In the Author Spotlight:
Meet David Pratt!
I recently read a story called Looking After Joey and immediately had to get to know the author behind this marvelous novel. So I invited David Pratt to ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords today to talk about Looking After Joey, his inspirations, his muse, his favorite porn stars and whatever else came to mind. What a great interview it turned out to be. Here is a photograph of David Pratt at a reading. Copies of the cover and model Nicholas Gorham can be found at the end of the interview. Don’t miss out on those!
Contest: David has brought with him a copy of Looking After Joey to giveaway. To enter to win, leave a comment and an email address where you can be reached. Contest ends June 18th at midnight. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.
STRW:. How did this idea (Looking After Joey) come to you?
David Pratt: Part One, “Calvin Gets Sucked In” comes from a short story I wrote. But I forget where the idea for that came from. Once I had it, though, it seemed natural to wonder, what if Joey took Calvin up on his offer and came into this world? I thought, that’s not a story. That’s a novel! A novel about what really matters to us — and what doesn’t. A novel that could be very funny. Half the stuff Joey encounters inspires existential wonder or panic. The other half inspires flat-out mockery! Some things inspire both.
STRW: Is there a porn star out there you would like to see step out of a video?
David Pratt: I love watching Peto Coast. You can look for his videos on ice-gay.com. Now, I’m not sure about him stepping out of the TV. He is an extremely aggressive top. I can bottom, for sure, but he might be too much in person. In the Goofy Kid category, I like Paul Canon of Broke Straight Boys. I like Gino and Chase on Spanking Central, and I like this guy Kenny who’s on Sean Cody.He could step out of the TV for me! As could some of the guys from the Fraternity X website. But really, I did most of my porn watching in the 1980s, so I fondly remember Rod Garreto, Eric Manchester and Ted Cox from that era. I’d love it if Garreto stepped out of the TV! He was my fave.
STRW:. The Native American character was a terrific element, where did he come from and will we see him again in another story?
David Pratt: In the original short story, he was a joke, because of his name. In the book he acquires dimension because he reappears and we find out what he thinks of the “real world.” The decision he made shocked even me. I, of course, have experienced times when all arrows pointed to something in my work, but rarely does a character take a significant action that totally takes me by surprise. But Jake did, and I had to go with it. His presence signals a change for the other four. They can no longer think their world is all about wine bars and video nights. In the second half of the book there is an undoing of the cozy world of the first half. Everyone is growing up and moving on. Jake makes them think about who they are and what they are doing. Will we see Jake again? You never know. The whole gang of “Joey” characters could be revisited. I mean, tell me you don’t want to hear from Stuart again. In moderation, of course. And Desmond, hmmmm?
STRW:. That porn world was hysterical with all the elements most people see in a typical porn DVD, the delivery guys, the pizza, the gym etc. Do you think you will revisit this world and a certain character in it again?
David Pratt: Like Calvin, I learned two things about porn: 1.) it is rich with possibilities; and 2.) you run through those possibilities pretty quickly. Stuff starts to repeat. Which is kind of the point, isn’t it? There is just one character from that world that I’d be curious to follow up with. But I am not saying which one. I suppose I don’t want to be held to it. And writers never give away what they are thinking about that has yet to be written down. Or they shouldn’t.
STRW: . I found the pathos and angst surprising and it added layers of dimension that really made this story work. Had you planned on that happening or did the story take an unexpected direction once you started writing?
David Pratt: There was more pathos and angst in the original story, though there was comedy, too. In the novel, Calvin and Peachy effectively become parents, so there has to be angst and pathos! Parents know, it’s a joyful but dangerous world out there. And it all starts with Calvin being lonely. His relationship with Joey springs out of loneliness and lack of confidence. For Joey there is angst and pathos in being introduced to time and the suggestion, which at first he barely understands, of death. That was just there. I had to include it. Think how completely different this world is from the world presented in porn.
Calvin compares Joey to an immigrant. The opera singer Teresa Stratas tells how, when her family emigrated to Canada from Greece, her father could not adjust. He sat and stared at the wall all day. Vietnamese dancer/choreographer Ea Sola freaked out when she came to France as a very young woman; her first performances consisted of standing still staring in the street, basically having a breakdown. Her audiences thought it was art; to her it was just what she did. My partner emigrated from Brazil. When he first came here, coincidentally, he delivered pizza. One day he stopped in the middle of the street in the rain and for a long moment couldn’t go on. This kind of paralyzing moment happens to Joey a couple of times. He’s immobilized by fear when he notices his fingernails growing — even after he’s cut them once! He can’t look at pictures of Calvin as a child. I think there is also a natural pathos as well as humor in, for example, Joey seeing what disabled people or people of different ethnicities look like. This is a rough world! But Calvin and Peachy and Doug teach Joey that there is love in it, and loyalty. And these defy time.
STRW: Do you have a favorite genre and a least favorite one? And why?
David Pratt: I tend to like “literary” fiction (see my New England background, below), but I have become open to anything. I never thought I’d go for erotica, until I encountered Erastes, Dale Chase and Ellis Carrington. I did not pay much attention to paranormal or fantasy until I read Felice Picano’s “Tales from a Distant Planet.” I had no interest in “spiritual” fiction until I stumbled on Cathryn McIntyre’s weird memoir/fiction mash-up “Honor in Concord.”
STRW:. What author or story has influenced your writing the most?
David Pratt: As a child I loved the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. They’re a direct influence on “Joey.” Chelsea is the Hundred Acre Wood. Calvin is Pooh, Joey is Piglet, and Peachy is Rabbit—or he’s Owl on speed! The House at Pooh Corner has one of the great endings ever: “Promise you won’t forget me, ever. Not even when I’m a hundred.” That could be the ending of “Joey,” too. In terms of the off-the-wall, what-the-hell feel of the book, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. was probably an influence. I read everything by him when I was sixteen, though today I am not so interested. And as I come from New England, there’s all that transcendence and all that symbolism, though not so focused on the natural world. Emily Dickinson heard a fly buzz. Calvin hears a taxi. Melville had his white whale. Calvin and Peachy have Bunce van den Troell!
Finally, some more images are attached. Reading photo at Hotel Monteleone, credit it J. Stephen Young. All other photos,(c) 2014 Eva Mueller. Joey cover design, Adrian Nicholas, (c) 2014 Wilde City Press. Bob cover design, Peachy Boy Design and Distillery, (c) 2010 Chelsea Station Editions.
Thanks again so much for the great review and for your interest and the blogging opportunity. Let me know anything else you need.
STRW: Thanks, David, for stopping by for such a wonderful interview and for generously donating a copy of Looking After Joey to give away.
Book: Looking After Joey by David Pratt
From the author of Bob the Book comes a funny, fast-paced, touching tale of love, laughter, family of choice and fabulousness!
Wouldn’t it be great if a character from a porn movie stepped right out of your TV, into your life? Well, be careful what you wish for. Because that’s how Calvin and Peachy end up looking after Joey. Then Peachy decides to make Joey the center of in a social-climbing scheme that will take them all from Chelsea to Park Avenue to Fire Island and will entangle a rogues’ gallery of eccentric Manhattanites, including portly, perspiring publicist Bunce van den Troell; theatrical investor Sir Desmond Norma; studly thespian Clive Tidwell-Smidgin; and evil lubricant king Fred Pflester and his mysterious nephew, Jeffrey. Tender, wise, witty and utterly deranged, Looking After Joey will make you wish you, too, had a porn character sitting at your kitchen table, pointing at the toast and asking, “What’s this called again?”
Details: ebook, 255 pages
Published April 2nd 2014 by Wilde City Press
Highly Recommended by ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords
Buy Links: Wilde City Amazon ARe
Contest: Leave a comment, your email address where you can be reached below. Contests ends 6/18 at midnight.
All photo credits are Eva Mueller. The cover model is Nicholas Gorham.
Photograph and book covers are credited to the following:
Reading photo at Hotel Monteleone, credit it J. Stephen Young. All other photos,(c) 2014 Eva Mueller. Joey cover design, Adrian Nicholas, (c) 2014 Wilde City Press. Bob cover design, Peachy Boy Design and Distillery, (c) 2010 Chelsea Station Editions.