Thursday, October 31, 2013

Adam Roberts

The Riddles of The Hobbit author Adam Roberts is Professor of Nineteenth Century Literature at Royal Holloway University, London.

From his Q &A with Jody “Goldberry Riverdaughter” Boyce at Legendarium:

GB: What inspired you to write this book? What do you hope readers take away from their reading experience?

Prof Roberts: I have been a reader and lover of Tolkien from a very early age. He’s one of the reasons why I wanted to become a writer myself. As an academic I have also written literary-critical or scholarly stuff on his books, although most of the criticism I read is geared to the Lord of the Rings. My starting point for this book was a desire just to look in more detail at The Hobbit, and more specifically to challenge the idea that it is somehow a ‘simple’ or even a ‘trivial’ book compared to the much larger, more involved Lord of the Rings. I don’t think that’s right. Of course The Hobbit *is* a shorter and more linear book than Lord of the Rings, but that doesn’t mean it is in any sense simpler. The riddle struck me as one of the ways I could approach the text to start to explore its complexities.

GB: What do you find most appealing about Tolkien’s writing and the world he created?

Prof Roberts: This is a hard question for me to answer — Tolkien goes so far back with me, personally, and is so intimately entwined about my own developing imagination. There’s a bad aspect to that fact: loving this writing as deeply as I do, it’s hard for me to get a critical distance upon it. Still, it ought to be possible for me to answer your question without evasion, of the ‘love is blind’ kind! So: I’d say that when I was a kid what I loved about these books was simply the transport of the imagined world, the escapism of it. Now that I am no longer a child, do not see as a child and have put away childish things, I find myself drawn (to speak very broadly) to other aspects of the work: and in particular to Tolkien’s twin concerns, which are surely absolutely central to his vision with language on the one hand, and with importance of ethical choice on the other. These things, combined with something else Tolkien understands — that even the most seemingly mundane or trivial lives have, as it were, epic underpinnings — are also core to Joyce’s Ulysses. For example.

GB: In your book, you discuss the attraction people find for riddles and mysteries and how this attraction is reflected in Tolkien’s work. How do you believe this has impacted the both the international and lasting appeal of a book originally marketed to British children?

Prof Roberts: Kids love riddles; but...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Kimberly McCreight

Kimberly McCreight attended Vassar College and graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. After several years as a litigation associate at some of New York City’s biggest law firms, she left the practice of law to write full-time. Her work has appeared in such publications as Antietam Review, Oxford Magazine, Babble, and New York Magazine online.

McCreight's new novel is Reconstructing Amelia.

From her Q & A at the Harper Library blog:

Mama Mazes: How did you learn all the latest internet “buzz” words/abbreviations used by teens and what would you recommend to adults who want to stay current with computer-speak?

Kimberly: I interviewed local teens and did extensive research online. But much of the lingo I was already using myself. Perhaps I should be more embarrassed about that.

For parents not so well versed in text acronyms, a simple Google search—“popular text abbreviations teens”—goes a long way. Be aware that there are micro-local variations, so this research might not explain the entire alphabet soup in your child’s texts, but it will be a good start.

If a Google search is beyond your skill-set, consider investing in a basic Internet how-to guide or a class like those offered by major retailers. Libraries have computers with Internet access, too, along with generous librarians. There’s also your child. If necessary, you could always condition their Internet use on showing you the ropes.

But it’s critical that we all get—and stay—“virtually” up to speed. With 95% of teens on the Internet and 70% with access via a mobile device, it’s where our children are. If we don’t understand the language they’re speaking or can’t find where they’re “hanging out” online, we can’t...[read on]
Watch the trailer for Reconstructing Amelia, and learn more about the book and author at Kimberly McCreight's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Reconstructing Amelia.

Writers Read: Kimberly McCreight.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Wil S. Hylton

Wil S. Hylton's new book is Vanished: The Sixty-Year Search for the Missing Men of World War II.

From his Q & A with John Lewis at Baltimore magazine:

How many miles did you log while reporting this story, and how long did it take to complete the book?

It turned out that one missing airplane leads to all corners of the earth. I spent a total of four years searching for clues and answers, and traveled more than 60,000 miles. At one point, I joined an elite military team on a barge in the Pacific Ocean. At another, I trekked through the Micronesian jungle in search of a secret Japanese prison. I flew on the last working B-24 bomber, scuba dived on classified sites in the Palau islands, and even visited the military's human remains recovery laboratory in Hawaii, where I stood in a room filled with skeletons of American soldiers who died half a century ago. So there were a lot of miles, but never a dull moment.

What, for you, was the most difficult aspect of the story to comprehend and share with readers?

It's very difficult for outsiders to understand the grief that haunts families of the missing. When there's no body to bury, no formal cause of death, and no explanation of what happened, the loss is hard to process or accept. In many cases, the families spend decades holding on to the possibility that the person might still be alive. This is true of soldiers in the same way it would be true of a missing child. Maybe the guy is trapped somewhere, or in a secret prison, or lost, or maybe he has amnesia. Very few MIA families have not given these questions some thought. And without giving away too much, I'll say that sometimes this turns out to be...[read on]
Visit Wil S. Hylton's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 28, 2013

Nate Kenyon

Nate Kenyon is the author of Bloodstone, a Bram Stoker Award finalist and winner of the P&E Horror Novel of the Year, The Reach, also a Stoker Award Finalist, The Bone Factory, Sparrow Rock, StarCraft: Ghost Spectres, and Diablo: The Order.

Kenyon's new novel is Day One.

From his Q & A with AJ Colucci for The Big Thrill:

DAY ONE has gotten great reviews and has been lauded for being both chilling and plausible. What inspired the story?

I’ve always been fascinated by artificial intelligence. The possibilities are nearly endless, and they include both the idyllic and horrific visions of the future. My editor at Thomas Dunne is fascinated too—he approached me first with the idea of a man commuting into New York who gets caught in the city as all hell breaks loose, and has to fight his way out. We brainstormed on this for a while, brought in another fantastic editor, Peter Joseph, for his opinions, and I ran with the concept from there. That’s where DAY ONE was born.

