Monday, November 21, 2011

Luis Alberto Urrea- Part One (THE HUMMINGBIRD'S DAUGHTER)

This week's guest is Luis Alberto Urrea. Mr. Urrea is a major American writer, of Mexican descent. I first discovered his writing in 2005, when I read the galleys of THE HUMMINGBIRD'S DAUGHTER (Kindle editon). That novel was, and continues to be, one of the most creative works of fiction I have ever read.

Mr. Urrea is a gifted storyteller. He is an excellent writer, to be sure, but the scope and magnitude of his imagination is what makes him unique. I am doing a three-part series on the interviews I have done with Mr. Urrea.

We will begin with the THE HUMMINGBIRD'S DAUGHTER interview I did in July, 2005. This was my first interview with Luis, and we discuss his body of work leading up to, and including, THE HUMMINGBIRD'S DAUGHTER.

The second interview will feature THE DEVIL'S HIGHWAY, Mr. Urrea's non-fiction story of the Mexican-American border. THE DEVIL'S HIGHWAY was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2006. That interview is available in both English and Spanish.

During the third interview Mr. Urrea and I will discuss QUEEN OF AMERICA, his brilliant sequel to THE HUMMINGBIRD'S DAUGHTER.

If you are looking for a writer who writes books that completely capture your imagination and take you to a different time place you need to discover the world of Luis Alberto Urrea. His writing is magical. Enjoy!

LISTEN TO the interview


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New Interview- James Lee Burke (FEAST DAY OF FOOLS)

James Lee Burke
LISTEN TO the interview

FEAST DAY OF FOOLS (Kindle Edition) in an important American novel. Mr. Burke's prose powers have reached new levels of sophistication. I truly believed that after his 'trilogy' of books that included PEGASUS DESCENDING, TIN ROOF BLOWDOWN, and JESUS OUT TO SEA that he had fulfilled his mission as a writer; the the strand of DNA that has flowed through Burke's writing had found its ultimate expression in his chronicling of the nightmare that was Hurricane Katrina. 

I felt that his writing had reached a fever pitch that was influenced by his love of New Orleans (and the people of New Iberia). The short story titled JESUS OUT TO SEA captured the essence of Katrina in a few pages. How could he top that? What could be more important and relevant to our world than to have James Lee Burke write about Dave Robicheaux's outrage at what took place?

I was wrong. Burke was far from finished. I have had the honor of interviewing him eight times, the most recent interview took place last week. Mr. Burke and I talked for over an hour and you can hear the interview in its entirety at the bottom of the review by clicking on the link. If you only read one book this year read FEAST DAY OF FOOLS. If you only listen to one of my interviews, listen to this one.

Here is what Michael Connelly wrote about the novel:

"You know what is rare? A veteran and prodigious writer who never lets you down. Who, with each book, and I’m talking about a lot of books, makes you feel like you have discovered something new, learned some hidden truth about human behavior and society. James Lee Burke is one of those rarities. Book to book he keeps it going, never disappointing. Last year's masterpiece is just prelude to this year's new masterpiece. 

It flat out astounds me. I can count the names of other writers in this category on one hand. There is no magic formula for this. It's something that comes from within, an indeterminate mixture of craft and wisdom and the relentless pursuit of perfection. It comes from knowing deep in the bones that life is about reconciliation and redemption. Burke's books carry these truths in spades.

About twenty-five years ago I picked up a book called The Neon Rain in a bookstore simply because I liked the cover. I read the flaps and read the first page and went to the cash register. Soon I was into my first ride with James Lee Burke. 

The Neon Rain was that year's masterpiece. This year, we have Feast Day of Fools and my survey of Burke books in between concludes that he remains the heavy weight champ, a great American novelist whose work, taken individually or as a whole, is unsurpassed."

FEAST DAY OF FOOLS is an allegory. It was a medieval practice that began in the 1200s and was eventually abolished. The serfs and peasants were given two days to do whatever they desired, nothing was too profane. After two days they were given absolution and returned to work. Burke takes us deeply into the society we live in and turns a mirror on us. It is not a flattering view.

Hackberry Holland is on a mission to catch Preacher Jack Collins and bring him to justice. The Preacher is the most evil and dangerous characters that Burke has created. He is complex, he is vicious, yet he has a genuine respect for Sheriff Holland. Burke's use of juxtaposition with these two characters is breathtaking.

