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.

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Jessica Strawser lives in Cincinnati-she was looking for the perfect setting for "Not That I Could Tell," her second novel. She decided that the ideal place for it would be a community that she enjoys visiting, the village of Yellow Springs, Ohio.

As this story of domestic suspense opens a woman has vanished along with her children and nobody seems to know where they might have gone. The missing woman had been going through a contentious divorce, she has been separated from her husband, a physician who is living in an apartment while the divorce proceedings are underway.

22 years ago a relatively unknown poet became a publishing sensation after she released her first memoir. Frances Mayes had written about her experiences renovating an ancient villa in the Tuscany region of Italy. That book, "Under the Tuscan Sun,  became a massive blockbuster best-seller. The paperback remained on the best-seller list for years.

Laura Lippman's latest novel is a standalone noir that pays tribute to the work of the legendary James M. Cain. Lippmann got the theme for this one in part from a newspaper story that ran during her days as a journalist in Baltimore. During this interview she tiptoed around what that news story was actually about because knowing what it discussed would have been a bit of a spoiler

It is always a pleasure to interview an author who is making a literary debut with the publication of that first book. It is even more special when that author is someone you remember as a youth rambling the streets of your own town. Recently I had that experience when I conducted this interview with Moriel Rothman-Zecher.

Here's the review of his novel that I wrote for the Cox Ohio newspapers:

T.J. Turner returned to the program to discuss the second book in his series that imagines an alternate history of our American Civil War. In the first book "Lincoln's Bodyguard," the author created a story line in which President Abraham Lincoln was not assassinated at Ford's Theater in April, 1865. Instead, Lincoln had been saved by his bodyguard who is also the main protagonist in the first book and in this new one "Land of Wolves."

It was around this time of year in 1996 that Thomas Cahill came through the area on a tour to publicize his book "How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe." It was right before St. Patrick's Day and since the man known as Patrick was the central figure in Cahill's history of early Ireland it seemed quite appropriate.

Paul Goldberg returned to the program to discuss his latest darkly humorous novel "The Chateau." His protagonist is a journalist named Bill who is about to lose his long-time gig as a science reporter for the Washington Post. Right at about that same moment he hears that his former college roommate, a plastic surgeon in Florida, has just made a fatal plunge from atop a tall building.

Years ago I spent a lot of time browsing through record bins looking for the next LP that was going to change my life forever I would pause to admire the cover art on record albums. The titles were another thing to consider. If I liked the cover and/or the title I would frequently purchase those LPs even if I had never heard of the recording artists. This willingness to encounter the unknown sounds hidden within those album jackets often paid off splendidly. I happened upon some amazing recordings by doing so.

In this third volume in the author's "Orphan X" series Evan Smoak is living an undercover existence. He's hiding out because the highly trained assassins of the top secret government Orphan Program are looking for him. As Orphan X, Smoak was once a member of that organization. Now he's vanished and hoping to live a life that is more about performing good deeds instead of committing assassinations.

I don't usually get nervous before an interview. I have found that if I have read the book and I'm well prepared that my nerves are usually not an issue. I wasn't nervous before my interview with Donald Trump. When I interviewed Ohio Governor John Kasich last year I felt totally relaxed. Perhaps that was because I had interviewed him before? I wasn't nervous before I interviewed Charlton Heston. Even though he had a reputation for being somewhat stern I wasn't concerned about that.

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