Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Marshall Karp Interview

Marshall Karp is a funny guy, and a funny mystery author. His third novel, FLIPPING OUT, is now available in a reasonably priced hardcover edition.

Joe: Who are you, and why should my readers care?

Marshall: I am a cross between Everyman, Bozo the Clown, God’s son by a previous marriage, the ghost of Christmas Past, and my mother’s younger brother Irving, except I have a lot more hair. Your readers should care because they think you’re the funniest writer on the planet and every now and then they need to read another writer just to prove that they’re right. And I’m not just sucking up to you. Your readers really do worship you. I know that for a fact because I called them both.

Joe: Awesome! Did you tell my mom I need my laundry by Monday?

But on to what my blog is known for: celebrity gossip. Do you know any cool famous people? Have you ever gotten stoned with any of them and accidentally killed a tranny hooker?

Marshall: I know lots of cool famous people, and I was about to rattle off some names, when I thought, Joe’s just baiting me to see if he’s on the list. But the second half of that question really rattled me. Sadly, the answer is yes. Three of us were totally stoned, and despite the fact that she was the oldest hooker I ever saw, when she removed her dentures she was a virtuoso. I don’t think it’s fair to say we killed her. Granny was 87 years old and her heart just gave out… oops, my assistant just pointed out that you said Tranny hooker. In that case, no.

Joe: You're a former Hollywood guy. In a movie about your life, who would play me? (You can also say who would co-star as you.)

Marshall: You have a beard and since Matt Damon and Brad Pitt don’t look good with facial hair, I think the best person to play you would be Rosie O Donnell. As for me, I’m thinking Travolta, but I’d have to put on some weight for the movie.

Joe: For you I was thinking George Burns, because of his comic timing, and because you both were born before the invention of the steam engine.

(Joe's note: This is where Marshall would retaliate with something witty, had I given him the chance.)

Joe: You've got a damn good author website. Besides a website, what forms of self-promotion have you found effective?

Marshall: Blog tours, free book giveaways, cold calls, accosting browsers in bookstores, stalking librarians, and being a guest on mediocre author websites.

Joe: I like that last one, but you didn't host me when I blog toured. But I hold no grudges, and would never Rick Roll you. Ever.

Now let's get to the question that everyone wants to know. You're on a island with two tribes. One always speaks the truth, and the other always lies. You come to a fork in the road, and see one of the tribesmen, but you don't know which tribe he's from. Would you try to rob him?

Marshall: That’s obviously a pointed reference to the years I spent in Hollywood. It doesn’t matter what tribe the guy came from. If he was an agent he’d lie to me, and if he were a producer he would pick up the fork in the road and stab me in the back with it. I’d rob the bastard blind and go home and blog about it.

Joe: Describe FLIPPING OUT in less than 20 words.

Marshall: Flipping Out is like The DaVinci Code without all that stupid Holy Grail, Mary Magdalene, Mona Lisa shit.

Joe: How'd you break into this biz?

Marshall: I knew James Patterson, pitched the book to him, and he said it sounds great. So I wrote it, he helped me find an agent, who found a publisher. Patterson gave me a great blurb, and I rode his coattails to this current high point in my career — a guest spot on Joe Konrath’s website.

Joe: Use this space here to talk about whatever you want to, but I reserve the right to edit what you say and replace random nouns with the word "wiener."

Marshall: Shortly after my daughter survived being at Ground Zero on 9/11 I was searching for something positive I could contribute to the world. That’s when I discovered Vitamin Angels. It was founded in 1994 by Howard Schiffer. He would ask vitamin companies to donate vitamins, and then with the help of volunteer organizations distribute them around the world where vitamins and nutrients could literally save lives. Howard did it all in his spare time. He was unpaid and had a full time day job.

I called him, and I was immediately captivated by the mission — providing basic nutrition to people in need. I told him I didn’t know companies who could give away vitamins. But I knew some who might donate money. He had never thought about that, so we decided to give it a try. I was struck by a few basic facts. Millions of children go blind from a lack of Vitamin A. Half of them die. All it takes to prevent that is one megadose of Vitamin A, administered twice a year. Total cost — twenty-five cents to save one child from going blind.

And so, Operation 2020 was born — a campaign to eradicate childhood blindness on the planet by the year 2020. We found our first corporate sponsor. Then we began to attract others, and schools, and individuals, even kids willing to part with tooth fairy money to save another kid’s life.

Last year Vitamin Angels reached (and saved) over 7 million children. We are operating in 40 countries. We are distributing 100 million prenatal vitamins a year. In one country our newborn initiative shows that by giving one dose of Vitamin A, two days after birth, we can reduce infant mortality by 20%.

As for me, I’m still deeply involved in the organization. And somewhere over these past eight years I wrote six words that are as meaningful to me as the 130,000 words in my first book.

Be an Angel. Save a life.


Fair warning, Joe, if you change "Be An Angel" to "Be A Wiener" you’re at risk of losing one or both of your readers.

Thank you for supporting my life of crime.

Joe: Thanks for stopping by. And I didn't replace any nouns, because my readers did it themselves, in their heads. Besides, I would have changed it to: "Be an Angel. Save a Wiener."

Buy Marshall's books, and if you want to get RR'd (like he just did) go to: www.lomaxandbiggs.com.