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The Book From Oakdale

AS THE WORLD TURNS’ Henry Coleman and Alina Adams’ joint venture, The Man From Oakdale, hits bookstore shelves on Jan. 6. What’s it about? Well, an irate Lucinda hires Henry and Vienna to track down an AWOL Lucy and Johnny. As you might expect, wackiness ensues! Soap Opera Weekly chatted up Henry’s portrayer, Trent Dawson, about what a fun read it is — and also about Henry’s “jug ears.”
Soap Opera Weekly: So…The Man From Oakdale. Henry’s secret career as a novelist has been revealed!

Trent Dawson: Yes, pretty secret (laughs)!

Weekly: When did you hear that the show was doing a Henry-centric tie-in novel?

Dawson: I heard about it back in January [2008], and I went, “Okay, whatever,” and then in August they were like, “We need a jacket cover picture.” I said, “Really?” I still didn’t think it was going to happen, but it did! I have been reading it; it’s a fun little ride.

Weekly: What do you think so far?

Dawson: I don’t know why I haven’t had this conversation with [ATWT’s and GUIDING LIGHT’s creative content producer] Alina Adams, but she has a very good grasp on the characters. It’s interesting to see them through Henry’s perspective. It’s an enjoyable read.

Weekly: I took it on the commute home with me, and was laughing out loud like a crazy person.

Dawson: I don’t wanna diminish its value, but it’s a good subway book (laughs). I was doing the same. It’s funny.

Weekly: She really has Henry and Vienna and their banter down, and Margo and Tom are perfect.

Dawson: What I like is that she’s actually writing from the perspective of Henry, so it’s actually slightly exaggerated, but it’s exaggerated on the right points. That’s what’s very smart about the book for fans: She’s hitting the right buttons and going one step further, because Henry’s pretty theatrical.

Weekly: Yeah, [SPOILER ALERT] there’s a part where he runs into Margo in Montega, and he’s worried that she’s going to karate-chop him in the throat or something. [SPOILER ALERT] I was like, “Yes!

Dawson: (laughs) That’s totally Ellen Dolan.

Weekly: Exactly. She’s perfect, and there are so many private jokes for fans who have been watching for many years.

Dawson: [Adams will] do expository stuff and I’ll have to go back and reread the paragraph three times, because I don’t know the history of the show as well as I should.

Weekly: Is this going to tie in with the show at all in terms of plot?

Dawson: In terms of how it relates to what’s actually going on in the show, the cross-pollination is the baby book that Vienna has. The other stuff with [the search for] Johnny and Lucy, and all of these other things, I don’t know.

Weekly: Are we basically meant to assume that Henry has made all of those particular hijinks up?

Dawson: I would assume that, but if the book sells well…who knows, it may become a reality (laughs)!

Weekly: We do know that Henry is supposed to have written this while he and Vienna were broken up.

Dawson: Right, and this is more independent than [Katie’s 2006 novel] Oakdale Confidential in terms of its integration to the storyline. It’s not entirely its own adventure, but much more so than the first book — which is much more fun and doesn’t bring a lot of repercussions on Henry if he writes someone incorrectly.

Weekly: Well, considering some of the things that go on in “Henry’s” imagination throughout the course of this book, and how he describes people, it’d be hilarious to see how his neighbors react!

Dawson: Talking about descriptions of people, let me find it…yes, here’s “my” description of myself: “Henry was an average-looking thirtysomething man of above-average height and below-average earning potential. He had ordinary brown hair, jug ears, chipmunk cheeks and a smile that stretched from sideburn to sideburn.” Now, I’m not vain, but…

Weekly: …that’s not a very flattering description.

Dawson: Jug ears! I don’t know what they are; I never thought I had them. Chipmunk cheeks — I am open to that; it’s genetic (laughs).

Weekly: Maybe Henry is being a little self-deprecating, or you need to talk to his co-author, Ms. Adams. Because later on in the book, Paul is described as having caramel-colored hair and hazel eyes. You get jug ears, and he gets caramel-colored hair.

Dawson: I guess we know who she has a crush on (laughs).

Weekly: In all seriousness, it’s a fun book, and I think fans of the show will love it. I’m really glad that Henry and Vienna are the center of it.

Dawson: They’re a very fun couple to have on the show — if for no other reason than to give people a break from the misery of some other couples (laughs). But the book is a good idea, kind of a Thin Man, Nick and Nora thing, just traipsing across the world with martinis in hand. That’s fun stuff; it’s the stuff I enjoy. It’s like a 1930s movie. Vienna’s the Rosalind Russell to Henry’s Cary Grant!

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