Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Quick Kiss

 I am going to tell you more about our epic wine trip (and usually, I hate the over-use of "epic," but it applies here!), but I've also had the chance to do some great author interviews lately, so I want to share those in a timely manner. By the way, you still have a day (hurry!) to enter the contest in the blog post below this one and possibly win a free book (in paper, CD or MP3 format). 

And interview with filmmaker Guy Magar whose book "Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot" is available now and shares, along with his filmmaking memories, the story of dealing with his wife Jacqui's cancer diagnosis and treatment.

TDL:  What wine should a reader pour as they first sit down to read Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot? And what should they be drinking when they finish?

GM: Since this book begins with a filmmaking career and breaking into the Hollywood world, a smooth Francis Ford Coppola 2008 Rosso would make a tasty and appropriate companion as one starts to read this memoir. The Kiss Me Quick part refers to my wife Jacqui whenever she visited me on-set, and so this book is a also a celebration of finding true love and details her triumphant cancer journey. At the finish, I’d recommend a chilled glass of Mumm’s Cordon Bleu champagne which is what we were drinking the night I asked her to marry me in Jamaica. A salute!

TDL:  Does the story feature a beagle and if not, why not? (Seamus, my famous beagle, demands this be asked of everyone on our blog)

GM: Rocky sends his best to Seamus. We had found a temporary home for Rocky (a gorgeous Vizla) just before a 6-week chemo treatment at City of Hope for which I moved in with Jacqui. After a successful trial-week living at his new home, on the very first night of treatment, we received a call at 10pm asking us to come pick him up immediately as the Rockster had grabbed a barbecue chicken off the counter and things got a bit hairy when they tried to pry it out of his mouth. I had to leave Jacqui and travel back to the Hollywood Hills and when I pulled up near midnight, his bed and food dish were already out on the street. In retrospect, it was a funny moment just like throwing a guest out of the house, suitcase first. The next day I checked him into a kennel and got back to Jacqui. If only he had known Seamus then, they could have hung out together.

TDL:  Tell us about your background in film and then of course, we have to have you cast the film of your book.

GM: I fell in love with filmmaking at film school in London. I then made a film at the American Film Institute that got me a 7-year deal at Universal Studios. I eventually started directing TV shows such as The A Team and Hunter to La Femme Nikita, and then I also wrote and produced films including Lookin’ Italian – my homage to Marty Scorsese and Italian-American culture - which was Matt LeBlanc’s and Lou Rawls’ first feature film. Since there is a story in the book about almost decapitating Drew Barrymore at my home when she was 8, she would be our first choice to play “Jacqui” especially since she was friends with her mother and had babysat Drew when she was very young. Since I am from a European background, my favorite actor to play me would be Jarvier Bardem. What a cast…roll cameras!

TDL:  My significant other, Chris, was also by my side every step of the way in my battle against cancer. One of the things we learned is that people--even well-meaning people--say some pretty ridiculous things to the caretaker (well, and the patient!), which meant a sense of humor was mandatory. What was the most ridiculous thing anyone said to you while you and Jacqui were battling her cancer and were you able to laugh then? And now?
GM: The night we received the call from our doctor telling us Jacqui needed an immediate biopsy to confirm a leukemia diagnosis, he said to make sure she didn’t get any more bruises which was the triggering symptom that we had noticed. The next morning, dazed from a sleepless night, and feeling emotionally devastated, Jacqui stepped outside our home and accidentally tripped falling hard on her thigh. I immediately rushed to her only to discover she was laughing uncontrollably…and it made me laugh as well as we hugged tightly sitting on the concrete. It was seemingly the first breath we had taken since that phone call the previous night. And we laughed for weeks every time we remembered our doctor’s warning to be careful and then we’d see the biggest bruise in the history of bruising on her thigh. Crazy!

TDL:  What was the best and the worst advice you received about handling Jacqui's cancer?
GM: The worst advice was to proceed with a bone marrow transplant without a perfect matching donor and it came with a massive chemo preparation beforehand. This did not sound good at all to us and we started looking for alternatives. After tons of research and advice from some great caring folks in the cancer community, we discovered a clinical trial involving a much milder low-intensity chemo prep and a cord blood stem cells transplant which is much easier to find perfect matches. We participated in the national trial at the City of Hope and it completely healed Jacqui. As a caregiver, it is essential to get involved and you must do the required research to find the absolute best treatment option for your loved one.

TDL:  How is Jacqui now and have either of you become involved in any organizations supporting cancer patients or research?
GM: Jacqui has been in complete remission for two and a-half years now and she’s feeling and looking terrific. She is truly a poster ambassador for this aml-leukemia trial which we hope will offer a milder and more successful treatment for future patients. We are presently both joining the City of Hope speakers program to help demystify the cancer experience and assist in fundraising. Also, portions of the book’s revenue will go to City of Hope as a donation to their research programs.

TDL: What inspired you to turn to non-fiction writing after all your time in film?
GM:  As I already have a how-to filmmaking course on DVD complete with scene studies and film clips through my Action/Cut Seminars Company, this time I wanted to write about the behind-the-scenes of making films and TV shows which would appeal to all who love movies. Also, as Jacqui and I have been so lucky in love, I wanted to leave a public record of our romance and our cancer journey to help others who are stricken. Writing an unconventional memoir about a mix of these topics seemed, and turned out to be, a very exciting endeavor. The early responses from readers and reviewers have been wonderfully supportive and the overall comment is how surprisingly “engaging” a read it is. I don’t think people who read memoirs expect to get so emotionally involved in the storytelling. That’s very gratifying.

TDL: Finally, can you share an excerpt from Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot?