It’s been awhile since I commented at all on the Life of Reilly book. After the sudden death of my mother, an abrupt change in my career status, the latest computer I had crapping out and the Holiday hustle and bustle there wasn’t much time spent on the book.
But things are back on track and moving along quite well again.
I’m in the process of doing the big JM DeMatteis interview right now. The first draft is ready, but I have a lot more follow up questions to go through. It’s one of the harder interviews I’ve had to write due to the fact that he’s one of my favorite writers (and I need to keep from acting like a fanboy) and there’s a difficulty in asking intelligent questions that are going to be interesting to readers of the book, but not bore him by being repetitive.
I also pretty much finished a shorter Q&A with Mark Bagley. Mark is in the unique position of having worked on two Clone Sagas and I wanted to get his thoughts on both stories. Honestly, I suck at interviewing artists and Bagley is another favorite of mine, but I was having problems coming up with some interesting yet intelligent questions to ask. Thomas Mets, a Spider-Man fan who posts on Brian Bendis’ Jinxworld.com, helped me a great deal by offering a bunch of things I could swing by Mark.
The exciting thing for me is how the project has started to balloon with more participants joining than I ever thought possible. The latest person to sign on is former editor Bob Budiansky. Bob was thrust right into the Clone Saga just around the time that Ben Reilly officially took on the mantle of Spider-Man. It’s going to be great to hear what stories he has to tell about what was going on behind the scenes during his involvement in the story.
While Danny Fingeroth guided the books from the beginning of the Clone Saga and Ralph Macchio came on to end the story, Bob was in the interesting position of having to handle things right smack dab in the middle and that’s where a lot of people believe the story started getting changed around, lengthened, etc. Bob’s participation will set the record straight on a lot of things that were only speculated about for years.
In terms of timing for the book, I was hoping it would be ready in time for con season but that’s a near impossibility now. Con season of ’09 seems like a better bet.
The most difficult part has proved to be in writing a story around the columns and trying to make the book read a bit differently. Originally, I was thought about taking the columns, printing them out and making a simple print version that people could hold in their hands. Then I thought I should try and add some new material as a bonus, but it was still going to be about 90-95% old material. As time as gone on, the thing has taken on a life of its own. The creative participants have more than doubled with a lot more commentary being added to Glenn’s.
Re-organizing the old pieces to make everything flow better has been the biggest headache. I’ve re-written the opening pages half a dozen times, trying to pick the best way to lead off, along with writing lead-ins to different chapters, etc.
For example, a new interview with JM DeMatteis sheds light on some of the things we discussed during the opening and mid sections of the column. Inserting the DeMatteis commentaries on Judas Traveller in Chapter 6 of the original columns means reworking some of Glenn’s commentaries about it for a more conversational flow. We’ll also have the point of view of Editor Danny Fingeroth on the same subject so I need to chop up my overview of the individual issues we’re discussing to make it read better.
It’s looking like more than half of the book will now be all new material and that seems to grow by the day. It’s a huge bonus to the fans of the column that were planning on picking up the book, but it has been a big reason for the delays.
So right now my desk is buried in paperwork. To the left, I have print outs of chapters from the original columns, all redlined and ready to be edited. On the right is a stack of ongoing interviews printed out with notes of which chapters they’ll be inserted into. Each of the interview stacks are loaded with Post-It-Notes with follow up questions. There’s a notepad on the corner of the laptop with the front half dedicated to things I need to go over with Glenn and the back half being reserved for the things Danny needs to go over. There’s a separate book off to the corner of the desk with questions and excerpts ready to be reviewed by Howard and Terry for the forthcoming interview and finally a small legal pad with a list of things to do that is slowly getting crossed off.
Yeah, the book has turned out to be a lot more time consuming than I originally thought, but looking at the desk and all of the wonderful information going into the project I know that it is going to be worth the effort and definitely worth the wait for readers.
I need to go take a nap.
Go to ‘The Haven’ section of http://www.amishotaku.com/ to read HoR parts one through six.