INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR OF, "THREE AND A HALF VIRGINS" JOHN BLUMENTHAL
Hello John, thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview. It is a pleasure to have the chance to get to know more about you and your writing. First tell us about your newest novel and why you decided to write it.
I have no clue what this book is about, but if you insist, here’s the spiel:
“Three and a Half Virgins” is essentially a love story that basically answers this question: If you're a woman, how would you react if the man who broke your heart twenty years ago tracked you down to apologize? And if you're that man, what would motivate you to do something that bold and unpredictable, and what would you expect to happen?
The protagonist is a guy named Jimmy Hendricks. The story begins when Jimmy’s wife leaves him for the guy up the block. After a mostly unsuccessful attempt at Internet dating, he finds himself revisiting his reckless past. Engulfed by nostalgia, he's suddenly gripped by pleasant memories of three old flames -- Laura, Samantha and Molly -- all of whom happened to have been virgins when he first met each of them twenty years before.
But the warm refuge of the past soon gives way to icy reality as he confronts the sobering details of how maliciously he tricked, seduced and broke each of their hearts. Overcome by remorse and tantalized by curiosity, he finds a way to reshape his past.
Basically, each virgin’s story is divided into two parts – what happened between each virgin and Jimmy when they first dated, and what happens when he goes back twenty years later to apologize. It’s a suspenseful tale of deceit, love and redemption that transports readers back and forth through time, and ultimately suggests that the past is not necessarily prologue.
The suspenseful part has to do with which one he ends up with at the close of the book.
Why did I decide to write it? Mostly out of pure boredom and because paper is fairly cheap these days, at least at Staples, although you can get some good deals if you shop online. Not really. Sorry. Actually, I decided to write it because I guess it seemed like a good story that would entertain readers. It’s written with a combination of humor and drama. I’ve had 8 other books published, two of them novels, and I’ve written two motion pictures. I’ve been writing professionally since I was about 24. Basically, I just love to write.
Tell us about some of your hobbies, things you like to do in your spare time.
Hobbies? I re-enact Civil War battles in my kitchen, using soldiers made out of cookie dough and stale pretzels.
No, mainly, I write. I blog for Huffington Post, which has been fun, also OpenSalon.com. As for other interests, I swim, I collect historical autographs and documents as well as first editions, I manage investments and I read a lot. I’m the anti-Christ of foodies.
What is the one most rewarding thing in your life right now?
Collecting residuals from my most successful movie, “Blue Streak” which, for reasons that escape me, made about $180,000,000.
Oh, you don’t mean financially? Forget that then. Truthfully, it’s my children. I have two daughters, aged 24 and 26. Watching them grow and become adults is more rewarding than anything.
When reading for pleasure do you tend to stick to the same genre you write or do you like to read other genres as well?
To be honest, I really don’t care much for reading the kind of stuff I write. I like history and biography (I loved “Team of Rivals”), serious literary novels (I’m on a Philip Roth kick right now.) Jonathan Tropper, whose books are more-or-less in my genre, entertains me. Christopher Moore too.
When was it that you realized writing was what you wanted to do with your life?
When I was a kid, just after I decided that becoming the first Jewish president would be a long shot.
Actually, I was lucky. Esquire hired me when I was 24; then Playboy magazine hired me as an editor/writer. It was at Playboy that I realized I could write humor pretty well. Then it was books, TV and movies, then back to novels.
When can we expect your next book out and can you give us a sneak peek?
It could take a while. I’m writing a sequel to The Bible with vampires. Actually, I don’t know. I’m not planning a new novel right now. I’m still trying to promote “Three and a Half Virgins” which frankly, has become much harder than writing it and infinitely less satisfying.
Back in your high school career, who was the one teacher you would say made a profound difference in your life, if any?
I skipped high school and went directly from 8th grade to college.
What dreams do you have for future generations that you'd like to share with others?
I dream of a world without Republicans.
One off the board question I like to ask, is what are your views as far as 2012, and do you believe in the Mayan Calendar?
Mayan Calendar? If you mean do I believe that the world is going to end soon, my answer would be, I sure hope so. Life is overrated. But frankly, I don’t believe in the Mayan Calendar. However, if Romney wins, I’m moving to Canada.
Finally, do you have any advice you'd like to give to other aspiring authors, also please leave us your links where we can find out more about you.
Advice? Sure. If you want to be a writer, get a day job and write as a hobby. I naively resisted that strategy, and it could have been a disaster if I hadn’t gotten lucky. I could be waiting tables now or selling cars. But fortunately for me, it was a lot easier to get published when I was starting out.
Also, I think a lot of aspiring writers think writing a first draft is writing. It’s not. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that rewriting is the key. I’ve rewritten books and scripts as much as 50 times. Nobody gets it right the first time around.
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