WYSO

Vick Mickunas

Host - Book Nook

Vick Mickunas introduced the Book Nook author interview program for WYSO in 1994. Over the years he has produced more than 1500 interviews with writers, musicians, poets, politicians, and celebrities. Listen to the Book Nook with Vick Mickunas for intimate conversations about books with the writers who create them.  Vick Mickunas reviews books for the Dayton Daily News and the Springfield News Sun.

Ways to Connect

Every day I try to learn something new. Hopefully this process will keep my mind sharp-I plan to continue doing it. In 1994 I conducted what was to become my first interview in what would later be known as "The Book Nook." It wasn't actually a show yet. It was just my first interview with an author. After I had conducted a few more author interviews at random times on random days during the music program that I was hosting every weekday on WYSO I thought that I had better come up with a name for the interview segments. I started calling it "The Book Nook on Afternoon Excursions."

Johnny Earl was a star athlete in high school but he hasn't accomplished too much since. His attempts to play professional baseball fizzled. He got involved with illicit drugs. He went to prison. And while he was incarcerated he made the mistake of letting his gigantic neo-Nazi cellmate know about the stash of drug money that he had hidden away before they locked him up.

Paul Dickson is one of the most prolific writers I know. He has written over sixty books. His most recent one, "Leo Durocher - Baseball's Prodigal Son," is the biography of one of the most colorful and controversial baseball personalities of the 20th century.

Malcolm Mackay lives on a remote island in Scotland. The crime rate where he lives in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis is almost non-existent. Most of the crimes that do occur in the area have taken place exclusively in Mackay's imagination. He writes crime novels and they are populated by criminals who are running rampant in the Scottish city of Glasgow. In Mackay's novels the police make an occasional appearance but they usually are not doing that much to prevent crime. In some instances they are permitting some bad things to happen. Looking the other way. Getting paid off.

People will ask me; "what was your favorite author interview?" or "what is your favorite book?" I cannot answer those questions. When it comes to crime novels I have many favorite writers. If I felt obligated to admit which writers I think are at the very top of their game in that genre right now I would name Philip Kerr along with a few others.

Kerr's latest novel "Prussian Blue" features his noir detective Bernie Gunther. This is the 12th book in this series.  I'm pleased to report that "Prussian Blue" is also the best Bernie Gunther book so far.

Greg Iles has published the highly anticipated third book in his monumental "Natchez Burning" trilogy. Over the course of these three books and 2300+ pages Iles has taken readers through a complex and expansive tale of racial tensions that played out over the course of decades in Natchez, Mississippi. These three novels are a massive and memorable work of the author's imagination. This final book went straight to #1 on the lists of best-selling fiction.

John Scalzi is rapidly becoming one of the most highly regarded science fiction authors writing today. Scalzi, who resides in the tiny village of Bradford in SW Ohio recently published "The Collapsing Empire," the first book in his new series. In this interview Scalzi talks about the basic story lines of his new novel and how he has progressively become the writer that he is today. Scalzi is quite fortunate to have a first reader who isn't reluctant to inform him when something he has written doesn't seem to be working.

Once in a great while I'll stumble upon a debut novel that is so freaking brilliant I'll just want to scream. But I don't usually scream now. I'm finally reaching some new kind of maturity I suppose. So I scream quite quietly. Then I contact the author's publicist and beg for an interview. Fortunately I can often book interviews with debut novelists-I have had hundreds of interviews over the years with writers who had just put out their first books.
 

The last time A. Scott Berg appeared on this program he discussed his monumental biography of Woodrow Wilson. On April 2, 1917 President Woodrow Wilson officially reversed course when he gave a speech to a joint session of Congress in which he stated his reasons for asking that the United States should officially declare war on Germany and finally enter World War I. The Great War had begun in 1914 and during his first term Wilson had taken pride in keeping our country out of that conflict.
 

After leaving the White House Ronald Reagan maintained an office in Los Angeles. It was a busy place; he met with dignitaries, celebrities, and ordinary Americans at his office. Peggy Grande was there, she became the former president's executive assistant, the person who managed his busy schedule. She got to know him quite well.
 

Pages