Barry Nelson was a radio producer and host before becoming a fundraiser for public radio and television. While developing a pilot for a public radio food show, he interviewed dozens of authors, including Julia Child, for whom he prepared lunch on her trusty Garland stove. The first page his parents used to turn to each morning was the obituaries. But he wondered why fictional characters didn't get the same treatment as real people, and this book was born.
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Titles by this Contributor
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Title (or Working Title) of your book
Mr. Ed: Dead And other Obituaries of the Most Famous People Who Never Lived
Do you use myspace, facebook, twitter, or other social networking sites? If so, how do we find you on those sites?
Facebook: Mr. Ed Dead Twitter: MrEdDead
What books are you currently reading?
The Cambridge World History of Food, Vol II (various) Putting Your Passion Into Print, Eckstut & Sterry
What are your favorite books?
On Food and Cooking, Harold McGee The Cheese Primer, Steven Jenkins Harry Potter Series, JK Rowling Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis Letters From Earth, Mark Twain Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Gabriel Garcia-Marquez
What books would you recommend to your readers?
Tesla: Master of Lightning, Margaret Cheney The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and The Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries, Marilyn Johnson Rosie's Bakery All-Butter, Fresh Cream, Sugar-Packed, No-Holds-Barred Baking Book, Judith Rosenberg Putting Your Passion Into Print
Any message to your readers?
If you ever want to see your family again, stop writing that novel.
What is your book about? Please provide a description.
Mr. Ed Dead is a satirical scrapbook of obituaries and other ephemera that illustrates the deaths of famous fictional characters in hilarious detail.
How long have you been at work on this book?
The idea was hatched in 2004, and completed in July 2009.
How did the idea originate?
The idea originated during a conversation with my wife, Amy. We live in the town she grew up in, and she often checked the obits to see if there was anybody she knew. We were talking about how our parents usually turned immediately to the obituaries when the newspaper arrived, and how we'd inherited that habit. What is our fascination with obituaries, especially for people do we don't know? Then I wondered what would happen if fictional characters (some of whom we know intimately) got the same treatment.
Did the book entail any unusual writing habits or places?
Tom lives in New York City and I live in Massachusetts. Virtually every aspect of this book involved the web. In order to facilitate writing and editing capability long-distance, we collaborated on this book via Skype (a headset enables free access to the keyboard with both hands). We utilized other web-based tools such as GoogleDocs for database and word processing. Research and procurement of pictures was done online, and we e-mailed like mad. Due to our schedules, Tom & I have only seen each other a few times since 2004, so the web and computing technology were indispensable in completing this book.