300 episodes

Interviews with Writers about their New Books

New Books in Literature New Books Network

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Interviews with Writers about their New Books

    Anne Louise Bannon, "Death of the Chinese Field Hands" (Healcroft House, 2020)

    Anne Louise Bannon, "Death of the Chinese Field Hands" (Healcroft House, 2020)

    When Anne Louise Bannon heard her husband, then archivist for the City of Los Angeles, speak about how early Angelenos dug a large ditch (a zanja) to cull water from the Porciuncula River (now known as the Los Angeles River), her first thought was that the Zanja would be an interesting place to find a dead body. Death of the Zanjero and Death of the City Marshall were the first two in her Old Los Angeles series (both delightful), and now comes Death of the Chinese Field Hands (Healcroft House, 2020). Protagonist Maddie Wilcox is a widowed doctor who owns and manages a ranch and vineyard. When she isn’t supervising her wine production, ranch business, and a sizable staff, Maddie is called upon to treat the injuries and diseases of her neighbors. Solving murders is just a past-time, but luckily, she has a keen eye for details and knows what it means when a boot print with a gaping hole is discovered near the bodies of several Chinese workers. The story is loosely based on the lynching of eighteen Chinese men on October 24, 1871 and reminds us that small-minded bigotry and xenophobia is a shameful part of American history we have yet to overcome.
    Anne Louise Bannon is an author and journalist who wrote her first novel at age 15. Her journalistic work has appeared in Ladies' Home Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Wines and Vines, and in newspapers across the country. She was a TV critic for over 10 years, founded the YourFamilyViewer blog, and created the OddBallGrape.com wine education blog with her husband, Michael Holland. She is the co-author of Howdunit: Book of Poisons, with Serita Stevens, and author of the Freddie and Kathy mystery series, set in the 1920s, the Operation Quickline Series, and the Old Los Angeles series, set in the 1870s. Anne and her husband live in Southern California with an assortment of critters. When not reading or writing, she sews, and is currently learning how to make men's pants.
    If you enjoyed today’s podcast and would like to discuss it further with me and other New Books network listeners, please join us on Shuffle. Shuffle is an ad-free, invite-only network focused on the creativity community. As NBN listeners, you can get special access to conversations with a dynamic community of writers and literary enthusiasts. Sign up by going to www.shuffle.do/NBN/join
    G.P. Gottlieb is the author of the Whipped and Sipped Mystery Series and a prolific baker of healthful breads and pastries. Please contact her through her website (GPGottlieb.com) if you wish to recommend an author (of a beautifully-written new novel) to interview, to listen to her previous podcast interviews, to read her mystery book reviews, or to check out some of her awesome recipes.
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    • 30 min
    Lisa B. Thompson, "Underground, Monroe, and the Mamalogues: Three Plays" (Northwestern UP, 2020)

    Lisa B. Thompson, "Underground, Monroe, and the Mamalogues: Three Plays" (Northwestern UP, 2020)

    Lisa B. Thompson is equally renowned as a scholar of African and African-American studies and as a playwright. Her latest book Underground, Monroe, and the Mamalogues: Three Plays (Northwestern University Press 2020) collects plays from throughout her two decades as a playwright. "Underground" is a tense two-hander exploring themes of race, class, and masculinity through the story of two friends with very different ideas about how to change the world. Monroe draws on Thompson’s family’s history as part of the Great Migration of Blacks from the South to the urban north and west. "The Mamalogues" is the funniest and most personal play in this collection: it is a love letter to unpartnered Black mothers and a spiritual sequel to Thompson’s earlier play "Single Black Female."
    Andy Boyd is a playwright based in Brooklyn, New York. He is a graduate of the playwriting MFA program at Columbia University, Harvard University, and the Arizona School for the Arts. His plays have been produced, developed, or presented at IRT, Pipeline Theatre Company, The Gingold Group, Dixon Place, Roundabout Theatre, Epic Theatre Company, Out Loud Theatre, Naked Theatre Company, Contemporary Theatre of Rhode Island, and The Trunk Space. He is currently working on a series of 50 plays about the 50 U.S. states. His website is AndyJBoyd.com, and he can be reached at andyjamesboyd@gmail.com.
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    • 1 hr
    Heather Lende, "Of Bears and Ballots: An Alaskan Adventure in Small-Town Politics" (Algonquin Books, 2020)

    Heather Lende, "Of Bears and Ballots: An Alaskan Adventure in Small-Town Politics" (Algonquin Books, 2020)

    Heather Lende was one of the thousands of women inspired to take a more active role in politics during the past few years. Though her entire campaign for assembly member in Haines, Alaska, cost less than $1,000, she won! But tiny, breathtakingly beautiful Haines—a place accessible from the nearest city, Juneau, only by boat or plane—isn’t the sleepy town that it appears to be: from a bitter debate about the expansion of the fishing boat harbor to the matter of how to stop bears from rifling through garbage on Main Street to the recall campaign that targeted three assembly members, including Lende, we witness the nitty-gritty of passing legislation, the lofty ideals of our republic, and how the polarizing national politics of our era play out in one small town. With an entertaining cast of offbeat but relatable characters, Of Bears and Ballots: An Alaskan Adventure in Small-Town Politics (Algonquin Books, 2020) is an inspirational tale about what living in a community really means, and what we owe one another.
    Heather Lende has contributed essays and commentary to NPR, the New York Times, and National Geographic Traveler, among other newspapers and magazines, and is a former contributing editor at Woman’s Day. A columnist for the Alaska Dispatch News, she is the obituary writer for the Chilkat Valley News in Haines and the recipient of the Suzan Nightingale McKay Best Columnist Award from the Alaska Press Club. Her previous bestselling books are Find the Good, Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs, and If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name. Lende was voted Citizen of the Year, Haines Chamber of Commerce, in 2004. Her website is heatherlende.com.
    Dr. Christina Gessler’s background is in American women’s history, and literature. She specializes in the diaries written by rural women in 19th-century New England. In seeking the extraordinary in the ordinary, Gessler also writes poems about small relatable moments, and takes many, many photos in nature.
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    • 1 hr 5 min
    Maria Hinojosa, "Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America" (Atria Books, 2020)

