Tag Archives: biography

10 QUESTIONS FOR…Cynthia S. Becker, author of middle grade biographies

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Author interview with Cynthia S. Beckerchipetapeacemakercovercsbecker08

 

Bio: I live in Pueblo, Colorado with one husband, two cats, and 8,000 books. (We have an Internet used book business.) I’m a Midwestern girl who fell in love with the West through books and Saturday morning serials on TV.  I moved to Colorado the day after college graduation.  I began writing with intent in 1995. My published work is non-fiction but I also write short story and middle grade historical fiction.

 

Latest book: Chipeta: Ute Peacemaker, Filter Press, 2008, ISBN: 978-0-86541-091-6 middle grade biography

 

Other books: Chipeta: Queen of the Utes, P. David Smith co-author, Western Reflections Publishing, 2003, “Best Biography” Award Colorado Independent Publisher’s Association      

 

Immigration & Illegal Aliens: Burden or Blessing, Cengage Learning (formerly Thomson Gale), 2006, 2008, 2010 editions

 

Problems With Death, Greenhaven Press, 2006

 

The American Family: Reflecting A Changing Nation, Thomson Gale, 2003 & 2005 editions

 

Freelance writing: April and June 2009 cover stories for Colorado Country Life, the magazine of the Rural Electric Association. Other work has appeared in the New York Times, The Denver Post, The Saturday Evening Post, Family Chronicle, and Learning Through History

 

1.     Tell us about your latest book.

 

 Chipeta: Ute Peacemaker is a middle grade biography of a renowned Ute Indian woman. Her husband became a powerful chief and trusted her advice above all others. Chipeta gained respect as an advocate for peace with the settlers who invaded Ute territory, now known as the state of Colorado.  This book is based on my original research in Indian Agent records, period newspapers, and oral histories.  I previously produced an adult biography of this woman.

 

2. How did you get started as a writer?

 

I’ve been a reader and a writer since childhood—interests strongly influenced by my mother. During my working career, I honed my non-fiction skills producing fact-finding reports and company newsletters. It took losing my job in 1995 to free me to write the stories I wanted to tell. My first published pieces were craft articles in a children’s magazine.

 

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

 

My husband and I are early risers who walk five miles a day. We both write and spend much of the day in our separate offices.  In the evening we read—except when the Rockies are playing.

 

4. Describe your desk/workspace.

 

I have a quiet basement office with flowering plants growing in a south window. In addition to my computer table, I work on a 1930’s white metal kitchen table with pull-out/pop-up leaves. My shelves are stuffed with old Colorado history tomes, books on writing, and books I love and can’t let go. The place needs a good cleaning out; I’m a packrat.

 

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

 

The First Five Pages: A Writers Guide To Staying Out of the Rejection Pile, Noah Lukeman, 2005.   I read this recently and finally understood how to solve transition problems in my short stories. 

 

The Portable Dorothy Parker (her collected short stories and poetry)

 

Lamy of Santa Fe, Paul Horgan, 1975 Pulitzer Prize for History

 

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

 

I’m very quiet but I meet lots of people through my unusual ear jewelry made by polymer clay artist friends.

 

Working the interactive SET puzzles on the New York Times website is my favorite relaxation technique. 

 

Working puzzles is even better with my favorite bluegrass music.

 

7. Favorite quote

 

I’m not a quote collector.

 

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

 

The process of writing. It is a delight when the words seem to flow in perfect order and a frustration when they appear like a jigsaw puzzle with missing pieces.

 

9. Advice for other writers

 

If you are not in a critique group, find one.  After I write and rewrite a piece, it is impossible to read it objectively. Having other writers read my work with an understanding but critical eye has improved every piece I have presented to them. In critiquing their work I also learn from how they structure stories, present dialogue, etc.    

 

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience

 

I long ago stopped believing in coincidence; some things are meant to happen. My first book was published without any pitch to an agent or editor. I had been researching Chipeta for several years when I contacted the author of Ouray: Chief of the Utes to identify the source of one piece of information in his book. To my surprise, he had retired from the judicial position noted on his book cover and founded a successful small press. He had also started a biography of Chipeta, got stuck and tucked it away in a drawer. “Would you be interested in collaborating?” he asked. We met, agreed to work together as co-authors and signed a contract. He supplied his incomplete work plus materials from his private collection. I wove his work and my research together and his company published Chipeta: Queen of the Utes in 2003.

 

 

Where can people buy your books?

 

Chipeta: Ute Peacemaker is available at $8.95 through Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Chipeta-Ute-Peacemaker-Know-Bios/dp/0865410917) or directly from publisher Filter Press (http://www.filterpressbooks.com/AuthorCB2.html) Please visit at my Chipeta blog http://chipeta.wordpress.com where I post about reading, writing, and research.

