Friday, October 27, 2006

Randy Perkins Interview - Part III

Following is the third and final installment of my interview with Randy Perkins, author of Herb's First 100 Years & the Book of Truths. If you have yet to do so, you may read my book review and the Parts I and II of the interview.
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Shalee: Of all the truths in the book, which one speaks to you the most?

Randy: That changes from day to day. Sometimes it changes from hour to hour depending on what is going on. In keeping with the spirit of the story, why don’t I clear my mind and randomly flip through a few pages of The Book of Truths and list whatever comes up:

Truth #67 - Open minds have an infinite capacity for expansion
Truth #49 – The most important things in life are not things
Truth #11 - Expect the unexpected
Truth #56 – You may never have a better friend than your dog
Truth #7 - For better health and appearance, smile

Shalee: Are there any truths that you struggle with?

Randy: Many.

#79 Lasting relationships survive on healthy doses of compromise.
#77 Confronting fear is required every time you try to achieve.
#66 Jealousy is a useless emotion.
#20 People tend to complicate everything.


Shalee: Which one is the easiest for you to prove?

Randy: Hmm… I’m not sure I can prove any of them. Like I said before, what might be true for me might not be true for you.

Shalee: What other truths would you add after having published the book?

Randy: I would add Truth #356 Writing a novel is hard but finding people to read your novel is harder.

Shalee: All the truths are applicable. Can you remember when you realized some of them?

Randy: Many of them came to me while I was driving. Driving, working, watching TV… For some reason, driving frees my mind. Many of them came when it was impossible to write them down. I put a tape recorder in the car and that helped a little bit. Some really good ones got away from me because I didn’t write them down.

Shalee: When did you start collecting them?

Randy: Shortly after I met Herb in 1996.

Shalee: Did you collect them with the intent of using them in a book?

Randy: No. Initially I did it to remind myself of things I felt I needed to remember. For example: Truth #16 Happiness is not a birthright - it’s a quest. Putting together a book of truths is largely an exercise in self-examination. It was an attempt to learn more about myself.

Shalee: I am curious about Truth#94. Who taught you that one?

Randy: I once knew a man whose job it was to unloaded trucks in a warehouse. It was hot, sweaty work and he bathed once a week whether he needed it or not. Usually on Friday night, so by Monday he was stinky again. You could often smell this man ten seconds before you would see him. Otherwise he was a nice guy but very hard to be around because he smelled so bad. And so came the realization of Truth #94, “It is hard to be friendly to someone with B.O.”

Shalee: You’ve said that much of the story actually happened. Can you put a number as to how much is fact and how much is fiction?

Randy: Seventy-five percent of this story happened in one form or another. The rest I made up mostly to aid with flow and readability.

Shalee: It appears that it was a conscious thought to include the World Trade Center in your story.

Randy: My intent with that reference was to fix Herb’s location in the mind of the reader. We all shared that experience no mater where we were in the world. We all know what we were doing and where we were when the event happened. It was an attempt to link the reader and the story to a particular point in time. To be truthful, that tiny reference bothers me now. If I could rewrite it, or delete it, I would.

Shalee: Were you in New York on 911?

Randy: No, I was at home in Colorado.

Shalee: Tell me about the photo on the back cover. Was it taken as described in the book?


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Randy: Yes. It was taken by a passenger on that trip in 1996.


Shalee: And the cover photo, was that taken from the spot where Herb’s ashes are spread?



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Randy: I wish I could say yes, but I’m afraid that is not the case. The photo portrays the spirit of the place, but the location is different from where Herb rests.

Shalee: Thank you, Randy. Best wishes for your novel’s success. I’m looking forward to when your next published work is no longer looming over the horizon, but rather is sitting in my hands. When that happens, let me know; I’d love to talk with you again. It’s been surreal, but nice.


Randy: Thank you, Shalee. For me, this has been a pleasure.

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