Monday, May 12, 2014

Louis Bayard

With his most recent novels, Roosevelt's Beast, The School of Night, The Black Tower, The Pale Blue Eye and Mr. Timothy, Louis Bayard, in the words of the Washington Post, has ascended to "the upper reaches of the historical-thriller league." A New York Times Notable author, he has been nominated for both the Edgar® and Dagger awards and has been named one of People magazine's top authors of the year.

In Roosevelt’s Beast, Theodore Roosevelt—author, adventurer, and President—goes on expedition to the Amazon with his son Kermit.

From Bayard's Q & A with Bethanne Patrick at Washingtonian:

What was your “elevator pitch” for this book?

I described it as “Teddy Roosevelt’s ‘Heart of Darkness.’ ” When you’re writing about the jungle, you can’t avoid Conrad.

When did you realize you’d be telling Kermit’s story, not his father’s?

I was drawn to Kermit because his story is so untold. All I could find is that he was “a troubled soul.” Every family has that person who can’t seem to adjust to reality. That’s why I felt it was important to begin with Kermit at his end, as a failed Army officer shuttled off to a post in Anchorage, to see that he never recovered from his ordeal.

Kermit had some burdens of inheritance.

Yes, his uncle Elliott is a terrifying specter in my book, a man caught between depression and alcohol, the only antidepressant they had at that time. Kermit also has his father’s influence. Teddy...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Louis Bayard's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Black Tower.

The Page 69 Test: The Pale Blue Eye.

The Page 69 Test: The School of Night.

The Page 69 Test: Roosevelt's Beast.

--Marshal Zeringue