Do you remember back in May of 2012 when I read and reviewed a little book called “My Status Update Journey” by Marcus Matherne? It has been one of the funniest books I’ve read in a long time and I highly recommend that you buy and read it immediately if you have not yet bought it and read it. No excuses about not knowing where to buy it either, you can buy it here
for about $14.95 and it’s worth every penny.
Now, that being said, a few days ago I e-mailed Marcus and asked him if he would be willing to provide me with a quick interview since I still have his book on my shelf to provide a few laughs during my times of need. He kindly obliged and his responses were nearly as funny as his book. If you laugh, chuckle, or even smile during the below interview you should buy his book.
Get to Know the Author 1.
What inspired you to write My Status Update Journey? I’ve really enjoyed using Facebook over the years. Writing funny stuff to make people smile is a fun outlet for me. When I found Facebook’s “download all of your statuses” button and started reading years of my silly entries, I found myself inspired by a handful of my “friends” stroking my ego with some their responses that said things like, “you’re my funniest Facebook friend”, “I laugh out loud at almost everything you write”, and “your statuses don’t suck”. As I was reading all this downloaded good stuff, my brain was filling in the stories between the statuses. “Hey, I remember when that happened. I wrote that status because…” From there I just started writing and filling in the gaps on what I was thinking then and now. Somewhere along the way, I changed my writing hobby into a challenge for myself: Can I get this published?
2. You describe you, your wife and your sons as a very close-knit family. Were they all supportive of your book idea? What was their initial reaction when you told them you were going to turn your Facebook posts into a book? My entire family has fully supported me pushing this effort all the way to publication. My wife is so incredibly awesome because she would stand behind any idea that she sees making me happy. Except for maybe walking sideways along the edge of a bridge. Because, you know, she would fall off. My older son will listen to my Facebook statuses and either say “Good one!” or “Dad, you’re so dumb.” My younger son was very excited about the whole book thing. He served as my biggest proofreader so any mistakes that you see in the book are clearly his fault—and I have found a handful since publishing it. Apparently he makes a crappy eleven-year-old editor. He also was completely convinced that this book would sell a million copies and bring fame and fortune to our family (but mainly to him). The fame and fortune hasn’t happened yet and he is only recently beginning to understand the enormity of the marketing problem. I wish he would come up with a brilliant eleven-year-old marketing strategy.
4. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? The best compliment? I once had a complete stranger walk up to me and say “I wish I was as tall as you.” I took it as a compliment because he was less than average height but not exactly vertically challenged. A good looking guy. He was the type of guy that could have easily have become one of my friends. He was with this lady who added that she really liked the shirt I was wearing. Oh wait, you mean a complement about my book! Sorry, people tell me that they like it. Toughest criticism (about my book)? Hasn’t happened yet. Everyone that reads my works will muster up a smile somewhere along the way. Or maybe my book hasn’t reached enough of the public to have “the bitter reviewer” crawl out of the woodwork. I’m almost looking forward to the first “You suck” review. At least then I’ll know that there is someone out there who doesn’t know how to properly review a book.
5. Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published? After you write a manuscript and send it off to a publisher, you quickly learn that any two-bit hack can publish a book. The real challenge lies in the marketing of that book. I have not yet figured out how to make the book “go”. Friends and acquaintances have told me to simply host my own book signing in my own home. I can’t seem to do it. It feels awkward. How do you invite your friends and family to come over for the purpose of selling them your book? “Say, I’m having a get-together next weekend. Swing by! Oh, and don’t forget your wallet.” Or how about this? “You are cordially invited to attend a book signing in my home. During this event, not only can you feed my ego, but you can give me cash too.”
6. I am aware that your Facebook account is still active, considering that you liked my page, can readers expect a sequel? I was thinking about killing off the characters in the next book. And then I remembered that the stories were all about my family. I discuss the concept with them. We, as a family, decided that it would not be in our best interests. I was thinking about compiling my blog stories into more of a story line rather than the random topic jumper that my book turned out to be. That a good thing though, right? I’m still kicking the idea around. For now I’ll just keep writing more and more entries to my blog. Check back in a year or so.
7. Which came first? That Funny Blog which is hosted on WordPress or My Status Update Journey? The book was definitely first. “ThatFunnyBlog” was started as an additional attempt at marketing my book—still searching for that fame and fortune. At the end of each blog entry, I have a link to where my book is being sold. I tried to be cute about the link each time by changing the wording to reflect something about the blog entry. For instance, if the story was about dropping a weight on my head, the link might say “Buy my book because it will not hurt if it hits you in the head!”
8. Your book, your blog, and your Facebook posts are all very funny. Is your humor hereditary? Is your family funny? No, I don’t think it’s hereditary, but you can warp your children into having an odd sense of humor. My son always tells me immediately after I say something funny that he was going to say that too. I guess that when I’m an old man and he is my age, I’ll be a grumpy and pissed that he is able to reach the punch line before me. Growing up and even now, my older sister would laugh at anything I would say. She was an easy audience. I would say, “I just put food on my head!” and she would laugh and pee herself. I’m not saying that made me a funny guy, but it helped build my confidence.
9. I am making an assumption here by assuming that you enjoy good comedy. Do you have any favorite comedians who have shaped your humor? I do! I wonder how people don’t. I like the clean comedians out there like Brian Reagan, Demetri Martin, and Jim Gaffigan. I like a good dirty joke too, and sometimes my writing goes there as well. But for the most part, I observe so much in my world that makes the voices in my head laugh. And since I don’t frequent brothels, most of the funny scenarios I find have a good clean source. I find so much funny stuff in places like the grocery store. Our local store has an aisle sign stating that you will find “Healthy Living” and “Candy” in the same aisle. I bet I can write a whole page about the insanity of that! Oh, and do me a favor and make sure Jim Gaffigan reads this. He is noted in my book and I am patiently waiting on his phone call.
Get to Know the Man
1. What do you do when you are not writing? My boys are at that age where their sports rule my world. We are involved with baseball, cross country, wrestling, and lacrosse. So when the season is in full swing, we are in full taxi mode. Oh, and I have a day job. I have an Electrical Engineering degree and there aren’t too many projects that allow me to spout comedy. Actually there are exactly zero. Zero point zero, in fact.
2. What was your childhood ambition? This question makes an assumption that I actually had a childhood ambition. To be honest, I have such an incredibly poor memory that I can’t actually answer this question. My mother wasted a lot of effort providing me childhood memories that should have lasted a lifetime. She could have just put me in a closet and check on me every now and then. Hey, maybe she did! I can’t remember.
3. What is your life motto? Make people smile. They seem happier that way.
4. Do you prefer a printed book or e-edition? I still like the paper kind. You know that scent the fresh paper when you first open a new book? You can flip through the pages with your thumb and let that smell rush over your face while inhaling deeply. Your nose just far enough away from the pages to avoid paper cuts. Try that with a Kindle. Not so much. It just smells like whatever your hands smell like.
5. What is your connection to Snoop Dogg? When I wrote about you on my WordPress blog Snoop Dogg came up as a suggested tag, I expect that they know something that I, and your other readers, do not. Do you care to explain? Yeah, we go way back. Recently Snoop came up with this crazy idea of changing his name. He kept calling me night and day, desperately looking for my approval. I finally got so fed up with all the voice mails and the constant barrage of text messages, that I said, “Fine! Change your name. But ‘Snoop Cat’ sounds dumb. Go with ‘Snoop Lion’ instead.”