Indie writers, we need to take those same risks that a 4-year old would and ignore what everyone else says if we want to succeed or at least stand out.

9. Now that we’ve had a chance to get to know you, tell us about the latest story you have out now?
My first stand-alone novel, Non Friction, follows a man in his 40’s after his wife walks out on him. Faced with loneliness and a mad desire to win his wife back, he decides to write a novella and it generates a ton of interest, particularly from one fan, Emma. Through Emma, our main character evolves as a man and as a writer, creating his greatest work of all and realizing that if he deserves anything, it’s this: better.

From Non Friction:

Holding her always felt perfect, but at that moment it felt like pure fucking heaven. She fit in my arms, she fit against my chest, she fit into my soul. When she breathed, I breathed (okay, neither of us had stopped breathing, but I swear if she had stopped, at that moment, I would have died right along with her).

“Emma,” I said, using my chin to nudge her head and force her eyes toward mine. I didn’t want to use my hands to nudge her because that would mean releasing her, and I refused to do that, refused to let go. “Look at me.”

At last, she tilted her head and our eyes locked. The mood was better now than it had been when we kissed that very first time at my house. Way better.

Except the elevator stopped and the doors opened. We needed to step off onto the fifth floor.

“Let’s talk,” I said. “Just talk. Nothing more.”

I took her hand, laced my fingers in hers, and led the way to my room. She didn’t resist, object or put up any kind of fuss.

And just like that, the perfection of Emma made everything else in my world irrelevant. Which was pretty messed up because I had literally been minutes away from a massive fuckfest with Dawn. But here, walking through the hall to my room, then slipping into my room with Emma’s hand in mine, I would have traded anything and everything in this world for a night of innocent cuddling. Just holding Emma in my arms, savoring the lemon-cream essence of her, listening to her voice, feeling her (fully clothed) body against mine… all of that meant more than a dozen lifetimes ever could.


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Find Textual Encounters 2 on Amazon

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1 comment:

  1. Fantastic interview Alex. Morgan almost sounded like a grown up. It was a pleasure to read.
    Kelsey ;)