I came up with a formulation years ago of levels of fame. The first level of fame is: Nobody knows who you are, and nobody cares. The second level of fame is what I have achieved: People read my books, they come out to see me, and sometimes they will come up and say “T.C. Boyle?” Ill say yeah. Theyll say “We love your work,” and then theyll go away. The third level is the same scenario only theyll say, “T.C. Boyle?” Ill say yes, theyll say, “You son of a bitch,” and punch me in the face. And then the final level is J.D. Salinger. So, Id like to stay at level two.
There's a nice feature page on T.C. Boyle up at The New York Times, including first chapters of his new novel about Kinsey and his research group, The Inner Circle and Riven Rock, in addition to the Times reviews of all his books back to Budding Prospects. One of the highlights of my time as the authors guide at About.com was the chance to spend an hour with Boyle on a November evening in 1998 at the Whitehall Hotel in Chicago to talk with him about his short stories, Riven Rock, and his writing career. After About.com and I parted ways, Sandye Utley of the online T.C. Boyle Resource Center emailed me to ask what happened to it, and then asked to republish the interview there.