Friday, February 28, 2014

David I. Kertzer

David I. Kertzer is the Paul Dupee, Jr. University Professor of Social Science and professor of anthropology and Italian studies at Brown University, where he served as provost from 2006 to 2011. His books include The Popes Against the Jews, which was a finalist for the Mark Lynton History Prize, and The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. He has twice been awarded the Marraro Prize from the Society for Italian Historical Studies for the best work on Italian history.

Kertzer's new book is The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe. From the author's Q & A with Randy Dotinga at the Christian Science Monitor:

Q: It's amazing to imagine that the Catholic church cozied up to fascism. How did that happen?

We see things retrospectively in terms of where fascism ended up. But under Pius XI, fascism was totally new, an Italian invention headed by Mussolini – a bunch of former left-wingers who became fascists at the end of the first world war.

As for the church, things were very different than they are now, post-Vatican Council. It's not all that long ago when there was really a much more authoritarian, medieval vision in the Vatican and the church.

There was no sympathy for multi-party democracy in the church at the time. Popes thought it was better to work with an autocratic system. You could have guarantees through a police state that the church will retain rights like freedom from abuse. The church didn't believe in the freedoms we worry about – freedom of speech, of religion, of association.

Q: Why was the Catholic church so uninterested in democracy?

A: The liberal democratic state that separated church and state was an abomination that needed to be overturned. Fascism pledged to do away with much of that, and it was viewed as an unexpected gift from God by the pope at the time.

What people don't realize is that...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Dara Horn

Dara Horn, the author of the novels All Other Nights, The World to Come, and In the Image, was chosen one of Granta’s "Best Young American Novelists" in 2007, and is the winner of two National Jewish Book Awards. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and four children.

Horn's latest novel is A Guide for the Perplexed.

From her Q & A with Rachel Gordan at Religion & Politics:

R&P: I have always thought that you write novels the way a historian would like to write fiction: historical events are made relevant to contemporary issues via a thrilling narrative. Why is history such a rich source for you, as a novelist?

DH: I do seem to spiral into these historical moments. This is my fourth novel, and when I began it, my intent was to write a completely contemporary book. When I was on tour for my last novel, about Jewish spies during the Civil War, I had people coming to my readings in costumes, with muskets. It was a little too much historical saturation for my taste, so I hoped to write something as contemporary as possible: the main character is a software developer! But when I saw that the program she created was precisely about recording everything—about the distinction between memory and history—I saw that I needed to test that distinction against something more significant than a fictional character’s childhood. So I went back to the original genizah at that point, and then back into Maimonides’ life. But your question is really about why I’m drawn to writing about the past at all.

The snarky answer, of course, is that historical fiction is always about the time when it’s being written, not the time when it supposedly takes place, because there has to be a reason why the writer is drawn to that particular time and the questions it raises. (The same is true of historians!) But the sincere answer is that I feel that the sense of shallowness that pervades much of American life is due to the fundamental American cultural premise that having a past is optional, that each of us is a self-made person with no antecedents that matter, that one can build a Wal-Mart on an Indian burial ground and call it progress. There is a genuine importance in that national priority of forgetting and the room it leaves for opportunity and invention. But it runs so counter to [what is at] the heart of...[read on]
Learn more about the author and her work at Dara Horn's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 99 Test: The World to Come.

The Page 99 Test: All Other Nights.

The Page 69 Test: A Guide for the Perplexed.

Writers Read: Dara Horn.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Laura Lippman

Laura Lippman's new novel is After I'm Gone.

From her Q & A with Connie Ogle at the Miami Herald:

Q: Why does the crime genre work so well for you as a writer?

A: This goes back more than a decade ago, when I was watching friends get serious about their work. Dennis Lehane was publishing Mystic River. George Pelecanos was working on the series that started with Right as Rain. Even Michael Connelly was digging a little deeper, pushing a little further into ‘What can I do with my series character?’ I noticed that they were writing not just about crime but about what it means to be a man in contemporary culture. What role does violence play, and does masculinity always have something to do with that? I thought, ‘Well, I can’t write that book.’ But I do have a lot of ideas about what it means to be a woman in our culture, especially a teenage girl or how inevitable it is that women’s lives are so linked to the men they’re with. They’re still defined by their husbands, even famous women. I’ve got something to say about that. And the world of teenage girls seemed very noirish to me, shot through with danger and risk. That’s where I started.

Q: There are five distinct women’s voices in the book. Was one more difficult for you to pin down than the others?

A: You forget......[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Laura Lippman's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Maureen Ogle

Maureen Ogle is a historian and the author of several books, including Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer.

Her latest book is In Meat We Trust: An Unexpected History of Carnivore America.

From Ogle's Q & A with Blake Maddux for The Arts Fuse:

AF: Why is In Meat We Trust an “unexpected” history?

Ogle: The “unexpected” part refers to the fact that the history that I uncovered had nothing at all to do with the standard claim about meat in America: Back in the old days, happy family farms raised happy livestock on happy pasture, and then along came the greedy commodities producers who got subsidies for corn and then drove those happy farmers off the land and the happy livestock into confinement.

None of that proved to be accurate. So: if, as a reader, you’re expecting the standard rap on meat, then, well, you’re in for an unexpected history.

AF: In the Introduction, you write, “meat is the culinary equivalent of gasoline.” Do you expect that someday a president will say, as George W. Bush said of oil, “America is addicted to meat,” and unveil a major policy initiative regarding its consumption?

Ogle: I think we’re very close to that point now. A couple of years ago, Mark Bittman, the cook turned pundit, made that very argument in his column for the New York Times. And given the way that, say, French fries and vending machines and fois gras are being regulated — either locally or federally — no, I won’t be surprised if “eat less meat” becomes an official policy.

Indeed, in some sense...[read on]
Visit Maureen Ogle's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: Ambitious Brew.

The Page 99 Test: In Meat We Trust.

Writers Read: Maureen Ogle.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 24, 2014

Kathleen George

Kathleen George is the editor of Pittsburgh Noir and the author of Taken, Fallen, Afterimage, The Odds (Edgar finalist, best novel), Hideout, and Simple. Her latest book, A Measure of Blood, is her seventh Richard Christie novel.

