Review Fix chats with “ Owen Hart: King of Pranks” author James Romero, to find out what inspired the book and why these stories need to be told.
Review Fix: How did this project begin?
James Romero: More or less as a challenge to myself to achieve something I’d never done before – write a book. I’d stopped watching wrestling over a decade earlier but kept up with business news and I’d retained a good amount of knowledge of the WWF product from the ‘90s, so a wrestling book of some sort felt like the way to go. I got the idea for the original concept from a throwaway comment Sean Waltman made on a shoot interview. Waltman said that he could write an entire book just on Owen Hart pranks, but that shoot interview was 8 years old by November 2018 and no book had been written, so I decided to take up the mantel, so to speak. The biography portions of Owen Hart: King of Pranks came a lot later and were originally a lot shorter, but I’m a completionist and what was meant to be around 20 pages of brief career overview turned into 150 or so pages of in-depth biography on top of nearly 300 pages of rib stories!
Review Fix: What was the research process like?
Romero: Not as miserable as the writing process! The research was very disciplined. I started with DVDs, then shoot interviews, then podcasts, then books, then newsletters, etc. Then followed months of Googling Owen’s name with every name he ever shared a locker room with, office staff, commentators, family and friends in different permutations to try and hunt down an elusive web page or radio transcript with a rare, long forgotten tale of Owen’s pranking. Then I talked to some wrestlers for more stories or background. When the biographical portions grew in size, I started the research all over again, but in a more chronological order. Thank goodness the WWE Network started putting chapters to every segment on every show on their platform as that genuinely cut down on research time by weeks, if not, months.
Review Fix: Any stories not get in the book that you can share here?
Romero: There’s one that was fantastic but I couldn’t find any corroborating evidence or even the original source. Off the top of my head it involved Owen borrowing some woman’s underwear, wearing them, taking Polaroids of his crotch with his gentleman’s sausage hanging out, then hiding them in Lex Luger’s carry-on bag, possibly along with a load of dildos. Supposedly, airport staff pulled Luger up to inspect his bag that day much to the Total Package’s embarrassment. I wish I could have found where the story came from and included it.
Review Fix: What was the hardest part of this project?
Romero: The actual writing. I am by no means a writer or even a big reader of books, but I had recently been studying for a law degree, which includes a lot of essay writing. If nothing else, studying for a degree trained me in the art of brevity – cutting out superfluous or unnecessary language to meet a word limit. That gave me the confidence to start, but it was a long trial and error process. I know how to tell a story, but putting one down on paper is an entirely different matter. The first story I wrote, the one about Owen prank calling Scott “Razor Ramon” Hall in Germany, was re-written literally dozens of times.
Review Fix: What advice would you give to an author that wants to tackle a project like this?
Romero: The best advice I read was basically, “just write.” Write anything. Write a header and start from there – that’s better than nothing. Half the battle is sitting down, opening Word or whatever, and committing to do it. The other half is getting started. Once a few lines fall out of your fingers, a few more will follow quite easily. Also, don’t keep revisiting the paragraph you just wrote, even if you think what you just wrote sucked. Keep writing and then go back to the beginning to edit at the end of the day, or ideally the next day, or leave it even longer. Re-writing is far easier with fresh eyes.
Review Fix: Did the WWE help you in any way on this?
Romero: No. I never asked WWE. I’m sure Martha Hart’s legal team would have caused all sorts of problems for the project if WWE was in any way involved. I also wrote to Martha a couple of months before the book’s completion for her endorsement. I even offered to donate a portion of the profits to The Owen Hart Foundation. I didn’t hear back. That’s particularly frustrating as she was on Talk is Jericho recently claiming she would always listen to ideas for projects.
Review Fix: What’s next for you?
Romero: From Jan-March 2020 I was writing another wrestler biography, but real life intervened. I own a property development company with my brother and there was a job that required my full attention and I’m only just starting to writing again. The book should be out around late summer. I’ll let you know nearer the time who it’s on, but for the moment I don’t want anyone stealing my idea!
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Romero: To everyone who bought the book, I hope it met your expectations. A serious amount of work went into what was originally meant to be a much smaller book with in a bigger font!
Should anyone want to contact me they can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
My sister Christina did the artwork for the book. She can be reached at https://www.instagram.com/xtinatron/?hl=en where she posts all her latest stuff.
Owen Hart: King of Pranks is exclusive to Amazon in all countries and is available in paperback and Kindle/eBook.
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