Thursday, March 6, 2014

TFA is Such a Liar

Surprise, surprise. The Famous Author is on another blog tour, spouting off to anyone who'll listen about our books -- The Austin Carr Mystery Series -- and as usual he's telling some really tall tales. Read what he told Mystery Playground, a top-notch blog on crime novels. They asked TFA a few great questions, told him to include a picture of his research. The blog, which has a great Facebook page, too, went ahead and used the shot he sent them -- taken a few years ago of a book shop in Rome.

That TFA is a terrible liar. (Here's the Q & A from MP:)

1) Where did you get the idea for BIG MONEY?

It's one of those crazy true stories, so strange it can't be used in fiction. In 1979 my future wife and I fly back to New Jersey. Her brother is getting married and it's a chance for me to meet her family. We arrive at her house late and it's not until the following morning I meet her father. He's at the breakfast table, reading the paper. He's pretty gruff, gets up and leaves after he finishes whatever story he's reading. I wonder why he doesn't like me until I see the newspaper story -- it's about HIM, front page, my future father in law having refused in court the day before to point out two gangsters. The federal prosecutors played a tape recorded conversation -- quoted in the newspaper -- in which my future father-in-law is extorted for money. Are these the guys who threatened your life, the prosecutor asked my father in court. "I can't be sure," he said. Now deceased, my father in law was a pretty tough character. Tough, but not stupid.

2) You used to be a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. How did that job inform your fiction writing?

Being a reporter can mean different things, but for me, back then, it meant I wrote stories every day, mostly all day. I wrote stories while I talked to people on the telephone. I combined AP, UPI, and press release copy into one short coherent business section piece. I wrote one hundred words for the front page when the stock market rallied or crashed. I wrote stories on extreme deadline, an editor yanking the whole sheet of paper from my typewriter after each paragraph. Bottom line, I put close to two million words on paper in my newspaper career. It taught me to write.

3) What’s the story you worked on at The L.A. Times that you are the most proud of?

Most of your readers probably won't remember, but right after U.S. President Gerald Ford declared his War on Inflation in the mid-1970s, my editors asked me to survey the nation's top economists, find out if the President's plan had a chance. I spent much time and energy researching, discovered that the Vietnam War, the creation of OPEC and the resulting surge in oil prices meant our economy was doomed for many more years of fast-rising prices. It was a feature story, but the editors liked it so much (and Mondays are slow news days), my economics piece was the newspaper's top story -- banner headline on the front page. The prediction implied in the story's hook turned out to be true: Inflation didn't peak for five years. But what I am most proud of is that when I arrived at work that morning, the headline writer came to my desk and apologized. He had used virtually the whole first paragraph of my story for his headline, taking a bit of punch from the story opening, but making me feel like a million-dollar wordsmith. He couldn't write a tighter, catchier headline than six of the eight words I'd given him. The War on Inflation is Over. We Lost

4) Are there any photos you can share from your research? 

I collected quite a few books and other material in researching and producing BIG MONEY. This photo is just one corner of my garage:

(See Above) Ha ha

4 comments:

Les Edgerton said...

Your garage looks like every room in my house, Jack. Those are two great stories--your father-in-law and your feature story. When's the memoir coming out? Soon, I hope!

Jack Getze said...

To the good folks at Mystery Playground, I assure the photo is of the corner of my garage, not a book shop in Rome. Trust me.

LuAnn Braley said...

It looks kind of like a bookstore in a basement of a store in Cedar City, Utah, but there's too much space. They did, however, have some Perry Mason mysteries ...back when cover choices were individual colors. :p

Austin said...

Don't listen to TFA. He's covering his butt. The above photo was in fact taken in Rome -- or maybe Florence. There was an old man not in the shot actually selling these things. He said he could find anything.