From George's Q & A with Don Helin at The Big Thrill:

Is there anything special you’d like to tell us about A MEASURE OF BLOOD?

I started it in 2008. At that time, I was researching foster care in New York City. Wow, that was one of my toughest research assignments. I was told the system was tough, almost inflexible. I thought, why am I setting this in New York? More and more, as I thought about it, it became a Pittsburgh story. The sense it made to me—Commander Christie’s emotions, my own work in theatre, the Pittsburgh locations—I can’t even remember now why I thought I was going to set it somewhere else. It’s quite an emotional story about longing and family.

Did any particular event inspire the plot?

Well you know how one idea morphs into another . . . I know a woman, a distant relative, who was thrilled to have a child by artificial insemination. When he was still small (I think, seven) she became seriously ill. All of us who know her were devastated. What would the child’s life be like? She couldn’t care for him any longer. What was going to happen? I began wondering and concocting a plot. In my story, a woman, Maggie Brown, who has had a child by artificial insemination is murdered. The murderer is a man who is furious because he believes the child is his and that she has kept the child from him. He has to run from the scene before he can snatch the child. But he’s not done. He wants that boy.

I love the way...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Kathleen George's website.

The Page 99 Test: Afterimage.

The Page 99 Test: The Odds.

The Page 69 Test: Hideout.

My Book, The Movie: Hideout.

The Page 69 Test: Simple.

Writers Read: Kathleen George.

The Page 69 Test: A Measure of Blood.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 23, 2014

M.L. Brennan

M.L. Brennan's first novel, Generation V, was published in 2013 from ROC Books, and is a work of urban fantasy. Its sequel, Iron Night, was published January 7, 2014. The third book in the series is Tainted Blood and will be available in November 2014.

From Brennan's Q & A with The Troubled Scribe:

Q: Ok – I have to ask this – were you influenced at all by the TV show Being Human or movie Twilight? There are certainly similarities between the main characters.

Brennan: While I’ve heard of the show Being Human, I’m sorry to say that I have yet to watch it, so any similarities are purely chance or similar sourcing.

In terms of Twilight – while I never saw the movies, I did read the first two books. While I do have a similarity of vampires and a main character being to some sense shocked into a sense of growth out of a period of just-getting-by stagnation, I think the difference between Fortitude Scott and Bella Swan would be the instigation of the growth. For Bella, it’s meeting a romantic partner that triggers her out of a mindless routine of mediocrity, which is an external trigger. For Fort, though, it’s being faced with a moral situation where the easiest course of action would be to do nothing and return to his normal life, but that he instead chooses to engage with and, as a result, grows and evolves. So for him it’s an internal trigger.

Regarding TV shows – I think I was most influenced by Firefly, primarily the mix of action and high stakes with a hefty dose of humor, but also the extent to which...[read on]
Visit M.L. Brennan's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: Iron Night.

My Book, The Movie: Iron Night.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Hannah Kent

Hannah Kent is the author of Burial Rites.

From her Q & A with Randy Dotinga at the Christian Science Monitor:

Q: What's the true-life story behind "Burial Rites" and how did you come across it?

A: Ten years ago, I lived in Iceland for 12 months as a Rotary exchange student.

The town that hosted me was in the north of the country, and turned out to be located quite close to the site of Iceland’s last execution. A few months after I arrived, my host parents drove me past this site and told me a little about the 1828 murders that had resulted in two people being beheaded there.

Two men had been killed as they lay sleeping in a remote farmhouse, ostensibly because the perpetrators wished to rob them. As my curiosity about these events deepened, however, and as I continued to find out more about the case, I realized that the crime was much more complicated than it originally seemed, and that the motives of the two people who were convicted for the murders might have been deeply complex.

Q: What about the case did you want to unravel in the novel?

A: One reason the two men might have been killed is because of money. But their murders seemed also to have been the tragic culmination of a story of betrayal, ambition, unrequited love, poverty, and loneliness.

Most writers are drawn to what is unknown, rather than what is clear in any tale. The silences in this particular story were what held the greatest appeal for me.

I found that the largest gaps in the story surrounded the life, character and actions of Agnes Magnusdottir, the woman who was convicted of the murders alongside the 17-year-old Fridrik Sigurdsson. Where I hoped to find...[read on]
Visit Hannah Kent's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 21, 2014

Laura McHugh

From a Q & A with Laura McHugh about her new novel, The Weight of Blood:

You grew up in the Ozarks and decided to use that as the setting for The Weight of Blood. Obviously your knowledge and connection to the place was a reason to write about it, but what about the Ozarks in particular drew you to place your characters there?

The forbidding landscape and the remoteness of the Ozarks create a sense of foreboding that helps set the tone of the novel. And I’ve always been fascinated by the culture, which is steeped in folk wisdom, home remedies, and superstition. We were outsiders in our tiny town, yet at the same time, it became my home. Years after moving away, I was still haunted by the place, and the novel allowed me to explore the darker side of those tight-knit rural communities where outsiders aren’t welcome.

Is this dark story based on truth? If so, tell us about it…

Part of it, yes. I started the novel knowing that Lucy’s friend Cheri was dead, but I wasn’t sure what had happened to her. Then I came across a news article about a shocking crime involving a young woman in Lebanon, Missouri—the small town where I’d attended high school—and I knew that Cheri would suffer a similar experience.

Living in rural communities, it often seems like everyone knows everyone else’s business, and that it would be impossible to keep secrets, but then you see...[read on]
Visit Laura McHugh's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Tara Ellison

Tara Ellison was born in London and raised between Sydney and Hong Kong before coming to the United States.

After enduring her own “miserable divorce” and the ensuing malaise, she realized that what she needed most was a good laugh. She turned to her passion for writing and began work on Synchronized Breathing. It is her hope that other ladies enduring trying times might get a kick out of Scarlett’s missteps on the path to love – and share a laugh along the way.

Ellison is married and lives in Los Angeles, California. Synchronized Breathing is her first novel.

A brief Q & A with the author:

How would you complete this line: "You might well enjoy my book if you like..."?

You might well enjoy my book if you like… Bridget Jones or if those old reruns of Sex in the City still make you laugh. Movies and books about dating mishaps have always grabbed my attention and everyone can relate to a romance derailing or a bad break-up. When I decided to write Synchronized Breathing (the story of a marriage imploding and one woman’s disastrous efforts to get back in the dating game), I knew exactly the tone and flavor I was looking for. Fun, with a racy edge.

If they make your book into a movie, who should direct it?

If they make Synchronized Breathing into a movie … Judd Apatow or Jay Roach would want to direct it. (Yes, let’s just put that out there. I aim high, people!) Judd Apatow is a big supporter of women being funny on film. He also knows how to fully exploit the comedic potential in dating, which makes him a natural match for Synchronized Breathing. And what can I say about Jay Roach? He is sublime. Who can forget Austin Powers or Meet the Parents? What a talent. Fun Fact: I used to work for his wife as an assistant many years ago. You’d think that would embolden me to send the book to him, but alas, so far I have not worked up the nerve.

What is your second favorite art form?

My second favorite art form is…film! This is a no-brainer. I fell in love with American movies when I was a child living in Sydney, Australia. Star Wars changed my life! I became obsessed with coming to the U.S. and pursuing an acting career, which I did for a long time until I found that writing held more allure for me. Getting lost in a bookstore or absorbed in a movie for a few hours is heaven to me. I find tremendous comfort in watching films. When I feel blue, I can disappear into a movie and forget about my problems for two hours. What could be better? Well, second only to a good book, but sometimes you want to be passive and have someone else do all the creative work for you (and not have to do the internal work of reading). But luckily we don’t have to choose one or the other.

I’ve also always loved to dance. Dancing is a very primal way of telling a story. The way I look at it, writing, dancing and films are all branches of the same (creative) tree. Telling a story in any number of forms is what hooks me.
Visit Tara Ellison's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Aram Goudsouzian

Aram Goudsouzian is chair of the history department at the University of Memphis. He earned his B.A. from Colby College and his Ph.D. from Purdue University. He is the author of King of the Court: Bill Russell and the Basketball Revolution, The Hurricane of 1938, and Sidney Poitier: Man, Actor, Icon.

His new book is Down to the Crossroads: Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Meredith March Against Fear.

From Goudsouzian's Q & A with Leonard Gill for the Memphis Flyer:

Why has James Meredith's "March Against Fear" not been the subject of a large-scale study such as yours?

Aram Goudsouzian: It's a familiar story to historians. They know the Meredith march is where "black power" began and Stokely Carmichael and Martin Luther King were on it. It's discussed in the big biographies of King. In Taylor Branch's, for example. But there's been nothing particularly in-depth. People focus on Selma in '65 or Memphis in '68. The Meredith march got caught in the cracks somehow.

But part of the appeal of this story for me is that it's relatively self-contained. The march took place over the course of three weeks, but it allows you to talk about so many aspects of the civil rights movement. The personalities give you so many different perspectives. It basically collects every major figure in the movement.

James Meredith being one of them. He was the focus of national attention when he integrated the University of Mississippi years earlier. But he's also been a figure hard for historians to estimate as a civil rights leader.

To some degree, he's an impossible man to explain, because he's so full of contradictions. He purposely likes to mask himself. He was my first interview for this book, and he started out by telling me, "James Meredith ain't nothing but a trickster."

I do think there are consistent elements to his ideology that date back to Ole Miss and continue when people thought he'd gone off the deep end — supporting Jesse Helms and David Duke. But...[read on]
Visit Aram Goudsouzian's website and Facebook page.

The Page 99 Test: Down to the Crossroads.

My Book, The Movie: Down to the Crossroads.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Greg Kishbaugh

A Ray Bradbury Fiction Writing Award winner with work appearing in a number of publications including the renowned Cemetery Dance magazine, Greg Kishbaugh is the Associate Editor of Evileye Books and the editor of the Burning Maiden anthology series. He is the co-founder of Kaleidoscope Entertainment, a company specializing in high-end comics and graphic novels.

Kishbaugh's new novel is Bone Welder.

A brief Q & A with the author:

How would you complete this line: "You might well enjoy my book if you like..."?

You might well enjoy my book if you like ... the lyricism of Ray Bradbury, the white-knuckle horror of the Walking Dead, the modern day supernatural mythos of the X-Files and Grimm, and the old-school gothic thrills of the Universal Monster Movies and the Twilight Zone.

If they make your book into a movie, who should direct it?

Because of Bone Welder's Gothic tone, Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso CuarĂ³n would be a perfect visual fit; and they both have a clear love (and understanding) of monsters.

What is your second favorite art form?

My second art form is a tough choice indeed. I am heavily influenced by artwork of all kinds, but the works of Frank Frazetta can certainly be found in the dark atmospherics of Bone Welder. So, too, the mist-infused black and white artwork of Creepy and Eerie magazines, and the spectacular four-color mayhem of the EC comics such as Tales From The Crypt and the energetic, muscular art of the great comic artists like Jack Kirby, John Romita and Gene Colan.

Music has also always been an enormous influence. As someone who came of age in the punk area of music, I am heavily influenced by punk's primary ethos that the most important thing you can bring to any creative pursuit is passion.
Visit Greg Kishbaugh's website and follow him on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 17, 2014

Beverle Graves Myers

Beverle Graves Myers is the author of Whispers of Vivaldi and five previous mystery novels featuring Tito Amato, the 18th-century sleuth with a stellar talent for sleuthing. A former psychiatrist, Myers divides her time between Louisville, Kentucky and southwest Florida.

From her Q & A at Omnimystery News:

Omnimystery News: What prompted you to write a historical series featuring the recurring character of a castrato opera star?

