Best & Worst: Scott Bourne
Photos and interview: Benjamin Deberdt
Being a published writer has never been an easy business –if you may call it that– but it’s fair to say that the current times are definitely not the best to be an aspiring one… Or, are they?
As retired professional skateboarder Scott Bourne is just putting out his first novel (while working on a third one), he definitely has some inside scoop on what it took him to get there. This could have been a long night of drinking wine, but we only had a cup of coffee to polish at our local hangout that morning.
Meet our neighbor, and hear him tell tales from his new life, the one of a published novelist.
Worst thing about actually typing the last sentence of a book?
I had been living for an entire year in the French countryside. My life there was completely secluded from everything that had once been normal to me, and I was as happy as I have ever been in this state of solitude. I worked at all hours on the novel. When I wasn’t writing I spent the rest of my time on long walks alone in the woods or taking bike rides to neighboring villages. I had never imagined myself as someone whom at 30 would basically disappear from the modern world and, yet, that was exactly what I had done. Strangely enough my happiness crumbled with the writing of the words “The End”. This single event filled me with panic and stress. In a matter of 48 hours, I had rented a room in Paris and left the countryside.
Best thing about flipping through an actual copy of said book for the first time?
That I actually can do that… It is a book, not a digital file in someone’s Kindle or I-Pad.
Worst moment you think you ever went though during the writing or publishing process?
Agents and publishers always wanting to change something, or cut something, or just basically trying to make the book into something marketable. Everyone wants to turn a buck on your work and they care very little for any sort of artistic integrity. This thing won’t sell a million copies, it’s not a page-turner… In fact, it’s the opposite of that. It should make the reader stop for a moment and ponder life, not speed through the reading hanging on a false sense of excitement.
Best thing about not being a professional skateboarder anymore?
I wear my cowboy boots all day every day!
Worst preconception people seem to have about you?
People think I am a wealthy man!
A Room With Windowns, original manuscript and printed version.
Best rumor you have heard about yourself during the latest years?
Right after my shoe came out with Puma, I read something about how I had three houses! One in San Francisco, one in Paris and a third where I wrote in the French countryside. I was baffled, even a little hurt to be perceived like that. I have never owned property in my life. I am 40 years old and have never had a credit card, much less credit!
Worst thing about trying to be a published writer, in 2013?
Digital books and blogs. All these publishing houses want to do a digital book for you because it’s a no risk venture for them. They don’t have to produce anything, so they are never stuck with books they can’t sell. Then, they want you to set up a site and blog about your book. I am not blogging about my book, I am writing another one. They are supposed to promote you and if you’re doing a digital book, why not do it yourself? Why give them a cut at all?
Best tip you could give to someone inspired to write him/herself?
I have no advice. Just do whatever works for you. There is no science to style and every writer has to develop his or her OWN style as well as technique!
Worst criticism you wish you will not have to hear about your book?
I don’t read good reviews. When I start to read a review and it’s good, I stop. There is no risk for someone writing a good review. I only read the bad ones. It takes balls to write a bad review. Twenty years down the line the book may be something great and I will think back at all the bad reviews and just think about how those guys lost, but they had balls and I admire that. So, basically, there is really nothing that I can’t hear. In general I think everyone that has read it thus far has been pretty surprised by the work. That, in itself, is rewarding!
Best excuse you have been coming up with for never learning French during the past ten years?
I haven’t figured out how to speak English correctly, yet!
You can now cope a copy of A Room With No Windows over at 1980 Éditions.
And here is Scott’s part filmed by David Couliau for the Spektra project, in 2008, a time when he was putting the finishing touches on the book: