All Posts Tagged With: "Interview"
Carrie and Ron Janson Chat about RED MONEY
Carrie: What inspired you to write Red Money?
Ron: I became inspired to write a mystery/thriller novel about a year or so after my book, Shareholder Value – A Business Experience, was published in the fall of 2001 under my birth name. Prior to this, I had written several corporate finance related articles that were published in business journals. The book, a nonfiction work on an important aspect of finance, is written as a story, with the learning taking place through a series of “experiences” that the various characters live and work through. I particularly enjoyed the character development and storytelling aspects of composing this book and wanted to pursue a new writing career in fiction, as I felt that I could develop a story that would captivate those who read mysteries and thrillers. For me, the next challenge was to write a fictional story with a compelling plot and cast of characters.
Carrie: Give us an idea about the plot without giving too much away.
Ron: The plot centers on a young married couple from Romania – deeply in love and traumatized by the murder of the husband’s older brother (a police officer) in their homeland shortly after they emigrate to the U.S. to escape a communist regime, under the guise of a student visa to study criminal justice at a college in New York City. The older brother’s homicide, preceded by the murder of his superior, the police precinct chief in their hometown, was the price paid for investigating the cover up and closing in on those responsible for an earlier mob-related killing of a greedy dock supervisor who was being shut off from narcotics shipment pay-offs. After graduating from college, the young male Romanian émigré becomes intertwined with The Red Mafia – first through drug raids via his job as a detective in New York City, and then through an accidental discovery after taking a position with the FBI in Miami. His investigative work in Miami links his brother’s slaying in Romania to a year-old killing of a female FBI employee in Washington, DC, who was romantically linked to a young American member of the mob and was “taken out” when she became a liability. The newly minted FBI agent pursues the mystery of these murders – driving him and his wife into a state of anxiety – to an exciting and deadly climax.
Carrie: What is the underlying theme of RED MONEY?
Ron: The story of RED MONEY is basically one of good versus evil, in which each side is portrayed for what it really is, and where the protagonists are a “good” family (two brothers who are law enforcement officers plus an innocent spouse) unlike many mob-related stories that focus on the mob family.
Carrie: What is your favorite scene in RED MONEY?
Ron: That would be the very last major action scene, in which retribution for much pain and suffering occurs.
Carrie: Why should readers buy RED MONEY?
Ron: Virtually all who have read it claim it’s a page turner with twists and turns and good action scenes. Through May 30, readers can get a 20% discount off the $14.95 retail price and be entered in a contest by ordering on my website.
Carrie: Who are your favorite authors?
Ron: My favorite authors for the past fifteen years or so have been Robert Ludlum and John Grisham, and they have had an influence on my writing.
Upon editing my chat with Josh, I realized this interview is as much for writers as it is readers. Josh, folds his life philosophies and his writing tips adeptly into MATRIMONY and our interview. He is an engaging conversationalist and a natural teacher, not to mention, of course, a gifted writer.
How would you summarize Matrimony?
Jonathan Franzen once said that the better a novel is, the more difficult it is to summarize. The protagonist in Martin Amis’s novel The Information says something similar. He’s a writer himself and he’s being interviewed about his novel and the interviewer keeps asking him what his novel is about. Amis’s protagonist, who, like many Amis protagonists, is a pretty difficult fellow, says something to the effect of, “It’s 150,000 words, and if I could have said it in any less I would have.” I sympathize. But if I had to describe Matrimony, I’d say it’s about the twenty-year history of a marriage (it’s about two marriages, actually–arguably three) and that it’s about love and friendship, and the pleasures and perils that attend to those things. More generally, the novel is about what it’s like to be in your twenties and thirties–even your forties in some cases–when you’re waiting for life to begin and you find to your surprise that it already has begun and that the decisions you make have consequences that you’re not even aware of yet. This is particularly pronounced in the case of my protagonists, Julian and Mia, since they get married at twenty-two, right out of college, and find themselves a year later living in Ann Arbor among friends for whom marriage is the last thing on their minds. College towns can perpetuate an eternal adolescence–I know; I’ve lived in a lot of them. And there’s a real divide between married people and single people, the way further down the line there’s an even bigger divide between people who have children and people who don’t. So Julian and Mia have done what seems like the supremely adult act–getting married–even as in other ways they are far from fully formed. This is certainly true professionally. Julian is struggling to finish his novel; Mia is slogging away on her psychology dissertation. In that sense, the book is about what happens when life calls even when you’re not ready for it to come calling. Read an Excerpt
Josh’s advice about writing that first draft:
“Write by hand…to move forward and not back” and “Write, write, write and read, read READ!”
