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About his first book, Czech show business and respect.

Fast confession - writer Petr Macek: on success abroad but also the difficult moments with Czech celebrities

Tereza Janatová
19.Sep 2018
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7 minutes

I do not want to offend anyone, but I find it so "funny" when someone says they don't follow show business and then they are the first to run to the newsstand to buy a tabloid. There are tabloids and tabloids. We all know that. And we all know that nothing is simply black or white. I'm glad I met Peter Macek. He is proof of the fact a tabloid journalist also has a heart. I dare say in the right place. Whether you like it or not, it is in the tabloid that we often find pure truths.

With Karel Gott
With Helena Vondráčková
Petr Macek

You have written several books. Do you remember the first one you wrote?

Of course. I'm still the generation that had to do military or civilian service. Well, I didn't want to go to the military, so I did the civilian service. It was a coincidence that it was at the elementary school, behind the house I was living in. I was in charge of the kids and I was supposed to teach computers. And let's say the kids were better with the computer than I was, so we made a gentleman's deal with each other. Everyone will do what they want without bothering anybody else. So at the beginning, we were all the same. We played games, but that's only fun for a while. So then I started thinking about what to do with the free hours. I've always been very happy to read, so I thought I'd try to write some text. And at that time I watched one TV series a lot, so I finally said I would try to write a story from the environment of this series. So I wrote and wrote, and when I was finished I sent it to a friend who liked this series too. It turned out that my friend sent it to one publisher without my knowledge. He called me one day saying he wants to publish it. So the task was clear. I had to finish it quickly and give it to him. So I quickly finished it and gave it to him. The book was published.

How long did it take you to write the book?

I think it was a few months. As far as writing is concerned, I like it when it has a certain tempo. There is perhaps only one book I postponed for about five years before I wrote it. Whenever I write something, I'm really excited about the subject and I want to get it all out as quickly as possible. It's kind of overwhelming in my head. I always need to "throw" it on paper all at once. For example, at night, when I lie down and I think of something, I have to get up. I'm not lazy, I turn on the computer, even if it's three o'clock in the morning and I write everything. By morning I would forget it and then I would be sorry.

Luxusní vila na prodej Praha Západ - 255m
Luxusní vila na prodej Praha Západ - 255m, Okolí Prahy

What stories do you write specifically?

I write sci-fi, historical detective stories about Sherlock Holmes, fantasy. The other side of my writing is based on the journalism I do. This means biographies and, let's say, factual literature. I like those imaginary worlds where I hide and live, in a way. Maybe I'm running away from real life. I do not know. I've never thought about it like that before.

How do you know that the book is ready? That you don't have to rewrite anything anymore?

Never. All of the books I wrote I would write differently today. I would be able to rewrite the book from start to finish. I talked about it with some people who are also writers and are certainly better known and more successful, and it did not surprise them. It is a sign that the author is constantly evolving and moving forward. So it's a good sign.

When you write a book or anything else, can you keep the deadline? Has it ever happened that it just wasn't possible?

Never. I do not regard my writing as an art. I write adventure novels for train rides, I doubt they will learn about me in 200 years. Writing is a craft for me. That's what it is, is and will be. From the beginning, I know what I want to and will write, so I can reasonably estimate how long it will take me.

You published one of the Sherlock Holmes books under a pseudonym. How did come to be? And why did you decide to do that in the first place?

I only really used it once. And I would say for a very stupid reason. At that time we came to the conclusion that a Sherlock book would certainly sell better if someone with an English name wrote it. So Mackenzie Peterson was born.

I don't think it's a bad idea, is it?

Well, after the books started coming out in England, I was talking with my local publisher, and I told him this idea of why I came up with a pseudonym. And he refuted my view of the matter. The British, on the other hand, are very happy when stories from their environment go somewhere further and then someone else writes about them. Your own name is simply more valuable. Since then, I've only published under my name.

One of your books is called The Shine and Dirt of Showbiz. Can we call it show business here is our country, compared to other countries?

Sure we can. I would not want to belittle it. We have one huge advantage over the world's show business. In the world, much of the information comes from the trainers, cleaners, and distant relatives of individual celebrities. While here we know most of them personally. And it is certainly because we are a small country, a small pond. Although the situation has changed somewhat in the last three years. Almost everyone who has been in the business for some time has built his or her network of contacts and can find Karel Gott's phone number on that list without any problems. And basically it was all about agreeing on a specific quote. Even when Gott is concerned, you will not be directly connected with him. After the illness came, he created a wall around him, which is perfectly understandable. So at this point, it is only possible to communicate with him through a manager. Until recently, this was not the case, and for most people this is how it works until this day.

