Surprise, Texas: The New Page-turning Novel From Folksinger Andy Wilkinson

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The look-a-likes were playing the festival that weekend, signing headshots and posing for photos. “Andy Hedges and I made a lot of fun of them—not to their face, but to one another. There were some very funny exchanges, these people taking themselves way too seriously. So we’re driving back and we’re still making fun of them, but at some point, I had one of those realizations… I thought: well, wait a minute. Am I fundamentally different from these people? Or am I only different by degree? In other words, do I spend a lot of my time trying to be Andy Wilkinson?” He laughed. “Where’s the line between how I portray myself and what I really am? So I thought it would make a cool movie to have a character at that festival who had been a star at one time but was no longer. Maybe this person comes back to their hometown for a celebration, you know, and of course, the look-a-likes show up—and some crisis occurs. So all the look-a-like and the actor all have to step up and become what they portrayed to solve the crisis.”

Surprise, Texas: The New Page-turning Novel From Folksinger Andy Wilkinson
Photo: Friends and family read passages from Wilkinson’s novel at a special event, image by Justin Burrus

Celebrated novelist Max Evans read the book in manuscript and gave Wilkinson crucial advice. “I was writing about the part of the country that Max just loves. He said nobody writes about our place. And then he gave me some great, great advice. Because the novel had begun to go in all kinds of odd places, and I said to Max, I’m worried—should I throttle this back, should I try to make it less far out? And Max said, every time you write something, you got to write it like it’s the last thing you’ll ever write. Throw everything you got in it. And I thought, that’s exactly what I needed to hear.”