Oops, one question from Mari I missed (Thank goodness Josh was willing to answer via email):
Mari: The dialog was so meaningful throughout the book, I would like to know if the author was able to reflect his life (did his parents share tidbits of wisdom or is this his creativity)? Here’s an example: Page 59 – “My father’s always saying that college is the great equalizer. Here, we’re all taking the same courses and eating the same meals. But then we graduate and gravitate toward our own kind.” What a strong statement/wisdom. I noted several phrases in the book that read like “ah-ha” moments to me.
Josh: That’s a great question. That actual line of dialogue, like all the dialogue I wrote–like everything in MATRIMONY, in fact–is made up. but a writer is always on the lookout, always thinking, always observing, and you absorb the things that people say to you. Certainly my parents shared tidbits of wisdom with me over the years. It’s hard to imagine a parent who doesn’t, and perhaps my parents especially–my father was a professor for 50 years, so teaching came naturally to him, and to my mother as well, even if in a different way. But neither of my parents ever said that line of dialogue. Almost everything I write comes to me only at the moment I write it, though of course there are years of having lived and thought about things stored away somewhere in the recesses of my brain. In general, I love writing dialogue. How people speak characterizes them so deeply. it’s interesting to me (and pleasing) that you chose the line of dialogue you did. It’s not a major moment in the novel, it would seem, but to me it is a major moment and one that I often bring up when I talk with book clubs. I’m more than twenty years out of college now, and I’m struck by how different many of my college friends are from what they were like in college, but how similar they are to what they were like before college, and to what their parents are like. I think college is a time of real experimentation for a lot of people. Economic concerns, while still present, may be less pressing than they are later, and so people are more on the same playing field. It’s the great equalizer, as Carter’s father says. And in some ways, though I didn’t realize it as I was writing the book, this idea, this tension, is the driving force behind everything that happens in MATRIMONY. You take a couple that meet in college, you take friends that meet in college, and you subject them to what life is like after college, and interesting things happen. What is it like to fall in love in college and to try to stay in love many years later? That, to me, is what MATRIMONY is about.”
Josh’s Suggested Reading:
- Empire Falls, Richard Russo
- Cost, Roxana Robinson
- Helen Garner
- Lorrie Moore
- Mystery Ride, Robert Boswell
- The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen
Josh enjoys discussing MATRIMONY with book clubs, so be sure to check out his website for details.
To enter to win a free copy of MATRIMONY:
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U.S. & Canada residents only; No P.O. Boxes, please
Deadline: April 30th, 2009 ~ midnight, EST
Micheal has been so very gracious to offer FIVE copies of his wonderful book, The Wisdom of Yawdy Rum for our giveaway contest.
To Enter to WIN:
Simply Leave a Comment Below
Deadline January 30th, 2009 midnight, EST
US and Canada addresses only, please
As always, you must be subscribed to my e-newsletter to be informed of winning names
The Wisdom of Yawdy Rum ~ An old New Orleans jazz musician and a secret that will harmonize your life, The Wisdom of Yawdy Rum blends memoirs and inspirational writing with a spicy mix of New Orleans jazz, cuisine, and history. It is a story about relationships, self-discovery, finding balance, setting priorities, and finding the courage to change.
Perfect for Starting a New Year!
YAWDY’S WISDOM (excerpt) ~ The Wisdom of Yawdy Rum shares concepts from easy-to-understand music theory and common-sense thinking to illustrate seven basic principles that can teach anyone, in any situation, how to harness the power of paying attention.
I. LARGO ~ Slow down so you can pay attention.
II. D.C. AL FINE ~ Go back to the beginning. Play it through in your mind. THINK.
III. DYNAMICS & TEMPO ~ Pay attention to your senses.
IV. THE SCORE ~ Write out a description of a successful outcome.
V. REPEAT ~ Repeat goal centered actions and behaviors.
VI. REST ~ Take time to rest.
VII. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF ~ and don’t hesitate to ask the Band-leader for help.
Carrie’s Conversation with Micheal Lane:
Carrie: Why did you write The Wisdom of Yawdy Rum?
Micheal: I’ve had a goal for many years to write and speak professionally. And I simply came to a point in my life where I realized if I was going to achieve that goal, I needed to take action. For years I’ve been a great fan of authors like Og Mandino, Richard Bach, and Mitch Albom. I think simple, motivational stories move us at a deep level; staying with us and providing critical guidance. I decided to write a story in that same fashion.