The plot centers on the Narco trafficking that takes place on the Texas border. It also discussed the campesinos and the coyotes that comprise the illegal immigration problem on our Mexican border.

On page 58 Burke writes, "But as John Steinbeck had said long ago, we had come to fear a man with a hole in his shoe." This level of insight infuses the pages of the novel, giving the reader the sense that we are in the hands of a master: Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Faulkner, or Hemingway.

On page 200, when Hack is confronting his mortality, he writes, "Death was only bad when you had to face it knowing you had failed to live during the time allotted you, or that you had lied to yourself about the realities of the world or willingly listened to the lies of others." Hack's view of mortality is closer to him now, its presence is palpable. Mr. Burke and I discuss this issue at great length during the interview.

Temple Dowling represents the elite and landed gentry of Texas. He is a politician who belongs to the local country club. Here is how James Lee Burke describes the club and its members: "one had the sense that the club was a place where no one died, where all the rewards promised by a benevolent capitalistic deity were handed out in this world rather than the next." 

His discussion of the 'hijacking of religion in America is spot-on and frightening. The Biblical references that Burke uses sent me to Google on many occasions, and each time it was worth the clarification. Burke's knowledge of theology and the dangers of war are encyclopedic. No one avoids his gaze in FEAST DAY OF FOOLS. This is what makes it a classic.

There is a tenderness and a feeling of melancholy that the reader develops for Hack Holland (and Mr. Burke).On page 462 he writes, "But if a man tries to put all of the lessons he has learned on a road map for others, he might as well dip his pen in invisible ink." 

Mr. Burke is 75 and has written 30 novels. His face belongs on the walls of Barnes & Noble. He has earned it. Like Michael Connelly I can count on one hand the authors I believe will be relevant in 100 years. James Lee Burke will be one of them.

I am proud to call him a friend.

LISTEN TO the interview


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

George Pelecanos- THE CUT (new series)

This week's interview is with George Pelecanos. We discuss THE CUT, Mr. Pelecanos' new novel published by the Regan Arthur imprint of Little, Brown. THE CUT is the first entry in a new series featuring Spero Lucas, a veteran who has recently returned from active duty and is struggling to fit into the forty hour work week.

He starts a 'recovery service' for people that need his services. The plot is complex and interesting, and the cast of characters that surround Lucas are fully developed. Lucas was adopted into a loving family; his brother teaches English at a local high school, and Pelecanos has planted the seeds for what will become a popular new series.

During the interview we discuss his rational for starting the new series and his plans for the future. George Pelecanos deserves a large audience of readers. His dialogue is crisp and intelligent, and his knowledge of Washington D.C. add to the flavor of the novel. I highly recommend THE CUT.


Friday, August 26, 2011

James Lee Burke- Part One (PEGASUS DESCENDING)

This is the first edition of a six part series of interviews with James Lee Burke. I will begin with our interview done in 2006 when we discussed PEGASUS DESCENDING. (KINDLE) You can read what I wrote about the book in 2006. My feeling that Mr. Burke is an American master have increased. I am nearly finished reading FEAST DAY FOR FOOLS, the new Hack Hackleberry novel (publication date 9/27). FEAST DAYS continues Mr. Burke's string of classic novels. I do not use that term lightly.

I continue to believe that James Lee Burke's body of work has achieved the level of 'classic literature'. His books will be read (and studied) 100 years from now- if we have bookstores. It pains me to think  of reading Mr. Burke's work electronically. If you have not discovered his work do yourself a favor. Buy THE NEON RAIN and get started.

The series will culminate with a live discussion of FEAST DAY FOR FOOLS shortly after its publication.

I will interview George Pelecanos next Friday to discuss THE CUT. I will feature that interview next week.

So go ahead and get started with my discussion with James Lee Burke regarding PEGASUS DESCENDING.  Enjoy!


Week of July 19, 2006 | James Lee Burke
Make no mistake; with PEGASUS DESCENDING Mr. Burke has joined the ranks of our country’s finest authors. We read the classics to learn how authors viewed the era during which they lived. We learn about Russia by reading Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. We read Jane Austen, Ernest Hemmingway, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Eudora Welty for the same reason. 