Beverle Graves Myers: I've always admired two very different but highly enjoyable series with a recurring character: Elizabeth Peters' long-running series featuring Victorian archaeologist Amelia Peabody and Stephen Saylor's Gordianus the Finder books set in ancient Rome. I realized that it was the rich family life and professional growth of both protagonists that made these books so special to me. So I started my own series with Tito Amato as a young man returning to Venice from a music conservatory in Naples. Tito is part of a dysfunctional family long before the term existed. Not surprisingly, qualms about his status as a castrato singer also bedevil him. Over the series, Tito grows to accept and even embrace his vocal talents and the opportunities they provide. He also learns to handle fame and jealous rivals, and overcomes a bout of ego excess. On a deeper level, the brutal surgery that was forced on Tito results in a sensitivity for other marginalized people and a compulsion to seek justice on their behalf. The Jews of the Venetian ghetto, friendless strangers, carnival acrobats and dwarves, and many more seek help from Tito. Along the way, he makes a peace, of sorts, with his father and other family members. If Tito didn't...[read on]
Visit Beverle Graves Myers' website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Writers Read: Beverle Graves Myers.

My Book, The Movie: Whispers of Vivaldi.

The Page 69 Test: Whispers of Vivaldi.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Julianna Baggott

Julianna Baggott's novels include Fuse, Pure, and Burn.

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

You have published in a wide variety of genres (and under a variety of names). How does your approach differ for each genre?

The genre follows my mood. And when one genre is fighting me, I turn to another.

Pure has received the most attention and acclaim. What prompted you to try a novel that’s an Adult/Young Adult crossover, and how did you adjust your plotting and writing style for this different readership?

I started out as an adult novelist. I’ve also written novels for middle grade readers. My oldest two kids are now 17 and 15. It seemed like a ripe time for me to be thinking about the teen years, which I find to be naturally post-apocalyptic. Childhood is over. Adulthood looms....[read on]
Visit Julianna Baggott's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Pure.

Writer Read: Julianna Baggott.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Mike Sager

A brief Q & A with Mike Sager, author of High Tolerance:

How would you complete this line: "You might well enjoy my book if you like...."

You might well enjoy my book if you liked… The movie Crash, the show Weeds, or Tom Wolfe’s book Bonfire of the Vanities­—or have an interest in Hollywood celebrity, sex, drugs, music, crime, race relations, murder, or medical marijuana. High Tolerance is the result of my three decades working behind the scenes in LA and Hollywood for Rolling Stone and Esquire. I got the idea for the book during the Writer’s Guild of America strike in 2008. My first act of research was to walk the picket line for a few days with a writer/producer friend. For research I also: Worked in a medical marijuana shop in Malibu. Smoked pot with Snoop Dogg. Smoked freebase with Rick James. Spent three days and nights with Paris Hilton, two dinners with Angelina Jolie, three days with Diane Lane, an afternoon with Hilary Swank, an evening with Joan Baez many years ago in Washington, DC­—she rode on the back of my motorcycle and it was reported in the Washington Times. Performed on a rap song with Ice Cube. Frequented Hollywood Boulevard and the Hollywood Station police precinct. Also helpful were some of my other journalistic experiences, including: Living with a crack gang in Venice; working as Rolling Stone’s drugs correspondent and covering the War on Drugs; writing extensively about the beating of black motorist Rodney G. King (I eventually met both Rodney and one of the two friends who was with him in the car that fateful night). And of course I spent nearly two decades as a husband and a coach and remain a father to this day of a bi-racial child. They say you should write about what you know. This is what I’ve learned in nearly forty years with my boots on the ground.

If they make your book into a movie, who should direct it?

PT Anderson was inspired by my Rolling Stone article, “The Devil and John Holmes,” to create the classic movie Boogie Nights. I think he would do great with High Tolerance. My book has a lot of fun stuff—drugs, music, a beautiful starlet, a billionaire rap mogul, a sex tape that is leaked to the world—but it’s also about fatherhood and race and celebrity and the impact of the media on lives and perceptions around the entire world. In other words, like Boogie Nights, there’s a spoonful of medicine with the sugar, a little depth there with the fun. Boogie Nights is a classic because it caught the zeitgeist of the era, the universality. I think High Tolerance tries to go there too.

What is your second favorite art form?

All artists have inside them a similar creative flame. If we’re lucky, we find the right apparatus with which to apply it. I started with guitar and moved to photography, but I settled on words because that’s the medium that felt most natural. I think prose has within it the ability to express all five senses and all the forms of art. And even more, writing can explore the deeper parts that pictures can’t tell. I grew up in the sixties, a child of television and the movies. I’ve always had a cinematic approach to my writing; I use scenes and characters and dialogue in my stories as a director might use in a film. Whether I’m doing non-fiction journalism or writing a novel, I always feel like I’m making movies with my words.
Visit Mike Sager's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 14, 2014

Chang-rae Lee

Chang-rae Lee latest book is On Such a Full Sea. From his conversation with Maud Newton for the Barnes & Noble Review:

Maud Newton: I've been a fan of your novels for a long time, but this is a really different kind of thing.

Chang-rae Lee: Yes. Obviously, I knew it was a very different kind of thing, but I tried not to think about it. The more I thought about it, people asked me what I'm working on and I started talking about it, I'd get kind of scared. [Laughs]

MN: It's both futuristic and contemporary, quasi-apocalyptic yet hopeful about humanity at the same time. A couple of years ago you told James Mustich that you were working on a contemporary novel. Is this that book?

CRL: No. But this book came out of that book, and that book was about contemporary China. I had gone to China and done research, and it was going to be focused on the factory cities along the Pearl River Delta, outside of Shenzhen. It was going to be a social realist novel about that whole world, and have an American connection, and it was just going to be this big, sprawling book about China. But after doing all the research -- I really enjoyed it, going over there and seeing everything. I went into this cool factory and saw all the dormitories, this whole little world --

MN: What was your primary impression of it? Mostly depressing, or was it--?

CRL: It was...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Kerry Schafer

Kerry Schafer was born and raised in Canada, moved back and forth across the border several times, and finally settled on a compromise. She now lives in Washington state, but within an hour’s drive of her home and native land. She is the author of the Books of the Between (Between and Wakeworld) and the Dream Wars Series (Dream Runner, Dream Thief, Dream Wars).

From Schafer's Q & A at

For those who haven’t read Between, can you tell us a bit about Vivian and Weston and catch us up on their story?

