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Author News & Interviews

Author Talk: Michael Ponsor, author of The Hanging Judge

Feb 5, 2014

Question: To what extent—if any—is Judge Norcross based on you? Is the trial in THE HANGING JUDGE based at all on any case or cases you’ve presided over?

Michael Ponsor: The trial is based generally on my experience as a judge, and my experience presiding over a complete death penalty trial. Judge Norcross, however, is not me. He is less experienced than I am as a judge now, and than when I presided over my capital case. He is also, in many ways, a nicer person than I am.

Author Talk: Thomas Moore, author of A Religion of One's Own: A Guide to Creating a Personal Spirituality in a Secular World

Jan 9, 2014

Question: In many ways, A RELIGION OF ONE’S OWN revisits some of the themes you first raised in CARE OF THE SOUL. Would it be fair to say that you have been working on this book for the past twenty years?

Thomas Moore: It would be fair to say that I’ve been working on this book all my life. From the fifth grade in school, when I was an altar boy, through my monastic years and then my graduate studies in religion, I’ve been exploring the issues raised in this book. To me, they’re not just intellectual puzzles; they’re the object of my passionate search and have defined my existence.

Author Talk: Becky Aikman, author of Saturday Night Widows: The Adventures of Six Friends Remaking Their Lives

Jan 9, 2014

Question: Why did you decide to write a book about the SATURDAY NIGHT WIDOWS?

Becky Aikman: Losing someone close to you has to be one of life’s most universal experiences, but it wasn’t until it happened to me that I realized our culture doesn’t provide much guidance on how to start over afterward. A lot has been written about dealing with grief, raw, immediate grief, but almost nothing about how to take the next step, to begin to find happiness again. I set out to look at that.

: Antoinette van Heugten, author of The Tulip Eaters

Nov 4, 2013

Question: Where did you find your inspiration for writing THE TULIP EATERS?

Antoinette van Heugten: My parents were Dutch and fought in the Dutch resistance during World War II. Although they did not speak of it often, as children we heard stories of how our grandmother hid a Jewish boy in the cellar, how my mother transported microfiche on her bicycle and how my father had blown up munitions depots. We also were made well aware of the hardships their families and others suffered during the five years of Nazi occupation, particularly the starvation conditions during the “Hongerwinter” toward the end of the war. As such, I have always had a personal as well as an historical fascination with that time period. My parents’ heroism, demonstrated when they were only teenagers, was my initial inspiration. Reading the diaries and letters of so many Dutch people during the war inspired me further.

Author Talk: Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief

Nov 4, 2013

Question: How did you become a writer?

Markus Zusak: When I was growing up, I wanted to be a house painter like my father, but I was always screwing up when I went to work with him. I had a talent for knocking over paint and painting myself into corners. I also realized fairly quickly that painting bored me. When I was a teenager, I read some books that brought me totally into their worlds. One was THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA and another was WHAT’S EATING GILBERT GRAPE. I was also inspired by S.E Hinton’s novels — THE OUTSIDERS at the start, but as time went on, more so by RUMBLE FISH. When I read those books, I thought, That’s what I want to do with my life. After many rejection letters, it took seven years to get published, and there were countless daily failures along they way as well. I’m glad those failures and rejections happened, though, because they made me realize that what I was writing just wasn’t good enough — I had to push myself to improve.