A Talk with The Amazing Kreskin
What prompted you to write this book?
Someday, I may write a biography, but the frustration of doing such is that you really can’t truly write a biography, because the last page is not the end of your life.
This current book, Kreskin Confidential (my seventeenth), is something I’ve yearned to write for a number of years. In fact, I owed it to my audiences. Although I put it together in less than three weeks, the entire book had been in my mind for a number of years, as it needed to address a scene and climate in today’s culture--both entertainment culture and otherwise--that was reaching a pinnacle. Namely, the phenomena sometimes related and often associated with what I do, and the dramatic powers of the human mind.
To do this, I decided to take the reader behind the scenes and share anecdotes and experiences that very few people outside the various programming settings know about. I decided to tell the stories behind some extraordinarily dramatic happenings, from UFO occurrences that received international attention, to why I thrust my hand into a plate of turkey stuffing during a dinner in honor of Bob Hope, and why (indirectly because of yours truly) Orson Welles was banned by Johnny Carson from ever performing on his show again. But inevitably, to address the steps that brought Tom Hanks to produce his motion picture of 2009, The Great Buck Howard, in which it was clearly announced that the star, John Malkovich, was literally playing The Amazing Kreskin.
My book, Kreskin Confidential, was released soon after the Buck Howard movie was in movie houses. Because scene after scene in the film really came from my professional career, how could I not share some behind-the-scenes revelations with my fans and readers?
What were your biggest challenges when writing your manuscript?
The challenge to me when writing the manuscript was to try to contain, within a reasonable amount of pages, what could have been even hundreds more stories and experiences. I have often found, sitting with reporters after shows and writers after interviews, that a question or remark will trigger a plethora of memorable incidents that have happened to me around the world.
I had no outline. I didn’t have at my fingertips any source material from my past, as I was dictating the book in hotels, green rooms, dressing rooms at television studios, and even (on one occasion) on a park bench in the middle of the night. The pages that I was turning from my past were all being done from vivid memories.
Why did you choose to self-publish? Was self-publishing your first choice?
Initially, my reason for self-publishing was time pressure. I’ve had many publishers through the years, some of which have taken my books around the world, but the impetus of writing my book was the awareness that the Tom Hanks movie was being released within months. I finally decided that the movie would open a lot of questions that I could not answer on all the talk shows and scores upon scores of newspaper interviews that I would do related to the movie. It made me decide, with only a few weeks, to publish the book on my own, release it, and promote it in my own way for my media appearances and live concerts around the world.
Having a career in which being on the road is one’s lifestyle (if I can quote Bob Hope, who said to me a number of times, “To be in this business, you have to be a gypsy”), I didn’t have the time or the opportunity to sit and negotiate with publishers.
I am pleased with my final choice because I have become immensely satisfied with the professionalism and the quality of work I found in AuthorHouse.
How has your audience responded to your book?
I couldn’t be more pleased with the feedback I have received about the book, not only from the general public but also from people in the broadcasting, newspaper, and entertainment fields. This is the first time that I’ve mentioned this, but some writers and performers have told me that they’ve picked up the book and did not put it down until they finished it many hours later.
One of the most pleasing feedbacks that I’ve received from many, many people in broadcasting is the insight that I’ve given into so-called reality television. I’ve been told that my writing has caused readers to reflect on how television needs to be compared with an earlier time in its history, when broadcasts were live with no turning back. And many have said to me that after they read my book, it hit them with considerable impact why so much of the excitement that they remember of television has simply disappeared today.