Burt Prelutsky – Author Interview

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

Liberals: America’s Termites (It’s A Shame That Liberals, Unlike Hamsters, Don’t Eat Their Young) It’s a book, generously leavened with humor, that analyzes how and why the Left is destroying America. Some of the chapter titles are “Hollywood Would Rather Make Trouble Than Movies,” “Why 80% of Jews Vote Like 90% of Blacks,” “Why 90% of Blacks Vote Like 80% of Jews” and “Islam is a Peaceful Religion, and If You Don’t Believe It, They’ll Cut Off Your Head.”

Tell us something about yourself.

Born in Chicago, raised in L.A. My writing background is varied and extensive. I was a humor columnist for the L.A. Times and movie critic for Los Angeles magazine. On a freelance basis, I have written for TV Guide, Emmy, the NY Times, Modern Maturity and Sports Illustrated. For TV, in addition to several award-winning movies, I wrote episodes of Dragnet, McMillan & Wife, Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda, MASH, Bob Newhart, Family Ties, Dr. Quinn and Diagnosis Murder. I am one of the plaintiffs who sued the studios, networks and agencies, for ageism, and won. But because of ageism, I no longer write scripts. Instead, I write a blog at BurtPrelutsky.com and books. The books are either, like “Termites,” funny political commentary or collections of interviews. The first, “The Secrets of Their Success,” contained interviews with the likes of Steve Allen, Sid Caesar, Gerald Ford, George Carlin, Ginger Rogers, Gene Kelly, Pat Sajak and Billy Wilder. A new collection, “If Life is a Test, These 61 People Aced It,” due out in August, contains interviews with Joseph Wambaugh, Karl Malden, Gary Sinise, Charles Krauthammer, John Stossel, Paul Ryan, Pat Boone, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, John Bolton, Ernest Borgnine, Newt Gingrich and 49 others.

What inspired you to write this book?

I enjoyed writing the earlier interview book and wanted to write another one. It’s a great way to meet people I wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to know.

Why did you decide to self-publish?

I self-published “Termites” because I couldn’t find a conservative publisher. They were only interested, they admitted, in such a book if it were written by someone who hosts a radio or TV talk show or someone like Bernard Goldberg, Ann Coulter, Dick Morris or Michelle Malkin, who is on other people’s shows so often, it seems as if they host their own. The next interview book is being published by WND Books.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

I was a precocious reader, and I figured if I didn’t grow up to play leftfield for the Red Sox, writing would be a nice fallback career. I got started when my movie reviews for the UCLA Bruin started getting picked up by Los Angeles magazine.

What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?

Sitting down to do it. Even after all these years, there is something about facing blank pages that expect to be filled up that is very off-putting.

How do you do research for your books?

I usually know a lot about my interview subjects, but these days I google them just to fill in blank spots. The political commentary doesn’t generally require research. Just being alive and aware provides me with the raw material.

Did you learn anything from writing this book? What?

I learned once again that self-publishing is very difficult and nobody should undertake it unless they are convinced that people will be better off if they read your book than if they don’t.

What are you reading now?

I prefer fiction to non-fiction because whereas fiction is the work of writers; non-fiction is done by academics and researchers, and the writing often shows it.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?

I enjoy mysteries. But over the years, I have loved many writers, including Saroyan and Steinbeck, Salinger and Tarkington, Dostoyefsky and P.J. Wodehouse. I love their characters and in the case of Wodehouse, his humor.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

I am proofreading the interview book, and am considering writing a memoir devoted to famous people I’ve known and, often, been friends with.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

Write only if you have no choice in the matter. I always try to discourage people from taking it up because I know if I am able to do so, they’re not cut out for the trials and tribulations that they’ll inevitably encounter.

What are you doing to promote your latest book?

I appeared on Ronn Owens’ radio talk show up in San Francisco. I have also been sending promotion copies to radio and TV commentators I think will enjoy “Termites.”

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

The best place is my blog, BurtPrelutsky.com. The book is available through the website and also through Amazon.com.