More reader comments/questions (3)
Q. Is the "rockettes" reference by Nick in "Youth" a reference also to "catcher in the rye".......(holden saw the rockettes at the movie theater)???? (Ben, irvine, CA)
A. Nope. Totally forgotten by me.
Q. I think that a good person to play Sheeni in a movie version would be Mandy Moore or Kirsten Dunst...they both may be a couple years too old for the part, but it also would be tough to find a 15 year old actress who could play her.(actually, Mandy Moore is only 16 or 17, so that may not be too bad)...as far as the rest of the cast, I think Lefty: Chris Owen (from the movie ANGUS), Nick's Mom: Susan Sarrandon, Lance: Robert Deniro, Wally: Terry Hogan, Jerry: (not sure yet), Millie: Natalie Portman, Trent: Leo DiCaprio (only because of the description, not because he can act), Nick's Dad: Kevin Spacey...These are just names off the top of my head...I could most definitely do better if I thought about it, but these people could probably do it. As for the rest of the cast, I am not sure as of yet...I also agree with the other writer with the idea of John Francis Daley playing Nick...he would be a good bet, definitely. (David, Virgin Islands)
A. Now that we've got the script and the cast, where is that deep-pockets producer? Please write immediately.
Q. You're an amazing writer...but I've had to search far and wide for any book other than Youth In Revolt! Now, tell me, why isn't your entire collection in every single bookstore in the bay area? I have Youth in Revolt, Civic Beauties, and Frisco Pigeon Mambo...must find more.. (Amy, San Mateo)
A. I'm what is technically known as an "undiscovered" (i.e., obscure) author. I rely on readers like you to get the word out. You're right, most bookstores don't carry my books and most booksellers have never heard of me. Youth in Revolt is more available because it's put out by a major publisher.
Q. I was wondering if you ever had an idea about who YOU would like to see play the characters in the movie were it to ever become a movie. I see reader's comments, and I was wondering who you pictured to play the cast of YIR. Also, do you have any dream directors for a movie version, and who would write the screenplay? It would have to be you, right? Anyone else would ruin it... (James, Fremont, Missouri)
A. I fear I am not up to speed on today's teen actors (darn, I should never have let my subscription to Tiger Beat lapse). My dream director for a film version of YiR would be Barry Levinson and, of course, I've already written the screenplay. Note: I read the screenplay that was written for the animated version of Frisco Pigeon Mambo and not one element of the book was retained. They even moved the location to NYC. Learned my lesson on that one.
Q. Why are you stalking my friends and me? I ask because I swear this is my friends' and my life story! (Josh, Irvine, CA)
A. Good luck on continuing the elude the FBI. Any marriages on the horizon for your group?
Q. I just wanted to make sure that the "Crazy Times" CDs (the German version of "Youth") are in German.... Are they? Or are they, for some odd and hopeful reason, in English. ONE MORE QUESTION! Will you be making an audio book recording of Youth in Revolt? You could have a "full cast" version done. That would be REALLY cool! The people at my college love your books (I perform a lot of "readers theater" with them, and I always get sidesplitting laughter along with requests for how to get the book). (Robert B., Oregon)
A. Time to polish your German. The "Crazy Times" CDs are only available in German. Sorry, no plans at this time for an audio version of Youth in Revolt. And thanks for introducing Nick to your college audiences.
Q. Hi Mr. Payne! How are you doing? Before I get to my question I just have to brown my nose a bit and tell you that I love your books and am incredibly impressed by your style of writing. I read that a girl wanted to know if she could play Joanie and that made me laugh, and I thought, "who could I play were this book made into a movie?" and the answer came back a resounding, "Sonya 'The Refrigerator'" Anyway, that’s besides the point...my question is, Are you a big Frank Sinatra fan or is that something you just gave Nick? I'm a true Chairman of the board fan and I thought it was really cool that another teenager (as fictional as he may be) was obsessed with him :) If you are a fan...what’s your favorite Sinatra Song? (Franny, Washington DC)
A. Indeed, I am a big Sinatra fan. Not surprisingly, my favorite song by him is "My One and Only Love," just edging out "In the Wee Small Hours."
