Local Author Makes Bad

Photo with no caption

A schizo interview by and with Jack Mauro by Jack Mauro

(Reporter's note: I visited Jack Mauro, author of the newly released M4M: For an Hour or Foreverâ"The Gay Man's Guide to Finding Love Online , at his downtown apartment yesterday. What follows is what I could salvage from a highly disagreeable hour.)

JM: Well, this is very nice.

Mauro: Yeah, well. Siddown, for Christ's sake. You wanna drink?

JM: Thanks, no. Let's just get down to it, OK? Now, some years ago you were writing fiction, mostly set here in Knoxville, right?

Mauro: That's right. [He moves to a console bar.] Think I'll have a little something myself, if you don't mind.

JM: Go right ahead, please. So. Why the departure to a gay man's manual on online dating? Kind of a genre leap, wouldn't you say?

Mauro: [His eyes narrow to evil slits.] Let me show you something. [Goes to galley kitchen, opens drawer.] You see this spatulet? I bought it with the royalties from the first three books. Of course, I had to kick in a little extra money, too. Answer your question?

JM: Uhâ yes. So you wrote M4M to make money?

Mauro: No, no. I wrote it because I felt it would be the Middlemarch of our times. Yes, you jackass, I wrote it for money. [He pauses.] Well, partly. The truth is, it started out more as a sarcasticâ"very sarcasticâ"look at gay onlineâinteraction. I really did think it'd be a lot of fun. I also really did think this would fly off the shelves, self-published or not.

JM: And did it fly?

Mauro: Like an emu shot in one leg. Hell, it didn't even crawl. But what it did do, see, is get me some agent attention. Hallelujah. [He drinks deeply, pours more.]

JM: I take it an agent is important?

Mauro: I'm wanting to say a writer without an agent is like a hooker without a pimp, but that would be wrong. The hooker stands a better chance of getting by.

JM: So you were on your way, then? All roads clear, book and yourself in professional, marketing, agent hands?

Mauro: [Laughs scornfully.] Who worked the elevator button for you, when you came here? What are you, an idiot? That, pal, was just the beginning. Of   rewrites. Of learning what a book proposal is. Of learning how getting a book proposal right is as much of a kick as donating bone marrow. For months.

JM: So why persevere? What made you hang on?

Mauro: OK, no sarcasm here. My agent. She was amazing, indefatigable. She gave her all for over a year with no guarantee of any return, let alone a decent book to peddle when the smoke cleared. But she guided me into turning the book into less of a bitchy diatribe, and more of a real manual. [Drinks, chuckles.] As though any of those bastards stands a chance in hell of finding love. [Eyes widen in alarm.] You're not gonna print that, right? I was kidding. Really.

JM: Sure, I understand.

Mauro: [Very friendly.] Say, you sure you don't wanna little drinkie?

JM: Uhâ no, thanks, really. Anyway. So, lots more hard work, and then you were set?

Mauro: [Long pause, mood swing, hateful stare.] The Metro Pulse sent you. Lucky me. What, was Neely too busy investigating a Diet Coke can on State Street no one can explain? [He drinks more.] No, I wasn't set. Dumbass. Yes, she got me a great book deal. Yes, I got me a superb editor and a committed publisher. But that's when the work really began. Rewrites. Always more rewrites. Then the legal department, just in case I was a little too nasty about America Online.

JM: Well, I suppose a house like Simon & Schuster has to protect itself, after all.

Mauro: Yeah, yeah. Whatever. Listen, I'm an artist . I shouldn't have to deal with crap like lawsuits.

JM: Oh, sure. I understand. Soâ with the official release date of April 24, what are you up to these days?

Mauro: About a bottle and a half a day, not counting Downtown Grill visits. [He slaps me hard on the back, guffawing.] Actually, I'm promoting. Or, as I like to think of it, whoring while zipped up. [He drinks some more, drops head, begins weeping softly.] I was going to be a real writer . I was going to put out great fiction.

JM: [I rise, frightened.] Well, Iâ. think I've got plenty. I should be on my way. Thanks soâ"

Mauro: [Nearly hysterical, standing, fists clenched.] I was going to make William Trevor plotz with envy, damn it!

JM: [I fumble with the door, rush down hall.] Good luck. Thanks, really.

Mauro: [Bellowing after me.] Did you get the name of the book? M4M ? For an Hour or Forever ?? [Yelling as elevator doors close on me.] You need me to spell that for you??? m

M4M: For an Hour or Forever is available online at amazon.com and BN.com. For details about upcoming book signings, please visit www.jackmauro.com .


All content © 2007 Metropulse .

© 2007 MetroPulse. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments » 0

Be the first to post a comment!

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.