2009-02-16

Christopher Moore -- El Fudge

Sunday night I made the trek out to Lake Forest Park to meet author Christopher Moore. His Practical Demon Keeping was the first book I reviewed here. I also commented on Coyote Blue and Fluke. I have a review of The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove coming up within the next couple weeks.

Moore's books are a deft combination of dark humor, oddball characters, bizarre perspectives, and great use of the language.

Moore was in town to promote his new book, Fool, which is the story of King Lear told from the perspective of his court jester. During his talk, Moore described the common thread among his novels as using an unusual character (Indian trickster, shapeshifting demon, etc.) to "bring irony to the people."

He opened his talk with jokes about Bush, which are always a big hit with a Seattle crowd. He spent a few minutes making fun of Mitch Albom and the two body guards he brings to readings.

To research Fool, Moore traveled to Britain, and he told us about the trip and commented on British customers and language. Moore often travels to research his books, and those trips have taken him from Polynesia to the Holy Land to the Crow Nation reservation in eastern Montana.

Much of the Q&A dealt with details of his books, but one person did ask about the voice he brings to the text. Moore said, "When you write comedy, you have to do it with a strong voice." As a comedy writer, it's important not to be afraid to let that sometimes bizarre voice come through, regardless of what other people may think. He said that other types of writing don't need that distinctive sound; they work great with pacing or plot development. But comedy require the author to put themselves into the text in different way.

According to Third Place Books, 400 people were there. The crowd was huge; much larger than I expected. And if just 75% of the crowd bought they book, that's nearly $9,000 in revenue. Plus people bought other books, coffee, pastries, and assorted products. It's no wonder book stores host these events.

Moore kept the large crowd attentive and laughing through the evening. Watching his mind work was interesting. A question would send him off in a new direction, and he was coming up with new material on the spot.

I waited in line for an hour and fifteen minutes to get my book signed. It looked like there was another hour worth of people behind me. But despite some people commenting to Moore about the line, he was chipper and friendly throughout the evening. And the folks and Third Place did their best to keep the line moving, and were even willing to take pictures for those who brought cameras.

Moore was a great speaker who really knew how to work the crowd. He seemed to really enjoy the large group in a way that Sarah Vowell didn't. The event wasn't as intimate as the Scott Sigler event last month; it was a different type of event.

If you are a fan of Moore, check out his latest tour schedule. It worth an evening.

3 comments:

Jen said...

I am so jealous! He is my favorite author and I am reading Fool right now. In fact I was up til 3 last night laughing my ass off. My favorite of his is still A Dirty Job, coincidentally the first one I read of his. Great post about the event, I wish I had been there and will have to find out if he is coming here anytime soon.

Rob Mitchell said...

I love Christopher Moore's books. Lamb is probably one of my favorite books. I started reading Fool last night and so far I'm kind of disappointed. I'm hoping I can get more into it.

Cromely said...

@Jen: I have A Dirty Job sitting on my shelf. Now I'm reading them chronologically.

@Rob: I imagine I'll get to it early next year. There are about 3 or 4 other Moore books I want to read first. I'm tempted to just read them all in one burst. I think it's probably better for me to mix in other authors so they don't run together for me.