Carrie: What is The Wisdom of Yawdy Rum about?
Micheal: The Wisdom of Yawdy Rum is about traditional New Orleans jazz, corporate politics, and hurricanes — both real and emotional. A senior marketing executive meets Yawdy Rum, an old New Orleans jazzman who turns out to be a sage. The story focuses on their friendship and the wisdom Yawdy has acquired through his life as a musician, and on the danger facing New Orleans from the threat of a gulf hurricane. The story offers insights into the life of a successful executive wrestling with the demands of corporate politics, an exhausting travel schedule, and the challenge of balancing work with the needs of a family trying to raise an autistic child.
Carrie: Where did you find your inspiration?
Micheal: In Feb. 2005, I was walking back to my hotel in New Orleans after a late-night business meeting. I stopped under the awning of Reverend Zombie’s Voodoo shop on Saint Peter Street in the French Quarter. Historic Preservation Hall stood directly across the street from me. I could hear the beat of the traditional New Orleans jazz radiating from the building. Standing there, staring through the drizzle at the weathered old facade, I suddenly felt the presence of an old jazzman. His energy, his grace, and his wisdom were almost palpable and I instantly felt a connection between my personal situation and the lessons that I could potentially learn from someone who had the kind of life experience as this imaginary jazzman. Out of this, I created the fictional character Yawdy Rum to convey a message of wisdom and hope in the face of change.
This book appeals to me…well, because I need all the help I can get with surviving my daughters’ teen-age years. AGONY is a perfect word some days and I bet if you asked them (I’ve got two) they’d say that same word is spot-on for dealing with “Mom.”
the AGONY and the AGONY is a practical guide offering sympathy, advice, and a few laughs to get parents through the seemingly impossible adolescent-rearing years. Betty Londergan provides sound strategies to common conflicts between parents and teens: a) How to talk to teenagers about issues, especially what NOT to say; b) Teen privacy—when it’s okay to snoop; and c) The different strategies for parenting “emotional” girls and “rebellious and withdrawn” boys.
To win a copy of the AGONY and the AGONY:
- One Ballot: Subscribe to my e-newsletter (this is how I announce winners) ~ I promise I won’t bombard you with correspondence, trust me 😉
- Two Ballots: Leave a Comment below sharing your biggest teenager challenge or maybe how challenging you were as a teenager (Beg for forgiveness from your parents 😉
- Three Ballots: Call 206–309–7318 and share in your own voice
- FOUR Ballots: Leave a review for Words To Mouth on iTunes
Interview with Betty Londergan
Carrie: What inspired you to write the AGONY and the AGONY?
Betty: My adorable, agonizing teenagers.
Carrie:Tell us about the AGONY and the AGONY.
Betty: My focus is on what a parent goes through in a child’s adolescence – namely a process of bewilderment and loss. So I’ve borrowed the famous five stages of grief to describe the parents’ journey: through Denial (12-13), Anger (14-15), Depression (12-18), Bargaining (16 -17) and Acceptance (18 up, I hope).
Carrie: What is the primary message you’d like your readers to take away from the AGONY and the AGONY?
Betty: That you will live through this, that it’s normal to feel enraged/insane for a good part of your kid’s adolescence, that your kid probably will grow up to be just fine, and will eventually even like you again.
Win One of FIVE Copies of Knit Two
Warning: This is a pretty huge post on Knit Two with a Q&A with Kate Jacobs and a wonderful guest book review from Bonnie from Red Lady’s Reading Room.
TO ENTER TO WIN KNIT TWO:
Subscribe to my e-newsletter for one ballot AND
Leave a Comment Below to be counted with 2 ballots, AND
Call 206–309–7318 and leave a voice mail message I can play on air and be counted with 3 ballots
As some of you may know, Kate Jacob does call-ins to bookclubs all across the country, so if you’re in a bookclub (or know of friends who are), you can sign up to invite Kate to your meeting HERE.
And Kate’s running a contest where she’ll visit your bookclub in person. Sign up HERE
A Conversation with Kate Jacobs
Carrie: Did you think you’d write a sequel as soon as you finished The Friday Night Knitting Club, or did that decision come later?