Vivian has been handed rather a difficult destiny – with dreamshifter, dragon, and sorcerer blood in her veins, she’s got all sorts of conflicts and challenges to sort out. In Between she has a pretty sharp learning curve trying to get her mind around realities beyond what she had ever dreamed. Since there are already dragons running amok in the waking world, she doesn’t have a lot of time to figure out what dreamshifting is all about and is always running to try to keep up. In Wakeworld she’s starting to get a handle on the dreamshifter business until a powerful dragon locks her out of the Between with Zee (the man of her dreams) on the other side. As much as she hates her inner dragon, she’s going to have to come to terms with it in order to find a way to get to Zee and save the worlds from destruction. She also has to figure out how to work with Weston.

Weston Jennings makes his first appearance in Wakeworld. He was designated as his father’s heir to the dreamshifter role when he was only a child. However, he didn’t want this and resisted, which precipitated a devastating family tragedy that drove him underground. Now he’s being forced to face up to his past and has to make a choice whether or not to finally embrace his power and help Vivian with her quest.

What is a dreamshifter?

A dreamshifter is tasked with the responsibility of...[read on]
Visit Kerry Schafer's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: Wakeworld.

My Book, The Movie: Wakeworld.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld

Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld are professors at Yale Law School. Chua, one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2011, is the author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, which unleashed a firestorm debate about the cultural value of self-discipline, as well as the bestselling World on Fire. Rubenfeld examined the political dangers of “living in the moment” in Freedom and Time; he is also the author of the international bestseller The Interpretation of Murder.

Their new book is The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America.

From Chua and Rubenfeld's Q & A with CNN's GPS Digital Producer Jason Miks:
You’ve suggested that there is a problematic aversion to comparing some kinds of data, for example between cultural groups. Is this a problem, do you think, in America today?

Chua: I think it’s a terrible problem, and I actually didn’t realize it was quite this bad until this latest book. Of course I knew it would be somewhat controversial and thought provoking. But I think there’s not a single statement that we make that is not backed up by a study. So when we say that Asian-Americans have SATs scores 140 points above the average, that’s just a fact. Or when we say that X, Y and Z groups have median incomes almost twice the national average, then it’s from the U.S. census.

So I think the idea that you can’t give a statistic or say that a group is exhibiting a certain characteristic at any given point – for example, that they are studying 70 percent more hours – without being accused of chauvinism and stereotyping is a problem. And I think it’s going to make it very difficult to devise really good policies on education or poverty reduction policies. Of course we need to fix our institutions. Of course it’s not a level playing field out there. Of course the priority should be eliminating structural barriers to getting jobs. But why should it be mutually exclusive? We should also be able to look at what some cultures are doing, and if we say that this is an area that we can’t talk about, then we are tying one hand behind our back.

Rubenfeld: We’ve actually been called a lot of names because of this book, and it’s astonishing how much people are willing to misrepresent or misunderstand what we have written just because we touch on these sensitive subjects. So, for example, over and over you can find in the media the statement that we claim some groups are better than others. But we actually never say that. We simply point out that in this moment in time, some groups are doing better than others. That’s simply a matter a fact that anyone can look up. And the information comes from the U.S. Census, so are they saying the Census is racist?

We state facts in the book, and we also point out that the groups that are doing better change over time – it is very dynamic. Twenty years ago the groups would have been different from today, and 20 years from now the groups will be different again. It’s a very dynamic story that couldn’t be more...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Charlie Quimby

Charlie Quimby's new novel is Monument Road.

From a Q & A with the author:

How would you complete this line: "You might well enjoy my book if you like..."?

You might enjoy Monument Road if you've already found books about the New West to your liking—for example, Kent Haruf for the spare writing, Annie Proulx and Brady Udall for the humor and Louise Erdrich for evoking the spirit of a culture. I've also been compared to the non-western John Irving for throwing in some unexpected plot twists.

As I wrote my novel, I held out hope that I could perform a similar balancing act to the one Colum McCann pulled off in Let the Great World Spin. My story has a rancher named Leonard Self heading off to scatter his wife's ashes from a high overlook—and to follow her off to his own end. As he progresses toward his goal, other stories arise, but it's unclear until the end how they all relate to each other. A high-wire act between the World Trade Center towers might not seem to have much to do with Leonard's discoveries about himself and his relationship to his community, but trust me.

If they make your book into a movie, who should direct it?

Many readers have told me the landscape in Monument Road practically functions as a character—but the land never gets any lines in a movie. Its role must be expressed visually and through the responses the landscape evokes from other characters. That calls for a director who can relate to the mountains and high desert as something more than scenery and who can show the relationship between place and the unfolding internal experiences of the human characters. Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven might be in that ball park, though the era and setting for Monument Road are the contemporary west.

I'd be intrigued to have someone like Michelangelo Antonioni, who once said, "A director's job is to see." He's speaking of seeing the politics and psychology and conflict embedded in a scene, not just the physical setting. In Zabriskie Point, he put two characters in a stunning Death Valley locale. The woman says: "This is such a beautiful place. What do you think?" The man says: "I think it's dead." They're both right, and their contradictory responses reflect their inner states. But Antonioni was rather contemptuous of actors, and his films have an artier tone than my novel strives for—plus, as an Italian, he brings a European view that illuminates but also can wildly miss the reality of America.

Because my book is full of complex characters, the ideal director should bring great performances out of the actors, too, and not just impose his own vision. Robert Redford, then, is the guy I'd ultimately choose because he loves and understands the west as a contemporary place and a changing culture. He's directed A River Runs Through It, played Jeremiah Johnson and has reached the age of my main character, Leonard Self. (And no, he shouldn't play the part.)

Redford's a supporter of small, independent films that move people deeply but don't run up the box office numbers—and Monument Road would be that kind of film.

What is your second favorite art form?

I'm tempted to answer this one with the response Sarah Palin gave Katy Couric about newspapers and magazines—"all of them"—because I'm a dilettante. At various times in my life, I've been consumed with acting, writing plays, photography, book arts and graphic design, and writing and performing music.

If pinned down, though, I'd go with the theater. Starting with the written word, it pulls together different arts forms to get people in a room to share an experience—to laugh, cry, feel human and then hang around and talk about it.