In a perverse form of serendipity, Dave Robicheaux has emerged as the man who tells us what it’s like to live in the United States in 2006. I normally use my book mark to tell myself where I stopped reading the book I’m involved with. My bookmark got a workout with PEGASUS DESCENDING because I simply had to stop and savor the power of Mr. Burke’s prose on numerous occasions. 

PEGASUS DESCENDING is an important book and deserves to be read. I am often asked who my favorite writer is. Up until Andre Dubus died in 1999 the answer was an easy one. Since his death the answer to that question has changed from time to time. The answer now is James Lee Burke. 
We should all feel lucky to be alive while he is writing at the top of his literary power, and I hope PEGASUS DESCENDING begins making it onto summer reading lists for students. Let’s educate young readers who are old enough to handle the material in Mr. Burke’s novels to read his work. 

We lose a lot of young readers by making them read books they have no interest in. Some of the scenes in PEGASUS DESCENDING are disturbing, there’s no arguing that. I turned on the news after re-reading the novel and what I saw on television disturbed me much more than any of the scenes in PEGASUS DESCENDING.

BLOG HOP! Visit the Blog Hop to find out about other book blogs.  This week's question is

“Non-book-related this week!! Do you have pets?”

My dog Karma is still with me in spirit.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Last Call by James Grippando

My guest is James Grippando, one of my favorite thriller writers. We discuss LAST CALL, featuring Mr. Grippando's popular series character Jack Swyteck

Jack Swyteck is a criminal defense attorney in Miami. Many years ago Swyteck saved Theo Knight's life. Theo had a rough childhood, to put it mildly, but he has turned his life around thanks to Jack Swyteck's help and encouragement. He owns a successful bar in Miami.

One night an escaped convict from Theo's old neighborhood shows up at his bar and asking Theo for help. In return, he will give Theo the name of the man who killed his mother, a murder that took place twenty years ago. Theo refuses to help him, but he ends up becoming pulled into a legal quagmire anyway.

Jack and Theo must work together to solve the puzzle. The people involved in the murder of Theo's mother now have a lot to lose- and they don't want to be caught. LAST CALL is a
brilliant thriller, complete with revelations that you won't soon forget. It's the perfect read for a cold winter night.

James Grippando lives in Florida, where he was a trial lawyer for twelve years. LAST CALL is his fourteenth novel. Enjoy this interview from 2008!



BLOG HOP! Visit the Blog Hop to find out about other book blogs.  This week's question is 
“What’s the LONGEST book you’ve ever read?”
(Note: I’m putting one caveat on this question. You aren’t allowed to say the Bible, Torah, Qur’an, or other religious/spiritual text.)

"Tom: The Unknown Tennessee Williams" by Lyle Leverich 644 pages (Volume 1) 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Sandra Brown - Play Dirty

The wayback machine is set to 2007 and an interview I did with Sandra Brown.  Ms. Brown and I discuss PLAY DIRTY, her novel published by Simon & Schuster. 

Griff Burkett, the protagonist of PLAY DIRTY, had it all. He was handsome, he was the star quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, and the fans loved him. He gets involved with the wrong people and ends up throwing it all away. 

PLAY DIRTY is the story of his attempt to put his life together again. Ms. Brown has a worldwide audience of readers and they will love PLAY DIRTY, it has all of the elements of a Sandra Brown novel; great characters, a fast-moving plot with plenty of twists and turns, and a passionate love story.

LISTEN TO the interview


I decided to add a Friday blog so I could participate in a really fun book blogging event that takes place each weekend.  It is called a Blog Hop and introduces readers to new blogs when they follow the Blog Hop link.  I think I may be the only guy participating!  Each week I will answer a book related question. 

BLOG HOP! Visit the Blog Hop to find out about other book blogs.  This week's question is:

“Let’s talk crazy book titles! Highlight one or two (or as many as you like!) titles in your personal collection that have the most interesting titles! If you can’t find any, feel free to find one on the internet!”

Of course these are all on my bookshelf!
The Hummingbird's Daughter- Luis Alberto Urrea
In the Electric Mist With Confederate Dead- James Lee Burke
The Last Good Kiss- James Crumley

Thursday, August 11, 2011

George Pelecanos- Part Two (THE WAY HOME and THE WIRE)

This week I am featuring my second interview with George Pelecanos. We discuss his novel THE WAY HOME. We also discuss his work on the award winning HBO series THE WIRE. I think you'll find our discussion about the collaboration on THE WIRE of interest.