As an author of science thrillers, I know the genre requires an enormous amount of research. Can you tell us what subjects you investigated and some of the methods you used?

What I found scared the heck out of me. First of all, let me say that a true artificial intelligence, one that learns and thinks in a very human way, is most definitely coming—probably within the next twenty years. Many, many companies such as Google, Microsoft, IBM and others, as well as the US government, have created well-funded think tanks to build such a system. Universities are hip deep in research too. It’s going to happen, and the implications are frankly terrifying–because while billions are being spent in research, very little thinking is being done around safeguarding it.

An AI that can learn on its own and has the capability to become many times as intelligent as a human being (they call this artificial super intelligence, or ASI) might decide that humans are...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Nate Kenyon's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: Day One.

The Page 69 Test: Day One.

Writers Read: Nate Kenyon.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Scott Turow

Scott Turow's new novel is Identical.

From his Q & A with Noah Charney for The Daily Beast:

You studied law and are a practicing lawyer. Was there a particular historical legal case that inspired you to become a lawyer, or that captured your imagination during law school?

Truth told, no. Like most Americans of my age, I was very impressed by the dynamic capacities of the law, demonstrated by the civil rights movement and then Watergate, animated by Sam Ervin’s mantra that no person is above the law. But the case that had the most impact on me was an imaginary one, central to a novel I failed to publish while I was a writing fellow at Stanford. The legal details I’d included in the book fascinated me, if not my would-be publishers, and clued me to how deeply interested I was in the law, which was something of a shock.

What prompted you to write your first book, at the start of your legal career?

One L was written largely by accident. I was embarrassed to tell the agent who had worked so hard to sell my unpublished novel that I was going to law school, so as a kind of sop I mentioned to her that there really were no nonfiction books about what it was like to be a law student. I wasn’t actually proposing to write that book myself, but when she presented a contract to do it, I couldn’t say no. My rejection slips, laid end to end, reached most of the way to the moon.

I’ve asked this question of Judge Richard Posner, and I thought I’d ask you the same. Besides the U.S., which other nation’s legal system do you particularly admire, and what is different and admirable about it?

Unlike Judge Posner, I don’t consider myself well-versed in the legal systems of other nations, although I’ve been lucky enough to travel quite a bit. That said...[read on]
See: Scott Turow's five best legal novels.

Read about a book that changed Turow's life.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Eric Schlosser

Eric Schlosser is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Fast Food Nation and Reefer Madness. His new book is Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety.

From his Q & A with Ed Pilkington for the Guardian, beginning with the interviewer's introduction:

For his latest book, Command and Control, the American author Eric Schlosser spent six years immersed in the world of nuclear weapons. He discovered example after example of mistakes and near misses and became deeply concerned about the state of America's nuclear arsenal.

Those concerns were brought into focus again this week, when US air force officials said officers entrusted with the launch keys to long-range nuclear missiles had twice this year been caught leaving open a blast door that is intended to help prevent a terrorist or other intruder from entering their underground command post.

Earlier this month, the two-star general in charge of US intercontinental nuclear missiles was fired, for "personal misbehaviour".

Ed Pilkington: It’s been a lively few days in the realm of nuclear weapons mishaps. As well as the incidents mentioned above, there have been a spate of inspection failures of various nuclear units. What on earth is going on?

Eric Schlosser: It looks like there's poor morale and poor leadership in the air force units responsible for nuclear weapons. People are getting sloppy – and that's not a good thing.

EP: Having spent most of the past seven years investigating the history of US nuclear mishaps and close shaves for your new book, does this feel to you like a case of deja vu?

ES: I'm actually surprised that these problems keep happening. In 2007, after half a dozen thermonuclear weapons went missing for a day and a half, without anyone at the air force even realizing it, secretary of defense Robert Gates took some strong action. He fired two top air force officials and made clear that mistakes in the oversight of nuclear weapons are unacceptable. That was six years ago, and the air force clearly hasn't gotten the message.

EP: What do you think we can learn from the fact that mishaps like this are still occurring? And how does it tie into the theme of your book?

ES: The command and control of nuclear weapons requires constant vigilance. These are the most dangerous machines ever invented – and any complacency about them greatly increases the danger. In the book, I wrote about "the Titanic effect", an attitude that...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 25, 2013

Lynn Cullen

Lynn Cullen is the author of Reign of Madness, a 2011 Best of the South selection by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and 2012 Townsend Prize finalist, and The Creation of Eve, named among the best fiction books of 2010 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and an Indie Next selection. She is also the author of numerous award-winning books for children, including the young adult novel I Am Rembrandt’s Daughter, which was a 2007 Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection and an ALA Best Book of 2008.

Cullen's new novel is Mrs. Poe.

From her Q & A with Kimberly Eve:

What made you decide to write about Edgar Allan Poe and focus on his time in New York City?

What brought me to Edgar Allan Poe? In a word: desperation. Two years ago, in the height of the Great Recession, a year after my husband had lost his job like so many others, my then-publisher turned down the manuscript I’d been working on for a year and a half. They wanted something with a more “feisty” heroine. Feisty heroines, it seems, sold in a market that was very shaky, as were most markets around the world then. The week I got this devastating news, my husband fell ill with meningitis and nearly died. When I brought him home from the hospital, I didn’t know how we were going to survive. He had a debilitating brain injury and I had no book prospect. So there I was, pacing in my office, half delirious from fear and sleeplessness, thinking ,“Feisty heroine, feisty heroine.” Suddenly into my crazed mind came the word Poe.

Not having read Poe’s work since high school, I raced to my computer to look him up. I saw that he was an orphan, very poor, and a lonely lost soul. My kind of guy to write about. But I wanted to write a novel from a woman’s point of view—and a feisty one, to boot—so I kept looking. Poe’s wife, Virginia was thirteen when he married her and didn’t seem so feisty. And then I read about his alleged affair with poet Frances Osgood during his time in New York City, just after he’d written ‘The Raven.’ Frances had been abandoned by her portrait-painter husband and was trying to support her children with writing. So here was this desperate woman trying to survive by her writing. Oh, I could so relate. And she was plenty feisty, too. So I set about telling the story of Frances and Edgar from her point of view.

