Author Interviews

Interview with Scott Alexander Hess on 27-January-2014

Author's Interview

Let's start with you telling us a little bit about yourself, Scott.
After acting and writing screenplays, I fell in love with prose after completing my MFA at New York City’s The New School in 2009. So I am a testament that life can change radically at any time. The New School is honouring me (and my published work) this February which blows my mind.

What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
That I’m in love with Cormac McCarthy. His prose is nearly orgasmic for me. Also that I’m a total fashion whore. I’ll eat beans for a month and spend the money on a Thom Browne suit.

When did you start writing, is it something you've always been interested in, or did it develop later in life?
I started when I was nine. I was laid up in bed sick, and I read Richard Matheson’s book Hell House which was full of horror and lust. I was hooked and started writing.

Has it been everything you thought it would be or not?
It has been so much more. My MFA and falling in love with writing novels has been one of the biggest awakenings in my life.

How did it feel when you realized that your very first book was going to be published?
I was totally ecstatic. I wept then I planned a huge launch party with the help of my friend NYC drag queen Hedda Lettuce. It was a blast. I say celebrate your success.

What's your favorite part of writing a book?
Waking up at 3 am with a new bold idea, jotting it down on my bedside table pad in a fog, then waking up and realizing it was not a dream.

Do you get time to read for pleasure? If so, which books do you enjoy?
I read constantly. I’m re-reading Cormac McCarthy’s brilliant Blood Meridian.  I am a huge Faulkner fan and also recently devoured everything that Paul Bowles has written.

Are there any other genres you'd be interested in writing?
Not right now.

Please tell us a little about your most recent release.
Bergdorf Boys was my second novel published by JMS and is a love story at heart. The hero is Neal Tate, an aspiring magazine columnist who loves wandering the NYC luxury store Bergdorf Goodman (a sales person there once stopped me to tell me he’d read the book and loved it!). A former fire island loving party boy, Neal falls for Dewalt, an ex drug dealer from Harlem.

What can we look forward to in the future from you?
Skyscraper is my latest, and I’m mixing elements of creative awakening with the S&M scene.

Anything you want to say to your readers?
Read read read.

Scott Alexander Hess's most recent release:
Bergdorf Boys

When Neal Tate, a just-out-of-rehab NYC party columnist, falls for Dewalt, a Harlem drug dealer he meets at a gay bathhouse, he discovers that navigating an honest relationship is a lot more difficult than chasing down the perfect pair of skinny jeans.

Excerpt from Bergdorf Boys
The men in the porno were daring Neal to give up. Every grunt, every smack on the ass, every Romanian groan of pleasure told him to run. He’d been at the Palamos party ten minutes -- hiding under a mink blanket in the Jade bedroom. It had started well enough. He’d made it into the mansion confident and ready to mingle. Then, moving from the searing summer heat into the frigid, wildly air conditioned entry hall, he saw the masses of gigantic white teeth, lithe bodies, runway couture outfits, champagne flutes and chattering, fiercely-sharpened tongues, and he felt like a hick Missouri fraud. Suddenly the cute, anchor-detail knit top that he’d maxed out his Bergdorf Goodman credit card for seemed very, very last season. He was getting ready to turn heel when he spotted the boy.

A servant likely, wearing a sheer skin-tight white bikini. Barely seventeen, Neal guessed, he was lounging with his ass propped on the edge of a long marble table, one leg draped casually over the tip, his inner thigh open, soft and hairless. The boy was flexing his leg muscles and spreading his thighs ever so slightly. The curved hem of his silken bikini pressed into that crease between the top of his leg and the edge of his crotch. The boy was laughing, turning to smile, as a waiter offered Neal pink-shaded liquor and socialite Trudy Pratte swooped at him. He’d fled to the Jade room.

Upstairs, under the mink blanket, Neal practiced deep breathing. In through the nose, out through the mouth. The Romanian porn actors groaned from the flat screen television, taunting. Sex and alcohol, a perfect pairing since puberty, had finally turned on him. Two months out of rehab, the skin-crawling rawness of being sober had kicked his animal urges into chaotic overdrive. If he wasn’t doing Yoga, or shopping at Bergdorf Goodman, he was in constant, teen-like hard-on mode. Unfortunately, he couldn’t put two flirty words together without a cocktail to lubricate his tongue. The mere site of a pretty servant boy spun him into a panic. He wanted to leave the party, but he couldn’t cop out on his good friend Rovvy. Rovvy had worked like a fiend to get Neal the gig as editor at Pop magazine, the city’s premier gay weekly, which his lover Andreas Palamos owned. It was the editor’s job to attend fetes like this, and Neal desperately needed the work. The rent was backed up, the credit card bills overdue, Con Edison had sent a turn off notice, and he refused to call his family again for help. Breathing in, breathing out. He felt like he might hyperventilate. Through the shut bedroom door he heard muted voices from downstairs. He imagined the door bursting open, the voices flying at him, attacking. He hated feeling so nervous, so often, with nothing but sex as a possible relief.

Peeking out from under the fur, he eyed his reflection in an elaborate, gold leaf mirror. He turned thirty-one that summer. He wondered if his eyes were sinking in and if he should start tweezing his brows to create a lifting effect. From the mirror’s distance, he thought he looked like a child swallowed up by a soft, hairy beast. Strands of his expertly dyed caramel blonde hair sprayed out from the top of the fur, and his compact body curled underneath. It was hot, and his breath -- caught in the confines of the cave -- reeked of licorice candy and espresso. The Romanian porno was playing fuck-beat music. Neal casually groped himself. The wave of voices from downstairs was getting louder, thornier. He heard the cackle of socialite Trudy Pratte, then a deep, distant scream. One of the porn stars was pitching a climax. He wondered if guests were reading his preview column in Pop. The magazine was scattered about the party. He cradled a copy under the mink, reading his tiny teaser again.

Bergdorf Boy here, promising you the sexiest summer on record. Steam heat, men to meet, brassy baskets. Beginning next week, BB will twirl you through it all with a secret peek at hook ups, hang outs, “celeb backroom spottings” and the question on every boy’s twittering lips -- where is the best pinga in the city, the hottest fashion and the best spot to nab a rich hubby? Until next week. BB.

He snapped the magazine shut. The truth was he had no idea what he was going to write about on a weekly basis. The very idea completely overwhelmed him. Neal started to rip off the mink just as the bedroom door swung open then shut softly. He lay very still. He heard laughter, two men. He recognized one of the voices -- a bar owner and big Pop advertiser. Perfect.


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