Monument Road alludes to theater in a variety of ways. One character is driven to interpret the role of Joan of Arc as never before, a desire that leads her to a bad place. Another character uses his singing and performance in church pageants both as a way of attracting people and hiding his real nature. A third character is chagrined because his role in a high school musical condemns him to a series of performances in the community that he finds corny and insincere. There's a fair amount in the book about the difference between acting with integrity and being fake or imitating others.

Acting requires empathy, finding your way into characters different from you and then embodying them in a way that's convincing and emotionally compelling. A novelist draws from the same well. You don't need empathy if all you're doing is working out a plot or setting up a joke. You can issue instructions to windup creatures who perform their business and don't really have a life beyond the scene. Real acting is being authentic. That's what we demand of characters when we read literary fiction.

A lot of what occurs in theater boils down to people talking. You can write in sword fights and lighting effects, but so much of what happens on stage comes via the spoken word. In Monument Road, I use dialog to reveal social class, to convey emotion, to wrap up readers in the minds and the hurts of my characters. I tried to create a particular way of speaking that's true to the inter-mountain west. Every line in the book has been read and re-read, the way an actor would rehearse, so when readers hear a character's words, they also feel their heartbeat.
Visit Charlie Quimby's website and learn about his new novel, Monument Road.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Charlie Quimby & Roxy.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 10, 2014

Alison McQueen

Born in the Sixties to an Indian mother and an English jazz musician father, Alison McQueen grew up in London and worked in advertising for twenty-five years before retiring to write full time.

Her new novel is Under The Jeweled Sky.

From McQueen's Q & A with Jennifer Smeth at Book-alicious Mama:

What was your inspiration for Under the Jeweled Sky?

Under The Jeweled Sky was inspired by memories of my mother’s friends; the women I would eavesdrop on, the hushed voices and grave expressions passed over teacups. My mother’s friends had grown up (many of them in India) in the days before such things were openly spoken of, but it was all there: domestic violence, unwanted pregnancies, addiction, ruin, and occasional salvation.

Bad marriages were commonplace, but divorce was unthinkable, and the brittle veneers of fake harmony were part of the everyday landscape. Morals and ethics were knotted up with religious doctrine and stiff upper lip. Respectable people did not wash their laundry in public, nor did they question what went on behind the closed doors of their neighbours’ houses.

Part of the story is set in a maharaja’s palace. Although the fictional palace and its location are anonymous, I did have an inside track into life inside an Indian palace. In her twenties, my mother was hired as the private nurse to the Maharaja of Indore’s mother-in-law. She arrived there from Bombay and was shown to her quarters, an enormous suite in a grand building set across the grounds from the main palace.

A car was sent for her every morning, but she said that she preferred to walk. So off she would go, strolling through the grounds while the car followed along a few yards behind, driving at snail’s pace in case she should change her mind. Her breakfast would be served to her on a solid silver service, with a footman standing by should she want for anything.

From what she has told me, I am not sure that she...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Alison McQueen's website.

My Book, The Movie: Under The Jewelled Sky.

The Page 69 Test: Under the Jeweled Sky.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Lamar Giles

Lamar "L. R." Giles writes stories for teens and adults. He's never met a genre he didn't like, having penned science fiction, fantasy, horror, and noir thrillers, among others. He is a Virginia native, a Hopewell High Blue Devil, and an Old Dominion University Monarch.

Giles's new young adult mystery/thriller is Fake ID. From the author's Q & A with Ryan P. Donovan for the New York Public Library:

I really enjoyed reading Fake ID. What gave you the inspiration to write the book? Had you heard stories about families and teens in the Witness Protection Program? Did you have to do a little research into the topic for the story?

First, thanks for reading the book. I'm glad you enjoyed it. As far as inspiration, I'd read a non-fiction book by Gerald Shur, the man who founded WitSec (Federal Witness Protection). He told stories about witnesses who would join the program but not follow the rules. That gave the U.S. Marshals in charge all sorts of headaches, up to and including having to relocate the witness again. It felt like prime story material so I started drafting an adult thriller about a woman who'd ratted on her crime boss father and went on to cause some trouble in WitSec. That novel was terrible.

I was reading some great YA at the time and I had the wild idea to start over. This time I'd make my hero a teenager, and a boy, and I'd try not to suck. I'm happy to say what came together did not suck. I had a clean first draft in nine months and HarperCollins Children's Books bought it a little over a year later.

Most of the research came from Mr. Shur's book and a few scattered articles. At the time there wasn't much out there about the program, and for good reason. Lives depend on WitSec's secrecy. But, my book is as much a family drama as a mystery, so I drew upon my knowledge of a family dynamic that I felt was similar to WitSec families...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Lamar Giles's website, blog, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: Fake ID by Lamar Giles.

The Page 69 Test: Fake ID.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Linda Yellin

Linda Yellin's new novel is What Nora Knew.

From her Q & A with Lilith Fiction Editor Yona Zeldis McDonough:

YZM: What Nora Knew is an homage not only to Nora Ephron but to the whole Hollywood tradition of romantic movies. Can you say more about that?

LY: There are certain constructs and expectations in romantic movies. We probably know from the get-go who the heroine will end up with, but if you care about the characters, you want to travel along with them and root for their success. Whether it’s Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, or Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal, or Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper – romantic comedies are journeys with happy endings, and who doesn’t love that? And who doesn’t love Nora Ephron’s romantic comedies?

YZM: Do you consider Ephron a quintessentially Jewish humorist and if so, why?

LY: Her humor is quintessentially relatable, so it also covers Christianity, Buddhism, Atheism; you name it. But there is a wry, sardonic point-of-view in all of Nora Ephron’s writing that certainly feels Jewish. An oy-vey-can-you-believe-this quality. It’s the same one I grew up with while my aunts and uncles and cousins were debating life over corned beef and smoked fish.

YZM: How would you describe the differences between male and female humorists?

