FP: Didn’t you executive produce several of your own, like About a Boy?
NH: Yes… Mostly they’re very keen for writers of books to approve. The old adage about somebody inside a tent pissing out and the other way around. The executive producer thing never really means very much. Your agent makes film people put it on films. It’s really an under-the-counter payment. It’s enshrined in a contract.
FP: What was your involvement with High Fidelity, then?
NH: More, actually, because the way that Stephen Frears likes to work. He wanted me to sit in on script meetings and I looked at the set and went to edits. I got very close to those guys, all of them really, on that film and I still see them. So apart from the first one that’s probably the one I feel most connected to, just because of getting to know the people pretty well.
FP: It’s a huge cult hit. People watch it over and over.
NH: Ha, yeah, they didn’t go to the cinema but they watch it a lot now.
FP: An Education is getting a lot of buzz, so that must be exciting.
NH: We are getting quite excited now, because we didn’t expect much from it at all. It’s already had quite a life. The time it’s set in, in the sixties, but not what we associate with the sixties, I think that gives it a fresh face.
FP: Coming back to Juliet, Naked – how did you develop the story idea? Was it a straightforward process, or…
NH: No, they’re never very straightforward; ideas kick around for awhile before I can see what it is I want to write about. The initial idea was someone luring a reclusive musician out of retirement through the Internet. Some other things start to creep around it, but I was very interested in notion of how we interact with pieces of art and whether how the artist thinks of that piece has anything to do with it at all. The idea of authenticity in music, or writing, or whatever, whether that counts for anything.
FP: This book has a lot to do with relationships formed over the internet. Are you internet savvy?
NH: Yeah, I am. I think being a writer really helps because I don’t have a proper job. So I have hours to kill, every single day.
FP: There are some writers who still claim to know nothing about the internet.
NH: Well… I don’t know what they do with their time. [Laughs]
Nick Hornby is reading tonight, Tuesday September 29, at Barnes & Noble in Union Square and in LA on October 6th at the Skirball Cultural Center. Visit Hornby’s official website for details on other tour stops.