4 Questions with ‘Fame Shark’ Author Royal Young [INTERVIEW]

Posted on: August 14th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by
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[Photo: Anne McDermott]The following interview was conducted by Boogie reader Anne McDermott.

Fame Shark, by Royal Young, tells the story of a young Hazak Brozgold who was born and bred on the Lower East Side in the late 80s. His obsession with fame and celebrity is born of his desire to escape his internal feelings of inadequacy. Told with candor and wit, Young takes the reader on a journey filled with glitter and grit, deviance and redemption, in the city where dreams are shattered and where they also come true.

BOWERY BOOGIE: In your memoir Fame Shark, you are forced into having a more realistic view of fame and celebrity. Is there any one celebrity you would be excited to meet?

ROYAL YOUNG: I think meeting artists or well known people you look up to can be very dangerous and disappointing. Lou Reed once screamed at me in front of a bunch of 8 year old kids at a benefit and I haven’t really been able to listen to his music since. I used to love the Velvet Underground. I’ve kind of switched gears completely since Fame Shark. Now, I tend to run the other way from celebrity. Though interviewing authors whose work I love for Interview Magazine can sometimes be a dream. Writers tend to be much more humble and interesting. Anne Rice, Lionel Shriver, Peter Hoeg, getting a chance to talk with them all inspired and opened me up.

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[Photo: Anne McDermott]BB: As a writer for Interview Magazine whose founder Andy Warhol famously said, “In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” Do you think that statement is true?

RY: Absolutely. And it’s totally crushing. We are all celebrities now. Our Facebook profile pics are our head shots, friends and followers are fans. I think the language of tabloids and internet fame has become completely pervasive in our culture. It allows us to view other people and even often ourselves as commodities. It’s incredibly damaging especially because of the false glamour that seems to keep people under fame’s thrall. The reality is ugly and soul sucking.

BB: New York City is more than the backdrop in your memoir, Fame Shark, it has more of a supporting role. What is the most magical place in the city for you?

I love forgotten pockets of New York or out of the way places. Cobblestone streets full of shade you accidentally stumble on to, lush thickets in Battery Park where you can lay in the grass and almost forget about the teeming city around you. I also like any hints of the New York I grew up in, crackheads, swaying drunkards, people who work hard and genuinely love this city, not spoiled rich kids looking for a cool play ground. Though almost any rooftop in New York on a summer night with bottles of booze is magical to me.

BB: In Fame Shark, you say about New York City, “lives are made here! And mine will be too!” I’d say you’ve made it, can readers expect future books from you?

RY: Thanks! It doesn’t feel like I’ve made it. I don’t even know what making it really means. Though yes, this book has been the culmination of years of hard work and rejection and I feel so humbled and excited by finally being able to not only hold it in my hands but share my story. I am working on a novel all about sex. And I would love to see Fame Shark become a Hollywood movie. Just don’t ask me to spend too much time in Hollywood.

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