Reflections: An Oral History of Twin Peaks, is a must-have collector’s item for fans of the beloved cult TV series. Brad Dukes, an independent freelance writer, did an incredible job compiling and transcribing interviews with the cast, crew and television executives behind the iconic series. In this exclusive Q&A, Brad Dukes discusses the trials and tribulations that went into creating the book.
Interview after the jump.
Can you tell our readers a little bit more about your love of Twin Peaks?
Somehow, I stumbled across the show in 1990 when I was nine years old. The show mystified and fascinated me in countless ways. It eventually scared me away until I revisited the show in high school – on good ol’ VHS. Ever since then, it seems I’ve been on a never-ending search to find answers to the show’s mysteries. It always seems to just lead to more questions!
What was it like meeting your favorite actors from the series?
It was a great honor. They are all artists that I have respected and admired for so long. After a while, I found a groove and interviews didn’t feel like “The Chris Farley Show” from Saturday Night Live anymore. Everyone was really kind and I’ve developed a few friendships along the way which is quite surreal to think about. Nearly everyone from the show has a distinct personality and an interesting resume to their name. After finishing a phone call with a personality like Piper Laurie or Joan Chen, it was hard not to shake my head in ecstatic disbelief.
Reflections is a very comprehensive history of the beloved cult series, how did you go about getting the interviews and what challenges did you face?
The act of finding people was probably the most difficult part of the whole process. It was just a big scavenger hunt that took a couple of years to tackle. Some individuals have left the entertainment business by now, so with every interview I asked if the person was still in contact with anyone else from the show. That was pretty helpful. As an independent writer, I really had to sell myself and the project as legitimate and worth their time. Also, dealing with agents and managers in Hollywood is just not fun. It was rare that I got a timely or warm response, and David Duchovny’s “people” staunchly refused to even pass on the request to him. Most of the big names from the show are still carrying on busy careers, so it took a few months (and in one case over a year) to nail down a few “must” interviews.
What character in the series do you feel a connection with the most and why?
I would have to say Dale Cooper. He relishes in the simple joys of life, but he is in constant search of the next frontier while trying to understand the unseen powers-that-be of the universe. I really identify with that. We are also both blessed with the metabolism of a bumblebee.
Has David Lynch read your book? If so, how does he feel about it?
Funny you ask that. I just asked his assistant if he was interested in a copy, and she sent back an address. So, I’m assuming he’s interested in reading it. This might sound crazy, but I believe there are a few things he may not yet know about Twin Peaks in the book.
What were you most surprised to learn while you were conducting the interviews?
Talking to the executives at ABC was pretty eye opening. They are typically painted as villains in the Twin Peaks legend, but they were dealing with something that had just never happened before in television. They had families to feed and livelihoods to protect – all while trying to deliver cutting-edge entertainment to a broad audience. They appreciated the show for what it was, but it was a monster of sorts they didn’t know how to manage. You could argue the producers and writers were in the same boat that second season.
Is there anyone you wanted to interview that you were unable to?
I really wish I could have had an hour to chat with Lara Flynn Boyle. She gets a bad rep in some of the backstage chatter, so I’d like to hear her side of the story. Believe me, I tried! (Lara, if you’re out there… let’s talk!) Diane Keaton, who directed an episode, would also have been a dream interview. Maybe for the second edition down the road…
Were there any questions that made your subjects uncomfortable? If so, would you care to share with us?
Everyone seemed to have an absolute blast during the pilot and the first season, but whenever it was time to discuss the second season there was a clear change in tone. There were some great moments to celebrate during that time, but it was clear that the cast and crew felt let down after all the great success of the first season. Even some of the directors weren’t as interested. It might have just been selective memory at play, but it was challenging to capture vivid memories after Laura Palmer’s murderer was revealed.
Did you receive any swag from the Twin Peaks estate and/or fan clubs?
A couple of folks shared some filming documents for my research and reference which is pretty cool. I also got to see a mountain of photos from the set which had been sitting in a few boxes for over twenty years. As a longtime fan, I felt like Indiana Jones at some points when long lost treasures were unearthed. Most Twin Peaks relics are in the hands of private (and protective) collectors.
What was the best thing about writing this book and why?
I forged a few great friendships that I cherish, and also was really glad to work with my friend Charles Ramsey, who designed the cover, layout and typeset. He’s an incredible talent and I was so glad to put the project in his hands, visually. I also learned a lot about myself, a lot about life, and the value of hard work. If you want something from the world, you have to step out into the light with your arms open and devoutly ask for it. Usually the universe will answer you somehow, someday. A few years ago I was at a dead end writing music and now I’m an author and have a couple of new projects brewing. It’s been a wonderful ride and I’m excited to keep it going!
Brad Dukes is an American writer and author, born in 1981. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife Jessica and their poodle Peggy.