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08-03-11: A 2011 Interview with Scott Simon

Photo by Will O'Leary

"...then of course, our kids will be there too, and that's going to change everything."

—Scott Simon

Here's how this sometimes works; you see that someone is coming to town, and you ask those in charge to set up an interview. Sometimes, they actually agree to do so. Then, nothing. After that, more nothing. The event is approaching, the date grows ever-nearer, and yet, more nothing. Your interviewee has several books out, and you sort of pick the most recent; it makes the most sense, and the subject is appealing. Moreover, you're standing in a bookstore, they have a copy, and when you open it up, it's really good.

Then you get an email, and you're told that the interview is tomorrow. Good thing I'm a quick study.

Readers might guess this to be the case with Scott Simon, and they'd be spot-on. One second, I'm in the bookstore, ambling about, ambling about, taking my time. The next, I'm on critical deadline, but at least, immersed in a ripping yarn. Credit Scott Simon with crafting a ripping yarn about the adoption of his two daughters, and his fine prose and the radio voice that you can't help but hear reading portions of the book.

That made the interview part a joy as well, though I wanted to talk about all of his work. And for the small slot of time we were given, we did talk Simon's work as a writer and a broadcaster, and his involvement with the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. You can hear that conversation by following this link to the MP3 audio file.

08-02-11 UPDATE: Podcast Update: Time to Read, Episode 4: Mark Seal, The Man in the Rockefeller Suit

Here's the fourth episode of my new series of podcasts, which I'm calling Time to Read. The podcasts/radio broadcasts will be of books worth your valuable reading time. I'll try to keep the reports under four minutes, for a radio-friendly format. If you want to run them on your show or podcast, let me know.

My hope is that in under four minutes I can offer readers a concise review and an opportunity to hear the author read from or speak about the work. I'm hoping to offer a new one every week.

The fourth episode is a review of Mark Seal's 'The Man in the Rockefeller Suit' featuring a reading frm the book, Seal's story of writing the book and his vision of those who knew him. Here's a link to the MP3 audio file.

08-01-11: A 2011 Interview With Glen Duncan and Stephen Coates

Click image for audio link.

"I try and imagine what it would be like to be that person in that situation."

—Glen Duncan

Setting up with Glen Duncan and Stephen Coates was more fun than it had any right to be. Coates, the musician behind The Real Tuesday Weld, was toting a keyboard and using his Mac Powerbook to play back samples and sounds. Glen Duncan had to spirit away into the studio to do an interview with Scott Simon for Weekend Edition, which meant it all worked out quite well. We got Stephen hooked up and on a microphone while Glen chatted. By the time Glen was done, we were ready to go ... with some reservations.

From the second that Stephen fired off a sampled radio-tweedle that resolved into ringing bells, and Glen began reading from the book, I could tell that this was going to be one of those interviews where the sounds and voices alone, regardless of what was said, would manage to convey a large part of the appeal of the novel. Stephen's music, which I'd not heard until he plugged in his gear and started singing, merged with Glen's voice, which is very bit as rich in person as it is in print.

Stephen played us some songs, Glen talked about his book, and we generally managed to avoid the spoilers you might hear elsewhere, but still get to the heart of the appeal of the novel. 'The Last Werewolf,' has, according to the Six Degrees Records website, been optioned by Ridley Scott, and indeed, he might be able to convey some of the majesty of what these two have created in a movie. But to my mind, the melding of the music and the novel allow the reader, and reader-as-listener, to immerse in the story in a manner that is much richer and more powerful than movies. Readers who want to hear the dulcet voices of Glen Duncan and Stephen Coates, need only follow this link to the MP3 audio file.

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