Incidentally, my husband has completely recovered, thank goodness.

How much research went into Mrs. Poe? It felt so authentic. Just how did you manage it?

Frances took over the writing, it seemed, just a month into my research, so early on I was scrambling to write and research at the same time. I familiarized myself with Poe and Frances by...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Lynn Cullen's website.

My Book, The Movie: Mrs. Poe.

The Page 69 Test: Mrs. Poe.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Dennis Palumbo

Formerly a Hollywood screenwriter (My Favorite Year; Welcome Back, Kotter, etc.), Dennis Palumbo is now a licensed psychotherapist and author of Writing From the Inside Out. As a fiction writer, his short stories have appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, The Strand, Written By and elsewhere, and are collected in From Crime to Crime.

Palumbo is also the author of the Daniel Rinaldi series of mysteries. The debut novel was Mirror Image, followed by Fever Dream, and Night Terrors.

From his Q & A with Sandra Parshall at The Big Thrill:

When you decided to write a crime fiction series about a therapist, did you consider using Hollywood as your setting? Why did you rule it out and place Rinaldi’s practice in gritty Pittsburgh instead?

I never considered using Hollywood, because—much like the rest of Southern California—it’s been over-used as an arena for crime fiction. On the other hand, I feel that mid-Atlantic states like Pennsylvania, and mid-sized cities like Pittsburgh, haven’t been exploited as much as they could be. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that I love Pittsburgh, and have fond memories of the kind of childhood a kid could have in a tight-knit, ethnically-diverse community like that.

Moreover, there’s the wonderful dichotomy of the “old” Pittsburgh—steel mills, smokestacks, coal barges gliding along the Three Rivers at night—in contrast to the new, gentrified Pittsburgh, with its world-class hospitals and universities, its pioneering role in organ transplants and nanotechnology. As I like to say, it’s a shot-and-a-beer town colliding with the Information Age. Blue collars being exchanged for white ones, with all the unease and uncertainty that implies. It’s a rich, complex, vibrant setting for a contemporary crime series.

I assume you don’t have a lot of serial killers and outright psychopaths as patients in your Hollywood practice. How did you develop and deepen your understanding of such people and the crimes they commit?

Well, the joke answer is, after twenty years as a Hollywood screenwriter, dealing regularly with movie producers and network executives, I already had plenty of experience dealing with psychopaths. Seriously...[read on]
Visit Dennis Palumbo's website.

My Book, The Movie: Night Terrors.

Writers Read: Dennis Palumbo.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Kate Manning

Kate Manning is the author of Whitegirl, a novel (Dial Press, 2002). A former documentary television producer for public television, she has won two New York Emmy Awards, and also written for the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times Book Review, among others. She has taught creative writing at Bard High School Early College in Manhattan, where she lives with her boisterous family, including a dog named Moon, who walks her regularly.

Her new novel is My Notorious Life. The novel introduces Axie Muldoon, a fiery heroine for the ages whose story begins on the streets of 1860s New York. The impoverished child of Irish immigrants, she grows up to become one of the wealthiest and most controversial women of her day.

From Manning's Q & A with Carolyn Kellogg for the Los Angeles Times:

Tell me more about the real-life midwife/abortionist Ann Lohman [who partly inspired the creation of Manning's protagonist].

She made a fortune selling euphemistically labeled "lunar tablets for the relief of female complaint." What they really did was cause a miscarriage. Women who were trying to control the size of their families, or if they had an unwanted pregnancy, they were desperate for any sort of services. She made a fortune selling these medicines. If they didn't work — they did sometimes, but they were pretty dangerous — she would perform a termination.

[The newspapers] called her "hag of misery," "evil sorceress." I kept thinking: Was she really that bad? People of her time thought that she actually faked her suicide. That she wasn't really dead; she would come back and tell her story and reveal all of society's secrets. Wealthy people who had used her services — the politicians and power brokers and their wives and daughters and mistresses — she would come and tell their stories. And I thought, "Wow, what if she did!"

What was it like looking into the medical details of the Victorian era?

I researched it a lot. I have old, decaying textbooks like "Doctor Gunning Bedford's Diseases of Women and Children," old medical manuals, advice manuals for women. I've had three children, and I've had about every sort of reproductive issue you can think of. I don't think you can have those experiences without wondering what it was like to have children in the past. There was no anesthesia. There was very little knowledge about what was going on in there. Some of the ideas just astonished me — for example, the notion of the "Milk Leg." It was thought that mothers who were pregnant, if their ankles swelled up, it was mother's milk filling them up, swelling them. I thought...[read on]
Visit Kate Manning's website.

The Page 69 Test: My Notorious Life.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Suzanne Redfearn

Suzanne Redfearn graduated from California Polytechnic Institute, Pomona. Like her protagonist she is an architect and lives in Laguna Beach with her husband and two children.

Redfearn's debut novel Hush Little Baby, is now out.

From her Q & A at the Traveling With T blog:

What was the inspiration for Hush Little Baby?

A friend of mine was going through a divorce. Until she separated from her husband, the two seemed like the picture of happiness. But the story she told over drinks one night of the abuse and cruelty she endured behind closed doors was so frightening it made me wonder how many other marriages are not what they appear.

The curveball came about a month later when we went out again and my friend’s story had changed, the tale altered and now with glaring inconsistencies from the earlier version that caused an alarm to blare in my brain. What if she was making it up? Custody of the kids was at stake. Could she be setting her husband up? For over 10 years, I’d known her husband as a stand-up guy, the baseball coach who never yelled, the neighbor who happily carted your Christmas tree home in his truck, the kind of guy who always showed up and did his part. Yet, how quickly I dismissed all that based on a story over drinks; how quickly everyone dismissed it, so easily accepting that he was abusive and dangerous.

So I got to thinking; how easy it is to sabotage a life, that if my husband set out to destroy me, to preemptively strike before I realized what was going on, he could do it. He knows my weaknesses, my failings, my vulnerabilities. If he had the inclination, he could easily undermine my reputation and portray me as unstable or a bad mother, ensuring that if we divorced, he’d get custody of the kids.

