Monday, October 23, 2017

Helen Benedict

Helen Benedict's new novel is Wolf Season.

From her Q&A with Caroline Leavitt:

I loved Wolf Season and I always want to know what the "why now" moment was, the springboard that made you feel you just had to sit down and write this book.

My short answer to what inspired me to write Wolf Season would be an interview and a hurricane.

The interview happened while I was researching my nonfiction book, The Lonely Soldier, and talked to a veteran of the Iraq War who lived in the woods with several wolves and her child. I never met her, only spoke to her on the phone, but her life sparked my imagination. Out of that grew the opening line and the voice that was to become Rin.

The hurricane happened while I was in my house in upstate New York, forcing me and my husband to hide in one room for a day and a night while nature went haywire. That was Irene, the one that destroyed upstate towns while leaving New York City virtually untouched.

But I also knew I wanted to bring the war home after my previous novel, Sand Queen, which was set in Iraq – that is, I hoped to explore how war affects not only those in the midst of it, but those who love them. Somehow, the hurricane, the wolves, the woman and the war...[read on]
Learn more about Helen Benedict and her work at her official website.

Writers Read: Helen Benedict (July 2009).

My Book, The Movie: Sand Queen.

Writers Read: Helen Benedict (September 2011).

The Page 69 Test: Sand Queen.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Elizabeth L. Silver

Elizabeth L. Silver's latest book is The Tincture of Time: A Memoir of (Medical) Uncertainty.

From her Q&A with Deborah Kalb:

Q: You write, "The Tincture of Time is a mantra for anything that poses the proverbial question, 'What if?'" How did you end up choosing that as the book's title, and what else does it signify for you?

A: The title came from a conversation I had with my husband while we were in the NICCU with our daughter. A physician himself, he mentioned that he sometimes writes, “the tincture of time” at the bottom of some patient notes. I stared at him in shock. Sometimes time is the only cure, the only medicine or treatment to a medical ailment, he continued.

We had a long conversation about this topic. It’s not the cliché that time will heal all wounds, because it may for some and may not for others, but rather time as the only answer for your questions. I realized how specifically that applied to...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Elizabeth L. Silver's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Execution of Noa P. Singleton.

My Book, The Movie: The Execution of Noa P. Singleton.

Writers Read: Elizabeth L. Silver (July 2013) .

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Kate Winkler Dawson

Kate Winkler Dawson is the author of Death in the Air: The True Story of a Serial Killer, the Great London Smog, and the Strangling of a City.

From a Q&A at her website:

Q: How did you discover these two relatively unknown stories? What first caught your attention and why did you decide to braid them into one narrative?

A: During my senior year of college, I studied in London while working at United Press International, and I fell in love with the city. I feel so comfortable there. When I was searching for compelling stories for my debut book, I discovered the story of The Great Smog was immediately intrigued. The smog was a story that no one had written about—it is one of the most forgotten environmental disasters in history—which made it all the more alluring. I knew I had to write about.

As I was delving into the research, I began digging through newspaper archives for 1953. (The fog happened in December of 1952, but the debates in Parliament began in January 1953) As I searched through the headlines looking for smog news, I began to see headlines like “Murder House” or “Third Body Found.” They were, of course, in reference to John Reginald Christie, one of the most infamous serial killers in history. I began exploring John Reginald Christie’s story and realized that Christie and the fog were two killers with many parallels. The fog ultimately killed 12,000 people and Christie claimed at least eight victims of his own – many by asphyxiation. Individually, each story is fascinating, atmospheric, and creepy—together, they are a writer’s dream.

Beyond this, I also became interested what happened after the...[read on]
Visit Kate Winkler Dawson's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 20, 2017

Sara Taylor

Sara Taylor's new novel is The Lauras.

From her Q&A with Deborah Kalb:

Q: How did you come up with the idea for The Lauras, and for your characters Alex and Ma?

