WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley recently appeared on Blog Talk Radio and talked about his new book Saint Mick: My Journey From Hardcore Legend to Santa's Jolly Elf.
You recently released your new book, Saint Mick: My Journey From Hardcore Legend to Santa's Jolly Elf. Why did you feel now was the right time to write this book and what are you hoping to accomplish with its release?
"You guys are officially the first interview I am doing. As of this talk its release date is not there yet it's October 17. I don't know what I was thinking. It's not like it's a book that lends itself to people that like me as a wrestler or have been chomping at the bit for my Santa memoir. It felt like it was a really good story and a great experience I had in the course of five years. I knew from reading largely wrestling memoirs, the stories that have an arc like a five, six, or seven arcs tend to be more interesting rather than someone looking back at a 30- or 40-year career and trying to cherry pick moments. You never really feel like you're in the moment there. When someone had a storied career and trying to look back to capture everything, I think there is a minimal emotional investment in the book. I felt like I had a pretty good story to tell with lessons that I've learned and with a nice balance of the surreal, touching and the foolishness. I felt like if I didn't get down to it this year, I probably never would have."
You've run the gamut as an author in terms of the types of books you've written, but how was the writing process different for this book compared to your earlier autobiographical work, and how did the enjoyment you felt while writing this book compare to those previous ones?
"It was a great experience and in the introduction, I write about the fact that, I don't want to sound all artsy, but it's the purest writing experience. The first one was amazing, but I wrote it largely because the guy that was supposed to be writing it, the ghostwriter, did a mediocre job and I felt like I could do it better or I would be stuck for eternity with a mediocre book and nobody wants that. It worked out great and opened up a lot of doors for me. From that point on, the second book was like a way to take advantage of the success of the first book. Even Hardcore Diaries and Countdown to Lockdown were six week periods where I was writing them as the events were unfolding. So, story wise it was a roll of the dice and I didn't know if there were going to be good stories or not. In this case, it's something I really wanted to do. I didn't think there was an audience and at certain point I was just really intent on self-publishing like 100 copies for family and friends and then a couple of key people, Stephanie McMahon being one of them, convinced me it might deserve a wider audience."
The foreword for your latest book was written by Stephanie McMahon. What went into your decision to ask her and how did she react when asked?
"Oh man, I wrote something about that and you guys are kind of getting the sneak preview of that. She had just decimated me verbally in a backstage interview. It was one of the cruelest, verbal tirades even by wrestling standards. It was the one where I think at the end of February that ended with the man that used to be able to stand up to everyone and everything, but can now barely stand at all. When it was done, I said I would like to talk in private if I could. She knows I'm professional and I'm not going to yell at her over a promo, it was hard because it is a tough thing to ask, but I asked her if she would wonder consider writing the introduction to my book and it caught her completely flat footed. She was kind of speechless for a second like she wasn't expecting that. Then she told me she would be honored to.
"When we were GM and Commissioner, I was working on this book and she would ask me about it. One day she came to catering and started asking me a couple of questions and I thought she came to talk to me about a promo we were doing, but after about 40 minutes, I asked her if she wanted to talk about the promo and she said, 'No, I just think this is really interesting.' I asked her if she thought this was a story people would enjoy and she really helped me believe in my own project. I hope I don't kill her on-air persona, but I really respect her not only as a performer and a person, but also as a writer. Every writer has a few key people they depend on to give them feedback and in this case, she was a key person. She was my sounding board on a weekly basis and the main reason I decided to publish it instead of self-publishing for family and friends."
It's often been said that WWE's motto is "putting smiles on people's faces," and the same can be said for playing the role of Santa Claus. How do you feel being a WWE Superstar helped prepare you for being Santa and spreading Christmas cheer all year round?
"Did you say playing the role? I'm not playing, pal! There were times when I was playing the role of characters where I really felt like I was living that role. Those were the best appearances where you get caught up in that character to the point where you feel like you are that character and it's the same thing. I really feel like the experience I had and I don't want to give this away, but Stephanie's got this great line in her introduction and forward and it was something I actually tried to write about getting to the main point of what I learned from doing this, but I didn't feel comfortable. It was almost too heavy and I didn't want to phrase it without sounding all ideological or crazy, but she remembered it almost word for word from a conversation we had. Basically, all these experiences I had from being in the ring, portraying characters, visiting children and service members, really put me in a unique position so that I could kind of step in and really inhabit this role which I believe is closer to who I really am. I just have to be nicer and kinder and wiser than I am in real life. Whereas when you're Cactus Jack and Mankind, you have to be crazier, braver and far more aggressive. I wasn't the classic alpha male in the dressing room, but I had to go in there with guys that were six inches taller and 80 pounds heavier who were those alpha males and I do find a way to hold my own. The business is what it is, but if you can't stand your ground, you get devoured in there. That was really difficult for me and it took me a long time to get the grasp of that. Whereas this character, the Santa character, is a little closer to home I think."