Monday, May 2, 2011

Stephen Singular

Stephen Singular, is a two-time New York Times bestselling author whose articles have appeared in New York Magazine, Psychology Today, Inside Sports, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, and American Photo. From 1983 to 1987, he was a staff writer at The Denver Post and his first book, Talked To Death: The Life & Murder of Alan Berg (1987), was nominated for an Edgar Award. Since then, he’s published 18 more non-fiction books about high-profile crimes, social criticism, and business and sports biographies.

His new book is The Wichita Divide: The Murder of Dr. George Tiller and the Battle over Abortion.

From Singular's Q & A with Jordan Foster at Publishers Weekly:

What inspired you to write about the rise of domestic terrorism within the antiabortion movement?

Twenty-five years ago I wrote about [Denver radio] talk show host Alan Berg's murder in Talked to Death. The Berg assassination was domestic terrorism because it carried out a racial and religious agenda. There are similarities [with the Tiller case], but I was more interested in the differences. For years I'd wanted to write a sequel to Talked to Death, but the time wasn't right. Then Dr. Tiller was killed. Sometimes a single crime can illuminate an entire war that a nation has been fighting. This was that crime. I didn't want to write the history of abortion in America or a book that simply laid out the two sides of the debate. My book weaves together Dr. Tiller's career and the evolution of [his murderer] Scott Roeder from a seemingly normal Middle American into a domestic terrorist. But to me the heart of the book is Lindsey Roeder, Scott's ex-wife, who watched in horror as he changed, but couldn't help him. Every story needs someone to root for, and for me, that's Lindsey.

You pinpoint the media as "amplifier[s] for the emotional forces building in the society." How have these outlets helped perpetuate the culture of hate?

The point I want to re-emphasize is that the uncertainty and fear that people feel are real. But these are largely personal emotions and it's the individual's responsibility to manage them. The talk shows and Internet groups have essentially stood this equation on its head. "Here are the issues," they loudly repeat, "and here are the people to blame for what you're feeling. If abortion makes you uncomfortable, hate Dr. Tiller." Terrorists call this...[read on]
Watch Stephen Singular on The Rachel Maddow Show.

Learn more about The Wichita Divide and its author at Stephen Singular's website and blog.

The Page 99 Test: The Wichita Divide.

Writers Read: Stephen Singular.

--Marshal Zeringue