INTRODUCING….Character Eli Marks, THE MISER’S DREAM, An Eli Marks Mystery by JOHN GASPARD.
1. What is your name? Do you have a nickname?
My name is Eli Marks, but my uncle (magician Harry Marks) has always called me “Buster” ever since I was a kid. His reasoning is a bit byzantine: The magician Harry Houdini was friends with another vaudeville couple, the Keatons. One day Houdini was there when their very young son (his godchild) tumbled down some stairs. Houdini (allegedly) picked him and said something along the lines of, “My, that was quite a buster.” The name stuck and we now know that kid as legendary comedian Buster Keaton.
Since I’m Uncle Harry’s godchild … and he’s a magician named Harry … to him it made perfect sense to call me Buster. And he still does it to this day.
2. Where were you born? Where have you lived since then? Where do you call home?
Born and raised in Minneapolis, although I did live for a couple years in St. Paul, but that was short-lived and ill-advised. That may have been because I was living with my ex-wife then (although at the time she was not yet my ex). So I don’t entirely blame St. Paul for the experience, but I believe the city was, at least to some degree, at fault.
3. What is one strong memory that has stuck with you from childhood? Why is it so powerful and lasting?
As a kid, my Uncle would often take me on trips to Los Angeles, where I got to see shows at the Magic Castle. On one such trip, I demonstrated a card move to one of the older magicians, not realizing I was talking with a true legend: Dai Vernon, the magician who fooled Houdini.
Even though I was a kid, Dai didn’t treat me that way and gave me some very good (and painfully honest) advice about what I was doing wrong and what I needed to do to get better. His opening response (“That was terrible!”) stuck with me and although it may seem like a harsh reaction, I really appreciated that he treated me like a pro and expected me to act like one.
Since then, when kids come up and ask for advice, I always deal with them as if we’re peers. I’m not as caustic as Dai Vernon (few people are), but I’m just as direct and straightforward.
4. You’re getting ready for a night out. Where are you going? What do you wear? Who will you be with?
Typically, a night out for me means I’ll going to a cocktail party … dressed to the nines (or tens) … where I’ll be surrounded by rich, attractive people who love me (for the five minutes I spend doing tricks at their table). Then it’s on to the next group with my little bag of magic tricks and mildly amusing comic patter.
5. Where do you go when you’re angry? What do you do there?
Hardly ever get angry anymore (frustrated, sure, but not out-and-out angry), but as a teenager (living with a charming uncle and a loving but firm aunt), I would escape to the movie theater next door when my emotions got the best of me.
I spent a lot of time in that theater, so I must have been angrier than I remember. Now my visits to the theater are much less emotionally-charged — except for recently, when I discovered a dead body in the theater. But that hardly ever happens.
6. Have you been in love? Had a broken heart? Who was it and what happened.
Yes. Same person. It’s a long story. Here’s the elevator version:
Fell for my landlady, a newbie psychic named Megan. We’re both recently divorced and met while in the whirlwind of a murder investigation. Wiser heads prevailed and she asked to take a break, which went on for, I don’t know, forever. Or about three months.
We’re back together now but I don’t feel entirely on firm footing, particularly since the arrival of a handsome and way-too-charming magician named Quinton Moon who seems to have set his sights on Megan. He’s like a better, smarter, more talented version of me.
7. What is your biggest fear? Who have you told this to? Who would you never tell this to? Why?
See my thoughts about Quinton Moon above.
8. If you had to make a meal for me right now with only the ingredients in your refrigerator and pantry, what would you make me?
I’d make us reservations at a nice restaurant.
9. Look down. Describe what you’re wearing. Is this the way you’re normally dressed? If not, what do you normally wear?
The current outfit is pretty typical, except it normally includes pants.
10. What’s the one thing you want out of life that you don’t think you can have? Why can’t you have it?
I’m tempted to say “pants,” but in reality they’re right over there.
Be sure to come back to read more about John, Eli, and THE MISER’S DREAM, an Eli Marks Mystery, on Wednesday’s Karen’s Killer Book Bench. Happy Reading!
Links to John’s website, blog, books, etc.
Publisher site: http://henerypress.com/john-gaspard/
Don’t miss the chance to read this story!
Thanks, John, for sharing your series with us!!