Wednesday, June 11, 2014

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with Cary Smith, author of FOUR CORNERS OR A BOOK THAT WILL TICKLE YOUR INTELLECTUAL NIPPLE



Cary Smith, the nom de plume of Greg Hawkins, lives in San Jose, CA. He became interested in books and writing because of a teacher. His favorite book is "Hocus Pocus," by Kurt Vonnegut or “100 Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. He is currently either going to finish his collection of short stories next or turn one of his short stories into a novel, which would be a new take on the ghost genre.



About the Book:

High school. Those two words, for some, instill fear and loathing and vivid memories of sadistic teachers, bullies, and bad lunches. For some happy few,
however, high school remains a misty paradise, where a student's budding dreams and aspirations were nurtured by brilliant, sympathetic teachers, guidance counselors and peers.

Cary Smith, the nom de plume of Greg Hawkins, clearly falls into the first group, as he describes in his hilarious new book, FOUR CORNERS, OR A BOOK THAT WILL TICKLE YOUR INTELLECTUAL NIPPLE.  With a keen sense of the absurd, Smith thrusts his satirical sword straight at the jugular vein of all things pretentious and pedantic that haunt the halls of the educational world. Nothing is spared as Smith takes on the institution of secondary education. Readers will wince in recognition at the cast of characters Smith has created – the brains, jocks, bullies, cliques, incompetent teachers and pompous administrators – who all take a good drubbing from the flat side of Smith's sword.

“I don't know why I thought that when middle school was over that high school would be a brand new place, a fresh start,” Smith writes. “Maybe it was because all my teachers in middle school were implanting their lectures about how in high school the teachers wouldn't let you get away with this and that and that it would be a very different place. Well, as usual, the teachers of the system lied to me ...”

For good measure, Smith creates another archetypal character – Brad Cruise, a symbol of the pseudo-intellectual critics and pedagogues who inhabit academia. If you spotted Cruise's name as a mash-up of Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise, that's what the author intended.

Hawkins also points out that, while Cary Smith is the “satirical narrator” of FOUR CORNERS, “what we come to find out is that not only does he have a humorous side, he has a serious side, and he does, in fact, care, despite what he may say.”

Although much of Smith's writing is clearly based in personal experience, Hawkins says the book is satirical fiction. The book's style is steeped in hyperbolic language and literary hi-jinx that hark back to the 18th-century comic classic TRISTRAM SHANDY.

“I wrote FOUR CORNERS to entertain people,” Hawkins says, “not only to help people get through the turbulent time that is high school in America, but to make people feel OK about the time they spent during those years.” He adds:  “There is no one, to my knowledge, writing with this type of narrator, about this subject matter, in such a style and manner, and writing humorously. It is very hard to find a good book with a blend of the serious and comedic.”

Purchase your copy:

AMAZON

Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE

Welcome to the book club, Cary! What a hilarious title.  I’m curious—where did you get ‘Four Corners’ from?  What does that mean in relation to the book?

Four Corners represents the serious side, and elements of the book. There are four years in which Cary experiences high school. When Cary meets Alexis, she draws a symbol of a pair of human legs together, which in turn creates a square (or two triangles together), which of course has four corners. So it represents serious things, while “Tickle Your Intellectual Nipple” is obviously a title representing the humorous side.

Your author photo—just who is the real Cary?

He’s a guy who doesn’t really like that Eminem song, “The Real Slim Shady.”

Back to your book, Four Corners, Or a Book That Will Tickle Your Intellectual Nipple, I love that it focuses on your love/hate relationship with high school.  Does this book come from your own personal experiences?

It does. I think any authors first work is mired in personal experience, and it should be. Then from there, hopefully, for those who are truly talented, the imagination takes over.

Would you tell us a little about the characters in your book?

Cary Smith is the narrator and main character. Cary is a reasonable person who is trying to sort through the oddities and silliness of every day life, and who to listen to, and who not to. His good friend through the journey is Cyrus. Cyrus went to a private prep school before he started at a public high school. His parents have money, and he is very idealistic. Brad Cruise is a literature professor who takes himself way too seriously and is very unaware of his self, and has added to Cary’s writing without his permission. Alexis is Cary’s love interest, who he doesn’t want to love, and fights to not love her. And I’m the Literary Preservationist. I preserve works, especially those of Cary Smith…it is a made up title, but anyone can have the title, if they’d like to.

Fun question: If you could be published with any publisher in the world, who would that be?

Myself. I enjoy the freedom.

Another fun question.  How can your book solve the world’s problems?

I don’t think it can, but I do hope that it opens a discussion on the education system in America.

Okay one more.  We’re traveling to the locale of your book.  What would we do for fun?

Well, it would be pretty boring. It’s high school. To me it’s and was a boring place. I’m always amazed by people who say those were their best years, because life is so much better away from it…but, we can ditch and go watch, “The Nanny” at the McDonalds across the street. Unless someone has a car, then we can debate where to go while we drive around, only to end up at the McDonalds across the street to watch a repeat of “The Nanny.” 

It’s time to say our good-byes.  What’s next for you, Cary? 

We’ll see. Writing is an exhausting process, and there are many times that I don’t feel it’s worth it, and I’m not very well supported, so it’s tough.
 

1 comment:

  1. I'm reading this book right now. It's great.

    ReplyDelete