By Anne Stanton
Thanks to Gregg Sutter, the Advice Goddess is coming to town on
February 11 to dish out her saucy advice on love at the City Opera
House, and to talk about her new book, I See Rude People.
Sutter is the researcher for Elmore Leonard, the reigning king of
crime writers. Sutter came to Traverse City last summer to accompany
Elmore and his crime-writing son, Peter Leonard, both of whom spoke
at a National Writers Series event, a new year-round book festival
that showcases nationally renowned writers.
When it was discovered Sutter is also the boyfriend of Amy Alkon, the
famed Advice Goddess, well that was interesting too. Alkon was asked
to kick off the 2010 National Writers Series season with her new
book. She enthusiastically agreed.
We reached Sutter at home in Los Angeles.
NE: I wanted to ask you what its like to be Amys boyfriend.
GS: As a rule, I dont like talking about myself. But I dont mind
talking about Amy. What do you think Im going to say? Its
wonderful to be her boyfriend. Its always an adventure! One of her
friends called her a force of nature and its true. Weve been
together a little over seven years and she still laughs at my jokes!
Seriously, shes the kindest person I know. She makes everybody in
the room feel good. Did I mention that shes beautiful?
NE: Do you and Amy live together?
GS: No. We like to miss each other. We both work at home and for most
of the time our home space and workspace are indistinguishable.
When we do get together, its always a happy occasion and we celebrate
our love for each other.
NE: Do you work with Amy?
GS: I shot the cover of her book, so that makes me her official
photographer. Normally, Amy will bounce ideas off me--things shes
working on, shes always trying to improve her craft. I do the same
with her. Were constantly going back and forth on the phone, on
Skype, recently we added texting. Sometimes, when shes having trouble
ending a column, she will call me in desperation and say,
Say something funny! Its not that easy.
NE: So talk about this new book she just published, I See Rude People.
GS: The book evolved over many years. From her personal experiences,
Amy was able to bring together different aspects of everyday life she
finds rude and intolerable. She exposes rude people who try to make
the public space their private space. She speaks up when no one else
will. She stands up for herself and those around her. But I See Rude
People is not some self-righteous manners manifesto. Amy will be
the first to tell you that she is not setting herself apart as a
paragon of virtue. Shes just observing and reacting to the things
that go on in every day life. Rude People is as entertaining as it is
NE: I sometimes think that loud talkers on cell phones--especially
those in a business meeting--want people to know how important they
GS: Those guys get no mercy from Amy. Its their sullen ignorance
about the public space. Used to be youd make your call in the privacy
of a phone booth, not in to the center of a gourmet restaurant. Yet
some people feel entitled to scream into their phone no matter where
they are. Not when Amys around. And thats her message: you dont
have to take it.
Editors note: For more information about the Amy Alkon event, please
go to www.nationalwritersseries.org.