Today I am lucky enough to have not one, but three, eCopies (Kindle, Nook, etc ….) of Tony Slater’s book ‘That Bear Ate My Pants‘ to giveaway in my Thursday Throng Interview. Just the title was enough to hook my interest and the email he sent me describing the book had me salivating with anticipation. Hailing from the UK, it turns out that Tony wanted to be an actor, not just any actor but being a Mel Gibson lookalike 🙂 he wanted to be a supermegastar; then reality kicked in and he realised he wasn’t actually that good an actor. He decided to take his experience of working in more menial jobs and enjoy them abroad instead.
Earlier this month, I introduced readers to my own brand of ‘perfect travel’, coffee shop tourism with How to Write a Travel Guide. In my perfect holiday I spend a lot of time people watching from under the shade a big hat whilst wearing big sunglasses sipping at a perfectly formed Latte or Cappuccino outside the best kept secret of a coffee shop wherever I have pitched up. Not for me the pleasures of getting red all over on the beach, I prefer to be pale and mysterious.
However, I do get a vicarious pleasure out of reading about other people’s adventures abroad. I don’t particularly enjoy the kind of travel guide that tells me to ‘see this’ or ‘do that’, because I prefer to experience (mostly at third hand) the reality of living a life in a strange place, hence my preference for out of the way coffee shops and people watching.
Tony Slater’s book is an ideal ‘travelogue’ and another of those perfect antidotes to those who think that living a life of volunteering abroad is a cheap and easy way to see the world. The book opens with him chasing an escapee and it continues in much the same vein. The escapees in question though are rescued animals at an animal shelter in Ecuador. His writing captures your imagination immediately and paints a picture of a world I’m unlikely to see that is so vivid, that I feel I have been there with him, every step of the way. I sweated up and down the mountains, I avoided being eaten by the Jaguar, I too chased an unruly teenage bear around an enclosure and I felt every one of the blisters, the scratches and the bites he received; I loved every minute of it, laughing my way through the Spanish misunderstandings, the adventures, the encounters with locals (both human and animal), in fact as a result if I ever find myself in Ecuador, I will definitely visit the Santa Martha Animal Refuge (I have no intention of climbing into a bear enclosure though). I am really looking forward to his next book as I want to find out what happened next!
Hi Tony and I’m pleased to have pinned you down long enough to join me in the Thursday Throng. I start every interview off with the same question, ‘What is one thing that no-one would usually know about you’
I was an ‘extra’ in the popular English show ‘Coronation Street’ – every two weeks for nearly ten years! I can’t stand that show. I never watch it, because it bores me to death and I hated seeing myself on screen. Interestingly enough, I also worked as a tour guide in the studios in Manchester where they filmed it – giving Coronation Street themed tours! And I still knew absolutely nothing about it. I just made everything up. Eventually I got fired, but I still maintain that the stuff I said was far more interesting than what actually happened on the show! (Linda’s Aside: I once spent a week doing ‘work experience’ on the Coronation Street set which was mostly standing around looking stupid so I understand what you mean)
How did you choose a title for your book?
Well, my title was kind of handed to me – without it I don’t think I’d ever have written the book! I went to do some volunteering in Ecuador because I wanted to travel the world, but was too scared to set off on my own with no experience. This was supposed to ease me into it! After the craziest, wildest, most painful three months of my life, as I was leaving the animal refuge where I’d contributed more blood, sweat and tears than was strictly necessary, the boss discovered our favorite bear cub was eating my underwear. He said “If that bear eats your pants and dies of ass-poisoning, it’ll be all your fault!” And I said “If that bear eats my pants, I’m going to go home and write a book about all of this, and call it ‘That Bear Ate My Pants!’. And I did. (Linda’s Aside: That’s a great last line for your book by the way 🙂
Are there any occupational hazards to being an author?
Probably not. Other than poverty! But there are certain issues with what I do – which is travel around the world, looking for ridiculous stuff to do, and then doing it. My bank manager once asked me about setting up a private pension fund. The look on his face was priceless when I told him it wouldn’t matter, as I’d never live past forty…! I climb, I snowboard, I fall quite a lot… but luckily, I bounce. And I stick things into wild animals that they’d probably rather not have stuck into them. Which is why I can no longer buy travel insurance.
