BWW Interviews: Author James Spada Discusses New eBook on Barbra Streisand
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by Don Grigware
What prompted you at this point in time to do an e-book on Streisand? Of the three books you wrote on her, which did you choose and why?
Laura Van Wormer, my first editor at Doubleday, who published my second Streisand book "The Woman and the Legend," started an eBook publishing company and approached me about turning my backlist biographies into eBooks. "Streisand Her Life" was the best choice because it's a full, text-only biography rather than photo-driven books like the first two. (Although "Her Life" does have two lengthy picture inserts.)
What was your initial attraction to doing a book about her life? What was and is special about her as far as you are concerned?
I've found Barbra fascinating since I was fifteen (in 1965).I love her looks as well as her talent and her on-screen presence. My very first book was "Barbra: The First Decade," an illustrated career study, published in 1974. It was truly a labor of love. As her life and career unfolded, and got more and more interesting and controversial, I felt the need to write two more books about her.
Does an e-book have greater, more far-reaching effects than regular books?
E-books have the potential to reach a much wider audience because anyone can download one at any time and read it on a computer, an iPod, or a Kindle. And my books are priced reasonably at $9.99
What audience do you hope to reach this time that you maybe did not reach the first time?
I'd like to reach new fans who may have come to like Barbra from the Fockers movies or her recent tour and new album. Also, I've updated the book to cover her life from 1995 (when the hardcover was published) to the present day, so fans who have the first edition may want to download the updated version as well.
How do you think she has managed to keep such a large fan base all these 50 years?
Her fans have always been borderline obsessive about her, so if she was now retired and had been so for some years, they would still be her fans. But the fact that after fifty years in show business she's still selling records, selling out concert venues, and making hit movies just makes being a Streisand fan all that more exciting. And every project she does just adds more fans.
Are there greater opportunities in LA for you as a writer now than there are back east? Explain!
If I'm writing about Hollywood what better place to be than L.A.? Between July 1996 and August 2011 I was in Boston. I loved it there but I didn't know a single Streisand or Marilyn Monroe fan (Marilyn is my other favorite). I renewed long-time friendships when I got here, including with my best friend and sometime collaborator Chris Nickens, who lives and breathes show business!
What other e-books do you have published?
In addition to "Streisand: Her Life," we have done "Grace: The Secret Lives of a Princess" and "Peter Lawford: The Man Who Kept the Secrets." Next up is "Monroe: Her Life in Pictures." My novel about Edgar Allan Poe, "Days When My Heart Was Volcanic," is also an eBook. The books are available in Amazon's Kindle Store, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo.