When the first wave of interest for Sebastian Junger's seafaring bestseller The Perfect Storm
hit last spring, much of the commotion around his publisher's office wasn't about the book. Instead, says W.W. Norton's former publicity director Maya Rutherford, the one question she kept hearing was, "Is he single?"
Junger's book-jacket photo may look like a Calvin Klein ad, but the Massachusetts-bom, former professional tree-cutter seems remarkably unaffected by the tempest he's causing. "He's got these rugged good looks, but he's a little unconscious about it," says Junger's girlfriend of two years, Maria Lamadrid, an administrator at Manhattan's Columbia University. Lamadrid reports that there are no mirrors in her boyfriend's tiny East Village walk-up. "When he shaves," she says, "he uses the back of a CD." Junger, 35, says that he yanked the looking glasses as a symbolic gesture "so I wouldn't be thinking about myself." But the author, who recently used part of the $1.35 million that he received from the sales of Storm's film and paperback rights to buy a $4,500 sailing sloop, concedes, "Sometimes I think I'm sexy—when I'm doing tree work, covered in sawdust."