This week on Writers' Voices we are bringing back one of the most influential writers for young adults today. Laurie Halse Anderson's first young adult novel, "Speak" is the story of a young vicitm of sexual assault and is used in classrooms across the nation. Never one to avoid the tough subjects, her 2014 book, "The Impossible Knife of Memory" is inspired by Anderson's own childhood, growing up with a father suffering from war-induced PTSD.
Anderson began her career as a journalist. In this interview we learn why she began writing children's books, and how she made a successful transition to young adult fiction. In addition to contemporary novels, she also has published a number of historical novels for young adults including the "Seeds of America" trilogy. The first book of that series, "Chains" takes the unusual perspective of a run-away slave during the American Revolution, and shines light on the little-known truth that at the time of the Declaration of Independence, even the Northern states were slave states.
If you missed it the first time (January 2014), you won't want to miss this rebroadcast of our conversation on writing for young adults.
When Amber Farman began writing her debut novel, "Farewell My Loves," she didn't realize just how much she would have in common with her heroine, Meredith, who after being diagnosed with Stage IV cancer, decides to put a profile on an online dating site to find her replacement for her beloved husband and four children.
Two years into the project, Amber herself, also the mother of four children as well as an entrepreneur, was diagnosed with breast cancer. This experience adds an extra does of reality to her writing.
Although in essence "Farewell My Loves" is a simple love story, it definitely tackles the hard subjects: death and dying, religion and spirituality, sex and even polyamory. This book demonstrates convincingly that love is rarely simple.
We're going local on Writers' Voices this week, to bring you the voices of three young and talented writers from the Fairfield area.
First up is Megan D. Robinson, a poet, performance artist and freelance writer. Megan's chapbook, "No Longer an Ingenue" won the 2014 Blue Light Poetry Prize. Megan will be performing her poetry at Revelations Cafe and Book Store in Fairfield next Friday, April 17, at 8 pm.
You may have read Megan's work previously in the Iowa Source, The Ottumwa Courier, or the anthologies Lyrical Iowa 2007 and This Endiring Gift.
In the second half hour, we introduce the Lamansky brothers from Brighton Iowa, 14 year old Nate, and James, 17, who will be reading their entries in the 2015 Future Problem Solvers state short story contest. Both have previously had FPS short stories recieve awards at the international level.
I hope you can join us!
Fourteen years ago, a cohortof new college grads realized they didn't know what they wanted to do with their lives. Sound familiar? They heard a lot
of "should's" and "ought to's" but they decided to shut out the noise and set out to find their own way, by taking a road trip in an old green RV to interview business people, artists and tradesmen who had created lives worth living. That trip was written up in Forbes magazine and turned into thier 2003 book, "Roadtrip Nation," which led to their long-running PBS TV series of the same name, plus the Roadtrip Nation Experience Curriculum and much more.
Today on Writer's Voices we will be speaking with one of the founders of Roadtrip Nation, Mike Marriner, whose role in the organization is "to think about stuff and then try to make it happen." Mike will be talking about the group's new book, "Roadmap: The Get-it-Together Guide for Figuring Out What to Do with Your Life." Filled with advice from successful people they have interviewed, exercises, illustrations, diagrams and great stories, this book has something for everyone, wherever you may be on the road of life.
For some reason, this subject has come up a lot lately. What unknown, potentially detrimental impact does modern technology have on our lives, relationships, health?
Personally, I love technology and I don't think it consumes my life, but I think for a lot of people it does. Christina Crook was feeling that way and decided to take a
31 day fast from the internet and, instread, write 31 letters on a manual typewiter to a friend.
Join us this week on Writers' Voices to learn what Christina learned from this experience, how it changed her life, and how it turned into a book ("the Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World") and a TEDx talk: ("Letting Go of Technology: Pursuing a People-focused Future")
If you love animals, or science, or mystery, or memoir, or....then you will want to tune in to Writers' Voices this week to learn more about the world of working dogs, particularly cadaver dogs. Never heard of a cadaver dog? It's a fairly recent specialty of dogs that are trained to find dead bodies. Turns out they're pretty darn good at it. Usually, but not always, dogs are trained solely for this task instead of the more commonly known dog jobs of tracking people, detecting bombs, or sniffing out drugs, although some dogs do double duty.
Author Cat Warren is a professor at North Carolina State University, where she teaches science journalism and creative nonfiction. Learn how she became a cadaver-dog handler, what breeds are best, and how they are trained. We'll also discuss why she decided to write this fascinating book about the history of this dog specialty, and the stories of her own dogs and many others.
On Christmas Day, 2012, Allan Lokos escaped from a crashed and burning plane on Myanmar with severe burns over 33% of his body. He was not expected to survive, but he not only lived, he has written a book about the crash, his miraculous survival, and the process of healing. Details from the crash and the immediate aftermath are supplied by his wife Susanna, who was also injured in the crash, though not as severely.
In addition to some wonderful medical professionals, Lokos credits his years of meditative practice as a major contributing factor to both his survival and his healing. "Through the Flames: Overcoming Disaster Through Compassion, Patience, and Determination" is an inspiring tale of heroism and persistence.
Lokos is the founder of the Community Meditation Center in NYC and was a guest on Writers' Voices previously with his book "Patience: The Art of Peaceful Living."
This week we are digging into the archives to bring you a rebroadcast of this interview with Allan Lokos. Next week (March 13 and 16) we will be speaking live with Allan about his new book, "Through the Flames: Overcoming Disaster Through Compassion, Patience and Determination" where he tells about his miraculous (and very painful) survival of a plane crash in Myanmar on Christmas Day, 2012.
In our fast paced, ever changing world, patience is often our most needed, but least cultivated virtue. Allan Lokos is the founder and guiding teacher of New York City's Community Meditation Center. His book "Patience: The Art of Peaceful Living" lays out a compelling and helpful path to deeper patience. Drawing on Lokos many years as a Buddhist practitioner and teacher, as well as interviews from a wide range of people who have had their patience dramatically tested, this book provides a realistic approach to becoming calmer and happier with one's self, in relationships, at work, and with the world.
"The First Bad Man" is not your normal romance, or your normal first novel for that matter. But then again, Miranda July is not your average first-time novelist. July's myriad successes range from filmmaking (her first feature film, "Me and You and Everyone We Know" won the Camera d'Or award at the Cannes Film Festival and a Special Jury Prize at Sundance) to sculpting (creator of Eleven Heavy Things, a sculpture garden created for the 2009 Venice Biennale) to, of course, writing (her first book, of short stories, won the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award) with performance art and mobile app development thrown in for good measure.
In this interview, we learn how and why July continues to create in such diverse arenas; how she came to writing; and where she goes from here. "The First Bad Man" has won praise from cultural icons Lena Dunham ("Miranda July's ability to pervert norms while embracing what makes us normal is astounding") and Dave Eggers ("this novel is almost impossible to put down.") I can affrim that it is also impossible to forget.
Alert: This book contains adult content.
What a fun book and inspiring author we have in store for you this week on Writers' Voices.
Danny Gregory says "I spent most of my life not believing I had the right to consider myself an artist in any way. But then I started drawing...it led me to travel, to meet people, to get books published, but most of all it transformed... how I experience every day."
Gregory's books are in the style of illustrated journals. In "Art Before Breakfast" he teaches readers how to carve out time for art, and shows how even just ten minutes a day can lead to a richer life. These mini-art projects sure inspired us!
Gregory is also the co-founder of Sketchbook Skool, a video-based art school designed to inspire creative storytelling through illustrated journaling.
"Art Before Breakfast" is published by Chronicle Books, one of the most innovative publishers today and makers of beautiful books.