Message From The Author

Author's Message

Eavesdropping on Jo Goodman's Compass Club Heroes

When Jo Goodman needed inspiration to begin a new historical series, all she had to do was boot up her computer and eavesdrop on her little brother, John, and college friends Buddy, Butz and Karl on their bustling e-mail loop, which keeps them in touch despite the fact that they all live in different states as adults. "I use the term 'adults' to indicate chronological age," confides Jo, "not mental or emotional age. They can vote and drink—sometimes both at the same time—but when they get together their combined age barely makes double digits. Actually, I'm being hard on them. They're really inspirational, which is why I fashioned the heroes of my Compass Club series after them. These guys have allowed me to peek in on their e-mail loop as they share all sorts of smart, funny, raunchy, touching and insightful snippets of their lives. My guys Northam, Southerton, Westphal and Eastlyn might carry out more adventures, but their hearts and humor are very much a product of what I've observed from my brother and his friends." Of course, the boys think it's a gas that they're immortalized on the page (book two, EVERYTHING I EVER WANTED, is out this month), but look how they're trying to handle their newfound fame when RT comes calling…

Buddy: I think we should pursue this. I've never been in a magazine. Though I have been on a police blotter a couple of times. The closest I ever got was the weekly Bethel Park newspaper. And the time I got on the 6 o'clock news back in '74 while helping to clean up after a flash flood. So Jo what do we need to do? Bio? Interview ? Picture?

John: We need to PowWow on this 'zine opportunity, so we can present the women with a united front, a true front, an honest and open front... Come to think of it, we'll have to prepare so that we don't look too prepared. We don't want to scare these women off, inadvertently denying them their opportunity to "have" us, which they could do if they play their cards right!

Butz: No hot stuff up front, just a lot of dialogue. Women must consider that dialogue stuff foreplay. All that talking. Talking before, then talking afterwards. You know Buddy, I'm a man of few words, and as for talking, I think "Honey, I'm home!" should suffice. Call me sentimental, but I think that there's a lot to be said for nonverbal communication.

Karl: If we do this, we should first provide RT with a bio of each of us. Only, we wouldn't write it ourselves like Jim suggested. We'd pick names out of a hat and write a bio of whom we chose. For example, I get Buddy's name on a scrap of paper. I write about Buddy. Buddy picks Jim. He writes Jim's bio. This way, we could get away with plenty of hyperbole, misrepresentations, outrageous claims and murky logic by gratuitously employing something called writers license. Jo, you've probably heard about that.

Maybe a couple of gals from the RT office (the girl models on romance novel covers with heaving bosoms draped in lacey bodices) could meet us in a city for the weekend, let's say Pittsburgh (222 Bar) or Des Moines (Johnny's Hall of Fame). We know the economy is a little tough right now, so we'll be cheap dates. Mostly. Interview us in person over a nice candlelit dinner and a few glasses of good Merlot. Very romantic, even though there'd be a bunch of us. Better schedule a private room in the back of the restaurant. We don't get out much and it could get crazy. Crazy is good in this case.

Or, we could make like The Beatles when they did their interviews. Remember "Hard Days Night"? We'd sit at a table with microphones and they would fire questions at us while flashbulbs are popping. Maybe Buddy and John will have a chance to meet some girls. Jim and I would be there to keep an eye on them. Well, just a thought. I visited the website and checked out the link to the cover models. If we do e-mail, we could just paste our heads on pictures of those guys, then stick our new modified selves next to a minivan or a street corner hot-dog stand to give it a pinch of verisimilitude. When do we start?

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