10 QUESTIONS FOR…Hank Rosenfeld, author of “The Wicket Wit of the West”

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Author interview with Hank Rosenfeldfrontcover1aero_hank_and_irv_onstageaero_marquee050

1. Tell us about your latest book.

THE WICKED WIT OF THE WEST by Irving Brecher as-told-to-me is a “freak” of a book, according to my 94-year-old writing partner Irv. Not a bio, not a memoir, but it chronicles his life writing comedies for the Marx Brothers (Groucho gave him the name “Wicked Wit of the West” when Irv punched up “The Wizard of Oz”. Harpo called him Irv “The Nerve”), seven musicals at MGM including “Meet Me In St. Louis,” and created the first “sitcom” in 1949: “The Life of Riley,” starring Jackie Gleason. In fact, the show won the first Emmy in 1950.

The complete title of the book is THE WICKED WIT OF THE WEST: The last great Golden Age screenwriter on the hilarity and heartache of working with Groucho, Garland, Gleason, Berle, Burns, Benny & many more

2. How did you get started as a writer?

I remember writing stories in 5th grade Macdowell Elementary in Detroit, as part of a stay-after-school class in Detroit that was so great, we were given Hershey bars down the hallway afterward class.

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

I pass the time strolling in a midtown-reverie until it’s time to get to the library and put all distractions aside (except they have a lovely BOOKMARK CAFE here at the new downtown Santa Monica Public Library….Then home for dinner and Jim Lehrer Newshour and The Daily Show and read until asleep.

4. Describe your desk/workspace.

At home: A ripped up-upholstered chair, a  room full of paper, books on shelves and floor, on all sides, files of clips and articles, and the radio, the chief distractor-in-chief.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

Letters of Groucho (Marx), Henry Miller On Writing, Bird by Bird by Annie LaMott

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

Groucho, Harpo and Chico. I’m 53 but feel 35 inside, acting out the spirit of Groucho, Harpo and Chico Marx!

7. Favorite quote:

“Writing a book is like driving at night with the headlights on. You can only see a little way in front of you, but you keep going.” E.L. Doctorow.  “A Jew should be in the world, but not of the world.” My rabbi.

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

I love the hours. I hate sitting and stuggling to say something.

9. Advice for other writers

READ

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience

Once in a movie theater Men’s Room in NYC, I began haranguing a writer, William Burroughs. I compared his writing to Henry Miller’s, praising Miller to the hilt. Suddenly, William Burroughs came out of a bathroom stall.

 Where can people buy your book?

You can buy it at Amazon and Barnes & Noble’s websites. The website with my web log wherein to find out more is www.irvbrecher.com

10 QUESTIONS FOR…multi-genre author Alma H. Bond, Ph.D.

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Author interview with Alma H. Bond, Ph.D.alma_kyacking__3_jpgformatmarciapicimage100

My latest book, Margaret Mahler, the Biography of a Psychoanalyst was published by McFarland Press, and was named Best Books Award Finalist 2008 USA Book News..                    

Other books: Camille Claudel, a Novel; Old Age is a Terminal Illness: How I Learned to Age Gracefully and Overcome my Fear of Dying; The Autobiography of Maria Callas: A Novel; Tales of Psychology: Short Stories to Make You Wise; Who Killed Virginia Woolf?  A Psychobiography;  Profiles of Key West; On Becoming a Grandparent; I Married Dr. Jekyll & Woke Up Mrs. Hyde; Is There Life After Analysis?;  The Tree That Could Fly (Children’s book); Dream Portrait; America’s First Woman Warrior: The Courage of Deborah Sampson   (With Lucy Freeman), and the Dr. Mary Wells Murder Mystery Series consisting of The Deadly Jigsaw Puzzle, Murder on the Streetcar; and Who Killed Marcia Maynard? or The Psychoanalyst is Dead.

Place of residence: New York City.    

1. Tell us about your latest book.

I am working on Michelle Obama, a biography for Greenwood Publications. I believe it will be an in-depth portrait, as befitting a psychoanalyst.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

I was in a terrible automobile accident twenty years ago. When I came out of a coma, I had the thought, “Life hangs by a string.  I’ve had a good life, a long marriage, three children, and an exciting, highly successful career as a psychoanalyst.  There is only one thing I want to do that I have not done, and that is to write full time. So I gave my patients two years notice, terminated my practice, and moved to Key West, where I wrote most of my 15 books.

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

I work between meals. People ask if I need discipline to write.  I answer, I need discipline to stop.

4. Describe your desk/workspace.

I have a long curving desk anchored around two walls. The desk is covered with a computer, printer, color printer, fax machine, copier, paper cutter, and Pitney Bowes stamp machine.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

Sigmund Freud: Beyond the Pleasure Principle, Virginia Woolf: To the Lighthouse, Roget’s Thesaurus.

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you.

I left a high pay job as a Fifth Avenue psychoanalyst for the low pay job of an author, I don’t regret it, I would do it again.

7. Favorite quote

“Yes, dreams do come true, if you dream them long and hard and earnestly, and never never give them up.” -Anne Mary Lawler.

8. Best and worst part of being a writer.

Best part: You build your own world. Worst part: You build your own world

9. Advice for other writers:

Write every day, even if it’s garbage. It primes the pump.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience. 

Long before I became a full time writer, I dreamed I was a huge fountain pen that kept squirting ink. Then I became one, only now I would have to dream I am a computer.

Where can people buy your books?

You can buy my books at my website: Http://alma_bond.tripod.com, at Amazon.com, BN.com, and can be ordered wherever books are sold.