Q. What are your thoughts on the recent production of YIR by the Santa Rosa company? I went with a few other die hard fans and loved it do death. Oh yeah and why does the sun always make my eyes hurt when I look into it for an extended period of time? (Ryan or Bufftie, Castro Valley or Castration Valley, CA).
A. I must confess I liked previous productions of the play better. This one I thought strayed too far from the original script. Best bet for curing that sun problem is to move to NE Ohio, where I grew up. It's always nicely gray and cloudy there. Speaking of Castro Valley, I once went to look at a trailer for sale there. Turns out it was in a nudist colony! Didn't see any naked people though--or buy the trailer.
Q. who is CD Payne?? What is the story behind that author of these wild books?? please answer this asap. I need info 4 a report on CD Payne!! please help!! (Dorian, Los angeles)
A. C.D. Payne is in fact an athletically minded 12-year-old girl. When she's not writing, she enjoys aerobic embroidery and watching pro wrestling on TV.
Q. Hallo ! I am from Czech republic and have a question about you. Please send me your curriculum vitae. Thanks Your Paul (Paja Kamion, Havíøov - Czech republic)
A. Sorry, I have no Q.V. Only academics and other employed persons are so burdened.
Q. Hi Mr. C.D.Payne. I love NICK TWISP.
Is Sheeni handsome?????????????
Please, is NICK handsome????? I am from Czech Republic. I love your book. Thank.
P.S. I am afraid. (Doubravka-Sheeni, Prague-Czech Republic)
A. Sheeni is more gorgeous than handsome. Nick, formerly not so handsome, is now said to resemble a youthful Jean-Paul Belmondo. P.S. I hope you get over your fears.
Q. Just wanted you to know that I bought your "Youth in Revolt" hard copy 5 years ago and read it every year. I'm so happy that you have such a strong following after all the effort it takes for you to get your books to the public. Keep on writing! (Timi, Walnut Creek, CA)
A. Many annual thanks from Nick and the gang.
Q. I just finished reading Revolting Youth. I had a nervous breakdown when I learned of its existence because I was so goddam excited that Youth In Revolt had a sequel. ITS MY FAVORITE BOOK. Here is my question: I am convinced that Sheeni knew it was Nick the whole time, even with all his plastic surgery. I know she never admitted it, but am I right? She knew it was him when he was dressed as Carlotta, and shes a smart girl. Thank you!!! (Lauren, Los Angeles and Berkeley, CA)
A. She's smart, but maybe not that smart. Hey, I used to live in Berkeley and Sonoma County. Guess it's just a part-time kind of town.
Q. Is Sheeni actually sexually attracted to Nick? I know originally that she justified it as her "genes" wanting to procreate with Nick's genes. Occasionally she comes up with lame-o excuses not to have sex or perform sexual favors. And it seems that she's most sexually motivated after talking about Trent. I hope that if you write a third novel (which is sure to be as great as the two that came before it), Nick should have at least one sexual experience with someone attractive (don't torture him with anymore Sonya-type incidents!) who actually wants to make it with Nick (without any blond poets swimming in her subconscious).
p.s. Will you be selling software online that is capable of breaking the "Geezer" virus? I'm convinced that the virus is somehow at fault for the energy crisis in California. (Karyn, Berkeley, CA)
A. You must remember that this story is told from Nick's point of view. The author may not have any more insights into Sheeni's complicated behavior than Nick has. Sorry, Nick could be in for future romantic encounters even more distasteful than his aquatic interlude with Sonya. That, I regret to say, is the nature of contemporary fiction. I fear it may be too late to stop the Geezer virus, as I suspect it already has spread from computers to our own esteemed Governor Gray Davis--not to mention the latest Baby Boomer in the White House.