    Maria Hinojosa, "Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America" (Atria Books, 2020)

    Maria Hinojosa is an award-winning journalist who, for nearly thirty years, has reported on stories and communities in America that often go ignored by the mainstream media—from tales of hope in the South Bronx to the unseen victims of the War on Terror and the first detention camps in the US. Bestselling author Julia Álvarez has called her “one of the most important, respected, and beloved cultural leaders in the Latinx community.”
    Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America (Atria Books, 2020), Maria shares her intimate experience growing up Mexican American on the South Side of Chicago. She offers a personal and illuminating account of how the rhetoric around immigration has not only long informed American attitudes toward outsiders, but also sanctioned willful negligence and profiteering at the expense of our country’s most vulnerable populations—charging us with the broken system we have today.
    An urgent call to fellow Americans to open their eyes to the immigration crisis and understand that it affects us all, this honest and heartrending memoir paints a vivid portrait of how we got here and what it means to be a survivor, a feminist, a citizen, and a journalist who owns her voice while striving for the truth.
    Also available in Spanish as Una vez fui tú.
    David-James Gonzales (DJ) is Assistant Professor of History at Brigham Young University. He is a historian of migration, urbanization, and social movements in the U.S., and specializes in Latina/o/x politics and social movements. Follow him on Twitter @djgonzoPhD.
     
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    • 1 hr 5 min
    Shakira Croce, "Leave It Raw" (Finishing Line Press, 2020)

    Shakira Croce, "Leave It Raw" (Finishing Line Press, 2020)

    Like a storm waiting to break over a plain, Shakira Croce pulls at tensions and heartstrings in a debut collection filled with longing, wit, and intelligence. Through masterful imagery, Croce floats between the rural and urban with ease, pulling back the veil to see what lies beneath. These poems do not shy away from looking at life in all its beauty, violence, or complexities because within those boundaries we can begin to understand what it means to be human. As she writes in Homecoming, "It’s about finding/the space/to bring out what’s already/inside you." In Leave It Raw (Finishing Line Press, 2020), Croce makes that space and empties out the heart for all to see.
    Shakira Croce’s poetry translations have appeared in Babel magazine, and her poetry has been featured in several literary magazines and journals, including the New Ohio Review, Pilgrimage Press, HIV Here & Now, Transactions, Ducts, pioneertown, Permafrost Magazine, and Shark Reef. She was a featured reader in the Boundless Tales Reading Series, and she was a finalist in the Linda Flowers Literary Award competition.
    Croce holds a Bachelor of Arts from Sarah Lawrence College and a Master’s in Public Administration from Pace University. Born in Geneva, New York in 1987, she grew up in Gainesville, Georgia and later studied in Florence, Italy. She currently works in New York City as Assistant Director of Communications and Public Relations at New York’s largest Medicaid Special Needs Health Plan, Amida Care.  She lives with her husband, son, and two cats in Brooklyn.
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    • 33 min
    Morris Ardoin, "Stone Motel: Memoirs of a Cajun Boy" (UP of Mississippi, 2020)

    Morris Ardoin, "Stone Motel: Memoirs of a Cajun Boy" (UP of Mississippi, 2020)

    In the summers of the early 1970s, Morris Ardoin and his siblings helped run their family's roadside motel in a hot, buggy, bayou town in Cajun Louisiana. The stifling, sticky heat inspired them to find creative ways to stay cool and out of trouble. When they were not doing their chores—handling a colorful cast of customers, scrubbing motel-room toilets, plucking chicken bones and used condoms from under the beds—they played canasta, an old ladies’ game that provided them with a refuge from the sun and helped them avoid their violent, troubled father.
    Morris was successful at occupying his time with his siblings and the children of families staying in the motel’s kitchenette apartments but was not so successful at keeping clear of his father, a man unable to shake the horrors he had experienced as a child and, later, as a soldier. The preteen would learn as he matured that his father had reserved his most ferocious attacks for him because of an inability to accept a gay or, to his mind, broken, son. It became his dad’s mission to “fix” his son, and Morris’s mission to resist—and survive intact. He was aided in his struggle immeasurably by the love and encouragement of a selfless and generous grandmother, who provides his story with much of its warmth, wisdom, and humor. In Stone Motel: Memoirs of a Cajun Boy (UP of Mississippi, 2020), the reader will also find suspense, awkward romance, naughty French lessons, and an insider’s take on a truly remarkable, not-yet-homogenized pocket of American culture.
    Morris Ardoin earned a bachelor’s in journalism from Louisiana State University and a master’s in communication from the University of Louisiana. A public relations practitioner, his work has appeared in regional, national, and international media. He divides his time between New York City and Cornwallville, New York, where he does most of his writing. His blog, Parenthetically Speaking, can be found at www.morrisardoin.com.
    John Marszalek III is author of Coming Out of the Magnolia Closet: Same-Sex Couples in Mississippi (2020, University Press of Mississippi). He is clinical faculty of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program at Southern New Hampshire University. Twitter: @marsjf3
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    • 56 min

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