Author Q&A: The Great Texas Trailer Park Escape by Reid Kerr

We were lucky enough to get a chance to sit down with the great Reid Kerr and discuss his newest masterpiece, The Great Texas Trailer Park Escape. This book is undoubtedly one of the funniest books you will ever pick up. Well, you can’t actually pick it up because it’s an e-book but I think you catch my drift. You can buy the book from several different places. Visit TheGreatTexasTrailerParkEscape.com for more info.

Enjoy the Q&A.

GTTPE-Reid

PSDC: Tell us a little bit about how you see your book. “The Great Texas Trailer Park Escape.”

Reid: It’s a comedy, definitely. There’s elements of mystery in there, and some adventure, but I’m a humorist. I’ve pretty much got to admit that, whatever I do is going to have those elements in there. I like to think of it as “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World” taking place in the same world that Walmart has made so famous.

PSDC: You’ve spent the last 25 years working in radio and television. Where did becoming a writer come from?

Reid: Well, I’ve always been a writer. Even as a kid, it was what I wanted to do, and knowing how to tell a story is really what got my foot in the door in the other forms of media. I used to do an email sports column back before blogs became common. It was called “Reid Kerr’s Fistful of Sports,” and that’s where things like my NFL Draft and Super Bowl timeline columns came from. I started that back in 1998, I think. That kind of writing, along with my radio show, got me the job in television even though I had no background in journalism. The news director there knew I could tell a story, and that’s what modern-day news is all about, for better or worse.

While I was working in TV, it all came back to me, I guess. I had some stories I had started worm on a long time ago, and I decided to see what else I could do. I was writing TV news stories on a daily basis, and that really helped me understand how to break a story down. There wasn’t any place for extraneous materials, we had a minute-fifteen to tell a complete story, so you had to be uber-focused. That’s important, no matter what medium you’re using.

PSDC: Is that when you started “The Great Texas Trailer Park Escape?”

Reid: Actually, the idea about the lost lottery ticket with the deadline came a few years before that. I had seen a news story about one in the mid-90’s when I was working at a TV station, and I though that made for a good hook. A lottery ticket is the closest thing we’ve got to the Hand of God in our modern society anyway, so what if you knew there was one somewhere in the immediate vicinity, but the clock was ticking? It started with that thought, and kind of spread out from there.

PSDC: So where did the inspiration come from for Jack? 

Reid: Jack is a combination of a lot of things. He’s your everyman character, but he’s based on a lot of guys I knew growing up in a small town that wanted nothing more than to get out of it. Some of them made it, some of them didn’t. But having a dream to do something get stunted by circumstances and lack of funds, well, that’s kind of universal.

PSDC: How many of the people and stories in this book are true?

Reid: Well, a lot of them, but not in direct lines, I guess you could say. A lot of them came from growing up in a small East Texas town, and just being amused by what was going on around me. The big stuff is fictional, of course, but most of the little things happened in one way or another.

PSDC: How did this book get made?

Reid: Well, originally I wrote it and finished the first draft about 10 years ago, and at that time, I wrote it to the exact wrong length to be able to sell it. It’s about 35,000 words, which is not long enough for a novel. I finally had an agent tell me she liked it, but there was no way you could sell a novella from a new author. That’s the kind of thing only Stephen King could get away with.

So I shelved it, and figured I’d come back it later. I started working on other projects. Two years ago I got a story in a horror anthology, which is a weird story in itself. The publisher of the anthology liked my work, and wanted to know if I had anything else he could take a look at. I told him I really wasn’t a horror guy, and he said it didn’t matter, He was looking for something in my voice, with my kinds of characters. I immediately thought of Trailer Park Escape.

The publishing landscape has changed so much in the last 10 years, it’s completely different. Now, e-books have made so many things possible, and Trailer Park Escape fit perfectly as an e-book.

I did some revisions, fattened up a couple of things, and rewrote the ending, and everything came together from there.

PSDC: You rewrote the ending?

Reid: Yes. Originally, trying not to spoil anything, but there was a certain point in the book where you don’t see Jack anymore, and you find out what happened to him by what happens to everybody else. I was trying to be all artsy with it, I guess. Yeah, people hated that. The last three or four scenes in the book actually came after I thought I had finished it. Based on the feedback I got, I was pretty wrong about that. I’m happy with the way it turned out though, it makes more sense this way.

PSDC: Who are your influences as a writer?

Reid: Crime wise, Elmore Leonard and Joe Lansdale can simply do no wrong for me. The way they craft their characters and dialogue is just amazing, they have a way of taking the extra-ordinary and grounding it to where the reader can understand what’s going on in the minds of good guys and bad guys both. Then you’ve got the guys who can take that and infuse some comedy into it, guys like Carl Hiaasen and Dave Barry. Oh, and Gregory McDonald, definitely. My life is a pretty random one, so I can really appreciate people who can write things with wild twists that still make sense because…well, that’s how my life goes.

PSDC: So what’s next for you?

Reid: In addition to finishing up the audiobook for “Trailer Park Escape,” I’ve also gotten into doing audiobooks for other people. In addition to all of that, I’m about 2/3 of the way finished on the next book. It’s more of a chick-lit book, called “Goodbye Joinerville.” It’s the story of a woman who, after her mom dies, finds out she had a pretty wild and crazy life before she settled down and married and had her. So she’s got to figure out what exactly her mom did, and come to terms with her mom having a wild, exciting life, and she doesn’t feel like she has any of that. It’s a story about the mid-life frustration we all seem to feel, knowing that there’s something out there other people are experiencing, and we’re not getting there. It’s kind of a road movie.

Comments

  1. Cartooper says:

    I will creep out into the international worldwide web and purchase this book. Reid had a very entertaining sports talk radio show in East Texas for a while. I enjoyed the the humorous break from Aggie vs Longhorn, How to fix the Cowboys, and Ranger pitching problems. Good luck to the Red Rocket.

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