A: The Lauras was originally going to be a short story that begins with a small child being kidnapped from their parents’ house. I had planned for it to be slowly revealed that the kidnapper was a relative who had taken the child for very good reasons, but before I could get there it became clear that the narrator I was writing was much older than the four or five-year-old I had envisioned.

I liked that voice too much to throw it away, and I recognised the situation that Alex was in, of not wanting to question the parent in charge not because you think they know what they’re doing but because you’re worried they don’t, as one that I’ve been wanting to explore in fiction, so I went with it. Both of their characters then...[read on]
Visit Sara Taylor's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton is the first woman in US history to become the presidential nominee of a major political party. She served as the 67th Secretary of State—from January 21, 2009, until February 1, 2013—after nearly four decades in public service advocating on behalf of children and families as an attorney, First Lady, and Senator. Her new book is What Happened.

From the transcript of Clinton's conversation with Fareed Zakaria:

ZAKARIA: What should Democrats do to try to deal with the reality that there is this cultural anxiety? Is there -- you know, is there any way to connect with it without succumbing to prejudice?

CLINTON: Well, I have said, and I really believe this that I'm not going to give up on the progress of the last 50 to 60 years in our country. We are a fairer, better nation because we have the Civil Rights Act. Because women's rights were recognized and we both knocked down discrimination and created more doors of opportunity, that we are treating gay people with respect and giving them their equal rights as citizens.

That, you know, when you look at freedom of religion, something that was so critical to our constitution why are we scapegoating Muslims? You know? People who are here in our country making contributions. So my view on this is it's a terrible mistake for Democrats or anybody to walk away from these core values and rights.

We have to stand up for them and we have to do a better job, number one, of explaining to people, you are being snookered. But you know what? The real threat to your future is a government that doesn't care about you and is taking actions that will make your life even harder and is favoring the wealthy beyond anything we've ever, ever seen before.

ZAKARIA: But doesn't it distrust you then that you watch here, you make up that argument, that very cogent argument, and he plays with the NFL controversy?

CLINTON: Yes. Yes.

ZAKARIA: Which is purely symbolic.

CLINTON: Right.

ZAKARIA: And it's clearly an attempt to, again --

CLINTON: But look...[read on]
Follow Hillary Clinton on Facebook and Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Abby Stern

Abby Stern is the author of the new novel According to a Source.

From her Q&A with Deborah Kalb:

Q: How did you come up with the idea for According to a Source, and for your character Ella? Did your own experiences working in Hollywood factor into the story at all?

A: When I first started freelancing for a celebrity magazine and would tell friends both in and out of LA what I did, they were intrigued and asked me a million questions. They couldn't believe I got to go to parties and red carpets to interview celebrities and would sometimes get to hang out after.

As I became more immersed in that side of the industry I got to know other people who did different things at magazines and in my gut I felt like there was a really fun story to tell. I was a huge fan of The Devil Wears Prada and thought the same kind of narrative could work for a Holllywood story so I sat down and started writing.

There is definitely some of me in Ella, good and bad. It's more of the younger version of me. People don't approach decisions they make in life ever intentionally trying to do the wrong thing, but they do. And people aren't always likeable. I wanted to make sure Ella was...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Jonathan Eig

Ken Burns calls Jonathan Eig a "master storyteller." Eig is the author of five books, two of them New York Times best sellers.

His new biography is Ali: A Life.

From the transcript of Eig's Fresh Air interview with Dave Davies:

DAVIES: You know, you're right that in 1965, he was probably the most hated man in America or at least in white America. And then by the '70s, it all began to change. Why?

EIG: It's fascinating to see this happen. And you know, we forget sometimes that Ali was so deeply hated because the Ali of the '70s is very different. When he comes back from his exile, first of all, the war is wildly unpopular. And the - so the - when he began his protest, there was still a, you know, very strong support for the war in Vietnam. But by 1971, people can say, wow, Ali was right; that war has been a disaster. No wonder he didn't want to fight over there.

