Tuesday, November 26, 2013

How did you get a book deal with Rutger Hauer?

"All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.  Time to die."

People ask me this a lot.

In early 2005, my novel SMOKED had just gotten a deal from St. Martin's Press in the United States, and a worldwide deal from Headline Books in the UK.  I had never had a book deal before, after years of trying, and now I had two big ones in one month.  So I was hyperventilating a lot.

One night, my agent called me and said, "Do you remember Rutger Hauer?"

I said, "The name rings a bell.  He was only like my favorite actor when I was a kid.  Blade Runner, Nighthawks, The Hitcher... Yeah.  I remember Rutger."

"So," he went on, "I've been trying to get him interested in doing a book for a while, and he finally said yes.  I think you're the guy to write it with him.  You guys will have to do a book proposal on spec, but once we get a deal, you'll be the one.  How does that sound?"

Glub. 

"Pat?"

"Uh, sure..."

"Okay, good.  He's in New York at a hotel, waiting for your call.  Here's the number.  Give him a shout.  Let me know how it goes."

So I called Rutger.  We chatted somewhat awkwardly.  He sounded just like Roy Batty from Blade Runner.  He said, if I could be in New York in a few days, maybe I could stop by his hotel room and we could do a little work together.

That seemed weird.  I had this image of turning up at his hotel room, and then what?  The two of us, sitting on the bed together, with a notebook and a pen.

I didn't have to worry.  He was in New York shooting a movie, and the film company was paying his expenses.  The "room" was a two-story, three bedroom, two bath penthouse, with a full kitchen and dining room at the top of a hotel in mid-town Manhattan.  The sundeck gave 180 degree views of the skyline, including the Empire State Building, which seemed like you could almost reach out and touch it.

I was 34 years old.  It had actually never before occurred to me that there were hotel rooms like this.  So much for seen-it-all, done-it-all Quinlan.

Two things about Rutger surprised me as soon as he answered the door.  One is, he's old.  That was the most surprising.  Rutger is no longer the beautiful young thing from Blade Runner.  Oh, he's still handsome and all, but his face is very lined, and it appears that Rutger, unlike so many celebrities, is too modest to go in for facial surgery.

The other surprising thing is I'm just as tall as he is.    

This was the very beginning of a two year process that eventually resulted in Rutger's autobiography, ALL THOSE MOMENTS.         

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