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Mike Heppner is the author of two novels,
The Egg Code and
Pike's Folly, both available as Vintage paperbacks. His most recent work is a series of four novellas, Talking Man,
Man Talking, and
Talking, each issued in a different format. This innovative project has been written about in the
New Yorker on-line, the
Boston Globe and the
Christian Science Monitor. For more information, go to mikeheppner.com.
For our readers who may not be familiar with your work, what's the most accurate thing someone else has said about it?
Some guy came up to me after a reading and said, "Good job, man."
What have you read/watched/listened to/looked at/ate recently that will permanently change our readers' lives for the better?
The last great movie I saw was Jacques Tati's Play Time
. The camerawork is really innovative. He uses these incredible wide shots on crowds with about a dozen different points-of-focus. It's almost too much to watch at once.
Whose ghostwritten celebrity tell-all (or novel) would you sprint to the store to buy (along with a copy of The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius so that the checkout clerk doesn't look at you screwy)?
Is Sam Waterston a dumb answer? I'd get the Books-on-Tape version, though, with him reading it. I like the way he recites turgid, content-heavy prose.
Have you ever been a Starving Artist, and did it make you brilliant, or just hungry?
No, but I had a summer job when I was twenty selling starving-artist paintings from the back of a van. The woman I worked for had no conception of what the art was actually worth, so she'd ask these unrealistic prices, like six thousand dollars for an oil-on-canvas of some asparagus. I think I might've sold one piece the entire summer. I wasn't on commission, though, so no worries.
What would you characterize as an ideal interaction with a reader?
Someone coming up and saying, "Good job, man," usually works.
Have you ever written anything that you'd like to take back?
Most of the stories I've published have fallen well short, in my opinion. It's
not really what I do.