My friend loves her children above all else, three beautiful boys. At the time they were 4, 9 and 12, and their futures, as well as her own, hung in the balance. To this day, nearly three years later, I don’t know if she was telling the truth or manufacturing lies. Either way, her story was a captivating cautionary tale that made me wonder how far someone might go to keep their spouse from getting custody of their kids, and then, if...[read on]
Learn more about Hush Little Baby at Suzanne Redfearn's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Suzanne Redfearn and Cooper.

My Book, The Movie: Hush Little Baby.

The Page 69 Test: Hush Little Baby.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 21, 2013

Anita Elberse

Anita Elberse, the Lincoln Filene Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, is one of the youngest female professors to be awarded tenure in the School’s history. Her new book is Blockbusters: Hit-making, Risk-taking, and the Big Business of Entertainment.

From her Q & A with Kevin Nguyen for Amazon:

In the book, you introduce the "tent-pole strategy," which is basically the opposite of the age-old advice of diversifying one's portfolio. Why does the tent-pole strategy work?

A “tent-pole strategy” or, as I call it, “blockbuster strategy” is one in which a content producer makes huge investments to acquire, develop, and market concepts with strong hit potential, and then banks on the sales of those titles to make up for the middling performance of their other content. It’s a popular strategy: many of today’s leading film studios, television networks, book publishers, music labels, and video game publishers live by this approach.

Why does it work? For one, strong brands and high production values matter. Higher production budgets allow studios and other producers to afford the best creative talent, the most sought-after properties, and make the highest-quality products. Scale also brings marketing advantages: it is relatively cost-efficient to advertise those tent-pole bets. And trying to create blockbusters fits the way in which consumers make choices: we like to talk about the latest films we’ve seen, or the latest books we’ve read, which makes us converge on the same choices.

That doesn’t mean that producers should bet only on blockbusters, though. In my book, I also explain why smaller bets are important, even if they might have lower odds of success. It’s about having the right balance in one’s portfolio.

Blockbusters is focused on media from mostly the past decade. What has changed in the past ten years that makes the tent-pole strategy so effective? Is it a new strategy or is it a response to a changing environment/audience?

My book indeed is based on a decade’s worth of research on the entertainment industry, so it discusses many of the biggest successes in recent years. I would not say that the audience has fundamentally changed in recent years—in fact, the laws of consumer behavior I describe are surprisingly constant. But the changing environment certainly plays a key role in the popularity of the blockbuster strategy.

One key factor is the globalization of markets. You see that in the movie industry, where domestic box-office revenues have been stable but international box-office revenues are growing fast. Now, if you consider that international markets have their own local products and often don’t have as many screens as we do here in the U.S., and that markets like China impose other constraints on the amount of movies that can be shown, it becomes clear that only a small group of films benefit from the international growth. As a studio executive, you want to make sure your movies travel well, and that often means you have to make blockbuster bets.

Another factor is the growth of ...[read on]
Visit the Blockbusters website and Facebook page and Anita Elberse's Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Douglas Coupland

Douglas Coupland's new novel is Worst. Person. Ever.

From Coupland's Q & A with Lindsay Baker at the Observer:

Worst. Person. Ever. has as its protagonist the incredibly foul-mouthed, misanthropic and genuinely shocking Raymond Gunt. Who or what inspired him and was he a liberating character to write?

The seed of Raymond was a cameraman who was on a shoot I was doing in California in the early 1990s. He was this British, walking Tourette's‑y car crash – I couldn't stop looking – and I filed him away for a rainy day. Was Raymond liberating to write? Yes and no – I'm pretty free inside my head – but Raymond really did shock me at times. He's truly inventive.

Raymond and his sidekick, Neal, get embroiled in a series of increasingly bizarre events. How did the plot unfold in your mind?

I read an interview with the Coen brothers once. When they write a script they do it one page at a time – each must create a dilemma that the other has to solve. With Worst. Person. Ever. I knew where it started and where it had to end, but I threw Raymond as many curveballs as I could along the way. He's like the coyote in the Road Runner cartoons.

Have you ever had any Raymond Gunt moments in your life?

The...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A. C. Grayling

A. C. Grayling's new book is Friendship.

From his Q & A at the Yale University Press blog:

Yale University Press: How important is friendship in the twenty-first century?

A.C. Grayling: Friendship has always been central to human existence, and although it is no longer a matter of leaguing together to bring down a woolly mammoth, it remains an indispensable psychological and social platform for good lives. In some ways the new media of communication and social networking has overextended the notion of “friendship” to a shallow simulacrum to that relationship, but they also make it possible for people to be together in new ways, and to nourish the bonds in which friendship consists.

YUP: Can friendship ever be bad for us?

ACG: It is all too possible to have toxic friends; it too often happens that people can do unwise or bad things in the name of friendship; having the wrong people as friends can be destructive; so yes—friendship can be bad for us. But it is far more often...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 18, 2013

Charles Palliser

Charles Palliser’s new novel is the Gothic thriller, Rustication.

From his Q & A with Suzanne Fox for Publishers Weekly:

What was the inspiration for the book, and the title?

I started with ideas of exile, remoteness, and failure. My narrator, Richard, is suspended from Cambridge and his family is “banished”—because of both financial pressure and scandal—from [their home] where they have had considerable status. The three of them have been forced to start life again in a lonely and hostile place. I always try to find a single word for a title that packs in as many relevant meanings as possible, and about halfway through writing the novel it occurred to me that the word “rustication” brought all those ideas together beautifully. In the sense of “suspension from an educational establishment,” the word is pretty obscure, but clearly everyone will recognize that the countryside is involved.

The plot involves conspiracy to commit murder, sexual threats, family secrets, and even a possible ghost. Did the complexity of the story present formal challenges?

I wanted to use the form of a diary. Keeping to Richard’s point of view was a serious challenge, since he is unaware of much of what is unfolding around him. The other “voice” in the novel is...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Manil Suri

Manil Suri was born in Bombay and is a professor of mathematics and affiliate professor of Asian studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He is the author of the novels The Death of Vishnu, The Age of Shiva, and The City of Devi. His fiction has won several awards and honors and has been translated into twenty-seven languages. He was named by Time Magazine as a “Person to Watch” in 2000. He is a citizen of both the United States and India.