Is this book somehow different than the others you've published?

I think it was the first book, after a series of detective stories and science-fiction novels, for which I drew from my life as a tabloid journalist. I wrote it together with Martin Michal, the husband of Helena Vondráčková. I consider him a friend of mine. It's actually his memoir and his vision of the world in terms of showbiz. I do not claim that his view are always 100% correct, but he can put himself in the shoes of a person who finds himself in a difficult situation. Whether from the position of the manager or husband of Helena Vondráčková. In the book, he spoke about a number of moments that had been presented from a certain angle by some media. And it's good that it was also presented from his point of view. Each coin has two sides. And I think some of the events going on today prove him right, when it is becoming clear that a big problem in the relationship between Lucie Vondráčková and Tomáš Plekanec was her father, Jiří Vondráček. He always wanted Lucky for himself. And I honestly think that the same problem existed in the relationship between Helena Vondráčková and Martin Michal. I definitely do not want to speak badly about anyone. The truth is, however, that at the time of Helena's marriage to Martin, Jiří Vondráček took a folder with the records of Martin Michal and began to visit all the editors in an attempt to discredit him. A lot of newspapers caught on because it was a grateful topic, and I think that they are largely to blame for the current perception of Martin Michal. As for me, I get along very well with both Martin and Helena. And for a tabloid journalist, this is the most valuable thing. Mutual respect and fair play. And even though Martin sometimes deals with certain issues more radically, he seems to have good reason. Something leads him to do so. He always deals with things according to how he perceives and feels about them.

Have you ever gotten into a situation where you said you'd pack it up?

Yes, but it was not about absurdity, it was about setting borders. What to do and not to do. About social intelligence and inhibitions. Unfortunately, we also had to write about such things as the death of the child of actress Veronika Žilková. And then I had a very emotional conversation with Mrs. Veronika. The day it happened. And I have to say that these are not pleasant moments at all. One important thing. Veronika Žilková is a very close person to me. I like her very much. And I respect her. I generally like women who can be sharp, honest, who do not hide behind anything and deal with you, either positively or negatively. When we write something positive about Veronika, she can appreciate it. She picks up the phone and says it. But it also works the other way. The moment we step over the line, she will make it clear to us. She will say what she thinks. And I appreciate that. I know where I stand. So when this tragedy occurred, we could not pretend nothing had happened. We had to put it out. And we also bore the consequences.

Have you ever been in a situation where someone threatened you?

No. But I remember that in one magazine we brought photos of Anife Vyskočilová with her new lover while she was still married to Ivan Vyskočil. One, the office door was kicked open by Ivan Vyskočil, who waved the newspaper around and yelled, "Who wrote this?" I was afraid. Finally, my colleague and I admitted that it had been the two of us. Fortunately, we did not get punched. His anger was not directed against us, but against Anife, whose infidelity he found out about thanks to the article. He wanted to know how we got the information. Whether it is verified, and when he discovered that it was all true, it led to a divorce. That was the only time I thought things might not end well.

Is there anyone here who you haven't yet interviewed and would like to?

In terms of Czechs, definitely not. In terms of foreigners, yes, but there many of them. But I have not thought about it much. My dance floor is here in the Czech Republic. And I'm happy in the Czech Republic.

Fast confession:

What do you think is the greatest threat of today?

The internet.

How do you perceive the current political scene?

I ignore it.

When you look back, would you write any of your books differently?

All of them.

Who do you consider a celebrity in the true sense of the word?

I don't know. Anyone who has managed to be successful worldwide.

What was the last book you read?


What is your weakness?

Good food.

Where will you be tomorrow at this time?

In the office.

AnchorThe most useless thing you have ever bought.

A car.

What do you spend the most money on?


How many hours a day do you spend on social networks?


What did you want to be as a little boy?

An astronaut.

Donald Trump or Vladimir Putin?

Probably Trump.

Do you have a phobia?

Enclosed spaces.

What is the biggest reward for writers?

Naturally, a satisfied reader. It sounds like a cliché, but it's true.
The interviewee asks the editor:

How many more questions are there?

That was the last one.
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