Q. Isn't blatantly cashing in on "Youth In Revolt"'s popularity among teens by selling this phony merchandise kind of missing the point? I know you're not Nick Twisp and that you're trying to make a little scratch, but selling this cheap junk runs kind of contrary to (what I perceive to be) your beliefs and values as a well-educated and principled person. Respectfully; Another Atavistic Sociopath. (Matt, Newbury, VT)
A. Cheap junk? $12.95 for a crummy mouse pad is not cheap!
Q. How old are Nick and Sheeni NOW ?? Thank. (Doubravka, Prague-Czech Republic)
A. Well, let's see. Nick is 14 and Sheeni is 15.
Q. ~Do you like to live where you do (Seb)? Why? ~What gave you the idea to write about drunkard pigeons? ~Your indications to the "magic" cigarette are unbiased or not.....hehe (Jabawooky, Santa Rosa, CA).
A. Except when nearby farmers spread their dressing on the fields, I have no objections to living in Sebastopol. It's not Paris, France, but it will do. The drunken pigeons appeared uninvited one day. Maybe it was something I ate.
Q. Is Nick a republican or democrat? Also, does he idolize Bill Clinton? (Farky, San Diego)
A. Since alert readers will recall that at one point Nick identifies himself as a "young liberal," he's not likely to register as a Republican when he comes of age. Nick was hoping to squeeze enough dough out of Sheeni to purchase a pardon from Bill, but she never came across with the scratch and Bill refused to take his calls.
Q. I just wrote the other day and was answered so fast. I didn't really think that kind of service was possible. I need to kiss ass a little bit because my last question was a somewhat tongue in cheek. I'm 35 and I have never come across a book that I have re-read more than YIR. It is so goddam funny. I wish hadn't smoked so much pot when I was younger because I can't read my own journals. Any way do you have opinions on The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys by Chris Fuhrman? Also The Turn of the Century by Kurt Anderson? The latter seems like maybe Nick could write it if he ever grew up. (Farky, San Diego)
A. "Dangerous Altar Boys" I couldn't get into (too earnest for my tastes). "The Turn of Century" is unknown to me, but I'll check it out.
Q. hi, who played Sheeni in the fox pilot of youth in revolt??? thank you!! (Franny, Seattle)
A. Jordan Ladd, daughter of Cheryl Ladd and granddaughter of Alan Ladd.
Q. Hello, I am having an argument with my friend on whether Sheeni is pronounced Shee-nee or Sheen-I. I was wondering if you could help us...thanx. (Molly, Seattle, WA)
A. The former is the preferred pronunciation.
Q. Having just read the interview conducted with you by a Harvard student, I feel impelled to comment that the reason many folks do not think highly of Harvard students (or other Ivy League students) is that they do not know what hirsute means, or that Uriah is a California town. That's the trouble with those schools -- the kids are insulated, overprotected, and more often than not riding their parents wallets. Keep up the splendid work, pynchonesque for an initiation. P.S. What is the book "Holubai Mambo" that is listed on Amazon.com? (nyqster, hopkinton, nh)
A. Can't agree with you there. From what I've seen Harvard students these days are frighteningly well informed. It's the middle-aged Yale grads we have to worry about. "Holubai Mambo" is the Czech translation of "Frisco Pigeon Mambo" -- highly recommended if you wish to polish your Czech language skills.
Q. Have you received many responses to your comment in the Dallas Observer, where you said you thought kids today wouldn't relate to Nick Twisp? I am 16 and absolutely relate to the myriad troubles afflicting both nick, sheeni and trent. I will be attending Simons Rock of Bard College (a college for 16 year olds) this fall and plan on forcing this book on everyone. With your book though, that wont be too hard. (Dostoevsky, Canada)
A. I do run into the occasional teen who hates the book--which I find oddly heartening. Thanks for spreading the word about Nick.
Q. What is a good quality yet affordable brand of pants?
(Louie, Charlottesville, Va)
A. I like Goodwill, though I've had some luck with Salvation Army too. You can't beat pre-worn clothes--so fashionable and nicely broken in too.
Q. I learned more new vocabulary words from your work than from any other novel I've ever read. How did you develop such an extensive vocabulary? (Linda, Rocky Mount, NC)
A. Hah! I'm practically illiterate compared to Vladimir Nabokov, who used to read the Oxford Unabridged Dictionary for fun.
