I had a chance to interview David Drum, the good-humored author of Introducing the Richest Family in America, in his home in Los Angeles.
Here is David’s story:
Why did you write this funny little book about rich people?
Well, frankly, I think a lot of rich people are completely ridiculous. As a society, we make over our wealthiest citizens, shower them with publicity, their pictures are everywhere, all to convince ourselves they’re special and exalted beings, much like the gods on Olympus were for the ancient Greeks. Yet, frankly, most of our rich heroes and heroines have feet of clay. Since when does having money make you talented or interesting? Poor Paris Hilton, look at her, her every move analyzed and photographed and what has she ever done in the world besides being born rich?
Your female characters seem to be mercenary. Are you one of those men who hate women?
I love women, to tell you the truth. They’re almost always better conversationalists than men and much more pleasant to look at. And in my own defense I should say, too, not all my female characters are mercenary. Long Drive Loo, the Chinese pro golfer, is certainly motivated to move her family’s factories to China and I guess it’s fair to call her mercenary although the way it plays out is humorous. Petunia, the wealthy family’s oldest daughter, who has a large collection of miniature pot-bellied pigs, is not motivated by love for her animals and not by money. Clementine, the rich industrialist’s beautiful younger daughter, is much more concerned about appearances than with money — that’s why she’s had so much plastic surgery. Actually, it’s the men who are the real “gold diggers” in this story.
That’s true. You do have two men marrying women for their money. Isn’t this the reverse of the cliché about gold-digging women?
Of course it is, that’s exactly the idea. These characters are gold-digging men, but it’s in a comically over-the-top way since one of my gold-diggers is a lawyer and the other is a doctor. This type of thinking is new to my book, but I think we’ll see more of this as women become more successful and often make more money than their spouses. Look at the proliferating pre-nupital agreements! This does a number on the male ego, let me tell you. In my book, it’s merely amusing, I think, although the idea does have a little bit of bite.
What inspired you to write Introducing the Richest Family in America?
My favorite character, Long Drive Loo, the sexy Chinese pro golfer, was inspired by a female Chinese medical doctor I met a few years ago who pursued me very vigorously with phone calls and so forth for quite some time. She thought we’d make a good match, and she just assumed I’d agree. I was just knocked over by the exuberant straightforward way she pursued me, so different than an American woman who might never have even called me at all. When I started writing Introducing the Richest Family in America, for some reason I immediately thought of her.
Have you always been a writer?
I’ve been working for most of the last 20 years as a journalist and a writer. I’m the author of several non-fiction books, but I’ve done a lot of other things. I’ve been a craps dealer, a mortician, a foreman on a turkey ranch, an inner-city teacher, and even an encyclopedia salesman. I’d hope some of this various experience filters into the book and makes it a bit richer.
Was it difficult to imagine a world, like you did in Introducing the Richest Family in America, where everyone had so very much money?
It was such great fun! It’s not as good as having lots of money myself, of course, but to imagine women driving around in fabulous cars, and living in fabulous houses, was I guess the second best thing to actually living that life. Sort of like window-shopping in a very wealthy community like Montecito, I guess, except that I went a little deeper into the sex lives and thinking of my characters than that.
What do you hope other people will gain from reading your book, Introducing the Richest Family in America?
I’d hope for one thing that people can take a look at the concept of moving manufacturing plants to China, which is costing our country a lot of jobs although of course it increases corporate profits. I’d also hope to produce some significant laughter in my readers, and perhaps to restore a little sanity to our celebrity and money-worshipping culture.
David Drum, the good-humored author of Introducing the Richest Family in America is the author of several nonfiction books, artist’s books, and one book of poetry. David’s diverse background includes work as a sports editor, a craps dealer, a ranch foreman, a construction worker, an encyclopedia salesman, an inner city schoolteacher, a funeral director, and an advertising copywriter. He has been the president of the Independent Writers of Southern California, and a county chairman for two political campaigns. And so much more! For more information about the book and the author visit: http://www.introducingtherichest.com/