Welcome!! Thanks so much for visiting today. I am pleased to have this opportunity for this short Q&A!!
What would we find under your bed?
No doubt you will find toy mice and cat hair. I have two fifteen-year-old cats who think they’re dogs. One of them is draped around the computer now, keeping me company, and encouraging me to write quickly so that I can return to my number one job, which is paying attention to her. The master bedroom is really their main space in the house. They let me call it my room, but who are we kidding? It’s theirs. I do vacuum it often—they enjoy having daily maid service. Who wouldn’t? Nevertheless, they have long hair. Under the bed is not always pristine.
Tell us about your best fan letter?
Years ago I started a blog—kept it up for a good two or three weeks, might even have had eleven followers. Of the few pieces I wrote, one was about the need to get rid of Don’t Ask. Don’t Tell. Which was the discriminatory policy that barred LGBT military from openly serving in the armed forces. The thrust of the piece was that the President of the United States is the Commander-in-Chief—in other words, in charge of the military. But, if you can’t, by law, be in the military, then can you become president? It didn’t seem so. How awful, I wrote, for young LGBT children not to be allowed the dream of one day being President. I posted the blog to my eleven followers, and sort of forgot about it. But then someone shared it on Facebook and it took off.
Several weeks later, I received a letter from a gay soldier stationed in Iraq. He thanked me for being a voice on his behalf, at a time when he couldn’t speak for himself without risk of being discharged. I was so moved by his letter, and his courage. I was reminded of the power each of us has, through our words and actions, to be a comfort to another human being. And also, that when we speak out, we can help bring about change.
Describe what it’s like to be an author in three words.
Awful. Miserable. Amazing.
Use no more that two sentences. Why should we read your book?
At a moment when national events seem particularly harsh, my novel will remind you that there is goodness and Kindness in the world. Also my novel is funny; it will make you laugh. (I know I kind of cheated there with the semicolon.)
You have just won a huge lottery, what’s the first thing you buy?
An apartment in London. I would love to live there, at least for a time. But London, even with their economy currently tanking, is extremely expensive. I love the theatre there. I love the look of the city. I love that there are still SO MANY BOOKSTORES! And there must be something about my personal design esthetic that is more aligned with the Brits than Americans, because when I’m in a bookstore in the UK, every cover looks amazing to me. I have purchased books while in London that I’ve passed over in the states. Strangely, though I did not set out to do it, I hired a British designer—Matt Bright of Inkspiral design—to create the cover and interior design for GEORGE BAILEY GETS SAVED IN THE END. He did a terrific job, I think.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
If you look at my response to the describe-being-an-author-in-three-words question, you will see that the writing experience is complicated for me. I almost always have to force myself to sit down and do it. And in the early stages I hate it. I think it’s especially difficult writing humor. I almost never think what I’ve written is funny enough, or if it is funny, I doubt that it is also serving the story or the character. I’m certain I will be criticized. I often think that my first book, THE MARRYING KIND, which was successful and won several awards, was just a fluke, and I’ll never write another book that is well received.
But then at some point in the process, the negative chatter in my head begins to fade away, and some character, in this case George Bailey, who is sort of like me but entirely different, moves into my brain and I want to spend time with him. I really want to know his story. So I write it down. And then I rewrite it. And I rewrite it. And then I rewrite it some more. And then, on occasion, I don’t even have to force myself to do it. I want to do it. So what’s rewarding, to answer your question, is creating a person who is flawed, funny, trying to become a better person, failing often, but also progressing. Like real people do. I love superheroes, but my characters are closer to everyday heroes.
Dorothy Parker once said that she hated writing, but she loved having written. It’s sort of like that for me.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: George Bailey Gets Saved in the End
Author: Ken O’Neill
Published: October 17th, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Recommended Age: 18+
George Bailey, who has made a fortune selling Christmas ornaments, is having a rough few days. He’s thrown his back out lifting the Thanksgiving turkey; his father has died and his wife has left him. He’d turn to his best friend for support, but said BFF is having an affair with his wife.
Let the holiday season begin!
On the heels of all this misery George meets a new woman, and he also meets Jesus (or perhaps just an awfully nice guy named Jesus). As he scrambles to hold together his floundering family, he must figure out if these strange and wondrous events are miracles or symptoms of a nervous breakdown.
Excerpt from George Bailey Gets Saved in the End:
All the usual invitations had been extended. Yet oddly, not a single friend—The Strays, they always called them—joined the Baileys for dinner this year. The lack of guests in no way altered the quantity of food the family prepared. It mattered not whether thirty people attended, or just the eight of them. As far as George’s mother, Claire, and his wife, Tara, were concerned, you could not call the day Thanksgiving unless the turkey weighed more than twenty-five pounds. Theirs weighed in at record-breaking twenty-nine point four. Add the stuffing, all the pan drippings, and the cast iron Le Creuset roasting pan to that number, and George was hoisting a weight just shy of forty pounds when his back went out.
Considering George’s relative level of fitness, which was extremely high by American standards, though only average when compared to other Manhattanites, he did not believe it was the weight per se that precipitated his injury. Rather he suspected his troubles were brought on because he had been forced to crouch down when removing the turkey because his wife, for reasons still unknown to him, insisted that the bird go in the lower oven. Not that George blamed her for his mishap. Just at the moment George was taking the pan out of the oven, he remembered being told something about bending with his knees. But by then it was too late. Something deep within his core seized up. As his knees buckled, he lurched forward to the sound of Tara shouting, “Don’t you dare drop that bird, George!”
George spent most of the day alternating between ice packs and a heating pad, because his wife said cold but his mother said hot, and he figured it was easier just to keep them both happy.
I was uncertain at first if this book would appeal to me, but I should not have worried about the "appeal factor". Almost immediately, I empathized with George and his incredible streak of bad luck. There were plenty of humorous moments, some laugh out loud funny, but the story flowed along smoothly from one experience to the next crisis without ever feeling rushed. Neither did it slow down or feel like it was not moving toward some insightful breakthrough or truth. George kept reaching for that elusive "something" many of us have searched for at some point in our lives. For me, the pacing was just about perfect.
George is funny, smart (but naive) and likable. He is also almost endearingly clueless about some of the most obvious things while simultaneously profoundly intelligent about other less easily measured aspects of his new reality. I just fell in love with his optimistic outlook and desire to move on to a new, improved life. This is a funny book that will strike a chord with almost anyone. I loved the book and highly recommend it!
Reviewed by Laurie-J
About the Author:
Ken O’Neill is the author of The Marrying Kind, which won the 2012 Rainbow Award for best debut, and the 2013 Independent Publisher Award Silver Medal for LGBT fiction. The Marrying Kind was also a finalist for the 2013 International Book Award in the Gay and Lesbian fiction category. The book was included on Smart Bitches Trashy Books list of top three favorite novels of 2012.
Ken lives in NYC with his husband and their two cats who think they’re dogs or, perhaps, people. When Ken is not checking his Amazon rating to see if anyone has purchased his books, he enjoys reading, dancing (though usually only when no one is watching) and eating dark chocolate, purely for medicinal reasons. He is at work on his third novel. Visit him at: kenoneillauthor.com
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
- Signed, print copy of George Bailey Gets Saved in the End (US only)
- 2 ecopies of George Bailey Gets Saved in the End (International)
Giveaway ends November 21st at 11:59 PM (ET)
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