Q. How much is one of the very first editions of youth in revolt worth? (Carey, Eugene, Oregon)
A. They're priceless! But then again, I may not be the guy to ask.
Q. First of all I would like to say thank you for a great book. This past year I cut together a monologue from "youth in revolt" for a drama festival. My monologue was the hit, they couldn't get enough of nick twisp. I am a tv/radio/film major at Oklahoma. I was wondering if you have ever had any thoughts of writing a screen play for the book? I think the movie "youth in revolt" would be a bigger hit with teenagers than "american pie". Thanks for keeping me laughing. (Tyler, shawnee, OK)
A. This year I wrote a screenplay of the first book of "Youth in Revolt"-- not that Hollywood is showing much interest so far.
Q. Is revolting youth available in stores? (Manny, Miami, Fl)
A. Good question. My books are found in the occasional enlightened independent bookstore, such as Cody's in Berkeley and Books on the Square in Providence. Otherwise, your local bookstore can order it for you or you buy it from this site or web bookstores.
Q. When writing this did you think of including any Beatle references? I am just wandering cause it seems like there could be a few in there. (Brian, Thousand Oaks, Ca.)
A. Off hand, I can't remember any, but it's been a while. Maybe alert readers can point out some examples. The Beatles may be too late in time to interest Nick, whose musical tastes are drastically retro to say the least.
Q. My friend and I are talking about the book YIR, and we want to know: Who is taking care of Albert right now...that’s all. (Steve, Chicago)
A. Thank you for your concern. Last I heard Albert was living with Apurva and Trent in Carlotta's former bungalow.
Q. Hello mr Payne, I'm from Czech republic and I'm now in USA in Pittsburg. My question is: please, where and who will you autogramy? I have heer your books youth in revolt in czech version. Please answer my. Thank you. hay Vita Hracek. (Player, Pittsburg , Pensilvania)
A. Sorry, I have no plans to autogramy in the foreseeable future.
Q. Stacy's bookstore here has trouble keeping your stuff on the shelves and two weeks ago another customer and I both reached for revolting youth. she bought the two copies of revolt for friends and I got revolting and mambo...spent my youthful summers in sebastopol, but there were more apple orchards back then...my question if nick is so enlightened in regards to frank sinatra why does he not know about ella singing the cole porter or gershwin songbooks? superior material for seduction. worked for me in my late teens. (Michael, San francisco)
A. Ella Fitzgerald is number one around here (even higher than Frank). As I recall, Nick does buy an Ella tape after Carlotta finds Granny DeFalco's stash. Whether Ella's golden voice would melt Sheeni's defenses remains to be seen.
Q. Will you write a sequel to Frisco Pigeon Mambo? (Scott, Brooklyn)
A. No! No more animal books for me. And what's with this mania for sequels?
Q. Isn't nick's dressing in drag just an extension of good clean american fun and know how? (farky, San diego)
A. It's American as J. Edgar Hoover. I recommend it to all my friends.
Q. Damn, Mr. Payne, when I read about how you had no foreseeable plans for autogramy in the future, I must say that it really choked me up. Since I first read your book YIR all that I wanted was some simple autogramy...or is it a simple autogramy either way I just need the autogramy. I hope that you will reconsider this point. Humph! (Steve, Chicago)
A. Sorry, my refusal is firm. Were I to engage in that activity, however briefly, people soon would be clamoring for a sequel to it.
Q. Is the character of Nick in anyway based upon your own personal experiences while growing up? Why did you choose to write YIR in the form of a Diary? Did you enjoy being in the mind of a 14 year old? (Paul, Connecticut)
A. Having the book in diary form seems slightly less stilted than a standard first-person narration. I have been stuck in the mind of a 14 year old for more than 35 years. [Your first question was already answered.]
Q. I have a YIR sticker on my car and tell all my friends about your books. What else can I do to spread the word about Nick? (Jack, Omaha)
A. How about tattooing "Twisp Lives!" on your forehead? Or you can leave effusive comments at Amazon.com or Bn.com. If there's a book you didn't particularly care for, please keep that to yourself.