I am featuring Mr. Pelecanos this month because on August 29th the Regan Arthur imprint of Little, Brown will publish THE CUT, a new series written by Pelecanos that introduces a new character, Spero Lucas. THE CUT should bring Mr. Pelecanos the audience he so richly deserves. I'll admit it, I am a huge George Pelecanos fan. I began reading him in the early 90's and I've been a fan ever since.

Great writers have a gift: with Elmore Leonard it's dialogue; with Michael Connelly it's attention to detail; with Anne Tyler it's the characters and her portrayal of Baltimore. Peleconos' gift is the way he integrates music into his stories. He is the master of this.

Go ahead and pre-order THE CUT. You will love it. I will be interviewing Mr. Pelecanos in the next couple of weeks and will feature that interview the week of publication date. In the meantime enjoy this interview that we did in 2009.

LISTEN TO the interview


Sunday, July 24, 2011

George Pelecanos- Part One (DRAMA CITY)

I spent part of mid-July in New York. I visited with publicists from the major New York publishing houses, saw two great Broadway shoes, and spent time with Charlie Rogers, the Editor In Chief of, and with Paulo Lemgruber, the CEO of I visited their offices and was impressed with their mission and with the level of activity I observed. This 'buzz' carried over to my visits with the publicists. You can sign-up for by logging on and entering your email address. It should roll out around Labor Day. I hope to play a small part in their long-term goals.

While in New York I picked up a suitcase full of galleys and have begun reading them. The book I am most excited about is QUEEN OF AMERICA, Luis Albert Urrea's long-awaited sequel to THE HUMMINGBIRD'S DAUGHTER. It will be published on December 7, 2011. I love what I've read so far. I will do a three week feature on Mr. Urrea in late November/early December. The feature will culminate with an extensive interview on QUEEN OF AMERICA.

I also picked up the galleys to James Lee Burke's new Hackberry Holland novel, FEAST DAY OF FOOLS. Simon & Schuster will be publishing the novel this fall. So you have a new Burke novel to look forward to. I'll be doing a feature on Mr. Burke in September. This will be Mr. Burke's eighth appearance on the show.

Now, for this month's featured author, George Pelecanos. I love Pelecano's work- it's hard to appear objective. I just like everything he writes; whether it's his essays, his novels, THE WIRE, or TREME, the guy has just got it.

Mr. Pelecanos is writing a new series for the Reagan Arthur imprint of Little, Brown. The new series, featuring Spero Lucas, will hit the shelves on August 29, 2011. Spero Lucas is a great character and this series will be a hit. I read it in three sittings and I hated to put it down. I think this is the best novel he has written and I know you'll enjoy it.

This week I'm featuring an interview I did with Mr. Pelecanos in 2005. We discuss his novel DRAMA CITY, which went to win many awards. Beneath the link to the interview I will post what I wrote back in 2005, the first time he and I talked.

If you've not read Pelecanos get ready for a trip to the bookstore. He has an extensive backlist (16 novels) and they are all good.

Listen to the DRAMA CITY interview from March 2005

Week of March 30, 2005  | George Pelecanos
This week's guest is George Pelecanos. I discovered Mr. Pelecano's work in the mid-1990's.  His crime novels take place in Washington D.C., and he writes about the city with a style and a flair that is uniquely his own. 
When I read a George Pelecanos novel I keep pen and paper handy, because I know that I'm going to be buying some new CD's as I read the book. He uses music as an integral part of his stories, and he does it effectively. We're the same age, so I always get a stroll down memory lane with his musical references. 

DRAMA CITY, recently published by Little, Brown, is Mr. Pelecanos's latest novel. It features Lorenzo Brown, a man recently released from spending eight years in prison. The story follows Lorenzo as he adapts to life on the street.  He works in animal control, and I found the book to be a wonderful look into the life of an ex-con who is trying to make a better life for himself and his family after his release from prison.  It is a fascinating look into a side of Washington D.C that other writers ignore, or don't know exists. You will meet some interesting dogs along the way as a bonus. There is also a strong female character in the novel, Rachel Lopez.

After you finish this one you can go back and read RIGHT AS RAIN, with the wonderful characters of Derek Strange and Terry Quinn. Next you can read THE BIG BLOWDOWN, a noir classic that features Nick Stefanos, and the fascinating characters that frequent his grill.  During our conversation Mr. Pelecanos and I discuss THE SWEET FOREVER, a novel of heartbreaking beauty and grace. 

