In My Friendship with Norman Mailer and Gore Vidal: How They Buried the Hatchet, I explain how I convinced both men to sit down for a joint interview. Getting these literary lions together with their claws not protruding was not easy.
Speaking about Austen as a partner was out of Vidal's ken completely, yet Austen kept the Vidal train on the tracks, meaning the Master could write and bestride the world's cultural stage. He was a dedicated spouse and one of the few people who could prick the balloon of Vidal's pomposity.
Vidal had no self-doubt. He used his legendary intellect in the service of opinions that drew blood. Feuds thrilled him. And he never lost the swagger that comes from knowing that -- at least in his youth -- he was a stunner. Want a guided tour?