Today I'd like to welcome Jed Hamilton, author of 'Large is the Smallest We’ve Got' to The Thursday Interview. Before we get started, a quick intro!
Jed Hamilton was born in New York City in 1963 to a Scottish mother and a Canadian father. Jed took a degree in music, then qualified as a lawyer in 1988. In 1991, he moved to Los Angeles and worked as a film composer, scoring 18 movies, for which he was nominated for ACE, Ivor Novello and Golden Globe awards. In 2005 he began writing a play, "Nurslings", which stalled at the end of Act 1. In October 2012 he revisited the theme of the play and began to rework it as a novel - which he completed in the spring of 2015: "Large is the Smallest we've Got" draws on his LA years.
OK - HERE WE GO !!
No.1 Would you break the law to save a loved one? ...why?
Of course: the clue is in the question. When my mother was diagnosed as having an inoperable brain tumor, and I was told that her last days would be very distressing for her, I asked the doctor if she could be put on some ‘happy drugs’ so that she could be blissfully unaware what was going on – the only argument against such drugs being that they damage health, which was hardly an issue here. The doctor said he could not do such a thing. So I told the doctor that if he did not put her on a suitable medication, I would find a drug-dealer in London and buy her some ecstasy. The doctor relented.
No.2 What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
I am ‘alive’ when I am dealing with everything, the good and the bad, that life throws at me: I am ‘truly living’ when I throw some of it back at life.
No.3 What motivates you to write?
Nothing. I can’t stop writing. I love it. I write letters to the papers. I write a blog. I comment on Twitter and Facebook. I am giving written answers to this interview. I indulge in graffiti. I need something to motivate me NOT to write.
No.4 Why do humans want children?
Not all humans want children: it is something Nature hard-wires into the unlucky ones. This human doesn’t want children. Children are nearly all ghastly. They have little or no conversation – they speak in monologue. I loathe the school holidays, when they are swarming around London.
No.5 What was the biggest challenge in creating your book "Large is the Smallest We’ve Got" ?
It was a challenge writing the tragic storyline, because it is based on my older brother’s short life. A case of “written in tears and blood”. Persevering with an unusual style of narrative (three separate sources, in different time-frames, mixing the present tense and the past tense), and doing so against the advice of those who read early drafts, was also something of a challenge.
No.6 What is the most important thing you have learned in life so far?
That I am as good as anyone, and everyone else is as good as me.
No.7 How did you come up with the title "Large is the Smallest We’ve Got" ?
It’s what a waitress in an LA diner said to me when I asked for a small orange juice. I decided there and then: “This has to be the title of my book about LA.”
No.8 How do you handle personal criticism?
(a) Criticism of me: I handle it defensively at first. But when I have calmed down, I try to see if there is any truth in it (there usually is - loads) and I either address it, or defy it and carry on doing whatever was criticized, times ten. That’s when I get told I’m being childish, and the cycle of criticism begins again.
(b) Criticism of my work: I adjust to it only if it is obviously right – in which case, it is usually about something concerning which I already have reservations. Otherwise I never change anything to please a critic: I would end up with no artistic integrity if I did. In any case, there are few (if any) artistic absolutes: what one person criticizes, another praises.
No.9 Why should people read your book?
To be quite frank, I can’t see any compelling reason why people should read my book rather than another book. However…
(a) It plays on the emotions, shamelessly. I will stoop to anything – I even exploit the cliché of a boy and his dog.
(b) I want the reader to enter my strange Los Angeles world and be led, off-guard, through comedy, parody and satire – into gut-wrenching tragedy before they know what’s hit them.
(c) The reviews that please me most are from people who say they laughed out loud first, then found themselves choking back the tears. I loved it when a reviewer said it was “an emotional roller-coaster’.
No.10 Why is there something rather than nothing?
The temptation is to leave this answer blank, demonstrating that in this instance there is nothing rather than something.
BUT – there clearly is something: if there were nothing, I wouldn’t be giving an interview. As to ‘why’, no one knows, and it is probably better that way. If any of your interviewees has a good answer to this question, I definitely want to read their book.
Thank you Jed :)
For taking the time to answer my questions
& the best of luck with your new book!
Check out 'Large is the Smallest We’ve Got' on
An unlikely mix of characters is thrown together by the 1994 Los Angeles earthquake. They spend the next five years tearing themselves apart. A biting satire set in a chaotic Hollywood. Quirky, funny, and dark.
The book has a bittersweet love-triangle at its core, and is ultimately moving while never losing touch with a wry sense of the absurd.