BTW, thank you for all the comments on the video we shot at the New York signing. Special thanks to PF Bentley who shot the video for us.
For those just tuning in, we promised we’d have cool bigshots interviewing Brad on the occasion of The Book of Fate and the book tour. Yesterday, we had Damon Lindelof from LOST. And today, here’s one of the biggest of all – former First Lady Barbara Bush. That’s right, Barbara Bush.
Take it away Mrs. Bush…
Barbara Bush: What're the top three albums that are on your iPod?
Brad Meltzer: I’m looking right now for what I played last…Guero by Beck, About A Boy by Badly Drawn Boy, and the new Chili Peppers double-disc. But I need to know -- can you tell me what's on yours?
BB: In all honesty Brad, I don’t know if I can narrow it down, Andrew Lloyd Webber is a favorite but I absolutely love any kind of show tunes -- you play a Broadway musical, and I’m going to be tapping my toes. On that note, music is considered art -- What's the worst piece of art you and your wife ever purchased?"
Brad: Something tells me my answer will be a lot less expensive than yours. But at the Broward County Fair, I once bought a picture of David Hasselhoff sorta painted on a mirror -- the whole thing framed in what could only be described as plastic wood. I thought it was cool because it had the Knight Rider car in the background. Don’t ask. I was thirteen.
BB: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder I suppose. While reading your website--
Brad: Wait, you read my website? Don't you have staff for that? Or like, the Pentagon?
BB: I have an iPod and a Blackberry. I know how to go to websites, Brad.
Brad: My mother's going to be mad at me for asking you that.
BB: I’m sure she will understand. Now, while reading your website, I saw that you received 24 rejection letters on your first novel, which still hasn't been published to this day. Do you draw any inspiration from that rejection?
Brad: Every single day I sit down to write, I think about those rejections. I had twenty-four people tell me to give it up. Does that make them wrong, and me right? Of course not. All it means is life is subjective. All you need is one person to say yes. So every day, I think about those letters. It puts it in perspective. It reminds me to never take this job for granted. And it tells me to never let anyone tell you No.
BB: Great attitude Brad, I might just send friends to you for advice now. What was your favorite book as a child?
Brad: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. What about yours?
BB: My favorite book to read to my children when they were being raised was Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McClosky.
Brad: See that's the thing. Mine is solely because my mom read it to me. Just sitting in her lap. That book makes me feel young and safe to this day. Plus, I love the illustrations. I was at a wedding where Eric Carle was a guest, and I had to fight everything within me to not go over and ask him to sketch something on a cocktail napkin for me.
BB: You should've asked.
Brad: Yeah...he wouldn't have said no to you.
BB: [Laughs] And where's your favorite place to escape?
Brad: The week before my wedding, my best friends rented a boat for two hours. We were still in school -- we had no money, no jobs…but for two hours, in Key West, we had this boat. The Captain had a radio that somehow -- magically -- I’m telling you, it played all your old favorite songs, and we just sat on that boat and drifted around. That was an escape.
BB: Final question: I know the answer to this one, but what details did you steal from the Office of George Bush and put in your new novel?
Brad: Ahh, you saw the advance copy, didn’t you? I didn’t know if it got there yet. Well…when I came to Houston -- and when I went up to Harlem to the Office of Bill Clinton – you both had the coolest offices around. You have to know that -- personally, I don’t have pictures of me and the Pope on my walls. But when I was looking for things to describe it the novel, I picked lots of the cool details, and of course, my favorite desk item of all time: that bronzed casting of Abraham’s Lincoln fist. C’mon, you have Lincoln’s fist. That beats my Kermit the Frog paperweight any day.
Special thanks to Whitney Matheson at USA Today's PopCandy for posting this to her blog on Tuesday.
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Liked this interview? Tomorrow – we’ve got the man from Studio 60…
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