This is the first part of a two-part interview. The first, this part, will focus on his background. The second part will focus more on the book.
As with Tom Straw, who I interviewed last month, Bill Bryan writes for television and wrote his first novel about television. But while Straw’s book focuses on the paparazzi, Bryan’s book is about reality television.
Ted used to be a good investigative reporter but after a personal meltdown he was struggling to find work. What he ended up with is jobs in reality television, a genre he hates. He works for a show called “The Mogul” which sounds suspiciously like The Apprentice, hosted by a guy who sounds a bit like Donald Trump. But I'm sure that is just a total coincidence.
Ted witnesses something that could be a major clue in a murder and he starts to use his reporter skills, as well as the show, to try to find the killer. Then things get truly crazy.
Is it funny? Is it dark? Yes and yes. And if you don’t believe me Richard Belzer, star of several cop series and a master of sharing dark thoughts writes this book blurb: “An outrageously funny Hollywood satire.”
Mr. Bryan politely agreed to do this interview via email:
How did you come to write this book?
I worked pretty steadily from my early twenties well into my forties as a TV and screenwriter, and like most of my fellow prostitutes, I accumulated a few resentments (not to mention a few nasty rashes). So I promised myself that if life ever presented the opportunity (meaning if I ever had absolutely nothing else to do), I would show them all by writing a book – something just for me. But to my great surprise and delight, 83 other people have read it too!
As to how I chose the particulars of Keep It Real, I knew I wanted to write a comedy, because that’s what I enjoy and because I rarely come across novels that really make me laugh. (With my sunny, glass-half-full disposition, I saw that as an opportunity to fill a need. My agent later explained to me that it was simply evidence that few people with tastes as sophomoric as mine actually read.) I chose the mystery genre because I like to plot and because people need some reason to keep turning the pages, and I chose the reality TV and rap music worlds because I don’t like them.