Friday, June 1, 2012

Bryant Park Blog Q&A with Christopher McDougall and Steve Friedman

We're celebrating the release of ultra-marathoner Scott Jurek's memoir, Eat and Run with all things running and literary this Tuesday in the Bryant Park Reading Room sponsored by HSBC . He'll be joined by co-author Steve Friedman, and the best selling author of Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, Christopher McDougall, who will serve as host. Golden Globe nominee, Peter Sarsgaard will also join our esteemed running crew for the event, as he prepares for his upcoming role as actor and director in the film version of Born to Run.


We couldn't just talk about running without some real action though. Scott Jurek will take the lead on a 31 mile run around the perimeter of Manhattan, beginning at the Robert Moses playground on East 42nd Street at 5am, and ending just in time for our Word for Word event at the Reading Room in the park. The public is invited to join him on all or part of his route, as he makes his may through the city. See the Meet-Up page for more specific information.

Christopher McDougall and Steve Friedman were kind enough to answer our Blog Q&A to get you prepped for the event. See which author is a serial f-bomb offender, and which author had a childhood interest in the work of Ray Bradbury.

What was your inspiration for this book?
CM: A fantastic, rollicking adventure in Mexico’s Copper Canyons alongside wild characters like the White Horse, Barefoot Ted, Manuel Luna, and Scott Jurek.
SF: Scott asked me to help him.

Where do you do your best writing?
CM: In my head. i just wish it came out the same way on the page.
SF: Someplace away from my apartment.

Did you have an “a-ha!” moment that made you want to be a writer?
CM: Right after I finished reading The Great Brain as a kid, I started plotting how I could write something that good myself. I’m getting there.
SF: Yes, hearing my seventh grade teacher read Ray Bradbury’s description of a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Which author do you wish had been your 7th grade English teacher?
CM: Anne Sexton. if you have to ask why, just watch this.
SF: Ray Bradbury

What is your secret talent?
CM: Sorry, it’s a secret.
SF: I tell a pretty scary ghost story.

What is your favorite book?
CM: Born to Run, of course.
SF: When I was 13 or 14,  Look Homeward Angel. Now, I can’t name a favorite.

Who reads your first draft?
CM: I don’t show anything to anyone until it’s done. And then I send it straight to the editor and hold my breath until he tells me I don’t have to start over. Which isn’t every time.
SF: They’re bad enough that I don’t subject anyone to them.

Do you read your books after they’ve been published?
CM: No. I’m an obsessive re-writer, so by the time the book is finished, I’ve re-read every page dozens of times and can’t stand to look at them again.
SF: No

Do you prefer writing on a computer or longhand?
CM: Notes and outlines longhand and always longhand; full sentences always on the computer.
SF: Computer

What book are you currently reading? (Old school or e-Reader?)
CM: I’m working on a new book that dives through WWII, so I’m reading a stack of great out-of-print combat accounts, like Popski’s Private Army and Hunters from the Sky: The German Parachute Corps: 1940-1945. And I’m always a sucker for anything by Patricia Highsmith.
SF: The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta (Print)

What word or punctuation mark are you most guilty of overusing?
CM: Spoken-word, I’m a serial f-bomb abuser.
SF: It’s a tie between and and doomed. Commas.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
CM: Hopefully marrying into money.
SF: Teacher

Word for Word Author
Wednesdays, 12:30pm - 2:30pm
May 16 - August 22
Bryant Park Reading Room sponsored by HSBC

Don't forget to check-in to Bryant Park on Foursquare on Wednesday when you come for the event. The first two people to check-in will receive a book by one of our featured authors!

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