Author Q&A with Leon H. Gildin
Author Q&A , Latest Posts / December 3, 2011

Leon H. Gildin (web­site) wrote The Polski Affair (my thoughts) and its sequel The Family Affair (my thoughts). Both books were very interesting about events which happened during World War II of which I knew nothing about. Books by Leon H. Gildin Q. How did you go about doing research for your books? A. The initial research was done some thirty or more years ago by a former client, Abraham Shulman, (I was his attorney) and published under the title The Case of Hotel Polski. It consisted of historical research combined with interviews of survivors and was so unbelievable that it remained with me. Many years ago I tried writing a play about the Polski and what went on there but the first few scenes had so many characters that I decided it wouldn’t work. Years later I reread Shulman’s work and a novel started to form taking bits and pieces from the interviews in the formation of the characters. Further research was done on the internet and, in all, it took about a year to write. Q. Do we, to this day, know what the whole scheme of the Polski Hotel was about? A. Do you have a theory?…

Author Q&A with Yona Zeldis McDonough
Author Q&A , Latest Posts / November 30, 2011

Author Yona Zeldis McDonough  (web­site) wrote The Cats in the Doll Shop (my thoughts) which not only did I like, but my daughter (who is turning 7 today) liked as well. My daughter had some questions for Ms. McDonough and here is the best Author Q&A ever – that of a proud father. Q.Why did you put cats in the book? A. Many years ago, my husband and used to watch the comings and goings of a stray, pregnant cat outside the back window of our apartment in NYC.  The cat had her kittens in an unused dresser drawer that had been stowed on a terrace.   When the owner discovered the kittens, she swept them off the terrace with a broom.  Two died, and three survived; one of the survivors broke his leg in the fall. The broken limb atrophied and eventually fell off but the three legged kitten managed to get around anyway.  We worried about how he would manage, and left food out for him.  He became surprisingly agile for a three legged cat and we came to love him for his spirit and his resilience.  He was the model for the cat in my story. | Q. I…

Author Q&A with Ann Atkins
Author Q&A , Latest Posts / November 19, 2011

Ann Atkins wrote the Flash Biography of Eleanor Roosevelt (my thoughts). Ms. Atkins is planning a “Flash History” series, a college instructor, community director, and counselor she is also an interesting and engaging writer. Q. Why did you choose Eleanor Roosevelt as the subject of this book? Are you planning a series of biographies geared towards young adults? A. Reading about Eleanor inspires and challenges me. I wanted to write her story in a style that would reach a broader audience rather than the academic biographies that are already available. Flash History is a biography series written with the goal of having the stories resonate with today’s life for people across generations. The next biography will feature Golda Meir. Q. When writing a biography, do you look at a person from a standpoint incorporating today’s values and ethics, or is that not fair for the subject? A. This is a good question. Core values and ethics are not held to a particular generation. Rape, murder, abuse of children has always been ‘wrong.’ What changes is society’s willingness to make a stand to confront these issues. And example would be society’s turning away from denouncing lynching. We learn about frequent lynchings…

Author Q&A with Ann Weisgarber
Author Q&A , Latest Posts / November 9, 2011

Ann Weis­gar­ber (web­site) wrote The Per­sonal His­tory of Rachel DuPree (my thoughts) which is a unique and involved book. This was her first book and an award winning one as well which, of course, provoked some questions in my curious mind. Q.As a white woman, did you have trepidations writing a book about an African-American woman and African-American culture? A. When I first began to write this story, I didn’t think about publication. If I had worried about that, I would not have written one sentence. Every objection – this was not my story to tell, publishers wouldn’t be interested, I might be criticized – would have stopped me in my tracks if I thought anyone would read it. Instead, I wrote this story because I was inspired by a photograph that I happened to see in a small museum while I was in the West. It was of a woman sitting in front of a sod dugout. She was alone, the picture was not labeled, and she was African American. There was something about her that spoke to me. It was as though she looked beyond the camera and said, “I existed; I mattered. I had a story.” I…

Author Q&A with Steven Saylor
Author Q&A , Latest Posts / November 3, 2011

Steven Say­lor (web­site | Face­book) is a well known historical fiction author whose books about ancient Rome are not only entertaining, but well researched and enlightening as well. His book Roma (my thoughts) was superb and I’m looking forward to read more.  I was very happy when Mr. Saylor agreed to answer a few questions for me. Q. Why did you set your books in ancient Rome? A. I could give a long, intellectual reply, but I like brevity with which my fellow author Mary Willis Walker once answered a similar question, about why she wrote murder mysteries: the prurient interest! For mysteries set in ancient Rome, that goes triple, thanks to the juicy material the sources supply in such abundance. From the character-assassinating speeches of Cicero to the erotic poetry of Catullus to the genocidal warfare described by Caesar to the scandal-packed biographies of Suetonius, the source material is pure page-turning gold. Q. Do you tailor your plot to the historical event or try to fit the event within the plot? A. The story always arises from the source material, and I never jimmy the historical details to fit my own plot. But I do work freely within the gaps…

