Landvik’s antics – and novels – delight readers
By SHANNON GEISENsgeisen@parkrapidsenterprise.com Fans were treated to a hilarious presentation by best-selling Minnesotan author Lorna Landvik. Because, well, she's truly a stand-up comedian. Landvik appeared at Beagle Books Sunday, signing book...
By SHANNON GEISEN
Fans were treated to a hilarious presentation by best-selling Minnesotan author Lorna Landvik.
Because, well, she’s truly a stand-up comedian.
Landvik appeared at Beagle Books Sunday, signing books and sharing lunch with admirers.
“Pretend you’re eating in my dining room and I prepared everything,” she said of the catered meal.
Landvik is promoting her latest novel, “Best to Laugh.”
“This is the most autobiographical book I’ve ever written,” she said.
In the 1970s, Landvik moved to Hollywood, seeking a career in show biz. She performed improvisational and stand-up comedy at The Comedy Store, The Improv and many other clubs in Los Angeles.
“Best to Laugh” pays homage to her time in Tinseltown.
“I lived in Peyton Hall, a 70-unit, Hollywood Boulevard apartment complex with an Olympic-sized pool designed by Douglas Fairbanks,” recalled Landvik. “It reeked of Hollywood. I shared a garbage area with McLean Stevenson!”
(Stevenson shot to stardom when he played Lt. Colonel Henry Blake on the TV series “M*A*S*H.”)
Landvik said she’s often asked if her fiction is based on her real life.
There’s always “a good Norwegian” and “someone who loves candy,” she said. “That’s me.”
“I give everything else over to my imagination – except for this book.”
“Best to Laugh” follows the fictional character Candy Pekkala from Minnesota to Hollywood as she pursues her dream of becoming a comedian.
Landvik pointed out how she had, once again, snuck “Candy” into one of her books.
“It was either that or Appetizer,” she joked.
Landvik gave Candy many experiences that she didn’t have personally.
“Candy has a tragic childhood. I had a pretty fun childhood,” she said.
While in Hollywood, Landvik waitressed and temped, working at movie studios and record companies to pay the bills.
For five very interesting months, Landvik temped at the Playboy Mansion.
“It was strictly a clerical position,” she said.
At first, she told the temp agency she refused to go. “I’m a feminist,” she said. “I’m not going there.”
Assured she wouldn’t be wearing a furry bunny tail, Landvik “went like Margaret Mead to examine this environment,” she said. Her duties included typing up labels for movies and writing film synopses.
“It was the only job that my boyfriend [and future husband] insisted on driving me to,” she said.
Landvik also appeared on three game shows, including “$25,000 Pyramid” where she won a trip to Tahiti from MacGyver (a.k.a., Richard Dean Anderson, another Minnesotan.)
Born in Grand Forks and raised in Minneapolis, Landvik has penned ten novels.
Her first novel, “Patty Jane’s House of Curl,” is an ode to 1950s Minneapolis, sprinkled with funny, poignant references to the neighborhood.
Her other best-selling books include “Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons,” “Oh My Stars” and “The View from Mt. Joy.”
In Minneapolis, Landvik became a cast member of Dudley Riggs Brave New Workshop, a comedy and improvisational theater. She has written and starred in several plays, including “On the Lam with Do and Re,” “The Smelt Princess” and “Glamour Queen.”
Each year, Landvik performs an improv show based on audience suggestions, called “Party in the Rec Room,” at Bryant Lake Bowl Theater.
Demonstrating her comedic timing and superb acting skills, Landvik smoothly switched voices – from her Norwegian grandmother to authoritative temp agency manager – while describing her two most recent books.
Initially self-published, “Mayor of the Universe” was reissued by the University of Minnesota Press.
The main character is a mild-mannered actuary who is unexpectedly visited by aliens.
Incidentally, Landvik had temped at American Family Insurance.
“Granted some things that happen in my life seep into my writing,” she said.
“Mayor of the Universe” would’ve been her third novel, but her editor at the time said “no aliens. Maybe vampires or zombies, but no aliens,” recalled Landvik.
“The book percolated all those years,” she said. “Then I was on a whirlwind tour – through the Dakotas – when it occurred to me that’s where aliens would come.”
At the close of the book discussion, Landvik tossed a Hershey kiss to anyone who asked her a question, the chocolatey tidbits selected for their “aerodynamic” nature.
She revealed that she’s at work on another novel, but prefers not to discuss details.
“I don’t tell anyone – not my husband, not my mom, not my kids,” she said.
Landvik lives in Minneapolis with her husband.