a novel by David
purchase from Silverthought:
conducted via email, 02 August 2006:
David, I gotta tell ya, this book was addictive! The main character
Trevor is a generational everyman. He and his friends are all people
weve had beer with or sat next to in a cubicle. I cant
wait to read your upcoming new works and Id really love to
see a sequel to Corporate Porn. Is there any chance that
Trevors story might continue? No matter, if your upcoming
stuff is as good as Corporate Porn, you can count me as an
avid fan. These days its exciting to find new talent.
David S. Grant: Thank you, Im glad you
enjoyed it so much.
BNG: I loved the character names throughout CP, particularly
the way you weaved normal names with Hollywood type names. Trevor,
Tequila, Ethan, Lance, Mr. Allen, Cricket
Can you tell us
a bit about the process of naming in your novels? Do you ever write
a character without a name or does the name come first?
Before I start a novel each character in my head has a specific
face. Based on the face and personality I'll give a name. If I want
someone to trust and believe I will assign a more frequently heard
name, like Kevin or Tom. Trevor is a relatable every day type name,
after the first paragraph most can relate to Trevor. We all have
Trevors in our daily lives. Tequila is quite the opposite, you have
expectations, but rarely know what this person (character) is capable
of. Using the name Mr. Allen was a way for me to signify that he
deserved respect without a paragraph of wasted space. Typically
this is how I name my characters, other times, I just use names
of various strippers.
BNG: Throughout Corporate Porn its clear that
you have a good grasp of how mundane the corporate world tends to
be. You depict a place where employees are obsessed with ties and
copy machines. Often, the most ridiculous detail receives the highest
degree of attention, while important deals are sloppily put together.
In addition to this level of absurdity there is no sense of personal
loyalty. Do you think this is the key to a generations lack
of commitment to the workplace? Is it a two-way street or is it
more heavily the fault of one or the other? Have you personally
experienced the slog of office work as it shows up in CP, or is
this book completely based on what youve observed from others?
DSG: Unfortunately (and fortunately for my writing) I've
spent the better part of the last ten years in these environments.
People trapped all day in a cubicle surrounded by little mementos
to help get them through the day. A coffee cup with their name,
a sign that reads I HATE MONDAYS. A blue pen that reads IDAHO. This
is what matters most to the general office population; the actual
jobs are meaningless daily tasks oftentimes repeated over and over.
The flipside is management. Trying to make these people feel needed
and not used as is often the case. Management is oftentimes nothing
more than a sales force for the company, not necessarily selling
a product, but the concept that working for the product is worthwhile.
The language used is disposable and their theories recycled. The
general office population is disgusted with their superiors. Rebelling.
They're moving jobs, taking their pens with them to another company
where they can continue their meaningless tasks repeated over and
BNG: In CP we find Trevor semi bemused with his state of
our second beer, I call Jim again. He doesnt answer, so
I have him paged. When the secretary finds out who I am, she tells
me that Jim is not taking my calls. Not taking my calls? Six months
of daily conference calls, cross-country meetings, and thousands
of emails, and hes no longer taking my calls?
you get a sense that the American worker has become an extension
of our throw-away society? You portray a workplace where one can
be a rock star for their 15 minutes of fame (read project, OT, etc
only to find that theyre nothing but an annoying message or
voicemail. Is this what the corporate world wants of us or is it
something we want? Do we want to be obscure enough in our own lives
that watching game shows and drinking beer is enough? Is the mess
of the corporate world more of a two-way street?
DSG: Don't knock drinking beer and watching game shows to
pass the time unless you've tried it. It's right up there with a
challenging puzzle, a book club, and having a "coke" night
with someone else's stash.
Today, people change jobs like Tim Allen makes bad movies. I think
this happens for two reasons. The first is that people do go for
the "rock star" image initially only to end up back at
their cubicle reading emails regarding the break room clean-up policy.
As a whole, the passion in corporate America is gone; most go home
to their passions, whether that be family, going to the gym, a hobby,
or watching game shows.
Secondly, my generation grew up with the "Just Do It"
attitude. We have short attention spans, no loyalty past a week,
and very little patience. Having a bad day? Fuck it, quit. It's
not like Tim Allen
only made one movie about Santa Claus.
BNG: How long did it take you to write CP, and how many times
would you say you revised it overall?
DSG: The jotting down of ideas and letting the ideas churn
in my head took around six months. The actual writing was approximately
three months with a lot of revising along the way. Editing as I
go allows me to keep the story fresh and assists with "call
backs", which often adds a dash of humor to my writing.
BNG: When did the idea of CP come into being? Was it a particular
event or frustrating job?
DSG: I have no idea. I wanted to write a story about a job
gone awry and then in my head I had this corporate-porn connection
going. My job is always frustrating, but that had nothing to do
with CP. Sorry, this is an awful answer, next question.
people bore me. Its rumored that Barry once owned a Pontiac
Sunbird that had more rust than paint and was towed to the dealership.
When the salesman told him hed give him $1000 trade-in value,
Barry demanded $1010 because there was still half a tank of gas
in the car. These are the people Im dealing with here, and
every response has to be politically correct. Im doing pretty
well today. I wouldnt consider todays performance
great acting by any means, just okay. More of a Butt Woman series
caliber performance, by no means top notch.
is one of my favorite parts of CP because it speaks to what I see
as the ailment of American society. Everyone seems to be out for
themselves in a PC Im the A list star of this B movie"
kinda way and nothing is actually interesting because no one is
doing anything spectacular because theyre too busy pretending
they arent spectacularly boring. Whew! Did I get that right?
Can you speak more about this? Is this what you intended, or have
I read CP all wrong?
DSG: That's exactly why I made the connection between the
corporate world and pornography. In today's age both the work environment
and adult movie industry are both very "throwaway" in
my eyes. Bringing the two seemed logical and after I continued writing
I was able to make some disturbingly strong links between the two.
Every day is a performance and eventually some become the person
they are portraying, their new personality crafted by others. The
thing I find strange is how no one questions this anymore. It's
as if the corporate world has gone Hollywood and everyone is okay
watch the Game Show Network (GSN, to us regular viewers) in my
crawlspace of an apartment and eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Im wondering whether I will ever have a chance to launch
my idea for a game show where the contestants dont wear
pants. Probably never work. Maybe Stoned Scrabble. The phone is
ringing, so my dreams will have to wait.
enjoy the way you allow Trevor to just go with the random thoughts
we likely all have whether it makes him look silly or not. Do these
random thoughts come to you as you're writing or do you plan them
out? In other words, are you in character when these
pop up or do you sit and plan them out?
DSG: Despite having ideas written down before I begin to
write, most of the silliness comes through when actually writing.
This is especially true when writing dialogue. I find myself in
my head having the actual conversation. I also find that I like
to have my characters point at each other, smoke, and say the word
"fuck" a lot. Those things aside, those silly thoughts
are what life is. Everyone talks about work, family, and vacations
as part of a person's "life", but it's the internal conversation
of how much jelly is too much on a PB&J that really defines
a person. Okay, I'm getting way too deep here, next question.
BNG: Give us a piece of writing advice. Anything. Tell me
your best writing habit (if you have one). Will there be a sequel?
DSG: Read a lot and write about what you know. I'll stop
with two clichés.
Write down your ideas. Ideas come and go, but a good idea may be
gone forever if you don't make note of it. Whether it's a snippet
of dialogue overheard while waiting in line at the methadone clinic
or a funny word you come across in The New York Times, write it
down. You may use it later or it may trigger something else that
will inspire you to write.
Above I mentioned write about what you know, which I do believe,
but also write how you want. Obviously you want to keep the story
you're telling moving along, but how you do this is up to you. Personally,
I embrace minimalism. I guess this comes from reading. For me, I
dont enjoy explaining the layout of a room and would rather
detail how someone is chewing their gum, the brand of cigarette
they smoke, or that they have a nickname of Detroit
because they lean when they drive. Again, that's just me. Having
an idea allows you to begin a novel, but finding your style is what
helps you continue. If you like music: include lyrics. Poetry? Incorporate
it in your novel. As with life, there are only the boundaries you
create. Write for yourself.
A sequel for Corporate Porn? Not on the radar as of right
now. Blackout, my next novel, is a sequel of my first novel,
Bleach, which will be re-released the same time Blackout
comes out (both through Silverthought Press). I've also got an idea
for a novel where a devoted fan sacrifices an aging rock star to
generate buzz. After that, I may write children's books.
For information on upcoming projects, you can check my Silverthought
page and go to: http://www.davidsgrant.homestead.com
BNG: David, its been a pleasure reading CP and your
ST shorts. I look forward to Bleach and your other upcoming
DSG: Thank you for your time.
BNG: For anyone whos not read CP
know what youre missing!