LY: Subject......[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 7, 2014

John DeDakis

Award-winning journalist John DeDakis is a former CNN Senior Copy Editor for the Emmy and Peabody-Award winning news program The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer. DeDakis, whose journalism career spans nearly four and a half decades, served as a White House correspondent and interviewed such luminaries as Alfred Hitchcock, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. A writing coach who currently teaches journalism at The University of Maryland—College Park, John DeDakis lives in Washington, DC.

His new novel is Troubled Water.

A brief Q & A with the author:

How would you complete this line: "You might well enjoy my book if you like..."?

You might enjoy my book if you like the authors John Grisham or Sue Grafton -- and not just because both their last names start with G-r. I like both these authors because their writing is lean and unadorned. Their emphasis is on telling a good story -- and doing so unpretentiously. I write like them, not because I pattern myself after them, but because of my training and long-time experience as a just-the-facts-ma'am journalist.

As a writer, my goal is to get you to keep turning pages because you're invested in the characters and you find the story compelling. Grisham's protagonists are lawyers, Grafton's is a private eye, and both authors give their readers a glimpse behind the veil to show how those jobs are done. My heroine, Lark Chadwick, is a journalist. One reason I think you'll enjoy my book is because you'll come away with a more intimate understanding and appreciation of the behind-the-scenes struggles and challenges journalists face.

If they make your book into a movie, who should direct it?

For me, this is not just a theoretical question. Right now I'm working closely with my agent, Garry Dinnerman of Beverly Grant Associates, to adapt my Lark Chadwick novels to the big or little screen.

Lark is a complex, strong minded and strong willed twenty-something young woman who stumbles into journalism after being orphaned and sexually assaulted. Garry is looking for a talented director who will be able to get inside the head of the actor playing Lark and translate that vision to the screen. Garry's "wish list" includes David O. Russell [American Hustle, Silver Linings Playbook], Curtis Hanson [L.A. Confidential], Mike Figgis [Leaving Las Vegas], Paul Greengrass [Captain Phillips], Ron Howard [Rush, The Da Vinci Code, A Beautiful Mind], Stephen Frears [Philomena, The Queen] and Ridley Scott [The Counselor, Body of Lies] -- all of whom are very accomplished directors who have the ability to help the audience understand what makes Lark tick.

And just who would play Lark? Garry has always favored Ron Howard's daughter Bryce Dallas Howard [The Twilight Saga], but Garry and I would be fine with a no-name actress for whom playing Lark could be a career-igniting vehicle. Right now I'm collaborating with broadcast journalist Jenna Troum [WSPA - Greenville, SC] on a proposal to build a TV series around Lark [Working title: Press Pass]. Not only is Jenna a young, scrappy reporter (like Lark), but Jenna looks and acts like Lark, plus Jenna has acting chops. (During one of our working sessions, I almost called her Lark.)

What is your second favorite art form?

This would have to be playing the drums. I taught myself how to play rock and roll back in 1964 when the Beatles invaded America. I was too shy to join a band -- I was a closet drummer. In 1996, my wife Cindy bought me a set of drums, but it was my oldest son James who banged on them more than I did. Now James is in L.A. trying to make a living as a professional drummer/composer. As for me, I'm now studying with D.C.-area jazz musician Paul Pieper at his Jazz Workshop, trying to perfect my chops as a jazz drummer. I have much about which to be humble, but drumming is a great way to take a break from writing.
Visit John DeDakis's website, blog, and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Laura Lippman

Laura Lippman's new novel is After I'm Gone.

From her Q & A with Sandi Tan at Goodreads:

GR: Going from the first Tess Monaghan novel, Baltimore Blues, to your 19th novel, After I'm Gone, an intricate stand-alone that plays with multiple perspectives and time frames, I sense a growing confidence and ambition. Do you agree?

LL: I wrote a first novel that was good enough, and it was as good a novel as I could write at the time. Since then, at every point along my career, people have said to me, "I hope you don't mind if I say you got better." Of course you want to get better. And so I do push myself very hard. I do have goals for myself. I am hopeful I'm getting better.

But when you're writing fiction in the 21st century, you're staring up a mountain, and it's so tall that the peak is out of almost everyone's reach. And you can be frustrated or you can say, I'm going up that mountain. You have to get braver. It makes me think of a short story that Italo Calvino wrote in Cosmicomics called "How Much Shall We Bet," about an eternal wager. And I think for novelists who are really honest with themselves, they are in an eternal wager.

Every time out the goal is to write a better book, but then there's also some specific goal. One of the counterintuitive things that as a crime novelist I try to do is slow the crime novel down. If you slow down, you're telling the reader: I respect you; I don't think you're an adrenaline junkie; I don't think you're only interested in the destination but also in the journey. And it can be...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Laura Lippman's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

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 2013 novel is Reconstructing Amelia.

From her Q & A with Leslie Lindsay:

LL: ... I am currently in the last quarter of the book and find myself racing to the end to find out what really happened to young Amelia. Without giving away too much, did you intend for the book to be a mystery?

Kimberly McC: Reconstructing Amelia was inspired first and foremost by my experiences as a mother, specifically my fears for my daughters as they grow older. And I don’t think I set out to write a mystery per se. I didn’t set out to write any particular kind of book. But as much as I cared about the characters while writing Reconstructing Amelia I was also very interested in the puzzle aspect of the story. And I knew from the outset that a central question driving the narrative would be the “why” of what happened to Amelia. For me, that’s the question at the heart of all great mysteries.

LL: Cyber-bullying has become such an unfortunate trend in young people’s lives—from texts to blogs, to Facebook. You tap into this environment surprisingly well—the teen slang, the secrets, their mannerisms, yet your own children are young. Can you give us a glimpse into your ‘research’ for the book?

Kimberly McC: I was certainly influenced by many news accounts of bullying, though the book wasn’t inspired by any one story in particular. I also did a fair amount of Internet research, exploring what teenagers talk about and what mediums they use. There was a lot that surprised me about the ways teens use social media these days, for better and for worse. I’m amazed how different their definitions of “privacy” and “friend” are from mine. I also talked to local teens while writing Reconstructing Amelia. I grew up in the suburbs, so I needed to get a sense of how the details of life differ for an urban teenager—where they go one weekends, after the school, etc. But much of Amelia’s character was inspired by my own...[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, February 4, 2014

Cherie Priest

Cherie Priest’s books include Boneshaker, the first installment in her Clockwork Century saga (which also includes Clementine, Dreadnought, Ganymede, The Inexplicables, and the recently released Fiddlehead).

