Gary James' Interview With The Author Of
Graceland: An Interactive Pop-Up Tour

Chuck Murphy

There have been a lot of books written about Elvis, but none like the book Chuck Murphy has put together. Chuck Murphy is the author of Graceland: An Interactive Pop-Up Tour. (Quirk Books) If you've never been to Graceland, Chuck's book is the next best thing. The look, the design is absolutely incredible.

Q - Chuck, are you aware that your book is the centerpiece of an exhibit in an art museum in New Orleans called Southern Fried Elvis? They've opened your book up to the kitchen section and put Elvis' cookbooks all around it.

A - I was not aware of the exhibit. It sounds like a fun idea.

Q - Where did you get the idea for this book?

A - In August of 2006, I received a phone call from David Borgenicht, the president of Quirk Books, asking if I would be interested in creating a pop-up book based on a tour of Graceland. I loved the idea immediately.

Q - Obviously you needed Graceland's approval. How receptive were they to the idea of the book when you pitched it to them?

A - The initial discussions between the publisher and the licensing people at Graceland took place before I came aboard. The folks at Graceland were very helpful and provided a lot of information. They also reviewed the final book dummy for accuracy.

Q - I take it you were not allowed upstairs on the second floor.

A - We asked, but were politely reminded that it is reserved for family.

Q - How long did it take you to put this book together? Did you go inside Graceland and photograph each room so you could provide the meticulous details contained in the book?

A - The publisher arranged a private tour for myself, the editor and art director on the project. We took a lot of photos. I designed and engineered the book over a three month period. The finished art and final die drawings and mechanicals took another three months. This was remarkably fast for a pop-up book of this complexity. We were working to a tight deadline.

Q - How well did the book do? How many copies were printed?

A - The book has done well so far. The initial printing was forty thousand copies.

Q - Are you an Elvis fan? Did you ever see Elvis in concert?

A - When I was in high school, The Beatles, The Beach Boys and The Rolling Stones were who everyone was talking about. Elvis' early songs were already considered oldies by that time. I never got to see him in concert, although I sure wish I had.

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