From Suri's Q & A with Nawaaz Ahmed at Fiction Writers Review:

Is it fair to say that in contrast it with your latest book, the structure and the nature of your first book remained pretty much the same from the first draft to your last?

The action was pretty much the same. That’s been true of all the books. It’s more so now. By the time I actually show it to anyone, I have worked through the characters and the actions and the scenes. I try not to anticipate too many changes. In the second book, The Age of Shiva, I did change the ending. In a previous incarnation, it was much more bleak: Meera, the mother, has invested all her chances of happiness in her son, almost like a romantic attachment, and it ended on this ambiguous note where’s she’s stuck. But in the version that I finally did, she comes out of it.

Why did you feel you needed to change the ending? Was the ending you originally had not satisfying to you?

The biggest problem with the second book was how to make Meera sympathetic, to allow readers to identify with her in some sense. I think I succeeded with Indian audiences. In India (and, incidentally, France), people were saying at readings that they understand perfectly what Meera went through. There is this attraction in South Asia for male children that mothers have. And one of my interviewers in France said, “I am Meera,” which was amazing. But many American readers found Meera completely unsympathetic. Several of them said they were disappointed when she didn’t kill herself—that’s the level of anger they had for her.

That was an awakening: I always thought she was a very sympathetic character, but women especially did not. They thought she made too many bad decisions, that she was self-destructive. They wanted a heroine that could overcome all odds and have this rousing climax where she emerges as a person to be emulated, and that is exactly what I didn’t want to do.

There were other tropes suggested to me. At one point, my editor suggested that Meera kill herself and end the book there. That she walks into the water and that’s it. She said that would be sure to get people’s sympathy. It was a real puzzle what to do with Meera. At some point, you have to be true to the vision that you have for a character. There was this gap between what I thought and what people from different cultures thought. There’s a cultural background to the way we read a book.

So as a writer, what do you do? Do you have a specific audience you write for?

That’s the hard part. As a writer you have to be true to yourself. I asked Michael Cunningham about this, and he said that when people say they can’t sympathize with a character what that usually means is that they haven’t...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Manil Suri's website.

Read about Manil Suri's top ten books about Mumbai.

The Page 69 Test: The City of Devi.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Lisa O'Donnell

Lisa O'Donnell won the Orange Screenwriting Prize in 2000 for The Wedding Gift and, in the same year, was nominated for the Dennis Potter New Screenwriters Award. A native of Scotland, O'Donnell is now a full-time writer and lives in Los Angeles with her two children.

O'Donnell's first novel, The Death of Bees, is now out in paperback.

From the author's Q & A with Miwa Messer, Director of the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers program:

You started out as a screenwriter and won a couple of awards early on — the Orange Screenwriting Prize in 2000 for The Wedding Gift, which, in the same year was nominated for the Dennis Potter New Screenwriters Award. What made you shift gears towards writing fiction?

I worked in TV for a while but found myself working on other people's ideas. I wanted to see my own stories come to life and though I considered novel writing I was a little afraid of the medium. It took me a long time to pluck up the courage to write something down and when I did I wrote: "Today is Christmas Eve. Today is my birthday. Today I am fifteen. Today I buried my parents in the backyard. Neither of them were beloved". These are the first words Marnie says in The Death of Bees. I must have looked at those words for about 6 months before I had Marnie say something else. I just wasn't sure where I was going to place those words, in the context of a screenplay or a novel? I'm glad I chose a novel.

The voices of your two young protagonists, Marnie who is 15 and Nelly who is 12, seem completely authentic - their fears and joys are distinctly those of teenagers who've just buried their no-good, drug-addicted, alcoholic parents in the backyard of their Glasgow housing development. How did you get inside their minds and hearts?

I knew them already. I am a social gleaner. I listen to people with my eyes as well as my ears and I am fortunate enough to have known all kinds of people in my life, for better or worse. I have known poverty and the challenges that come with it and I have lived in environments where those challenges have affected the lives of others.

I knew many Marnies in my adolescence. I was always drawn to the kind of girl who holes herself up in a cloudy bathroom. I can't deny I was...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Lisa O'Donnell's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Death of Bees.

Writers Read: Lisa O'Donnell.

My Book, The Movie: The Death of Bees.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood's latest novel is MaddAddam.

From her Q & A with Noah Charney for The Daily Beast:

If a reader would like to read one of your books, but is unfamiliar with your oeuvre, which of your 50+ books would you recommend they begin with, and why?

Let us ask what kind of a reader we are talking about. If it is a young man, they should start with Oryx and Crake. A young woman? The Handmaid’s Tale. An older person interested in history, I would suggest Alias Grace or The Blind Assassin. If it is a person interested in reading very, very short things, I’d suggest any of the short story books. Or even shorter, they could buy something like "Good Bones," Murder in the Dark, one of those collections of very short pieces of writing. If they are interested in poems, then the Selected Poems or Morning in the Burned House, or The Door.

Among all of them do you have a personal favorite?

I would...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 14, 2013

Benjamin R. Barber

Benjamin R. Barber is the author of If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities.

From his Q & A at the Yale University Press blog:

Yale University Press: Why are you writing about cities when nation-states have all the power and are creating all the problems?

Benjamin R. Barber: Because it’s time to change the subject: we have been talking about independent nation-states for centuries, but more and more their power counts for little when it comes to the challenges of an interdependent world. The city’s not just where the action needs to be; it’s where the action is. Let’s talk intercity relations, not international relations; a parliament of mayors, not a League of Nations or a United Nations; global citizens, not local special interest consumers.

YUP: The American democratic process seems to be tied up in partisan knots. How can city mayors and their municipal governments do better?

BRB: As Mayor Teddy Kollek of Jerusalem said, mayors don’t give sermons, they...[read on]
Visit Benjamin R. Barber's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Kathleen Kent

Kathleen Kent is the author of The Heretic's Daughter and The Traitor's Wife. She lives in Dallas.

Her new novel is The Outcasts.

