Jack Eadon began by writing in grade school. In high school, he began a decade in rock music with the band Khazad Doom, writing many of the songs with a moralistic drama theme, something he continues to put into his writing today.
He entered the corporate world with his MBA in 1974, which took him to 1983, when he opened a business in southern California. Now, after having lived in Illinois, Texas, California, Kansas, and Illinois, Jack resides back in southern California with his executive wife, Caspurr the Cat, Pookie the dog, and writes full-time. He is the author of numerous novels, but his latest one, the second edition of “Lacey’s Day, ” is a great departure for him because of its close proximity to events in his own life.
Tyler: Welcome, Jack. I understand “Lacey’s Day” is a new stretch in writing for you because it is based largely on an Internet romance in your own life. And unlike many authors, you are willing to admit your novel is largely autobiographical. To begin, how did you come to the decision, not just to write an autobiographical novel, but in the book’s introduction, to reveal its autobiographical aspects?
Jack: For a long time, while the story of “Lacey’s Day” was romantic, it was almost too real to embrace. I’m truly a romantic at heart, so in a way it was easier to accept it as somehow distanced from me-as fiction. But, over the years, as I’ve pondered whether to view it as a fiction or nonfiction decision, I finally came to the conclusion that I was in a way cheating the public out of the passion behind the reality of “Lacey’s Day.” Every time I see “Bridges Of Madison County” and appreciate the level of erotic romance exuded by Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep, I compare their four days to my own five months and realize that I experienced quite a time of passion, and it was sustained ALL that time, and it was intense-and it was wonderful. I would guess that most people don’t get to experience that level of love in their entire lives.
Tyler: Many people who write about their lives tell their stories of their rise to fame and fortune, or their struggle with addiction, but you are revealing the story of a romance in your life. Do you think that makes your story more difficult or easier to tell?
Jack: On the surface, being embarrassed by my experience, and even hiding from it, would seem to make it more difficult to tell. But on the book on tape, when I heard the actors speak my words-and they were verbatim what “Lacey” and I had said to each other-I realized that to come out and talk about my personal experience was easy and freeing in a way.
Tyler: It sounds like you initially felt trepidation about the story being revealed. Why is that? What did you feel was at risk?
Jack: I guess I felt embarrassment that, after 18 years, here I was having an affair of the heart with someone who I hadn’t even met. I kept asking myself: “Is this real? How can I feel so passionate for someone I don’t really know? Am I crazy?”
Tyler: Now will you please tell us about the female character, Lacey, and how she compares to the person she is based upon?
Jack: Since many of the emails in the book were verbatim, the “Lacey” character is very much like the person she is based upon. She was sweet, innocent, naïve, and full of love when I knew her. The older Lacey, who is now married to a very dependent but possessive guy, sort of a sign of the times, is a lot different.
Tyler: Will you explain more about how Lacey was innocent and naïve?
Jack: She was new-to-this-country Chinese, very deferential, and wanting to learn the American culture. Plus she had an ingénue quality I found quite attractive.
Tyler: What about the main character, Ted? What parts of Ted are similar to you, and what did you change about yourself in creating the character?
Jack: Ted is very much like me, sort of a mentoring type who loves to coach and helped “Lacey” with a lot with her problems. I’m also quite romantic, which was a good match for “Lacey” because she thirsted for “the romance” after being married to a bisexual who didn’t have those sensibilities. I really didn’t consciously change anything about Ted. That’s me!
Tyler: Will you tell us about how the relationship in the novel develops over the Internet? And of course, how truthful is it compared to what really happened?
Jack: It is very real. Lacey and Ted fell in love because they needed love they weren’t getting at home. That aspect of Internet relationships is very real and has been born out by countless interviews I’ve conducted since 1998. People who are starving for love can easily find it on the Internet, and it’s amazing that a universal need of people is, in fact, love. When the well is opened and that love comes out, it is amazing how thirsty people can reveal themselves to be. And they do just that!
Tyler: At what point in real life did the two of you decide it was time to meet in person?
Jack: It didn’t take long. I think we emailed intensely for a month and were already talking about meeting each other a few months hence.
Tyler: Did you feel nervous about meeting her in person?
Jack: Yes, while I had a photo of her, I had no idea of what she’d be like in person. I had heard her voice, and that was sweet, but she often joked about her being an “Ugly Asian Elephant” which made me wonder!
Tyler: In the novel, Lacey and Ted also decide to meet. Obviously, that meeting between Internet friends can provide plenty of suspense. Can you tell us how you chose to depict the meeting without giving away any of the plot?
Jack: Not unlike my own situation, Ted and Lacey do decide to meet. However, in my situation, “Lacey” and I tried to meet, but, sadly never did; we missed each other at the airport and went to different terminals. That night, June 13th, 1998 my heart was beating hard in anticipation of the big moment. But, while we failed to “hook up” in real life, I romantically had us do it the right way in the novel and have a romantic meeting. Then I added a twist that pulls Ted and Lacey apart one more time, before the exciting ending. It’s a very nice depiction of reality and how it translates into a suspenseful but perfect ending, full of romantic twists consistent with the characters’ motivations and personalities! The intricacy of the ending is pure F. Scott Fitzgerald, my mentor.
Tyler: I understand this meeting is one of the sections of the novel you fictionalized. What happened to the planned meeting between you and the real woman you fell in love with?
Jack: Like I said, we just missed each other-she went to one terminal, I went to another-and we never met, not even to this day. But, I won’t reveal how “Lacey” is physically embarrassingly close to me-unbelievably. So, in my mind, the “Lacey” in my dreams, the “Lacey” that I talked to, the “Lacey” that I emailed, still exists. She will always be a romantic illusion, but to me, she is very real-and is always just a breath away . . . and I think she knows it.
