19 October 2011

Ormondroyd Lost and Found

On Saturday morning, I finished reading Edward Ormondroyd’s Time at the Top, which features as its narrator a Bay Area–author named Ormondroyd. However, that character doesn’t quite match the author described on the back jacket flap: no kids, no day job. That led me to wonder about the real man.

On Saturday afternoon, I opened an email from author Marc Tyler Nobleman reporting that he was about to post Ormondroyd’s first interview about his writing career, in two parts.

Now that’s service.

Actually, the interview didn’t answer my questions, and in fact raised others. But it was very interesting, including this exchange:
Did you ever consider a sequel to David and the Phoenix?

I not only considered it, I was fool enough to write it. Disaster! I threw away the whole book.

What was the sequel about? When did you write it? Did you save no copy?

Well, the Phoenix was irrevocably gone, so I substituted a gnome-like figure, and he and David set out on a quest, carried by a flying suitcase...but of course without the old Phoenix it was as useless as Gone with the Wind without Scarlett O'Hara. I can't remember when I committed this literary crime. No copy. My wastebasket is a receptacle of no return.
I think that reflects how the character of the Phoenix so dominated that book, and David was fairly blank. Any sequel would also have risked undercutting the first book’s theme of accepting the cycle of life and death. Ormondroyd did write a sequel to Time at the Top, once again featuring an author named Ormondroyd, and I may have to look that up now.


Mordena said...

Do. All in Good Time is great fun. I can lend it to you if you can't find it.

Charlotte said...

Thanks for sharing this! I just read All in Good Time myself, and it's worth seeking out.

J. L. Bell said...

In fact, Charlotte, it was your "Timeslip Tuesday" review of All in Good Time that led me to think about reading more Ormondroyd. Thanks!

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

John, what questions about EO did the interview not answer?

I'm thinking of asking him to do a follow-up in which he'd answer questions from his many fans who have responded to the interview.

J. L. Bell said...

The Ormondroyd of the book (which is explicitly set in 1960) appears to differ in some details from the Ormondroyd described on the jacket flap (written in 1963). That made me wonder if his life had changed in that time, or if he had fictionalized himself, and if so why he made that choice.

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Okay, thanks. I couldn't tell if it was just that or also other unrelated questions. I will ask.

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Edward's answer:

"I don't know what the jacket flap says about me because my sole remaining copy of the 1963 edition is on loan to a friend, but I did indeed fictionalize myself in the narrative. I have never lived in a city larger than Berkeley, I never lived in an apartment building tall enough to require an elevator, and never knew anyone who did, and so had to imagine what life in such a building would be like. My fictional alter ego allowed me to be narrator, commentator, and minor participant all at once. The choice was more intuitive than considered."

J. L. Bell said...

Now that's service.