Earlier this year, around the time when news of Richard: A Novel first appeared online, I approached the author, Ben Myers, and requested an interview. I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect but pretty much figured my request would be denied. Happily, it wasn’t, and we eventually settled on an agreement to two interviews.
This is the first interview, pre-publication of Richard. The next interview will take place later in the year, after Richard has been released and people have had a chance to read it.
The reason I decided to put these interviews together was to create an open line of communication between Ben and Manics fans. From the first moment that news of the novel hit the internet, a wave of backlash against Ben from Manics fans began, and I thought it was highly unfair. I saw various scathing remarks against Ben and his novel purely based upon the fact that someone had “dared” to write a fictional novel based around Richey Edwards. That was it. I couldn’t understand the logic in that.
Anyway, I had some questions about the novel myself, and I finally decided…why not just ask Ben Myers directly? It’s easy to forget that the internet has created simple ways to communicate with just about anyone directly, but the option is there! I’d learned in the past–with the publication of A Version of Reason, to be specific–that while it’s tempting to spout a bunch of crap online and think nobody much will ever see it, it still is public, and it’s better to save some face and just contact the person directly with complaints (or any comments, really) instead of bitching to the internet as a whole (that issue resolved itself nicely, btw – Rob is a cool guy). While I realized that I couldn’t stop the internet from…well, being the internet, it was my hope that I could at least calm this issue down a bit by opening communication between both sides. Manics fans are really a different breed of fans, and while fiercely protective of the band–and Richey in particular–I know Manics fans aren’t stupid. Group mentality can run wild at times, but I know it can start to be broken by certain events. Since I’ve started talking to Ben, I’ve seen a ripple run through the Manics fandom of others approaching him for interviews, receiving early copies of the novel, and generally having an amicable relationship with him. It’s been such a relief to see the blind hatred start to disappear. See, I knew Manics fans weren’t dumb ;)
To conclude, I collected questions from fans (which are credited to a name in the interview) and added some questions of my own (the questions which aren’t credited to a name) and then sent them off. I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of the answers I received from Ben. I expect the post-publication interview will have many more questions from fans than this one did, but I still feel this interview is important and a must read for Manics fans.
Richard: A Novel will be published in October 2010. I will begin collection questions for the second interview with Ben sometime after the novel’s publication. My review of the novel will be posted here sometime in September.