He also has suffered. He's given up three and a half years of his career and millions of dollars. And then he comes back to the ring. And he fights Joe Frazier, and he gets whooped. I mean, Frazier knocks him on his butt with his vicious left hook. Ali gets up. He keeps fighting. This is one of the greatest and most vicious fights in boxing history. And Ali loses, but he stays on his feet. He survives this thing.

And I think then you begin to see him as a martyr, as a hero, as somebody who gets knocked down and keeps coming back. And he's got to start earning his way back toward another shot at the heavyweight championship. And this is when you begin to see the public attitude changing. There's a - you can't deny...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Jonathan Eig's website.

The Page 99 Test: Get Capone.

The Page 99 Test: The Birth of the Pill.

My Book, The Movie: Ali: A Life.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 16, 2017

Edward Kelsey Moore

Edward Kelsey Moore's newest novel is The Supremes Sing the Happy Heartache Blues.

From his Q&A with Deborah Kalb:

Q: Did you know when you wrote the first Supremes book that you'd be writing another one?

A: I knew that there was more to the story of the three main characters of The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat when I finished it and I hoped to return to them.

After my first novel was published, I began working on another, not-Supremes-related novel. But ideas for what became The Supremes Sing the Happy Heartache Blues kept interrupting my work on that book. I decided to write the book that wanted to be written.

Q: How do you think your characters changed from the first book to the second?

A: During the five years since the end of the first novel and the start of the second, the main characters have adapted to the altered lives they were left with after the events of the first book.

Odette is the survivor of a serious illness now and she has fully accepted the strange inheritance she received from her mother. Clarice has the career she had always dreamed of. Barbara Jean is with the love of her life.

However, in the second book, they are forced to...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Fiona Davis

Fiona Davis's latest novel is The Address.

From her Q&A with Jennifer Vido at MomTrends:

What inspired you to write The Address, set in the Dakota in New York City?

I love the history of old buildings. I always begin with an architectural landmark when I’m figuring out a new book. Back in the Gilded Age, the Upper West Side of New York was largely undeveloped. The owner and architect for the Dakota took a huge risk in putting up a luxury apartment house that far away from the city proper. I did some research and discovered that the Dakota has a rich history – from the time it was built in the 1880s up to today – full of tragedy, intrigue, and drama. It made for a perfect setting for a work of historical fiction with two timelines.

Let’s talk about the alternating time periods of the story. How much research was necessary in order for the novel to ring true with your readers?

For the story line set in 1884, I read novels and newspapers from the period, as well as books and articles on the Dakota and New York City. I toured the building and got an inside look, from the basement to the top floors where the servants used to sleep. The second timeline, set in the 1980s...[read on]
Visit Fiona Davis's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Address.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Elizabeth Rosner

Elizabeth Rosner's newest book is Survivor Cafe: The Legacy of Trauma and the Labyrinth of Memory. She is the daughter of Holocaust survivors. Her other books include the novels Electric City and The Speed of Light.

From her Q&A with Deborah Kalb:

Q: You begin your new book with what you term “The Alphabet of Inadequate Language.” How did this idea come to you, and why did you start the book this way?

A: One day it just came pouring out of me. Language is something I think about all the time. There’s a chapter called The S-Word, about the problematic issues I have with the word “survivor.” I’m aware of how much we pack into a single word.

The language associated with the Holocaust feels so meager to me, and how we got so casual about it…loaded bombs should be going off every time we say these words. It just became part of the conversation. I started listing words alphabetically that had that kind of condensed power…

It was a compendium of everything I really wanted to cover in the book. I kept wanting to go back and do more, but by putting it at the beginning, it creates a hovering effect, a ghostly umbrella of words introducing you to the scope of the conversation—you’re joining a big conversation, and...[read on]
Visit Elizabeth Rosner's website.

The Page 69 Test: Electric City.

--Marshal Zeringue