Author Q&A with Dennis Danziger
Author Q&A , Latest Posts / October 24, 2011

Den­nis Danziger (web­site) is the author of A Short History of a Tall Jew (my thoughts). The book was funny, hilar­i­ous and charm­ing . I later found out that Mr. Danziger used to be a TV writer on shows such as  Taxi and Kate and Allie. He writes a bi-weekly column in the Huffington Post and other publications and somehow finds the time to teach public high school. Q. What was the transition like from writing for TV (one of my favorites: Taxi as well as Kate and Allie) to writing newspaper columns and books? A.  I was never comfortable at writing for TV, never comfortable with the structure. And, I might add, not very good at it. So the transition to columns and books was easy because I went back to writing in forms that felt more natural to me. Q.  Is LA really that crazy? A.  Probably much crazier than the LA I’ve presented in Short History. I wrote the book when I was in my 50s. A writer in his/her 20s or 30s would probably reveal an even more out of whack world. Q. It seems to me that society doesn’t let the book’s protagonist, a public…

Author Q&A with David Mar­golick
Author Q&A , Latest Posts / October 17, 2011

David Margolick’s book Elizabeth and Hazel (my thoughts) is a fascinating book about two fascinating women. The book tackles tough and sensitive issues while following the trials and tribulations of Eliz­a­beth Eck­ford and Hazel Bryan were cap­tured for pros­per­ity in a pho­to­graph by Will Counts while on Elizabeth’s first day at the newly desegregated Central High School in Little Rock, AR. Q. What prompted you to write Elizabeth and Hazel? A. I had known and been fascinated by the famous photograph of Elizabeth and Hazel, taken in front of Little Rock Central High School during the desegregation crisis of 1957, as long as I can remember. Who, after all, doesn’trecognize Hazel’s hate-filled face? It has come to represent all of the malice and racism of the South during the early days of the Civil Rights movement, while Elizabeth, dignified and stoic, personifies the great courage of blacks fighting bigotry. So when I went to Little Rock in 1999 and learned, from a poster at the Central High School National Historic Site showing the two of them, as grown women, apparently reconciled — they were smiling and seeming at ease with one another — I wanted to know how something so improbable had ever come to pass. So I started…

Author Q&A with Karl Friedrich
Author Q&A , Latest Posts / October 15, 2011

Karl Friedrich (web­site) wrote the historical fiction Wings: A Novel of World War II Fly­girls (my thoughts). Wings is a wonderful book about the US Army’s Women Air­force Ser­vice Pilot or WASP. Those brave women flew planes for the military around the country providing variety of functions, transport, placement and even target practice. The women of WASP finally got their long deserved acknowledgment by receiving the Congressional Gold Medal (see video at the bottom). Q. How did you come up with the idea to write about WASP? A.  My muses were failure and a blunt acquaintance. I’d written a science fiction novel that didn’t sell; which was fortunate, as I now realize it was just awful. I was sitting in this fellow’s office, bemoaning the world’s lack of taste and intelligence, and he interrupted with the suggestion that I stop whining and write about something I know something about, meaning aviation and America during World War II. We then more or less hit at the same time upon the idea of using the WASP as the basis for a novel. I headed to the Beverly Hills library the following Saturday to begin my research. Q.  Did you get to interview…

Author Q&A with Stephen England
Author Q&A , Latest Posts / October 10, 2011

Stephen England (website) is the prolific write of Pandora’s Grave (my thoughts). The book is a very interesting thrill ride and I was interested how Mr. England came up with the idea, his research and writing process. Q. How did you come up with the idea to write about Pandora’s Grave? A.The potential of a nuclear-armed Iran is undoubtedly one of the greatest threats to the security of the Middle East and the world as a whole. My idea in Pandora’s Grave was to push aside the nuclear weapons and focus on the idea of biological terrorism. Biological weapons are both cheaper and easier to manufacture than nukes, and they can hardly be characterized as less deadly. In Pandora’s Grave, the focus is not so much on the casualties, but the fact that this attack, against the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, serves as a trigger that will ignite the region and lead to world war. As for the idea that the terrorist group Hezbollah would serve as Tehran’s cat’s paw, well that’s obviously taken from life. Q. Why did you choose to write a counter-terrorism thriller? A. I’ve always had the desire to write—always toyed with the idea of writing…

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