Well, I am happy to be able to share with you an interview with the “Mad Hatter” of Gomezland, the author of No Hope For Gomez!, Graham Parke.
Thank you for your time, Graham. No Hope For Gomez! is certainly a unique story, both content wise as well as in how it’s presented. How would you describe it if you were doing the proverbial ’30 second pitch’?
GP: No Hope For Gomez! is based on the age-old tale: Boy meets girl, boy stalks girl, girl already has a stalker, boy becomes her stalker-stalker. We’ve seen all this before, of course, but this time it’s different. If only slightly.
This time there’s an experimental drug trial involved, an army of unscrupulous phone-sex salesmen, and there’s this sexy lab assistant who’s unable to express herself in terms outside the realm of science.
What’s the funniest, or strangest, feedback you’ve received for No Hope For Gomez!?
GP: The funniest thing came about through a combination of factors. One of the initial reviewers commented something along the lines of, “Graham Parke is a genius.” Which is far too kind to be sure. Anyway, my wife found the review early in the morning while I was still asleep and asked my two year old son, “Do you know daddy is a Genius?” To which he replied, “No, daddy is sleeping.” And, to this day, this remains the most insightful description of my mental state.
Have your parents read the book? What was their reaction?
GP: I think that having known me for many years probably prepared them better for the book than any other readers. My mother read it right away, my father attempted to improve his English a little beforehand.
Do you listen to music when you write and, if you do, what sort of tunes do you rock while writing?
GP: I get asked this a lot, and I’m starting to wonder if there are perhaps authors out there who actually do listen to music when writing. I can’t imagine doing this myself. When I’m trying to concentrate on something, music will either annoy me or I will end up tuning it out. So there’s really no point. In fact, I don’t enjoy music all that much unless I can shamelessly sing along to it, so the car is probably the best place for me to listen to music.
Is there any particular genre you prefer to read? What are a few of the books in your ‘To Be Read’ stack right now?
GP: As far as genre goes, I’ll basically read anything if I believe it will provide me with a unique and enjoyable experience. My TBR pile has disappeared for the moment, as I haven’t had much time to look around. I usually start actively looking for books just before I go on vacation.
What are you currently working on? Will we be seeing Gomez again in the future?
GP: I don’t believe Gomez is done yet. And other characters from the Gomez universe also still have things to say (not necessarily important things, mind you…). Right now, the Gomez bits are battling with bits of other novels that are trying to get out.
Ok, last one. Random word association. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you see the following words?
shadow – Beach
gremlin – Beach
snow – Beach
tacos – Not easy to get in the Netherlands.
guava – Not enough space… suffice it to say I have compelling evidence that they’re evil.
monkeys – Beach
GP: Apparently, I spend a lot of time thinking about beaches.
Thanks for your time, Graham. No Hope For Gomez! is one of the most delightful books I’ve read in quite some time, and I wish you much success with it.
In addition to putting up with my silly questions, Graham has also been kind enough to share an excerpt from the book:
– No Hope For Gomez!: Book Excerpt –
Blog entry: Saturday.
Decided to do a little detective work. Headed over to the hospital and queued up at the front desk to ask about visitor’s hours. The nurse told me they’d just started.
“Great,” I said. “Can I just walk in?”
“You can,” she said. “Who did you want to see?”
“A Mr. Miller. Mr. Joseph Miller. He was brought in two days ago.”
The nurse consulted her computer, frowned, then shook her head. “No, I’m sorry,” she said. “Mr. Miller’s dead. He died late last night.” She looked up from her screen. “Would you like to see somebody else?”
“What? No! I really need to talk to Mr. Miller. Are you absolutely sure he’s passed away?”
“I can recheck if you want.” She typed away. “Sometimes this program mixes up some of the… ah, I see what I’ve done now.” She gave me an apologetic smile. “Stupid little me,” she said. “I had the stats of several files mixed up.”
I breathed a sigh of relief. “So, he didn’t pass away?”
“Oh, no,” the nurse said, shaking her head, “he’s still dead, but he died this morning rather than last night.” She held up her hand with a small amount of space between her thumb and index finger. “You missed him by that much.”
“I see,” I said. “Does it at least say what he died of?”
She browsed her screen, bit her lip, and mumbled, “Yes, no, wait a minute. I saw something about…. Ah, yes. Yes, it does.” She looked up again. For a long moment we stared at each other. When I finally arched an eyebrow, she said, “Are you a relative? I’m not supposed to give out this kind of information to just anybody.”
I tried to think fast. I really needed that information but I didn’t know Joseph other than from the clinic waiting area. We’d never even spoken. Then, out of nowhere, the perfect answer just came to me. I told her, “Yes.”
“Okay then.” She was about to tell me when her face clouded over again. “You really should be getting this information from his doctor, though.” I waved it away, told her it would be fine. “Well,” she said, reading from her screen, “it says here he died of dehydration and malnutrition.”
“He was found passed out in his apartment,” I told her. “Apparently he’d been out for a while. Does it say what caused him to lose consciousness in the first place?”
The nurse perused the file for a long time, then shook her head. “No, sorry,” she said. “I’ll have to get the doctor for that. Just a moment.” She reached for the phone.
“That’s okay,” I said. I didn’t want to get into trouble for impersonating a relative. “I need to go. Pressed for time. Thank you.”
As I turned to leave, she called after me, “Are you sure you don’t want to visit anyone else? There are some really nice people up on the second floor. Much nicer than Mr. Miller. They’d love to talk to you.”