Kate: I was exhausted right after finishing The Friday Night Knitting Club! It was my first novel and I was ready for a good, long nap after all that writing! Though, in all seriousness, I had some other characters rumbling around in my brain and their stories deserved telling. So I wrote Comfort Food. That said, I always had a future mapped out for the members of the knitting club, and, after hearing from so many fans who were eager to know what happens, it didn’t seem fair to just keep it all to myself. Writing this sequel was truly a joy, and I’m excited to share the new book with readers.
Carrie: Without giving too much away, are there things that will surprise readers in KNIT TWO?
Kate: KNIT TWO is set about five years after the first book, and all of the characters are older and, in some cases, more mature. Dakota is in college now. Though just because we get older doesn’t always make us wiser! There are new friendships between the characters, folks who didn’t know each other as well in the original, and overall the sequel is much more upbeat than the ending of the first book.
Carrie: Which character do you identify with most strongly? How much of yourself did you put into
Freeing Your Child from Negative Thinking; Powerful, Practical Strategies to Build a Lifetime of Flexibility, Resilience and Happiness – Tamar Chansky, PH.D.
I will be taking a copy of this book along with me on the Manic Mommies Escape Cruise for a door prize. I have another copy that you can win simply by commenting below and/or calling 206-309-7318. Tell me about your child and how you think this book may assist in changing his/her focus or maybe even your own.
TAMAR E. CHANSKY, PH.D., founder and director of the Children’s Center for OCD and Anxiety, is the author of Freeing Your Child from Obsessive -Compulsive Disorder and Freeing Your Child from Anxiety. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughters.
Check out Tamar’s websites:
Carrie: Tamar, what inspired you to write Freeing Your Child from Negative Thinking?
Tamar: The first sparks for this book came to me about four years ago, when in the midst of doing my work as a child psychologist for anxious children, I had a couple of weeks when it seemed like every other child in my office was stuck in a spin of negative thinking. These are children who are saddled with a strong negative first reaction to any situation, tend to be hard on themselves and others, are perfectionistic and pessimistic in their view of themselves, the world and the future. I saw the parents of these children trying desperately to cheer their children up and reassure them, to no avail. What these children needed was not to hear that everything was fine (they knew that somewhere deep down), but rather they needed to understand that negative thinking is not the truth, far from it, it is more of a knee jerk reaction in the brain to disappointment or failure. Rather than the brain sending helpful messages like, this didn’t go well, let’s see how to fix it, the negative brain goes to extremes—This is unfixable! You are a failure! Give up, if this didn’t work, nothing will! So these children needed to hear from their parents that these thoughts and experiences are normal, temporary, and completely surmountable.
“Reading is a passion of mine, and when I find myself identifying with the characters, anxious to get to the next page to find answers to my questions, I know I’m into a good book! The daughter-mother-grandmother theme in Ruby Among Us pulled me in. Wonderful story-telling.” Jordin Sparks
Carrie: What motivated you to write Ruby Among Us?
Tina: I was living as a single mom in Wyoming and feeling particularly down about my situation in life when I began to think about my daughter and worry about what would happen to her if I were to die while she was still young. I asked myself the question, “What would she be told about me?”
And then like a typical writer, I expanded my questions to the hypothetical. “What if someone decided to take her away from everything that has to do with me? How would she feel? Would she try to find out about me?” And I sensed she would, so I typed out what amounted to a few paragraphs of fiction, or maybe a few pages, I can’t remember, and then I called it Ruby Among Us and closed the file. It wasn’t until I later that I pulled that file back out and it turned into a book.
About the Book (from Laura’s website)
Gwyn Huntington knows how to throw a party. And Hunt Hall, her postcard-perfect Victorian home in Montauk at the easternmost tip of Long Island, is no stranger to celebrations. But on the morning of her thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, she’s putting finishing touches on the last party she’ll host there. The last time she’ll see Hunt Hall abuzz with caterers and bartenders. The last time she’ll preside over a gathering of beautiful friends chatting in candlelight. The last time she’ll fully play the role of Mrs. Thomas Huntington. Divorce parties have become commonplace, if not fashionable, in Montauk. But Gwyn is determined that hers will be different.Just over one hundred miles away on the same morning, Maggie Mackenzie sits on the floor of her Brooklyn apartment attempting to organize her new life. A former travel writer, she’s fallen in love with a wonderful man, gotten engaged, and is planning to start a business with him. Today is also the day she’ll meet her fiancé’s parents for the first time. She’s feeling particularly uneasy about the occasion surrounding her first meeting with Nate’s family. The Divorce Party takes us into the lives of these two women at opposite ends of marriage. For all the differences between them—distance, privilege, age—Gwyn and Maggie have one thing in common: Each has found herself at a crossroads. Gwyn has been preparing for this day, the last predictable day before an uncertain future. Even though she’s had time to come to terms with her divorce, she still can’t quite believe her marriage is over. How can she move on when her marriage has defined who she is for the last thirty-five years? And for Maggie, the emotionally charged trip to Montauk shakes the foundation of her relationship with Nate and dredges up feelings she has spent her life trying to avoid. In the end, Gwyn and Maggie face the same questions: How hard should you work to stay with the person you love? And when is it time to let go?
