WYSO

Books - Fiction

Writing a novel can be an arduous endeavor. "Crossing the Street" by Molly Campbell went through numerous rewrites before the author felt that she had gotten it right. This is the story of Beck Throckmorton. Beck works as a barista at Starbucks-this is merely a cover for her real occupation writing steamy erotica that she publishes.

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.

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.
 

With the publication of "I Let You Go" last year Clare Mackintosh won the attention of over a million mystery readers who loved her tightly woven and spectacularly clever book. How does one follow up on a debut novel that sizzled like that one did?

For most of us life is one long series of compromises. We have to make compromises because we want to exist in a society that is often at odds with our own feelings, opinions, and beliefs.
 

In Laird Hunt's latest novel "The Evening Road" his character Ottie Lee has reluctantly allowed herself to make compromises just to get by. Her marriage has become a compromise. Her relationship with her boss involves compromises. And as this story builds her participation in a hideous spectacle, a lynching, becomes just another thing that finds her being swept along by events.

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