Tyler: Jack, is there a fine line between your love being real and it being your own fantasy? Do you ever wonder if you’ve built the real Lacey up in your mind to be more than she truly was? Is it possible you loved the idea of Lacey and not Lacey herself?
Jack: “Lacey” was absolutely a fantasy to me. And I’m sure that the “idea” of “Lacey” was as important or more important than the real woman would have been!
Tyler: What made you decide to write your story as a novel? Why didn’t you just write a memoir?
Jack: Originally I wrote it as a novel to distance myself from its reality. It was just too close. Also there’s the practical aspect of the thing. My wife and I weren’t necessarily getting along well at the time, and “Lacey” filled a real emotional void for me. Now, I am more comfortable and authentic with my wife and can distance myself from the reality of how passionately I felt back then. I guess my wife will have to deal with the reality of my situation back then and confront HER role in why that happened.
Tyler: I understand you also contacted the real Lacey when the book was going to be published. What was her reaction to your writing about your relationship with her?
Jack: Well, even though she had liked the idea back in 1998, while we were emailing, she suddenly didn’t like me appearing on the scene, and even asked me to change the name of the book, which I did because I think she wanted her new life uncontaminated by past memories. I guess that’s natural! For me it was just sad that she was so much less sentimental about our “time together” than I was. I guess different people have different levels of sentimentality.
Tyler: Jack, you were obviously very much in love with this woman. What does your wife think about your feelings toward this other woman?
Jack: I think that she understands that what I got from “Lacey”-the affection, the appreciation, the admiration-was not what I was getting from her at the time, which is what I seriously needed. To that extent, my relationship with “Lacey” helped clarify to my wife what my true needs were, and because of that, our relationship has grown stronger and more authentic. I certainly love my wife immensely and “Lacey” could never compete with the special life we have!
Tyler: Your personal story is one of love lost. Do you consider it a sad story? Why did you change your novel’s ending from what really happened?
Jack: Yes, I consider it sad. In reality, it didn’t end as romantically as it had transpired. Things just didn’t turn out right. There were a lot of silly mistakes that greatly undermined our meeting. So, in the novel, I wrote it how it might have turned out had things worked out well. Plus, it’s WAY more romantic without the blunders!
Tyler: Jack, what have you learned as a result of the real relationship?
Jack: Tyler, you’ll be surprised at my answer to that question. I’ve learned how deeply love can be felt. That is a positive because it shows me what is possible. It is a negative because it sets a standard that might not be attainable in any relationship. Had I actually met “Lacey” and held her in my arms, I might have felt horribly disappointed OR I might have felt such a flood of romantic feelings built up after our five month relationship that I might have left my wife to marry “Lacey.” I guess we’ll never know. But I can always ponder the romantic possibilities, can’t I?
Tyler: That’s interesting, Jack. It’s almost like the ‘what if’ of the relationship makes it worthwhile, whereas had the relationship developed further, it might never have mattered as much to you. Do you think writing “Lacey’s Day” was your form of therapy for dealing with the result of the relationship?
Jack: In a way. It was a way to take a very intense experience and honor it, even by ending it in a way that I MIGHT have liked. And the “what if” quality of it is certainly romantic! Also the intense love I felt for a short time was truly worth it. It was a “high” that I don’t think I can replicate in my lifetime. I guess that’s why I like to watch “Bridges.” I really know it can happen just like that; it did for me. Except instead of four magic days in “Bridges,” it was five magic months for me.
Tyler: What advice would you give to people who love someone who is no longer available to them?
Jack: To treasure the memories and, on occasion, give yourself permission to wonder what might have been.
Tyler: And since you keep bringing up “The Bridges of Madison County,” who would you want to play your and Lacey’s parts if “Lacey’s Day” was made into a film?
Jack: I think I would love to have a sensitive, “everyman” like Russell Crowe play Ted and a professional yet vulnerable woman like Sandra Oh play Lacey. They’d do a great job!
Tyler: Would it be a romantic comedy, or will you be giving away the ending by answering that question?
Jack: While it would have its light moments, like when Lacey tells Ted that she will wear a “Lacey Teddy” when they meet, it would be a lot more dramatic than that, not unlike the serious drama in “Bridges” with the erotic undercurrent, too.
Tyler: Thank you, Jack, for joining me today. Before we go, will you tell us about your web site and where readers can find additional information about “Lacey’s Day”?
Jack: Sure, readers can go to my main web site to read an excerpt from LACEY’S DAY. That’s http://www.eadonbooks.com. OR they can go to http://www.laceysday.com and read more about the book, get readers’ comments, and read about the new book on tape. At either site they can order the new 2nd edition or audiotape, which will also be available on iTunes, Amazon.com, B&N.com, and other portals. The audiobook is available at eadonbooks.com, or Laceysday.com.
Other information about “Lacey’s Day” availability will be listed on my web sites or if you subscribe to my quarterly newsletter by writing to, [email protected] with “Newsletter Please” in the subject line. “Lacey’s Day” will be my featured book and book on tape in March! My newsletter will have lots of fun links to go to including a fun trailer!
Tyler: I really appreciate your talking to me today, Jack. Few authors allow themselves to be so honest and vulnerable. I wish you much luck with “Lacey’s Day” and your future books.
Jack: My pleasure. I hope that the honesty and forthrightness put forth in “Lacey’s Day” can inspire many folks to put honest love and desire into their relationships!