Maurice Benard’s (Sonny, GH) new memoir, Nothing General About It: How Love (And Lithium) Saved Me On And Off GENERAL HOSPITAL, became an instant New York Times best-seller when it was released in April, debuting at No. 13 on the elite list.
“I couldn’t believe it,” marvels the actor, who learned of his accomplish- ment from publicists from HarperCollins, his pub- lisher. “I got a call from them and they were going, ‘Call me, call me, call me!’ I thought I was going to get in trouble, because of the way I was feeling; I had a lot of anxiety at that time. And then they called and said, ‘You’re a New York Times best-seller!’ I wish I could [have that experience] again because I couldn’t feel happy, and they were so happy. I was just like, ‘Wow.’ After the phone call, I went outside and cried a little bit and had my own little moment. I don’t think in my whole career, I’ve had great news and not felt anything, but that’s what happens when you’ve got anxiety!”
Benard thinks that a number of factors helped with the book’s successful debut. “I had been promot- ing it pretty well for a while, for six, seven, eight months beforehand,” he points out, “and I actually think that the coronavirus helped, because so many people were stuck inside and my book is about mental health, and I think a lot of people were suffering from [those issues] during that time. And my fans are lunatics [laughs] — in a good way! Their [devotion] is just unreal.”
The actor is touched by this tangible evidence that his fans are interested in him, not just in his characters, and have responded so passionately to his candor about his mental health journey. “That means a lot,” he says. “It’s funny because earlier in my career, it was always about my act- ing and Sonny and ALL MY CHILDREN [where he played Nico], and now, it’s mental health. I’m like the poster boy for mental health! But I love that, actually, because it’s bigger than me. The book isn’t just about mental health; I’ve got some great stories about GH and there’s also goats — there’s all kinds of stuff! And I thought the book was also a great love story [between him and his wife, Paula]. People say, ‘Your wife is an angel,’ and some say, ‘I don’t know how she put up with you [laughs]!’ But what I hear most [from readers] is about the mental health, which is great. I got into talking about mental health to help people if I could, and now I can.
“All I know,” he concludes, “is that fans were on my side, and people seem to like the book. And that’s all that matters! I’m honored.”