If you have not read George Pelecanos you are in for a treat. Don't forget to read KING SUCKERMAN. You can also watch THE WIRE on HBO. Mr. Pelecanos started out as a writer for the show, and now he is a producer. The fourth season starts in 2006.He is also working with Tom Hanks and Stephen Spielberg on a project with HBO that is similar to A BAND OF BROTHERS, but the locale is the Pacific Theater.I hope you enjoy my conversation with Mr. Pelecanos. I know I did. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer Reading Recommendations- Part One

Summer vacation is here and readers are once again faced with the eternal question of what to read on vacation. Some of you will be flying and downloading your books. Some will be toting paperbacks to the beach; and still others want a new hardcover book to relax with.

I have compiled a short list of recommendations to accommodate all of your reading needs.

1) Scott Turow- INNOCENT

INNOCENT is the sequel to PRESUMED INNOCENT and I loved it. I believe that Mr. Turow is one of our country's finest writers and the book is now available in paperback.

   Click here to listen to my interview with Mr. Turow that we did when the book was published:

2) Jennifer Haigh- FAITH
    Ms. Haigh is a gifted writer. I have enjoyed all of her novels. FAITH is currently available in hardcover. I first met Ms. Haigh in 2005 when she published MRS. KIMBLE. I highly recommend her books.

    Click here to listen to the MRS. KIMBLE interview that we did in 2005.

3) Robert Crais- All of them :)
    Robert Crais is now a best selling writer. His books debut at #1 on the NYTBR list now and he has earned this popularity. The quality of his writing continues to improve. Elvis Cole and Joe Pike are now in 'mystery duo' hall of fame. If you have not read Mr. Crais you are in for a treat. He has a back list filled with excellent work. Start with THE MONKEY'S RAINCOAT (an original paperback issue) and go from there.

    Click here to listen to an interview Mr. Crais and I did in 2007 when his novel THE WATCHMAN was published. THE WATCHMAN was the first Joe Pike novel.

L.A. REQUIEM is one of my favorite novels of all time.

So now you have three authors and plenty of books to read. You can also listen to the authors discuss their work before you read the books. I hope your summer reading is off to a good start. I'll be back next week with more recommendations.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lee Martin- Part Two (Break the Skin)

I'm delighted to bring you the BREAK THE SKIN interview with Lee Martin. The novel is getting rave reviews, including this one from The New York Times:

Our interview took place live at VoiceCorp in Columbbus, Ohio. Chuck Adkins, as always did the editing. I always enjoy interviewing Mr. Martin because he answers my questions thoughtfully and honestly. I am thrilled that BREAK THE SKIN is receiving the recgnition it deserves. Lee writes about the people we drive by in our cars and barely notice. He tells us about their lives.



Click here to listen to the interview:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Lee Martin- Part One (The Bright Forever interview)

One of the joys of writing this blog is the ability it offers me to give readers a look back (and forward) at the most enjoyable and interesting interviews I have done over the past seven years. This interview with Lee Martin fits perfectly into this category. This interview took place in the kitchen of my house in Columbus, Ohio in May 2006.

Mr. Martin lived two or three miles away so we decided to do the interview 'live'. THE BRIGHT FOREVER had just been published, so this interview was done months before the novel was announced as a finalist for The Pulitzer Prize. I urge you to listen to this interview- it is rare to hear an author discuss his craft in such an understandable way. If you are a writer you will benefit from his wisdom; if you're a reader you'll be fascinated by his thought process while writing the novel. This is one of my favorite interviews.

In 2008 Mr. Martin and I did an event at the Barnes & Noble Easton bookstore. The store was packed and we sold a lot of books. The event was done in a different fashion from a 'traditional' book signing. I interviewed Lee and we discussed the book for 20-25 minutes before opening the discussion for questions. The questions were insightful and the evening was a great success. 

We must not throw in the towel on the 'hopelessness' of book promotion. It can be done. There is a market for it. I've been doing it for seven years and will not stop doing it. I'm meeting with the editor-in-chief of a new venture, I mentioned the website in my rant during my David Baldacci rant. I will be visiting their office in New York in July to learn more about what they are doing. You can already subscribe to their website (just go to and enter your email address). Please subscribe, it will help them build the demographic base they will need to be successful (as always I'm not being paid to promote them). This will be an independent site for readers to visit to learn about new books. It is backed by publishers, but will operate independently.