From her Q & A with Erika Mailman:

Q: In your new book The Outcasts you write two different character’s storylines: Lucinda Carter, who escapes a brothel and journeys to meet up with an old acquaintance, and Nate Cannon, doing a stint with the Texas Rangers. Was it difficult to write from a male perspective?

KK: No, I didn’t find it difficult at all. My second novel, The Traitor’s Wife, was written from various male points of view, as well as female. We all have masculine and feminine traits and intuitions, and part of the joy of being a writer is trying on all of those personas. I also think growing up with a dad who was a great storyteller of Texas legends helped to plant the voices in my head. From him I adopted the pride, awe and, at times, despair for the wild, rough-edged and dangerous men and women who settled the early frontier.

Q: What kind of research did you do to understand the psychology of someone who knows their lover does despicable, harmful things to others—and yet still fiercely loves and admires them?

KK: There are so many stories in the history books, ancient and modern, of otherwise reasonable, intelligent women falling for unscrupulous men. Certainly it still happens today. All you have to do is open the paper (or click on the story while on-line) to see the destruction and carnage as a result of a woman aiding and supporting a bad man on a crime spree. As a character study, it was interesting to develop Lucinda’s growing dependence on her lover and the way she rationalizes his character and behavior. In a time when women had---and in many places still have---so few choices in their own destinies, it was...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Kathleen Kent's website, blog, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: The Outcasts.

The Page 69 Test: The Outcasts.

Writers Read: Kathleen Kent.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Henry Bushkin

Henry Bushkin is a lawyer living in Los Angeles. For eighteen years he was Johnny Carson’s personal legal advisor, fixer, confidant, and close friend. Bushkin's new memoir is Johnny Carson.

Highlights from his Q & A with Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg for the Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy blog:

Speakeasy: You parted ways with Mr. Carson in the late 1980s; why write about him now?

Henry Bushkin: I never intended to. I started writing a novel in 2008, and after telling a good friend about it, he said, you’re such a jerk. Why don’t you write the book about Carson that people really want to read?

Johnny Carson retired in 1992. Do you have any concerns that some viewers don’t know who he was?

Absolutely. It’s an ongoing issue. My hope is that Johnny Carson enjoys a renaissance, and that this book plays a part in that. Every comedian today would say that Carson was the best. Hopefully today’s generation will get that. If it takes a realistic portrait to bring him back in front of the public it’s worth it.

You became so close to Mr. Carson that you followed him to California. Eventually, you marriage ended, with your wife of the time blaming it in part your allegiance to Mr. Carson. Why were you so frank about this?

One of the concerns was that people would automatically think that this was a book trashing Johnny Carson. That was...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 11, 2013

Alissa Nutting

Alissa Nutting's new novel is Tampa.

From her Q & A with Abby Sheaffer at Chicago Literati:

What were some of the challenges you faced when writing Tampa? How did you overcome them?

I knew that if I was going to write a book about this topic, there were a few essential mandates I had for myself—otherwise, it wouldn’t have felt important to me. One is that I wanted the female protagonist to be effectively soulless. We have such a hard time with literature where female protagonists are merely unlikable, let alone unredeemable. I didn’t want her POV to be mediated by anyone else. I wanted to write it in a very graphic, sexualized way that directly confronts readers with the fetishization of cases like this, the celebritizing of the female offenders, our cultural inability to accept the male students as victims. I wanted the novel to be more an indictment of society—the various factors that contribute to the perpetuation and sense of general approval about cases like this; the attitude that states this isn’t ‘truly’ a crime unless the offender is male. The factors that privilege female appearance over any other aspect of female personhood. The factors that allow us to see male sexuality as powerful and dangerous but prevent us from seeing female sexuality that way.

At the same time, I also realized how much each of these mandates would cause the book (and me as an author) to be unpalatable to some, or seem extreme. But the very real line of thinking that casts a scenario of sexual predation as a fantasy or entertainment--I felt the need to wallow in that slimy line of thinking: fully actualize it, hyperbolize it, satirize it. Take it all the way to its grotesque and campy finish.

The problem is that I’m a long-time people pleaser who is still working at being comfortable around conflict and debate. It’s difficult for me to feel like I’m not liked, or feel my work is not liked. It was a really hard decision ultimately, especially because I knew I wanted to have a child (and did have one by the time the book was published). It was unbearably painful for me to think about my future child Google-searching me and seeing all these ruthless comments; I worried s/he would feel ashamed of me or embarrassed. But I also knew...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Alissa Nutting's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ben H. Winters

Ben H. Winters's novels include The Last Policeman, which was the recipient of the 2012 Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America (it was also named one of the Best Books of 2012 by and Slate) and Countdown City, the second book in the Last Policeman trilogy.

From his Q & A with Marty Mulrooney at Alternative Magazine Online:

In my review of Countdown City, I said how “It’s not unusual for the middle installment of a trilogy to sag, but Countdown City positively soars.” Following the critical acclaim for The Last Policeman, was it daunting writing a sequel?

Fortunately, I was already well underway on the sequel – plotting it out, considering the characters and the story – before TLP even came out. And any positive feedback only validated my sense that I know what the hell I’m doing when I sit down to write.

Did Countdown City require as much research as the first book?

Not quite as much, because I didn’t have to learn about asteroids all over again. I did do a lot of interviews, though, including with a former Green Beret, who told me all about treating gunshot wounds if you’re alone in the wilderness.

There is a dark humour that runs throughout both books – do you think it’s important to include some levity when writing about what is essentially quite a terrifying prospect?

Important only in the sense that if this were a real true thing that were happening, I guarantee you that a lot of people would be making darkly sarcastic remarks right up until the whole world exploded. That’s just how people are: everyone has...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at the official Ben H. Winters website.

The Last Policeman is on Christopher Buehlman's list of eleven novels that will creep you out.

My Book, The Movie: The Last Policeman.

The Page 69 Test: The Last Policeman.

The Page 69 Test: Countdown City.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Jessica Anya Blau

Jessica Anya Blau's books include the nationally bestselling novel The Summer of Naked Swim Parties and the critically acclaimed Drinking Closer to Home.

Her latest novel is The Wonder Bread Summer.

From the author's Q & A with Mourning Goats:

Did I hear right? Wonder Bread is taken from a lot of real events you've been through?