Q. Hi Payne, I want to ask some question. When you was young as Nick, was your behavior same as Nick's? (Petr, Czech rep., Prague)
A. Not likely, since I was never wanted by the FBI--though, come to think of it, my musical tastes were similarly retrograde and I was tormented for years by a Sheeni-like teen.
Q. First, I must say, Trent is a prick. Even though we don't get to know that much about him, I think Sheeni had to have done something done with him, in order to be able to fantasize about. OK this is my Q: Who'd win in a boxing match between Nick and Trent? That'd get people back on the airplanes and back in Nevada! (CelloLord, Sacramento)
A. Well, Trent is bigger and stronger, but Nick (a resourceful biter and gouger) would not be handicapped by the need to fight fair. I'd put my money on the scrappy bantamweight.
Q. I'm curious about the 'Lolita imagery' that you mentioned in one of your interviews. What, exactly, are they? Nick is too young to be a Humbert, Sheeni too deliberate to be a Lolita. America is not a strange and threatening place to either of them. I don't get it... (Stephanie, Fairfield, CT)
A. Perhaps deeper digging through the text might answer your question. Authors can't be too obvious about these things.
Q. I am a nobody artist/writer from a mediocre city who stumbled upon yr book by just picking t from the shelf at random 6 yrs ago and has become one of my top five favorite books of all time. finding that there was a sequel after said 6 yrs of searching, I ordered it a barnes and nobles for the extravagant price of 30.00 so I could get it overnight, and read it within 4 hours. how do you do it? the Shakespearian drama with precision comic timing? I’ve read it hundreds of times ( mostly in detoxes I end up in constantly) as an escape and also for the help it's brought me in my writings (no plagiarism or anything) how long did it take you to write YIR, and did you run into any writer's blocks, or did it flow freely? the book I’m working on is more of a dark comedy, but comedy in any form is difficult to write. do you have any advice to the next generation of novelists? and I never understood why sheeni initially accepted to get hooked up with nick, it couldn't have been for albert's sake, could it? he doesn't seem like her type. (ailene, pittsburgh pa)
A. Hey, I didn't think Pittsburgh was so mediocre the two times I was there. It took me three years to write YiR, and I don't recall having any major writing blocks along the way. (No more than the usual one of not wanting to sit down at the computer when there's something more interesting to do--such as mowing the grass, cleaning out the garage, etc.) I can't think of anything I can recommend to the next generation of novelists except to read Nabokov to see how a master does things. No, Albert doesn't seem like Sheeni's type, but he does seem to exert a mysterious influence over people.
Q. Hi C.D. Payne, will you write Revolting youth ??? Has Sheeni glasses and plaits? Thank you for answer. (Sheeni, Prague-Czech Republic)
A. I believe I already wrote Revolting Youth. No, Sheeni does not have glasses and plaits.
Q. I would like to tell you a story, before I ask my question (you might want to get some popcorn). It starts out about 4 or 5 years ago in a used book store on long island. I was with my girlfriend, Sarah. I saw this book on the shelf, "youth in revolt". I thought it was an interesting title so I pulled it. I read the back and it was a prom. copy of the book with this letter inside from the main character(nick twisp obviously). It said on the back the his name was nick, my name too, and that he lived in Berkeley. Weird cause I lived there off and on for like 4 years. So, I bought it. 5 bucks. I read it, and gave to Sarah. She read it and gave it to a friend. Needless to say it's gone! so like 2 years later I was in Berkeley on telegraph and went into a used book store and found a hardcover version. It was the old cover, with the bomb on it. So I bought it. 7 bucks. I brought it back to Long Island. I gave it to this girl, with a strange name like Ellia or something.!
Oh needless to say I never saw her again! God damnit! Since then I have bought maybe 5 or 6 copies of youth in revolt it's one of the greatest books ever, and I read a lot. It's up there with "Catcher". I still have the letter to the Store owner's from Nick Twisp. It's framed on my wall. I am betting I am one of the first people, other then friends of yours, to read YIR. I think its weird how I found it, and how my name is nick and I lived in Berkeley (right off of Arlington, by the way). And the clincher, I lost every old memorable copy of the book to GIRLS!!!! Well thanks for listening, here is my question. Did you ever see the movie "8 days a week"? If you haven't, I suggest you do and then call your lawyer. Cause if you had nothing to do with this movie, you should take the writer to court. The biggest rip off of YIR I have ever seen. Well if you get a chance e-mail me back, I would like some info on that. K you’re the best. See ya. (Nick, smithtown, ny)
A. I didn't see that movie, but maybe I should invite my lawyer over for a video showing. Let's see, at $325 an hour that should cost me about $500, not including the video rental and snacks.
