Yesterday I went fishing for intel on JC Conklin, the former DMN biz writer turned novelist who wrote the recently published Dallas Women’s Guide to Gold-Digging With Pride. Well, JC herself dropped me a note last night asking me what I wanted to know about her. And when I suggested an e-mail Q&A, she was even kind enough to get herself a Google account so that we could IM. Here’s a word of advice: if you’re going to conduct late-night IM sessions with strange women while drinking red wine, don’t let your wife read over your shoulder. To wit:
10:03 PM me: Right. Google owns the world. So we’re dialed in?
JC: Up in this piece. Oh, I should tell you about the book. It’s tongue in cheek, satirical look at husband hunting in Dallas.
10:04 PM me: First Q, then: One of the things that confuses me about your book, which I haven’t read because you’ve so inconsiderately NOT sent me an inscribed copy, is that it’s a novel, yet everything I read seems to position it as a factual, researched how-to. Is that by your design, or is your publisher marketing this with mojo not of your making?
10:05 PM JC: Spurs 67 my oh my.
10:07 PM It’s because I wanted to hand deliver your copy. I’ll be in town June 28 with it. The natural question after reading it is — are there really people out there like this? That’s the question I most often get asked and I think the publisher does, too, and is responding to that (and they probably want to sell a lot of books). So the answer is it’s a work of fiction based on some factual things.
10:10 PM me: Okay, but there’s a novelist here in town by the name of Harry Hunsicker. He writes crime thriller stuff based in Dallas. It’s very much tied to the city. But no one is compelled to ask him, “Are people in Dallas really popping caps in each other’s asses that frequently?” Huh. Now that I type that, that’s actually a fair question about Dallas. So this question stinks. Ignore it. Next question: We reported on FB, based on informed speculation, that you were paid upwards of $500k for the book. How close was that estimate?
10:13 PM JC: I wish it was that much. Then I won’t have to husband hunt. Joking. I’d be a miserable failure at husband hunting. Still not enough silicone.
me: Don’t avoid the question. $200k?
10:15 PM JC: I’d say if we were playing warmer/colder, you’d be getting warmer. Does this make you consider writing a book about gold-digging Dallas men?
10:18 PM me: Are you kidding? Hell yes. Every working journalist (such as you were) likes to believe he/she is wasting his/her talents and that all he/she needs to do is stop frickin’ flip-flopping between gender-slashed pronouns and write a frickin’ “snarky novel” and cash a huge check and then sell the film rights and hang out on the set and watch [insert hip, current actor/actress’s name, because I’m not up to date enough on pop culture to do it myself] pretend to be you/it/stuff. Right?
That was a bad question. Sorry.
10:19 PM Next question:
10:20 PM You spent, I think, four years working in Dallas, at the WSJ‘s bureau and at the biz section of the DMN. You told the HO Chronicle of your time here: “I didn’t husband-hunt for a rich guy,” she said, “but I was dating a lot of guys who were slacker-reporter guys, and being in Dallas made me realize that was a dead-end proposition.”
JC: That was a great frustrated journalist rant — sounds like me before I cashed in and wrote a snarky novel.
me: Nice. I feel like a loser. Hang on …
10:21 PM So you said that about your time here. Mind telling us who the “slacker-reporter guys” were? Robert Miller?
10:24 PM JC: Ah, Robert Miller … you had to be at the top of the food chain to go for him — Lady Leona status. If only … I think everyone I dated is gone and no longer of interest to Dallas. I wonder if they’d remember me. I should send them copies of the book and ask them to guess who they are. I will say I did dip into the reporters of the police beat when I was here.
10:25 PM me: I’ve heard the cops reporters are total sluts.
I guess that’s a declarative statement.
Add your own question mark?
JC: Only the business reporters are worse.
10:27 PM me: Noted. Okay, more-or-less serious question. You were born in Houston and spent most of your formative years in NYC. I don’t want you to think I’ve been surfing the web during our chat, not paying FULL attention to your answers. But I hope I got that right. So then you spent four years in Dallas and now you live in Austin. [deep breath, hoping setup was worth the question] How did those four years in Dallas change you, inform your worldview?
10:32 PM JC: Good set up — you’ve got that snarky novel in you. It’s true being in Dallas improved my personal hygiene. My mom was sort of a hippie so I didn’t really know about waxing, bleach, and painting of one’s toe nails. I know, I know. The horror. I also became nicer, at least outwardly. I can honestly say it doesn’t pay to flip people off in Dallas traffic or be rude to the wait staff. It all comes back to bite you on the butt. I realized that kindness can take you far — even if you don’t mean it. I still haven’t figured out how to tell when people mean it or not. Maybe I’ll get that in my next decade here. Oh, and I discovered that men really do like attractive bras and panties — not a myth. It does something for them.
10:33 PM You’re a slow reader.
I have had coffee though.
10:34 PM me: I’m reading with one hand, now that you brought up your bra and panties. I Googled a pic of you. Would it offend you if I told you that you look kind of MILF-y?
10:35 PM Spurs win! Spurs win! Spurs win!
JC: You know there’s always your Sept. issue. I’m an attractive fall subject.
I know! Wait, shouldn’t you be Mavs all the way?
10:36 PM me: Not when the Mavs get clobbered by the frickin’ Warriors. Love Tim D.
10:37 PM So cover of Sept issue? Will that work?
10:38 PM JC: I think I can fit that in. Maybe with a Neiman’s clothes call.
me: My wife is now reading this IM over my shoulder. She just threw a piece of mail at me.
Okay, time to wrap up. So you’re in town June 28? Where? When?
JC: I can only translate that as it’s time for you to call it a night — yes?
10:40 PM June 28. I’m doing a radio interview in the morning with KDMX and I think I’m doing something with WFAA.
Then of course I’m looking for the subject of the next novel.
Seriously I’ll send you a copy. Thanks for your time.
10:41 PM me: The Dallas Women’s Guide to Cheating on Your Husband with Decorum? Just a thought.
Okay, but no signings we can direct people to?
10:42 PM JC: No, really don’t like them. But we are considering a party. Should have it decided in the next day or two. Will let you know.
10:43 PM me: Please do, JC. Thanks again for dropping me a note. And thanks for suffering the Q&A. Enjoy your new Google e-mail account. Your life will never be the same.
JC: Cheating with decorum. Maybe I should base that in Houston.
Thanks. Keep the Sept. issue open. Bye.