I will be interviewing Lee Martin this Wednesday. We will discuss his new novel BREAK THE SKIN, published by Crown. It is a wonderful novel filled with interesting characters. It's a winner. It deserves a wide audience. I will post the interview next Sunday (the book will be released on June 15th). 

So sit back, relax, get a cup of coffee and listen to one of the best writing professors in the country discuss his craft. 


Click here to listen to the interview:

                                                          May 2006

Lee Martin is my guest this week. We discuss THE BRIGHT FOREVER, his new novel which has recently been published by Shaye Arehart Books. 

I discovered Mr. Martin's work in 2000 when I read his memoir FROM OUR HOUSE. I was, and continue to be, impressed with his prose. He is a natural storyteller who sets his stories in small town America. His characters are people you know and grew up with. 

THE BRIGHT FOREVER is a different type of book for Lee. It is a thriller, but not strictly a who-dunnit. The novel explores 'why they dunnit'. This, I think, is what separates the novel from its competitors. 
I read the book in two sittings, then read it again a couple of weeks later. The first time through I just wanted to find out what happened. The second time through I read it with an eye on the structure Lee used. 
It is told from differing points of view, along with third person narrative. The novel's structure leads to its suspense. It is a novel that you should read. Lee is an English professor at The Ohio State University, so the interview took place at my house. I hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Lawrence Block- Keller the HIt Man (Part Two)

This week features a return visit from Lawrence Block . We discuss his new novel HIT PARADE,, published by Morrow. HIT PARADE features John Keller, Block’s lovable hit man. This interview took place in 2006.

It is an entertaining read and Block fans will love it. We also discuss the screenplay Mr. Block is writing titled BLUEBERRY NIGHTS. The film will star Norah Jones, Jude Law, Natalie Portman, and Rachel Weisz.

Update: The film we discuss BLUEBERRY NIGHTS was released in 2008 and is avaiable on DVD. It is a fine movie and well worth watching.

Mr. Block hit the best seller list with A DROP OF THE HARD STUFF this week. For long-time fans of the series it has everything you want in a Matthew Scudder novel. The regular cast of characters are in the book and it feels like a trip to a family reunion. The novel focuses on Scudder's first year of sobriety, and as he always does, Block portrays the perils of sobriety accurately. If you've not read the Matthew Scudder series you owe it to yourself to read EIGHT MILLION WAYS TO DIE (but please don't watch the movie). Then move on to WHEN THE SACRED GINMIILL CLOSES.  

Above all, novels like HIT PARADE and A DROP OF THE HARD STUFF are great mysteries. Mr. Block is a master- he makes it look easy. Enjoy!


Click here to listen to the interview:

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lawrence Block- Matthew Scudder (Part One)

I first met Lawrence Block in March, 1984 in Indianapolis, where he was doing a seminar titled "Write For Your Life". I have been a fan ever since.He is the author of the Matthew Scudder series, one of the finest mystery series ever written. His Matthew Scudder novel, ALL THE FLOWERS ARE DYING, was published on March 1, 2005 by William Morrow.
   Mr. Block is the writer of the popular Bernie Rhodenbarr 'Burglar' series. He also writes a series featuring Keller, a hit-man for hire. Other series characters include Evan Tanner and Chip Harrison.
Larry has written several books on the craft of writing; two of my favorites being TELLING LIES FOR FUN AND PROFIT and SPIDER, SPIN ME A WEB. Both of these books are still in print.
Mr. Block's newest Scudder novel is A DROP OF THE HARD STUFF, published by the Mulholland Books imprint of Little, Brown. More about it next week.
   Mr. Block has won the prestigious Grand Master award from the Mystery Writers of America. In May, 2004 he was awarded the Life Achievement Award by the Crime Writers Association in London.
This interview took place in December 2004 at The Trump Plaza in Manhattan. It originally aired on January 5, 2005. Enjoy!


Click here to listen to the interview:

Sunday, May 22, 2011

David Baldacci- Part Four THE WHOLE TRUTH

David Baldacci makes his fourth appearance on the show this week. His new novel, THE WHOLE TRUTH, published by Grand Central, debuted at #1 on The New York Times best seller list in 2008. THE
WHOLE TRUTH is a return to the traditions political thriller; of which Mr. Baldacci is a master.

