Friday, March 19, 2010

Thomas Kaufman

Lesa Holstine interviewed Thomas Kaufman about his new novel, Drink the Tea. Part of their dialogue:

Lesa - [Your protagonist] Willis Gidney had a terrible childhood, both on the streets, and in the juvenile justice system. Where did he come from, or, is he strictly out of your imagination?

Thomas - Willis is a lot like me, of course. I have a friend who went through the DC juvie justice system. She told me some frightening stories. She also put me in touch with a cop who she said busted her twelve times. ("It was only 3 or four times, " he told me later.) This retired cop now works for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and he had some great stories.

Two Washington Post reporters, Sari Horwitz and Scott Higham, also gave me great background material.

Lesa - I loved the Washington, D.C. setting. Why D.C. for the book?

Thomas - Washington is a city of contrasts. You only need to look around you to see that. It makes it a great place to write about.

I could load you up with a lot of factoids about DC, but you have to go into the neighborhoods to understand. Near the Capitol, for instance. In the trailer for DRINK THE TEA we shot on Pennsylvania Avenue a shot of the Capitol dome as a time lapse shot, it's kind of a beauty shot. Then the next shot is on North Capitol Street. It's funky. You're still in spitting distance from the Capitol, but around you are enormous KFCs with blue sodium lights set high on outer space stalks, Big Ben's Liquor, and enormous Exxon stations. It's not...[read on]
View the trailer for Drink the Tea, and learn more about the book and author at Thomas Kaufman's website and blog.

Thomas Kaufman is an award-winning motion picture director and cameraman. He has twice won the Gordon Parks Award for Cinematography, and an Emmy for his documentary about deaf children, See What I'm Saying.

The Page 69 Test: Drink the Tea.

--Marshal Zeringue