David Rosen has been a busy man of late. On August 7th, the former Group CD at Deutsch had his first novel, I Just Want My Pants Back, published. He’s been giving readings in Manhattan and promoting his work on these very internets. In the middle of this swirl, Rosen took a moment to entertain some questions, formed after reading the advance copy he was kind enough to send my way.
Q. Did you see the article in the Times about Universal Life ministers getting no respect from the state of Connecticut, among others?
A. I did, it basically said that couples married by them may not actually be legally man and wife. My first thought was to picture some scuzzy guy, who was about to ask for a divorce, seeing if he could get out of alimony based on this loophole. Luckily, the marriage in my book takes place in New York where the laws are more lax: I don’t have to worry about doing any rewrites for the second edition.
Q. Sounds like there is some good pot to be had in Lower Manhattan…
A. I can not confirm or deny that.
Q. How do you feel about comparisons to Bright Lights, Big City?
A. Flattered, humbled and hopeful I won’t disappoint anyone who reads my book based on that comparison; Bright Lights is said to define a generation. I’m happy if people think I successfully define one man, the narrator of I Just Want My Pants Back, Jason Strider.
Q. What can you say about the use of instant messaging and text as literary devices.
A. IM and texting are a part of the way we interact now — for better or for worse. I thought it would be fun to see the characters communicate through them much as they would in real life, with all their possibilities for wit and frustration.
Q. Aside from a career in advertising, what were some of the more interesting twists and turns on your path to “novelist”?
A. I, and I think this is true of a lot of copywriters, have always been good at starting new ideas and projects, but never any good at finishing them. Something always came up, a vacation, a new business pitch, a So You Think You Can Dance marathon, you name it. On this project, my only goal was to finish. Just finish, and then see what happened. And I think the lesson for me was, good things happen when you see an idea through, and nothing can really happen to half an idea.
Q. Is it harder to write a book or get a book published?
A. For me, it was harder to write the book. It took a long time and while I received help from many wise outside sources, I was pretty much on my own. Selling the book fell to my agent; I was sitting around practicing deep breathing and other relaxation exercises as I awaited answers from her.
Q. Ambition has been a rich topic for some of our nation’s greatest writers. Which one do you feel handles the subject best?