Monday, August 29, 2011

If I Were Interviewed by Chris Matthews

by Libby ...Somebody

So, in addition to having opinions, I also have...novels. I'm published in young adult mystery (where I earned an Edgar nomination) and women's fiction. My latest, a comedic novel available for Kindle, Nook and other e-readers, is part romance, part satire of the Ivory Tower, and I'm shamelessly trying to promote it now. 

Every author dreams of sales jump-started by attention from a television or print interview. Here's my nightmare dream of one such TV host talking to me about my latest release:

An interview with Libby Malin, about her new comedy, AEFLE AND GISELA, as if conducted by Chris Matthews on his MSNBC show, Hardball:

Okay, what’s the title of this book about? I mean, AEFLE AND GISELA. How do you even pronounce that?
Ay-fool and Jih-zel-lah is how I would pronounce—

So it’s kind of German, huh? You wrote this thing because you think all academics are Nazis, is that what you’re saying?
No, not at all. I just thought the academic setting, which should be the epitome of open-mindedness, would be perfect for a book that explores an issue like conformity and the pressures that—

Didn’t you hope to upset so-called “liberal elites” with this book?
Well, I’d hoped to spur discussion about conformity and other—

Yes or no—didn’t you just want to stick it to liberal academics?
Actually, I wanted to tell a funny story and also perhaps demonstrate that the pressure to conform occurs everywhere, even—

I’m not interested in your talking points. Okay, let’s try another one—Weren’t you trying to make these professors look like bozos? Isn’t the leading character, this Tommy fellow, a bozo?
Thomas is trying to learn what true courage is.

I mean, here you have this guy, this Tommy—
Charlemagne. Thomas Charlemagne.

--Okay, let's look at this. He's a professor. Medieval history or something. And he wonders if wandering into a Patriot Day celebration by mistake might torpedo his tenure quest? Is that what you really think of college professors—that they're small-minded morons?
Well, there have been instances of conservative speakers shouted off of campuses and…

Sure, sure. Talking points again. But isn’t this Tommy something of a caricature?
Well, yes, the book does creep into caricature territory. It’s a satire, after all.

Okay, satire. Whatever. But you were trying to make some pretty strong political statements here, weren’t you? I mean, you have one of the women—the gender studies professor, I think it was—
Women’s Studies.

You have her wearing a keffiyeh, I think it’s called, I had to look that one up—
Yes, the emblematic scarf associated with the Palestinian struggle.

And you make her out to be a very ugly—I mean not in a physical way, I’m not saying women’s studies professors are ugly, for God’s sake, but you have her ugly in outlook, how she acts—very petty, very passive-aggressive. So you’re kind of saying, aren’t you, that people who support that cause are like her?
I’m writing comedy. I think the reference to her wearing that scarf was extremely peripheral, very tangential.

So you’re saying it had no meaning whatsoever?
No, it does reflect her sympathies, but—

Oh, I see what you’re doing here. Very clever. Very sneaky. You think you can put this angry women’s studies professor in a keffiyeh and just shrug it off, just say, oh, it didn’t mean anything. My fingers just slipped when I was typing that. I get it.
No, I don’t think you do.

And when you say “tangential,” are you trying to make fun of me?

You know, the thrill up the leg thing. You righties all do it. Go ahead, go ahead, I can take it. They all come on this show and mention it. But they say “tingle.” I didn’t say “tingle” up the leg, by the way, but go ahead and say it. It’s part of the right’s talking points.
Well, you did say you got a thrill up the leg when the president spoke—

Uh-huh, that’s right, that’s right. Say it. You all do when you come on the show. Thrill, not tingle. At least you got that right. Are you a racist?

All you conservatives, you have a thing against the president, don’t you, because he’s African-American?
No, I don’t. What on earth does that have to do with my book?

Well, you’re kind of pushing a conservative agenda here, aren’t you? Isn’t this book—how do you say it, AEFLE AND GISELA, yeah, AEFLE AND GISELA—isn’t it really about the struggle of right versus left on American campuses?
It’s really about the struggle of conformity versus open-mindedness that happens to take place on an American college campus.

Sure. I get you. Do you think Michelle Bachmann is open-minded? Yes or no. You obviously have thought a lot about this subject. Yes or no—is Michelle Bachmann open-minded?
I really don’t know.

Are you hypnotized?
You mean like you said Michelle Bachmann was…

Yes or no, is Michelle Bachmann open-minded—is she one of these open-minded folks you want us to think are conservatives?
The book’s not about her. I obviously don’t think about her as much as you do.

Sure, you haven’t thought about her. Yeah, I have a bridge to sell you, too.  Well, I guess we’re out of time. And I guess if people want to read your book, AEFLE AND GISELA, they will buy it.
Let’s hope so. And maybe other books by me, too. You can find them at my website:

If you have an open mind and want a laugh, you can find Aefle & Gisela available for Kindle, Nook and other e-readers. It tells the story of history professor Thomas Charlemagne as he attempts to shed the "Timid Tommy" reputation of his past by stopping a wedding on a dare. When it turns out to be the wrong wedding, legal problems ensue that could wreck his career as the world's leading expert on a poetry-writing medieval monk, Aefle, and his secret love, Gisela.

Some praise for Libby Malin's other comedic novels:
  • Booklist -- Malin creates a world of wit and chaos that is …smart and insightfully written (My Own Personal Soap Opera)
  • Publishers Weekly -- Malin's latest is heavy on humor… (she) coaxes plenty of laughs (My Own Personal Soap Opera).  
  • Jo-Anne Greene Lancaster Sunday News -- Fire Me ...had this reader chuckling out loud.
  • Washington Post -- The love story is charming and will be appreciated by any woman with bad taste in men who somehow inexplicably ends up with Mr. Right. (Loves Me, Loves Me Not) 
  • Publishers Weekly --  A whimsical look at the vagaries of dating... an intriguing side plot adds punch and pathos to the story...(Loves Me, Loves Me Not) 
  • Booklist -- Malin's clever debut toys with chick-lit stereotypes and offers quite a few surprises along the way. (Loves Me, Loves Me Not)

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