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Pope BrockDescribe your latest project.
Charlatan is a nonfiction black comedy about "Dr." John Brinkley, the most successful quack in American history, and the quack-buster from Chicago who finally brought him down. Brinkley first became famous for transplanting goat testicles into impotent men as a virility booster. He went on to build a vast, bogus, and often lethal medical practice during the 1920s and '30s, amassing great wealth while making brilliant innovations in advertising, broadcasting, political campaigning, and country music. The million-watt radio station he built in Mexico, which reached all over the Western world, peddled his spurious cures along with perfume to increase your earning power and autographed pictures of Christ. It also created the template for AM radio and helped kick-start rock and roll. Though largely forgotten, Brinkley's impact on American culture was enormous, and the whole thing was terrific fun to research and write.
All of us writers proceed by a sort of trick of the mind: we have to believe that our prose doesn't just matter, it's of vital importance, that there's a desperate hole out there in the world that only our next book will fill. Writers need this inflated sense of mission to get anything done. Nevertheless, I'm fully aware that the only reason someone would ever write my biography would be to have his family returned unharmed.
What fictional character would you like to date, and why?
What's the strangest or most interesting job you've ever had?
Writers are better liars than other people: true or false? Why, or not?
Offer a favorite sentence or passage from another writer.
I don't like crooks. And if I did like crooks, I wouldn't like crooks who are stool pigeons. And if I did like crooks who are stool pigeons, I still wouldn't like you!
Name the best television series of all time, and explain why it's the best.
Dogs, cats, budgies, or turtles?
Recommend five or more books on a single subject of personal interest or expertise.
Great Books without Prose in the Normal Sense:
Thirty Years of Treason, Eric Bentley, ed. HUAC testimony during the McCarthy era
The Essential Lenny Bruce, John Cohen
Unsold Television Pilots, 19551990, Lee Goldberg, ed.
The Complete Lyrics of Ira Gershwin, Robert Kimball, ed.
The Glory of Their Times, Lawrence Ritter, ed. Oral histories of baseball players from the early 20th century
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Pope Brock is the author of Charlatan and the critically acclaimed Indiana Gothic, the story of his great grandfather's murder in 1908. He lives in upstate New York with his twin daughters, Molly and Hannah. Visit his website at www.popebrock.com.