Author Interview: Nobody Knows the Spanish I Speak by Mark Saunders

Welcome to Author Mark Saunders

An award-winning playwright, screenwriter, and cartoonist, Mark Saunders tried standup comedy to get over shyness and failed spectacularly at it — the standup part, not the shyness. He once owned a Yugo and still can’t remember why. Nearly 30 of his plays have been staged, from California to New York – with several stops in-between – and two plays have been published.
With three scripts optioned, his screenplays, all comedies, have attracted awards but seem to be allergic to money. Back in his drawing days, more than 500 of his cartoons appeared nationally in publications as diverse as Writer’s Digest, The Twilight Zone Magazine, and The Saturday Evening Post.
As a freelancer, he also wrote gags for the popular comic strip “Frank and Ernest,” as well as jokes for professional comedians, including Jay Leno. Nobody Knows the Spanish I Speak is his first book.

Blog Tour:

If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose? 

Abraham Lincoln, Samuel Clemens, Eleanor Roosevelt, Katherine Hepburn, and Calvin Trillin (as a sixth person, I’d invite Napoleon Bonaparte, because, although he would decline my invitation, his ego would compel him to offer to pick up the dinner tab)

If you were a superhero what would your name be? 

Karmaman (He’s a loose cannon on the Road to Enlightenment who makes sure what goes around comes around.)

If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose? 

Samuel Clemens

Night owl, or early bird? 

Early bird who stays up too late

One food you would never eat? 

Creamed corn

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? 

I’m working on a book about our Standard poodle, Duke, a 75-pound apricot-colored male. He’s basically a snow dog who now finds himself living in the middle of Mexico. The working title is “The Duke of San Miguel.” He literally stops traffic whenever we take him out for his walks, and at least once a week tourists will ask if they can have their picture taken with him. I’m thinking about putting a sign around his neck and charging for the photos. I’m also adapting one of my unsold screenplays, Pinot Gris and Curly Fries, to a novel. The story is a what-if comedy about what happens when two culinary students, Mitch and Sarah, get magically transported back to 1864 in San Francisco and learn first hand about cooking without food processors–and falling in love. The rush is on when Sarah is kidnapped by hungry gold miners desperate for a good meal. Yadda, yadda, yadda. It’s a delightful romp and I love the title.

If you could be one of the Greek Gods, which would it be and why? 

Hades, because I think it would be interesting to own a dog with three heads, noisy but interesting. (Although, now that I think more about it, I’d miss the sunshine I currently get in Mexico. Hmmm.)

What is your favorite Quote? 

“Dr. Seuss, you have an imagination with a long tail.” (from a child’s letter to Ted Geisel)
When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”? 

Who are your favorite authors of all time? 

Mark Twain, Anton Chekov, Charles Dickens, Robert Benchley, James Thurber, Graham Greene, Flannery O’Connor, Charles Portis, Richard Ford, Elmore Leonard, T.C. Boyle

Favorite Food? 

Spaghetti Carbonara

What movie and/or book are you looking forward to this year? 

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (movie), because it’s one of my favorite books and I enjoy Peter Jackson’s films; Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon (book), because I was born in Oakland, California, and I love reading Chabon.

What was your favorite children’s book? 

The Wizard of Oz

What is your guilty pleasure? 

Re-watching favorite movies

Finish the sentence- one book I wish I had written is….

True Grit

Nobody Knows the Spanish I Speak

Ay, chihuahua! Ay, caramba! Oy vey!
In early December 2005, Mark Saunders and his wife, along with their dog and cat, packed up their 21st century jalopy, a black Audi Quattro with a luggage carrier on top, and left Portland, Oregon, for San Miguel de Allende, three thousand miles away in the middle of Mexico, where they knew no one and could barely speak the language.
Things fell apart almost from the beginning. The house they rented was as cold as a restaurant’s freezer. Their furniture took longer than expected to arrive. They couldn’t even get copies of their house keys made. They unintentionally filled their house with smoke and just as unintentionally knocked out the power to their entire neighborhood. In other words, they were clueless. This is their story.