Literature

Jim Minz
ktempest, via Flickr.com, Creative Commons

 

Today's State of Things show is a rebroadcast of an interview with Jim Minz.  The program originally aired on April 1, 2013.

Jim Minz’s childhood in small-town West Bend, Wisconsin prepared him for two things: game shows and science fiction.

tor.com
tor.com / tor.com

David Drake  has garnered a reputation in the world of science fiction readers as a leader in the military sci-fi genre. But he won’t be penned in by labels. His latest novel, “Monsters of the Earth” (Tor/2013), is the third in his Books of the Elements fantasy series.

http://www.katharineashe.com
http://www.katharineashe.com / http://www.katharineashe.com

In Katharine Ashe's latest book, "I Married the Duke," the heroine Arabella takes passage on a ship through the English Channel and meets a rough and tumble sailor who is not what he seems. 

Secret identities and characters in disguise are some of Katharine Ashe's favorite tropes.  Perhaps because the writer herself is not what she seems.

Ashe has received acclaim and popular success as a romance novelist.  But she leads a second life as Katharine Brophy Dubois, a visiting assistant professor in the History Department and Religion Department at Duke University.

amazon.com
Amazon.com / Amazon.com

    

Nancy Peacock’s path to becoming a successful writer wasn’t normal but it was fun. She got interested in writing in the 4th grade when a teacher introduced her to the arts.

"I loved books," she said. "I loved storytelling, but I didn't know that was something that adults actually did."

She skipped college, choosing instead to marry her high school sweetheart.

“Certainly by not going to college, I had to work. I was sort of thrown into the work-a-day world,” she said.   

Marianne LaFrance, a psychologist at Yale, makes a comparison between a genuine smile (left) and a fake smile (right).
Marianne LaFrance

Sure, it's more or less a given that we smile when we're happy and we smile when our picture is taken.  But do we also smile automatically throughout the day when we make eye contact with strangers?  How often do we smile in conversation? 

The film adaptation of Frank Yerby's 1946 best-selling novel, The Foxes of Harrow.
wikipedia.org

African-American literary authors like James Baldwin or Zora Neale Hurston are famous for their depictions of black life. But these novelists have also written books with white protagonists. Why is this unexpected? Is there a mandate that black authors write only about black characters?

Bring Me Back is a new book by Karen Booth.
karenbooth.net

Karen Booth spent years as an insider in the music industry before leaving behind the glitz. Her love for Duran Duran and other ‘80s groups spurred her to pursue her musical career. She draws upon her love and experience for her new novel “Bring Me Back” (Turquoise Morning Press/2013). Host Frank Stasio talks to her in the studio.

Jo Maeder
Jo Maeder

When writer Jo Maeder inherited her mother's collection of 700 dolls, she thought she'd quickly be rid of them. Instead, she became attached, and found herself drawn into the world of doll collectors. Jo Maeder has written about this experience in the New York Times.  Her latest book is Opposites Attack. Host Frank Stasio talks with her...and meets some of the dolls.  

For more information on Jo's doll obsession, you can visit the official site or the Facebook page for Mama Jo's House of Dolls. 

Daniel Wallace's new book, The Kings and Queens of Roam.
Amazon.com

Daniel Wallace is best known for his debut novel “Big Fish,” which became a Hollywood movie.  which became a Hollywood movie and is soon debuting as a musical. But he's written four more novels since then. His latest is called "The Kings and Queens of Roam," and it follows two sisters as they grow up in an imaginary former textile town.

Truth's Ragged Edge The Rise of the American Novel
Philip Gura / http://us.macmillan.com

When we think of the classics of 19th Century literature, names like Melville and Hawthorne come to mind. But what about their contemporaries? What makes ones writer a master and another forgotten? Phillip Gura, professor of American literature and culture at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, tackles that subject in his newest book, “Truth’s Ragged Edge: The Rise of the American Novel” (FSG/2013).


http://elizabethspencerdocumentary.org / Landscapes of The Heart

Elizabeth Spencer’s most famous book is called “The Light in the Piazza.”  It’s the story of an American girl who falls in love with a man in Italy.  And it’s been adapted to a movie and a stage musical.  But Elizabeth has created a large body of work, though none is quite so famous. There’s a new documentary based on Elizabeth Spencer’s life called “Landscapes of the Heart: The Elizabeth Spencer Story.”

lystrabooks.blogspot.com

  On Christmas Eve of 1963, a young woman named Lucille Rinaldi was murdered in her apartment in downtown Chapel Hill.  Later the same day, her husband Frank Rinaldi was arrested and charged with murder.

Over the next two years, the trial consumed the attention of the town.  Nora Gaskin was 12 years old when Lucille Rinaldi was killed. The case left an indelible impression on her. She is the author of "Until Proven: A Mystery in Two Parts" (Lystra/ 2013). She joins host Frank Stasio to discuss the novel she has written based on the murder.

Elaine Neil Orr
nigerianfaithful.org

Elaine Neil Orr was born and raised in Nigeria, the daughter of Baptist Missionaries. When she began writing her memoir about 10 years ago, her mother gave her a keepsake – the 1853 diary of the first Baptist Missionary in Nigeria. This artifact spoke to Orr, and it was the inspiration for her first novel, “A Different Sun: A Novel of Africa” (Berkley Trade/2013).

Chris Benfey
mtholyoke.edu

Several years ago, Chris Benfey decided to write a traditional memoir. He soon realized, however, that his family was anything but traditional. His new book, “Red Brick, Black Mountain, White Clay” (Penguin/2012), is part memoir, part history, part archeology.

It tells the stories of his ancestors’ work as bricklayers, his father’s escape from Nazi Germany and his great aunt and uncle’s pivotal role in the founding of Black Mountain College. Chris Benfey is a Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College. He joins Host Frank Stasio to discuss his family’s North Carolina stories.

Jim Minz
ktempest, via Flickr.com, Creative Commons

Jim Minz’s childhood in small-town West Bend, Wisconsin prepared him for two things: game shows and science fiction.

West Bend was home to the West Bend Company – the maker of small appliances which were regularly featured as consolation prize on game shows.

Jill McCorkle
Tom Rankin

Jill McCorkle's first novel in 17 years, “Life After Life” (Algonquin/ 2013), is set in a retirement community. There, the dying grapple with life and death in humorous, dark turns. One character moved to the area to be close to the grave of her former lover. Another fakes dementia to avoid having to deal with his adult son. Jill McCorkle joins host Frank Stasio to talk about her newest work.

http://www.craignova.com

Author Craig Nova's life as a reader has left him wanting to fill in the gaps in contemporary fiction. Nova notes that he's witnessed a decline in loving male characters. In his latest novel, "The Constant Heart" (Counterpoint/2012), he attempts to fill in this gap. “The Constant Heart” was recently celebrated as part of the New Yorker's "Best Books of 2012" list. Craig Nova is an author and a professor in the humanities at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He joins Host Frank Stasio live at the Triad Stage to discuss the themes behind "The Constant Heart."

University of Georgia Press

  Medgar Evers’s assassination was a spark that motivated social activists and inspired writers, poets and journalists. Artists like Bob Dylan, Eudora Welty and James Baldwin have contributed to the collective memory of Evers through their own works.

Minrose Gwin, professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, talks to host Frank Stasio about her new book, “Remembering Medgar Evers” (University of Georgia Press/2013).

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