From the author's Q & A with Paul Goat Allen at The Barnes & Noble Book Blog:

Aside from the obvious draws of this series—the brilliantly realized alternate history 19th-century America, the cool fusion of history with elements of steampunk, zombie fiction, etc.—the thing I love about these novels is the way in which you feature heroic female protagonists in a realistic manner, challenging gender stereotypes. As a father with young daughters, I’m grateful to you for that.

Well, I’ve been privileged to know a great many badass, courageous, brilliant women (and men, and those otherwise affiliated) from a number of different backgrounds, so I write about them because this is what the world looks like. This is what history looked like. This is what the future will look like, too. It’s lazy and insulting to pretend otherwise.

Agreed. Here’s one out of left field: Seems like every time I bring up your Clockwork Century saga with a hardcore fan, they inevitably say something like “that would make an amazing movie series.” And I concur: extraordinary storylines, unforgettable characters, jaw-dropping action sequences, really something for everyone. And the merchandising opportunities—steampunk goggles, toy dirigibles, action figures, handcrafted weapons and jewelry—I can see the Happy Meal toy gas masks already! Any news on that front?

I suppose you’re asking, in a general way, about the Boneshaker movie option [details on that here]. To be perfectly honest, at this point I’d be surprised to see anything come of it. The project had a lot of steam (wocka wocka) for a while there, and then…just…nothing came of it. I have my suspicions, and I have bits and pieces of gossip—but...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 3, 2014

Jenny Milchman

Jenny Milchman is a suspense novelist from New Jersey whose short stories have appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Adirondack Mysteries II, and in an e-published volume called Lunch Reads. She is the founder of Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, and the chair of International Thriller Writers’ Debut Authors Program.

Milchman's debut novel is Cover of Snow,.

From her Q & A with Denise Fleischer:

Denise: It looks like you’re finally living your dream of being a published author. I understand that your creative nature made itself known when you were only two years old, when you began reciting your first stories to your parents. By Kindergarten, you already had your first story written. How have you nurtured that creative part of who you are? Where do you suppose that creative spark came from?

Jenny: I’m going to start by answering with a story. Maybe that’s fitting. Anyway, when my first child was two years old, I asked her to take her toothbrush and her brother’s toothbrush back to the bathroom. As she carried them down the stairs, holding each one aloft like a little figurine, I heard her say, “The twins were on their way home…” At two years old, she was turning dental equipment into characters. So while I used to have no idea where the creative spark comes from, now I believe there must be some genetic or organic component to it. My mother tells me that I used to sit so silently on long car trips that she would get alarmed. I was making up stories. In terms of nurturing the spark, I think the main thing is that I allow myself lots of quiet time. I sit around a lot, read, or just stare out the window–oh, and eat. Eating’s good, too. Or I’ll drive, walk, or take long showers. I’m the opposite of over-programmed, and I think in the down time, a lot might actually be taking place, including...[read on]
Visit Jenny Milchman's website.

My Book, The Movie: Cover of Snow.

The Page 69 Test: Cover of Snow.

Writers Read: Jenny Milchman.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 2, 2014

P.S. Duffy

P.S. Duffy is the author of The Cartographer of No Man’s Land, a debut novel that takes place during the First World War in Nova Scotia and the Western Front in France. She lives in Rochester, MN, had a long career in adult neurologic communication disorders, and now splits her time between writing fiction and writing scientific papers for Mayo Clinic. She says that at her age she is happy to have the word “debut” applied to anything she does.

From the author's Q & A at Barnes & Noble:

What inspired you to write about World War I? What is it about this moment in history that speaks to you?

Young soldiers, the "flower of youth," die in every war, as do civilians. What breaks your heart about this war is how buoyantly innocent everyone—soldiers, commanders, and civilians—was to the utter devastation to come, how almost cheerfully they took up arms and made the fatal leap from that sun-dappled Edwardian idyll into the abyss of deadened hope and churned-up, wounded earth. No one was prepared for the slaughter to come as outdated tactics (massed frontal assaults) met modern weaponry (machine guns, poison gas, mass shelling, land mines).

As I began my research, I found myself staring in disbelief at facts like this: on the opening day of the Battle of the Somme, 110,000 British soldiers marched in attacking waves across No Man's Land, staggering under forty-pound packs, cutting their way through the barbed wire. By nightfall some 58,000 of them lay on the field, mowed down by machine guns and shells, and some by their own barrage.

Amiens, the Somme, Verdun, Passchendaele, and on—in battle after battle, thousands of lives were lost for a few yards' gain until in the end, as was said at the time, the only winner was the war. The Cartographer of No Man's Land is not a combat novel, but it is...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at P. S. Duffy's website.

Writers Read: P. S. Duffy.

The Page 69 Test: The Cartographer of No Man's Land.

My Book, The Movie: The Cartographer of No Man’s Land.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Gary Shteyngart

Gary Shteyngart's latest book is Little Failure: A Memoir. From his conversation with Daniel Asa Rose for the Barnes & Noble Review:

BNR: Which if any of the following descriptions of your protagonists from various books applies to you?

"Small, embarrassed, Jewish, foreigner, accent" (
The Russian Debutante's Handbook, p. 78)
"unworthy, always unworthy" (
Super Sad True Love Story, p. 67)
"the dull pain of being somehow insufficient. Of being half-formed" (
Russian Debutante's Handbook, p. 78)

GS: None of the above. I change from year to year. I'll figure out who I am by the next book. Stay tuned.

BNR: Does that mean there's a sequel in the works? What will it be called?

GS: "Enormous Honking Failure: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Mom."

BNR: Toward the end of Little Failure, your mentor, John, says, "You have to decide to take yourself seriously, not in a phony self-pitying way, but in a serious, dignified way." Was that good advice?

GS: That was...[read on]
Read about Shteyngart's heroine from outside literature.

--Marshal Zeringue