Carrie: Why did you write The Divorce Party?
Laura: After my first novel, London Is the Best City in America, came out, readers began writing to me, and telling me about their relationships. I heard from so many interesting people: a woman celebrating her 45th wedding anniversary, a man trying to figure out whether he did the right thing breaking off an engagement. The stories ran the gamut. And they inspired to take a look at what makes a relationship last over the course of the lifetime: is there one secret ingredient? Is it many small things? Is it a whole lot of luck? These questions formed the basis of The Divorce Party.
Carrie: Tell us a bit about The Divorce Party?
Sin in the Second City: Madams, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for America’s Soul, by Karen Abbott ~ Begs the Question: “Do you think prostitution should be legalized?”
Sin in the Second City ~ Two sisters. One brothel. And a culture war that rocked the nation.“Karen Abbott has pioneered sizzle history in this satisfyingly lurid tale. Change the hemlines, add 100 years, and the book could be filed under current affairs.” —— USA Today
To learn more about Karen and hear about her book in her own words, simply scroll to the bottom of this post and click the gray arrow to listen.
What are your thoughts on legalizing prostitution? My Words To Mouth group on GoodReads got to talking about it. Share your thoughts below in the comments section or call 206-309-7318 and enter to win a FREE copy of Sin in the Second City.
Check out Karen’s creative and interactive Sin in the Second City website
Book Excerpt ~ Karen’s favorite scene (Click here for a video of Karen talking about it):
Debate raged in the Second City, meanwhile, over an appropriate itinerary for Prince Henry. Chicago’s 20,000-plus German immigrants planned to line a brilliantly lit Michigan Avenue and roar as the prince traveled past, on his way to an elaborate banquet at the Auditorium Hotel. There he would dine with 165 “representative men” of Chicago, including J. Ogden Armour, Potter Palmer, Oscar Mayer, Marshall Field Jr., and Mayor Carter Harrison II. The planning committees also approved a choral festival at the First Regiment Armory, a tour of Marshall Field’s department store, a trip to Lincoln’s grave, another stop at the Auditorium Hotel for a Grand Ball, and a lunch and reception at the Germania Club. The visit, all totaled, would cost the city $75,000.
The Trouble With Boys: A Surprising Report Card On Our Sons, Their Problems at School and What Parents & Educators Must Do, Peg Tyre
From Peg Tyre’s website:
…The ferocity of the response from the academic feminists was telling and I began to understand why talking about the underachievement of boys can be so difficult. My book, The Trouble With Boys is an attempt to frame a discussion about education and gender in a new way. I am not interested in rehashing a debate about gender politics left over from 1978. We can no longer talk about gender and education like a seesaw—when girls are up, boys are down and visa versa.
Yes, the struggle for equal rights for women continues—and there is much work to be done, particularly when it comes to equity issues in the workplace. Yes, there need to be more women in technology and computer fields and more women in corporate board rooms and in Congress. But we don’t get there by ignoring the very real struggles of schoolboys. Right now, we have 2.5 million more college-going females than college-going males. The growing education gap between men and women is having, and will continue to have, massive implications for our children and our children’s children. My book is an attempt to take a serious look at what is ailing our sons and what parents and educators must do.
Carrie: What inspired you to write The Trouble With Boys: A Surprising Report Card On Our Sons, Their Problems at School and What Parents & Educators Must Do?
Peg: I’m an investigative reporter and the mother of sons. I see, and I think a lot of parents, see the ways in which school is bad for boys. I wanted to write a book for smart, empowered parents of sons that will help them get the most out of their son’s education.
Carrie: Tell us about The Trouble With Boys.
Peg: The book provides tons of information on why you son might be having trouble — and what you can do about it. It is not anti-teacher, anti-school, or anti-mom. I believe we raise and educate our children the way we do for some very good reasons. But I think, taken on the whole, the changes in our families, in our schools and in our society and driving boys a little crazy.