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Kevin Smokler Interview

"Bookmark Now" editor and creator of the Virtual Book Tour

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Kevin Smokler is the editor of Bookmark Now, "a collection of essays by writers in their 20s and 30s asserting and celebrating the continued relevance and sexiness of reading and literature in the media-saturated 21st century." He is also the creator of The Virtual Book Tour, a unique synthesis of book tour, blog, and buzz that connects authors with their readers via the phenomenon that is the web log.

Kevin’s writing has appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, The Baltimore Sun, and on NPR. He lives in San Francisco.

MF: Name?

KS: Kevin Smokler

MF: City of Origin?

KS: Ann Arbor, Michigan. Currently San Francisco, California

MF: Years on the planet?

KS: 32 this August.

MF: Favorite book?

KS: "And the Band Played On" by Randy Shilts. Changed my life.

MF: Favorite author?

KS: A six-way battle royal between Roddy Doyle, Sherman Alexie, Sarah Vowell, Terry McMillian, Bill Bryson and all the writers in "Bookmark Now."

MF: What were your favorite books as a child?

KS: Beginning with "Goodnight Moon" and "The Snowy Day" and on through anything by Beverly Clearly, Judy Blume or S.E. Hinton. I also devoured E.B. White's books and consider "Trumpet of the Swan" as canonical as "Sons and Lovers."

MF: What did you want to be when you grew up?

KS: First an architect because I had the wrong idea that architects got to design buildings add knock them down. In junior high I was eager to be a high powered lawyer because it was the 80s and may parents let me stay up late on Thursday to watch L.A. Law. In college, I had dreams of being a screenwriter but a series of Hollywood summer jobs cured me of that. At
25, I had a two minute flirtation with museum work and a 6 month affair with academia. I found my way to writing professionally through journalism which I had done in college and always came back to when I was unemployed. That and working in video stores.

MF: You've created quite an original niche for yourself in the literary world, Kevin. What do you call what you do and can you give us an overview of the various projects you're working on?

KS: I'm a writer blessed/cursed with being a Leo, Jewish and an eldest child which makes me way way too extroverted and entrapunerial to lead a normal writers life. So I also run the Virtual Book Tour (www.virtualbooktour.org) which is an author tour with blogs and websites like this one as the stops. I also have a speaking and consulting business where I advise authors, publishers and arts organizations to use 21st century technology and media to reach younger audiences. My second book is a study of the relationship between the traditional arts and new technologies so I'll probably be amping up the consulting as part of my research.

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