Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Helping with a book report

I received an email note from a student asking for help on a book report on The Shut Mouth Society. Here are the questions and my responses.


Were did you spend your childhood? 
book reviewIn southern California. Although I lived in Torrance, I spent, or misspent, my youth in Hermosa Beach surfing.

Why did you write the Shut Mouth Society?
My first novel was Tempest at Dawn, a historical novel about the 1787 Constitutional Convention. I was researching a companion book about Lincoln's political leadership during the Civil War, and discovered that Mary Lincoln had supposedly burned all of Lincoln's papers before they left for Washington. It got my imagination going. What if new pre-presidential Lincoln papers were found? Why had they remained hidden? How could I make a mystery out of it? One day I started writing, and a bit over a year later, The Shut Mouth Society was sent to editing. I'm still working on a Lincoln book that will take place in the mid-nineteenth century.

Why did you pick President Lincoln?
I write historical novels, but my special interest is the Constitution. After Tempest at Dawn, I felt the next most important Constitutional event in history was the Civil War because slavery had been left unresolved during the Constitutional Convention. I also find Abraham Lincoln a fascinating character, which is crucial in storytelling.

Why do you write about history?
I love history. It's the story of mankind. Also, I want to write books with a long shelf-life. My first book was non-fiction about computer technology. The publishing industry moves slow, so the book was technically obsolete before it hit the bookstores. A historical novel can last forever.

Were did you get your education?
I got an undergraduate degree in economics from California State University at Northridge, and an MBA from UCLA

What awards have you received?
I don't generally submit my work for awards, but The Shut Mouth Society was a finalist for the ABPA Glyph Award for "Best Popular Fiction." Although not an award, Tempest at Dawn was featured on The Glenn Beck Show and is on the Glenn Beck Reading List and the Constituting America Reading List.



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