Yup, sure is. Here's the round up of stuff I've encountered in real life: 1. The bread bag full of cocaine. 2. The girl (moi!) working at a dress shop that's really a front for cocaine dealing. 3. The quadriplegic with the head pointer who makes "erotic" films (in real life the guy made sex films that he called "art", in the book the guy makes porn). 4. The blind date with the quadriplegic (my blind date was with a paraplegic). 5. A guy named Vice Versa (the real one wasn't a hit man). Hmmm, there's more, but I can't remember right now.

What's the hardest thing you ever had to write?

The hardest things for me to write are promo/ad copy sort of things. Fiction is way easier than stuff like that. Actually, the hardest things to write are mission statements, essays, statements of purpose. The kind of stuff you have to write to get into colonies. I find that kind of writing agonizing.

Did I hear that the very first story you sent out was published? What did that feel like?

It did and I was shocked. I was...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Jessica Anya Blau's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Jessica Anya Blau and Pippa.

The Page 69 Test: The Wonder Bread Summer.

My Book, The Movie: The Wonder Bread Summer.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Anita Hughes

Anita Hughes was born in Sydney, Australia and had a charmed childhood that included petting koala bears, riding the waves on Bondi Beach, and putting an occasional shrimp on the barbie. Her writing career began at the age of eight, when she won a national writing contest in The Australian newspaper, and was named "One of Australia's Next Best Writers." (She still has the newspaper clipping.)

Hughes received a B.A. in English Literature with a minor in Creative Writing from Bard College, and attended UC Berkeley's Masters in Creative Writing program.

Her debut novel Monarch Beach was released in June 2012, followed by Market Street in March 2013.

Hughes's latest novel is Lake Como. From her Q & A with Meredith Resnick at The Writer's [Inner] Journey:

Meredith: How do you find that a work of your takes shape? Does form follow idea? Or does idea follow form? Or is it a process that gets worked out in the writing, waiting, reflecting, pondering? Are you a let-it-be type of writer, or a shape-it, form-it, make-this-thing-work kind of one?

ANITA: I start with a location – I love to set my novels in gorgeous locations: Laguna Beach, San Francisco, Lake Como, because I feel like I am there while I am writing it. Then I spend some time visualizing the locations, seeing the streets and houses in my mind. After that I think of a problem and let that sit for a while. Lastly, I create my characters. I love strong women and great female friendships so my heroine always has to have someone she can turn to in good and bad times.

Meredith: We all seem to have rules we are attached to—whether they actually work for us or not is another story. What is it about rules that make us feel like we are doing something correctly? Why, once we set up rules does it seem we need to break them to set ourselves free?

ANITA: I think rules...[read on]
Visit Anita Hughes's website.

Writers Read: Anita Hughes (July 2012).

My Book, The Movie: Market Street.

My Book, The Movie: Lake Como.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 7, 2013

Valerie Plame

Valerie Plame's new CIA thriller is Blowback.

From her Q & A with Katie Baker for The Daily Beast:

The Daily Beast: You and Vanessa Pierson, your novel's protagonist, seem to share a lot of the same qualities—you are both blonde, you both have a CIA background, you share the same initials. How much of your own story and psychology is in your heroine?

Valerie Plame: There are a lot of things. I draw on my own experience. I very much wanted to depict a female CIA ops officer that was much more realistic, who has flaws but is smart and loves her job—but what comes with that is a great deal of frustration and challenges and trying to have some sort of normal relationships—hard under the best of circumstances, but especially in an otherwise crazy career. We both come from military families: My dad was Air Force and fought in WWII, but because of the timing, her father is Air Force and he was in Vietnam. Brother in the Marines, same as me. All the places in the book, I’ve been to, lived there or traveled there, worked there. I think that’s part of the appeal of, say, Bond. You’re not watching them for the dialogue—it’s taking you to exotic locales.

Did you have the same rebellious streak that Vanessa has?

I would say, growing up, I was very conscious of authority. And yet the CIA recruits a certain type of person to go into operations. They want someone who has a lot of initiative, and is willing to work right at the edge. But it’s not good to have cowboys. They exist, but it’s not a good idea to have people who go off and try to do ...what their own judgment is telling them. As you saw at the beginning of the book, it was her judgment call that lead her to decide to do that ops meeting. She was so close and it had tragic consequences. In terms of authority, she is really pushing the system as hard as she possibly can. I probably...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 6, 2013

David Berg

In 1968 David Berg’s brother, Alan, was murdered by Charles Harrelson, a notorious hit man and father of actor Woody Harrelson. Alan was only thirty-one when he disappeared; six months later his remains were found in a ditch in Texas. Run, Brother, Run: A Memoir of a Murder in My Family is Berg’s story of the murder.

From Berg's Q & A with Randy Dotinga for the Christian Science Monitor:

Q: You write about the influence of your father over the lives of you and your brother. What role did he play?

A: Machiavelli writes that the world conspires, usually in the form of a disapproving parent, to obscure our talents and gifts even from ourselves. The sooner you're able to shake that bond, the more likely you are to succeed.

Even up until the moment of his death, my brother Alan was still seeking his father's approval. He was smart and funny and a very capable guy and a great salesman, too, but he never understood that about himself. Up to the moment he was murdered, he was still seeking Dad's approval.

Q: What about you?

A: Somehow, I knew my father's approval was not worth winning.

Q: How did this tragedy affect you?

A: I know that I was ashamed of the way Alan died on some subconscious level, and I was ashamed of being ashamed. I think I poured all of that anger and embarrassment into...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Caroline Leavitt

Caroline Leavitt is the New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You, which sold to six countries, went into five printings, and was a San Francisco Chronicle Lit Pick, a Costco "Pennie's Pick" and a NAIBA bestseller. Pictures of You is also a USA Today ebook bestseller and is on the Best Books of 2011 List from the San Francisco Chronicle, Providence Journal, Kirkus Reviews and Bookmarks Magazine. It's also one of Kirkus Reviews Top 5 books of 2011 about the Family and love.