Q. The antique travel trailer you use as an icon on this site - do you own it? My fiance/girlfriend/ex-girlfriend (believe me, I'm hoping she makes up her mind) is purchasing a 1953 Crown to pull behind her 1975 Land Cruiser on a 6 - 12 month trip from MD to CA and back, via every blue highway she can find. We are in the process of becoming experts on travel trailers due to the amount of time spent shopping for the right one - asthetics playing as important a role as function, (she's an artist - www.heavenmoon.com) and I couldn't help but notice how perfect the one you use would be for her. By the way - it's impossible to buy them on the east coast - we just bought from the Iowaboys in CA - Laura's going out next month to tow it back. (Bob, Odenton, MD)
A. I have two Airstream trailers at the moment: a 1979 Safari (22 feet) in nice shape for travel and a 1964 Globe-Trotter (19-1/2 feet) that I am converting to the Museum of Trailer Culture. I'm not familiar with the Crown trailer, but good luck on your cross-country trip. Sounds like fun.
Q. I love reading the Nick Twisp stories and now you can imagine that I'm REALLY happy about the new book. But now, the question is (as it is nearly impossible to get those books here in Germany - seems like no one prints them anymore, I bought them in a second-hand-shop) if your new book will be translated to German language? (M. Reichelt, Germany)
A. Sorry, my foreign agent has not yet placed Revolting Youth with a German publisher.
Q. Hi, Im from slovakia (we were in a federation with czech rep. till 1993) I want to greet you. Don’t you have some plans to visit us here - you have a lot of fans here. When someone wants to buy your book, he needs to order it on publishers internet page. No other chances to get them. And look, I have an interpretation of your first nick twisp book tomorrow. (on my English lesson huh) bye. (Frances Scott, Bratislava, Slovakia)
A. I plan on visiting Slovakia the next time my moped needs to be serviced at the factory. Maybe I can ride it over from Paris. In the meantime, keep spreading the word about Nick.
Q. I have an autographed copy of YOUTH IN REVOLT on AIVIA Press. Is it worth money yet? I directed my boyfriend to read it, which he did, enjoying it immensely. He in turn discovered FRISCO PIGEON MAMBO, which I am reading right now. Keep up the good work! (Jenni, New York City)
A. Hang onto that signed copy. It could be worth something -- but only after the author croaks.
Q. I don't really have a question, more just a comment. I really enjoyed the "Cut to the Twisp" book, although I wish I hadn't kept passing my original YIR book around so I could have actually keyed up the pages. Good thing I have read the book so many times just the one or two word phrases helped me out a lot. Anyway, I really liked the story about the alien visitor. That was really good. How long ago did you write that? Same with the love-scene. That was quite hilarious. Thanks for your time.
(Tucker, Florence Town, Vermont)
A. You learned a valuable lesson: Never loan out your copy of Youth in Revolt. It rarely returns. I'm embarrassed to confess I wrote the "Alien Visitation" story about 25 years ago. The "Love Scene" story is a more recent work.
Q. huh mr. Payne - I have some information. Good for us and I think that very good for us again. Since next Monday 26. nov 2001 our teacher is going to teach about you (because of my interpretation huh :)) Its cool, Im very happy,. yeah There is just one problem, that we have your books just in czech language - so it’s a problem, because we are an english speaking class. So we need to order them bye. (Frances Scott, Bratislava, Slovakia)
A. Why not get the Hungarian version and make English class a real treat?
Q. Mr. Payne, Nothing gives me more pleasure than to see your series reach such success following Scott Meredith's discouraging evaluation. I've completed 2 novels. The first was chewed to pieces by the Meredith Agency after having been edited with high praise by Michael Garrett, co-editor of the 10 volume HOT BLOOD Anthology series from Pocket Books. Did you make drastic changes to your m.s. after Meredith's eval? What is your advice to unpublished author's with regards to today's difficult fiction market? (Don C, Collierville, TN)
A. As I indicated previously I did not materially change Youth in Revolt after Meredith's evaluation. Yes, fiction writers have to struggle to get into print, and, sorry, I don't have any advice other than to persist and try not to get discouraged.
Q. Hola Sr. Payne! I read Youth in Revolt, loved it, read Revolting Youth, enjoyed it, and finally Cut to the Twisp for more hilarious anecdotes. Reading Cut to the Twisp explains some of the more confusing parts of YiR: for instance, how did Mrs. Crampton/Ferguson know who Carlotta Ulansky is? Anyway, I passed the book on to my father. He thought it was very funny, but now he bugs me constantly with YiR references. Can you shut him up by occupying us with another book? Not necessarily a Twispian sequel (or prequal!) but just something else. All of your books are great! ;) (Zack, Palo Alto, California)
A. I hope to write another book one of these days, if I don't get too busy with the Museum of Trailer Culture (not to mention earning a living). Sorry your father is driving you nuts. I had a college roommate who used to torment me with hourly Gilbert & Sullivan references (he had all their works memorized). Took me 25 years to work up an appreciation for the underrated Gilbert.
Q. Has Tom Sharpe read YIR? Have you ever been in touch with him? (Phil, Los Angeles)
A. I have read all of Tom Sharpe's novels with enjoyment, but as far as I know he has not returned the favor. If Tom Sharpe is still among the living, please check in soon.
Q. Okay, I notice there aren't too many questions about "Civic Beauties", so I have two.
1. Did you write the novel in "musical" format with the ambition that it would eventually be made into a film?
2. Are the film rights available? (as I think the recent trials of the Bush daughters have surely sweetened the market?) (Jefferson, Chicago, IL)
A. 1. No, I wrote it as a musical because the story seemed to lend itself to song. 2. The film rights are available. Perhaps the Bush daughters will graduate, curb their partying tendencies, and take up filmmaking.
Q. Dear Mr. Payne, "You should read this," they said, my co-workers at Borders (insert generic bookstore sounding name if Borders would get either one of us sued.) "I will, I swear,"I said, "but I'm a year and a half behind in my reading already. " "Honestly," they said, don't put it off." So, finally, I made a little room--"Heck," I thought, "how long could it take?" It took only about 48 hours, since I stayed up til 4 in the morning to finish it, borrowed the sequel from my sympathetic boss and polished it off in a day, and am now in the process of setting aside your remaining books for our annual reward the peons 40% off day (hey, I'm broke.) I can't tell you how glad I am I discovered Nick Twisp! I have heard the very occasional complaint that Nick's adventures are unbelievable. To this I make two replies. One, it's a freakin' comedy, lighten up. Jeez. Two, to quote Roger Ebert on various movies that produced frothing rabid public response, "It is not what the movie (or book) is about, it is how it is about it." Everything hangs together perfectly and you can trace the admittedly outrageous cause and effect all the way through. Thanks for reading this long email. I'll sign off with two things--My favorite so far Nabokov novel is the criminally neglected Ada (if anyone wants to learn writing, read this book over and over) and my favorite Sinatra song is "Angel Eyes." Much thanks for tolerating my ramblings. (Jen S, Seattle, WA)
A. I agree that failure to read "Ada" (not to mention "Pnin") should be a criminal offense. And readers seeking believability in fiction should steer clear of my work. Shall we direct them to Mary Higgins Clark?
Q. Don't you mean "questions that have been answered previously"? Or do you just flat out not like hearing the same question twice? "The Proofreader," Greenwich Village, NY
A. Good point! Say, where were you when all those typo-laden Aivia Press editions were going out the door?
Q. can you write me a 3 page paper comparing nick to hamlet? that would be awesome. by the way youth in revolt is an awesome book. (Lex, N. Miami Beach)
A. An awesome request, but I wouldn't want to show up ole Bill Shakespeare. Have an awesome day!
Q. Hello Mr. Payne. I would have written you at an earlier time but I'm just too slothful. I just completed Frisco pigeon mambo, another extraordinary book; it's a pity you're not going to develop a sequel. Youth in Revolt and Revolting Youth, spectacular, don't give up on any sequels. I've been pondering about a few questions.
1. From a scale from 1 to 10 (1 being the lowest etc.) how would you rate the Back to the Future Trilogy? (It would be nice if my favorite author also liked my most favored film.)
2. How many versions of "Youth in Revolt" did you compose?
3. Will the movie "Party animals" be much like the book Frisco pigeon mambo or did the screenwriter(s) make up there own story line?
4. Any luck with the screenplay for "Youth in Revolt"? 5. What is your all time favorite book and movie? (Youth in Revolt and Back to the Future would be my answer.)
6. Do you mind if I wear a t-shirt that says "Youth in revolt" in the front and "Read that damn book now!" in the back? (Sincerely, 14 year old Hamid, Long Beach, CA)
A. 1. I would give "Back to the Future" an 8 as a single movie. I don't think the two following films added much. I like films that play around with time for comic effect--"Groundhog Day" being another example that worked very well, I thought. Also "Peggy Sue Got Married."
2. Just one, with some revisions along the way. Too lazy to write entire second drafts. Yuck.
3. The script I saw for "Party Animals" tossed my book out the window.
4. Not so far.
5. Book: Lolita, movie: "Dr. Strangelove."
6. Not at all. I wish all my readers would advertise my books on their clothing.
Q. I absolutely adored "Youth in Revolt"! I loved the content, the language, the humor, just everything. The only thing that struck me as I don't know, weird, or just off, were the oddness of the names. What's with that? I'm sure there's a logical explanation like, "It added to the humor," but what gives? Just wanted to know. Thanks! Oh, and kudos! (Sasha, Los Angeles)
A. Trent Preston seems like a fairly normal name to me. Or were you thinking of Paul Saunders?
Q. Thanks for "Youth in Revolt." A girl I had been seeing gave it to me on the night I dumped her. Pretty nice girl. In recent months my life has been unraveling. Reading your book was only dependable good thing in my life over the couple of weeks I read it. (Which by the way included a crazy Christmas (2001) away from home where due to poor judgment I had a minor alcohol and caffeine induced nervous breakdown and took a chance at entering the ranks of convicted criminals.) I found your book, and it's sequel, inspiring. In my life I have let myself become compromised in so many ways that Nick never would have. The easiest way to explain is that Nick believes in himself and puts himself first. He does this in a consequences be damped way. I'm a guy that grew up afraid of everything and put people and their opinions above myself and opinions. I work in a sort of consequences be everything way. This is a bad way to live on so many levels and ironically the consequences to this lifestyle SUCK. Your book has helped me become a better person and may ultimately help me out of my funk. Perhaps one of the stimulus packages to stave my recession. Thanks again. (Geoff, from couch in San Rafael, CA)
A. On the other hand, one wouldn't want to follow Nick's example too far. The guy does seem to land in a lot of trouble.
Q. First of all, thank you for writing YiR. There are not many writers who can tackle the formidable task of writing about adolescence without falling into stupid "Dawson's Creek"-ish cliches. Your book was a very honest take on what it is like to be a teenage guy obsessed with women. Anyways, I was wondering a couple things. First, why did MTV buy the rights to YiR if they are never going to do anything with it? Second, have you or your agent been pushing for a movie deal or are you just waiting for a studio to propose it to you? Last but not least, a comment... I think Mandy Moore would be perfect as Sheeni. She is exactly the way I pictured her when I read the book, but the nerdy guy from Freaks and Geeks just isnt right for Nick. (Nate, Kent, WA)
A. The story I got from MTV was they didn't proceed with the series because the director of the Fox pilot was threatening to sue if they did. My agent pushed for movie deals a few years ago, but these days has been fielding inquiries from producers, writers, etc. Ms. Moore is unknown to me, but I will keep an eye peeled for her.
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