Have you ever wished that you could be or do anything else instead of writing, and if so what?
I’m only just about a writer. If you ever doubt this, take a look at my book! But I LOVE what I do – which is roam around the world having crazy adventures! I wouldn’t trade that for anything. At all. Ever. But I’d have loved to be a fighter pilot. Such a pity I’m colour-blind. And have no sense of direction. And can’t even drive a car. (Linda’s Aside: as we learned …LOL!)
Have you ever written naked?
I do everything naked. Except aerobics of course, because of the flapage.
Who would you like to play you in a film of your life?
ME! When I was 18 I dedicated my life to becoming an actor. I studied it for the next three years, at an acting school in Wales. Unfortunately, soon afterwards I discovered I was crap at it. I’d love to picture myself as someone super-cool, like Mel Gibson or Christian Bale, but that just isn’t the case! I think Michael Cera has just the right amount of geeky awkwardness. I think he’d be a lot closer to the real me.
How do you remain sane while working?
Pretty much the same as everyone really – I have a large inflatable velociraptor called Vincent, who I discuss my ideas with. That way, if anyone walks in on me, they’ll know straight away that I’m still sane.
What has been the best experience you have ever had in your life?
Eating a Big Mac! I’d just hiked 1,000km (600 miles) with my wife, living on bread and instant noodles every day for two months, and I used to wake up at night (on a plank of wood), craving anything with meat in it. In fact damn near ate my wife on a couple of occasions. Oh, but I’ve just been informed (by the wife) that the happiest day of my life was in fact my wedding day. So there you have it – it’s official. Although even that would have been better if I’d had a Big Mac…
What is the strangest thing you have ever had to do to promote a book?
This is a great one! My book is called ‘That Bear Ate My Pants!’, right? So I hired a bear costume and put my wife into it. My sister made a giant pair of cardboard underpants, and we went all around the city centre pretending to chase each other. The bear was most popular with kids, which was unfortunate as the first line on the flyers I was handing out was “HOLY SHIT!” That caused some awkward moments. But not half as bad as when a load of school-age lads tried to get into my sister’s pants…
What is the book that you wished you had written?
Yes Man, by Danny Wallace. I had the same idea he had (we probably went to the same seminar): to say ‘Yes’ more often. The difference between us? I said Yes more often. I had lots of fun. He said Yes more often, then wrote a book about it, sold half a million copies and turned it into a hit film starring Jim Carey. Damn it! (Linda’s Aside: there is definitely an element of Yes Man in That Bear Ate My Pants! as you seemed to say ‘I’ll do that’ to everything 🙂
Do you have any favourite resources you would like to share with our readers?
A Guide to Formatting ebooks, on the blog of Mr. Guido Henkel. It is amazing, and I couldn’t live without it. No-one can – well, unless they can afford to actually pay someone for this sort of thing. Ha! As if. Maybe next year…
How to get one of 3 Copies of That Bear Ate My Pants! by Tony Slater
Are you the volunteering type? Are you like me, looking forward to living life vicariously through someone else’s adventures? If the answer to either of these questions is YES then you probably need a copy of Tony’s book in your life as it will definitely fill the gap you have. To get yourself a copy for your Kindle, Nook, eReader, Sony or Apple device all you have to do is leave a comment below and in about ten days or so I will use Random.Org to pick out the winners.
Where to buy the book and find out more about Tony Slater
You can meet Tony online on his website at: tonyjamesslater.com and in various other virtual locations such as his blog AdventureWithoutEnd.com, on his Facebook page: facebook.com/TonyJamesSlater and on Twitter @TonyJamesSlater
If you would like to get a copy of That Bear Ate My Pants! then you can find it on Amazon in the UK and on Amazon in the US too, you’ll also find my reviews of Tony’s Book on Amazon in the US, the UK and on Goodreads too.
Why The ‘Thursday Throng’?
These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then click here to find out more.
If you would like to see all the Authors who have been featured on The Thursday Throng you can click here: womanontheedgeofreality.com/2012/06/17/the-thursday-throng/