Is This Tomorrow is Leavitt's tenth and latest novel. From Leavitt's Q & A with Katy Flaherty at Writers’ Program:

Writers’ Program: In Is This Tomorrow, you do a great job of juxtaposing the cultural norms of 1950s–so often viewed with nostalgia and longing for a “simpler time”—with the realities of being an outsider in this culture. What made you choose the fifties as the jumping off point for the novel?

Caroline Leavitt: The fifties were such a weird time. It was supposed to be a white picket fence suburban paradise, but the suburbs back then were all about everyone being the same, and if you dared to be different–or if you simply were different, you paid a high price. Setting the book in the 1950s gave me a lot of drama. Ava Lark is divorced at a time when no one gets divorced. She’s also Jewish at a time when being Jewish was virtually the same as being that dreaded of all dreaded things: a Communist. And she works at a time when mothers didn’t work.

WP: Your writing immediately transports the reader to a different time and place. From Ava’s outfits to Lewis and Jimmy’s road trip stops, everything seems very authentically of the time. How did you go about researching to get the details so spot on?

CL: After it took me three days to find out what 1950s cops used instead of crime tape (wooden saw horses and rope), I hired a librarian who was amazing. I’d ask her for one thing, like researching what people ate back then, and she’d come back with things I hadn’t thought to ask!

The greatest boon...[read on]
Visit Caroline Leavitt's website and blog.

Writers Read: Caroline Leavitt.

The Page 69 Test: Is This Tomorrow.

My Book, The Movie: Is This Tomorrow.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 4, 2013

Donald Driver

Donald Driver is a Super Bowl champ, Dancing with the Stars winner, and an author of children’s books. His new memoir is Driven: From Homeless to Hero, My Journeys On and Off Lambeau Field.

From Driver's Q & A with Josh Sorokach at The Barnes & Noble Book Blog:

Driven chronicles your amazing transformation from a young person stealing cars and selling drugs to a caring husband, loving father, and football icon. What advice would you give people growing up in tough situations who want to improve their circumstances and change their lives?

First, you have to realize nothing is impossible if you have the will and determination to make it happen. Anyone can say they are going to do something, but the people who are able to improve their circumstances are the ones who actually take steps to achieve their goals. Everyone has the power inside them to change their lives, we just have to make up our minds that we are actually going to do it and then follow through on that promise to ourselves.

Second, you have to educate yourself. Whether that is in school or in some sort of trade, your own education is something you can control and is critical to success in any field…even sports. There is no way I could have played fourteen years in the NFL if I didn’t work my butt off on the practice field perfecting my technique, or spend hours upon hours in the film room studying defenses.

In Driven, you reveal a story from your youth about narrowly escaping the police when an elderly stranger covered for you after you crashed your stolen car into her automobile. Do you ever think about how your life would have been different if she hadn’t given you that second chance?

All the time. Miss Johnson saw something...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Joan Steinau Lester

Joan Steinau Lester is an award-winning journalist and author. Her latest book is the novel Mama's Child.

From her Q & A with Renee Swindle:

R: What was the genesis for Mama’s Child? Was it a book you’ve always wanted to write?

J: Ah. The mother-daughter bond is such an enduring theme, in literature and life. The tension between emotional poles on the daughter’s part—“I’m like you, I’m not anything like you!”—combined with the mother’s sometimes-guilty web of adoration, protection, and resentment (“Grow up, so I can have my own life!”) can create fertile ground for misunderstandings. Add in the charge of “race,” and you have an irresistible mix.

Since I was passionate during the civil rights era, I had yearned to set a novel in that time period. Part of my impetus was to rehabilitate the image of ‘60s activists, who’ve been portrayed in our more conservative era as self-indulgent, rather than inspired idealists leaning against a great historic injury. I also witnessed the personal toll such dangerous involvement took on the young activists.

Once these two themes converged in my imagination—mother/daughter conflict, and the Movement’s personal impact—I was hooked. Still, it took me TEN years to find a form that perfectly suited the content.

R: You’re the author of five award-winning books of both non-fiction and fiction. Do you prefer one form of writing to the other? How many works in progress do you have going at any given time?

J: Like many writers, I love...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Lyndsay Faye

Lyndsay Faye's new novel is Seven for a Secret.

From her Q & A with Elise Guest at Eight Bookcases:

What's your first book-related memory?

Hmmm. I don't have one. I was never not reading, really. My parents were obsessed with great storytelling and read to me all the time, and I started reading very early, before I can quite remember it--I was extremely lucky to have a pair of book lovers for parents. That and FYI, I have a memory like a steel sieve. I do know that before I could read, I'd correct my mom when she tried to skip paragraphs in bedtime stories. I was an obnoxious little animal.

What's one word or turn of phrase that you've felt compelled to work into your writing?

There's a lot of a language called "flash patter" in the Timothy Wilde novels, and in the new one, Seven for a Secret, I absolutely could not stop myself from including an interlude about what the word "O.K." actually means (it's an acronym). Tim and Val Wilde, who patter flash, comprehend its meaning and their friend Mr. Piest has to ask what on earth O.K. signifies (the word was coined as...[read on]
Visit Lyndsay Faye's website.

Writers Read: Lyndsay Faye (April 2012).

The Page 69 Test: The Gods of Gotham.

The Page 69 Test: Seven for a Secret.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Liad Shoham

Liad Shoham is one Israel's leading crime writer and a practicing attorney with degrees from Jerusalem's Hebrew University and the London School of Economics. All his crime novels (five to date) have been critically acclaimed bestsellers. Lineup is the first of his thrillers available in English.

From Shoham's Q & A with Lenny Picker at Publishers Weekly:

How did The Wire influence Lineup?

The series had an enormous effect on me. I watched it with my wife when she was toward the end of her pregnancy, and was having difficulty sleeping. Through watching the series, I realized how powerful it was to see a dramatic story told from various angles. I think that when you write the way I do, about “the system”—when you try to expand the scope to include social issues—presenting the problem from various standpoints enriches the story and gives it a level of complexity. You understand the motives and interests of the different players. There’s no good and bad, there’s only complexity. That’s why Lineup is told from the standpoint of the victim, her family, the police, the prosecutors, the courts, journalists, gangsters, and...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue