Book Tour – Lucien and I by Danny Wynn
Posted by authorcamilson
Publisher: Bright Lights Big City
Release Date: Late August 1994
Be Careful What You Wish For…
What if you had the chance to relive your twenties the way you really wanted them to be?
Thirty-nine-year-old David is presented with that opportunity by Lucien, a charismatic young Englishman. Ranging from downtown Manhattan to Istanbul, Majorca, and the Hamptons, the two of them live a life of excess—drugs, beautiful women, and adventure—and forge a strange but great friendship.
But with every journey, there comes a price; and in every paradise there lurks a temptress. For David, will his quest for excitement lead him to betrayal and loss?
“Wynn immerses readers in psychologically rich studies of his characters and their quiet but fraught interactions. The prose is subtle but vivid, intellectually engaged but never arid, as the author provides readers with a flurry of glittering snapshots that gradually coalesce into a picture of tarnished longings. An engrossing and vibrant…meditation on friendship and the deep currents that run beneath its surface.”
Danny Wynn is a full-time fiction writer, and before that, he was an executive in the record industry and part-time fiction writer. He has lived in New York City, Los Angeles, and London, and now makes his home in the West Village with his wife and two children. His other favorite place in the world (after the West Village) is the island of Mallorca, Spain
He is currently finishing two novels.
Danny describes himself as a creature in search of exaltation. In addition to attending the original Woodstock Music Festival, some of the other great concerts he’s been to include: Roxy Music on the Avalon Tour at Radio City, Bon Iver at Town Hall and subsequently at Radio City, The National at BAM and later at The Beacon, and The Waterboys at the Hammersmith Palais, Bruce on his solo tour, U2 on Zooropa and later tours, Dylan on the right night, and Van on the right night.
Among his favorite movies are: Performance, Bad Timing, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, and Withnail and I. His favorite novels include: The New Confessions by William Boyd; A Flag For Sunrise and Dog Soldiers by Robert Stone; The Magus by John Fowles; Legends of the Fall by Jim Harrison; andThe Comedians and The Quiet American by Graham Greene.
He derives enormous sustenance from his close friends.
Drop ’em, blossom. Show us yer growler.”
Mock Cockney accent, exaggerated deep voice, cartoon lasciviousness. Signature Lucien. Lines that caught his ear, phrases, often said apropos of nothing, no context. Sometimes staying with him for a few days, sometimes woven in and out of his conversation for years. Absorbed into his persona, like the flaws in fine linen, a natural quality of the fabric, as fashionistas are fond of saying. He always seemed half-aware that his persona was on display, but was relaxed and natural at the same time. He was a performer. Mephisto. Gollum.
That particular line—“Drop ’em, blossom…”—Lucien picked up from a scoundrel named Bobby Stevens toward the tail end of his days at public school. Bobby S was an older guy, mid-twenties, local, a bit dodgy. Sold hash and other drugs. His crude personality had a curious appeal, especially for the aristobrats at the school, always on the lookout for a bit of the debauch.
One night, Lucien and a couple of friends went out with Bobby S to the new nightclub in town. It had been promoted as having a spectacular state-of-the-art laser show. They stood around in the flashing darkness, drinking pints and gin and tonics. Before long, Bobby S pronounced in his coarse lowlife manner, which Lucien later came to mimic so well, “This is crap! I’ve seen better light shows in the cancer ward at the Children’s Hospital.”
Yeah, I know—vile and disgusting, not remotely funny to most people. But the over-the-top outrageousness made it humorous to the young lads. And even many years later, when Lucien related the incident to me and we were both supposedly mature adults, the same atrocious quality made us laugh. We cringed at how out of order it was, but all the same we laughed. That’s what we were like.
Danny, thanks for being my guest today. Tell us about you.….
I am at long last a real writer who writes good books, and I got there through a very large number of tiny incremental improvements. I am sometimes very unhappy, but I do my very best to enjoy life. I love my wife and kids and friends.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
First, my wife and kids. And second, to write novels that speak to people so they are touched and moved.
If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
Bob Dylan because he is the greatest musical and lyrical artist of all time. Or Bill Murray because I think his company would among the most enjoyable I’ve ever experienced.
What’s the story behind your latest book?
It is the story of a strange but great friendship between a very charismatic young man and a middle-aged man trying to re-live his young adulthood, and it takes place predominantly in the nightlife of Istanbul and downtown Manhattan, all of which is captured with great realism that the reader can see, hear and experience for himself or herself. The story is truly shown, not told.
Tell us your writing process.
I try to have a complete story before I start, especially an effective ending. Then I figure out how to show the story rather than tell it. Then I build it in layers via numerous drafts in which I gradually find ways to make my writing as alive and precise as possible, and add telling details and characteristics that add to the realism and the interestingness of the work.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I was 7 or 8.
Tell us about your main character:
My main character in “Lucien And I” is the first person narrator, David Burden, and he feels that he was born at 29 years old, and is on a quest for excitement and capture the young adulthood he didn’t have. He is not a good person, but he is an extremely honest narrator. And in the course of his quest, he does an enormously bad thing and deeply regrets it.
What are you working on next?
A highly compelling, page-turning thinking man’s adventure story that takes place in the Greek islands, and has three uniquely interesting well-drawn characters. It is going to be by far the best novel I’ve ever written. It is very exciting to write. I feel like I have electricity in my veins.
Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
No, but I write very well.
Who are your favorite authors?
Graham Greene, Robert Stone, William Boyd, John Fowles, Jim Harrison, Somerset Maugham, Pete Dexter and Paul Theroux.
What do you like to do with your free time?
Read, listen to live and recorded music, travel, and spend time with the people I’m close to, sometimes combined with a fine meal.
Any final thoughts?
The subject of all my novels is ultimately the human condition. If that subject interests anybody reading this, they should read my novels.
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