THE WHOLE TRUTH is a fascinating look at today's world. In 2007, while discussing STONE COLD, Mr. Baldacci talked about the re-emergence of the Soviet union as a threat to our nation's security. This theme is one of the key plot lines of THE WHOLE TRUTH.
David Baldacci is one of the most gracious authors I have had the pleasure of interviewing. Please visit his website to learn more about the amazing philanthropic programs that he and his wife are developing. They are heavily involved in helping distribute books to those in need.


Click here to listen to the interview:                                                       

Sunday, May 15, 2011

David Baldacci- Part Three STONE COLD (and a rant)

This week I continue my series of interviews with David Baldacci. We discuss STONE COLD, the third novel in the Camel Club series. It was during this interview that I began developing a rapport with Mr. Baldacci. The first time that I interview an author they expect the standard "Who is your favorite author?" type question, followed by "Why did you write this book?"

When I began my website seven years ago I promised to never go through the motions with an interview. I have recorded several interviews that I did not use because the author was 'going through the motions'. It works both ways. The time demands on an author are tremendous; they often teach to supplement their income. Once their books sell in numbers that alllow them the freedom to write full-time they are barraged by people like me asking for their time.It is a vicious cycle.

The near disappearance of independent bookstores and the problems at Borders have made the path to publication even more difficult than it was before for aspiring writers. I read an interesting article last week that showed some much needed creativity on the part of publishers. Here is the link:

Perhaps desperation will make publishers come up with ideas to make the marketing of books more successful. My background is in business, I started my website to help authors reach a larger audience after Oprah changed the format of her book club (thanks to Jonathan Franzen). I have been less than impressed with the way that most publishers market their books and their authors. I'm delighted to see ideas like the one mentioned above take root. The future of the bookstore depends upon it.

I'm all in favor of ebooks- I've stopped fighting that battle. What concerns me is how will readers be able to discern a good book from a bad book? There are differences; ask any editor or agent the difference. The number of books being written is increasing, at times it seems that more people want to write books than read them. What will serve as a filter if readers depend upon an ipad to select their books? Editors, agents, and reviewers perform a critical task. I have come to fully apprecaite their roles over the past seven years.
I have a few editors that call me from time to time and tell me they're sending me a book that they think I will like. Often times I do.

Enough of my ranting (for now).

There is one publishing company that has consistently provided me with excellent service. That company is Hachette and their subsidiaries. Little, Brown (and Grand Central) provided me access to Michael Connelly and David Baldacci when their careers were taking off. Miriam Parker (now with the Mulholland division of Hachette) put a copy of THE HUMMINGBIRD'S DAUGHTER, written by Luis Albert Urrea, in my hands seven years ago and said, "You have to read this." I interviewed Mr. Urrea when THE HUMMINGBIRD'S DAUGHTER (you must read it if you haven't already) was published six years ago, and again in 2006 when THE DEVIL'S HIGHWAY was published. I cannot wait to read the sequel to THE HUMMINGBIRD'S DAUGHTER this fall. All of this because of a publicist that knew my taste in literature.

Back to Mr. Baldacci. He has always been generous with his time. That is one of the reasons he is succcessful. He is also a genuinely nice guy. He always takes the time to chat for a few minutes after our interviews to talk about my website. He is interested in seeing books and their publication continue.

So here is my third interview with him. Enjoy!


Sunday, May 8, 2011

David Baldacci- Part Two THE COLLECTORS

THE COLLECTORS is the second book in The Camel Club series. Here is what I wrote in October 2006.

Mr. Baldacci and I discuss THE COLLECTORS, published by Little, Brown. THE COLLECTORS is a sequel to THE CAMEL CLUB, last year’s best selling book that introduced readers to a fascinating group of characters that live in and around Washington DC
   THE COLLECTORS is a fast-paced read that offers readers the chance to learn more about Oliver Stone, one of the members of the Camel Club. The plot is an ingenious way of figuring out ways to pass along information in today’s world of high technology and increased security. 
   Readers are also treated to a rare look at the inner-workings of The Library of Congress. This is Mr. Baldacci’s second appearance on the show and I think you’ll find some of the things we talk about to be of great interest.


Click here to listen to interviews: