by Pamela Palmer

#34, January 3, 2005

BookThink's Author Profiles

In this continuing series, BookThink's Author Profiles takes a look at notable authors and their works. As editor Craig Stark explains - Each month we'll take a close look at one (or more) authors - conduct an interview, review a book, and do a brief market analysis of the author's books in the resale market. Some of these authors will be household names, others well-known within their genre. others relatively obscure, but all, we think, will deliver something of interest to you as bookseller, collector, or reader.

Prior to the series launch, BookThink published several author profiles that vary a bit in format but follow the same general pattern. These are included below.

Beans and Bookcases
An Interview with Henry Petroski

Henry Petroski has authored an impressive collection of bestselling books, some of them about seemingly insignificant stuff: pencils, paper clips, zippers, and yes, books - more to the point, bookshelves. If you think these are topics that can be adequately dispatched with in brief articles, think again. Petroski has a gift for seeing the universal in the particular, not to mention a gift for making it all very engaging, and this most certainly requires the expanse of a book to do. See our interview with him in today's BookThinker.

Misnamed Books
An Interview with Allen and Pat Ahearn

Allen and Pat Ahearn's Collected Books: The Guide to Values is one of the most useful first edition identification guides available to booksellers and collectors. The Ahearns are longtime booksellers (and collectors) themselves and have devoted decades to researching the information contained in the guide. BookThink interviews the Ahearns in today's newsletter.


An Interview with Bud Webster
Author of 41 Above the Rest: An Index and Checklist for the Anthologies of Groff Conklin

Our series, "Why Bookselling Isn't Working for You," continues today with what may be the key to your slumping sales. Once again, we pay a visit to the baseball diamond and kick through the clay for answers.

The Virtues of Hard Work and A Thick Skin
An Interview with Sheila Kelly

BookThink's new Author Profiles series continues today with a rising star, Sheila Kelly. Kelly is also a woman of many faces. You may know her as Science Fiction novelist S.L. Viehl. Or romance novelist Gena Hale. Or Jessica Hall. Or Christian writer Rebecca Kelly. Or - wait, sometimes it's none other than Sheila Kelly! Confused yet? Kelly isn't. Exhausted, perhaps, after publishing twenty-something books in the past few years, but she seems to jump genres with the best of them.

BookThink Book Review
Bio Rescue

Tim Doyle reviews Bio Rescue, by S.L. Viehl (pseudonym for Sheila Kelly)

Chasing the Bookman Angle
An Interview with John Dunning

There's mystery in books and, occasionally, books in mysteries. And bestselling mystery writer John Dunning lives both every day. His popular Cliff Janeway series continues in March with the release of a fourth installment - The Sign of the Book - and once again it's bookselling that drives the tale. Pamela Palmer's interview of Dunning is a fascinating look at how this bookman's mind works.

BookThink Book Review
The Sign of the Book

Pamela Palmer reviews The Sign of the Book,
by John Dunning




Celebrating the Book
An Interview with Nicholas Basbanes

If there were some of you who didn't know John Dunning from Adam before BookThink did a profile on him (and you subsequently devoured each of his books), I predict that the same thing may happen if you haven't read anything by the subject of this week's author profile - Nicholas Basbanes. Basbanes is, in every sense of the word, the book lover's champion. To date, he's published five bestselling books about books, and I haven't met one yet that wasn't delightful, elegantly written, and illuminating. He's recently put a sixth book to bed - Every Book Its Reader: The Power of the Printed Word to Stir the World - and Pamela Palmer caught up with him recently to talk about this and other book matters.

Long Live the Poitou Ass
An Interview with Sharon Vanderlip

Speaking of asses, how many of you know what a Poitou Ass is? If, like me, you've suffered through decades of abject ignorance of the species, help has finally arrived. Catherine Petruccione's delightful interview with author/veterinarian Sharon Vanderlip will uncover this mystery and more - and also give you an intriguing glimpse into the mind of a passionate book collector.

An Interview with Kathi Diamant
Today's Author Profile features Kathi Diamant, author of Kafka's Last Love: The Mystery of Dora Diamant.

Further Adventures in Book Land
An Interview with John Dunning

Today's Author Profile features John Dunning, author of The Bookwoman's Last Fling.


Storytelling is Alive and Well
A Conversation with Nick Arvin

Ordinarily, we don't expect our best writers to emerge from Engineering Hall, nor do we expect a truly good war novel to be written by somebody who has never fought in one. (Does Stephen Crane come to mind?) Well, in author Nick Arvin, we have unexpected times two. Arvin began his working life as an engineer and recently published a critically acclaimed novel about World War II - Articles of War - without having fired a single shot. Media Editor Cathy Petruccione spoke with Arvin recently, and the result is an intriguing look at how he pulled this off.

An Interview with Janet Evanovich
Bestselling author Janet Evanovich beat an unconventional, not to mention somewhat lengthy path to success. She began her publishing life in 1987 as romance novelist Steffie Hall then, sensing that the genre wasn't a good fit, advanced skillfully into mysteries - a very good fit indeed. Evanovich brought "Steffie" with her in the form of Stephanie Plum, the brassy heroine of a series of novels that now totals an even dozen, one of which is scheduled for release on June 20 (Twelve Sharp) - and you can bet that more will follow. BookThink's Michael Hayward visited with her recently, and the result is a lively look at, among other things, the writing life, Jersey and Cheez Doodles.



Collecting Science Fiction
An Interview with Ray Bradbury

Science Fiction icon Ray Bradbury is living proof of what happens when you do what you love doing all of your life: Not only do you get to live to be 86, but also, at 86 years young, you're still doing what you love - and most noteworthy of all have retained the acumen to do it. BookThink's Science Fiction Editor Timothy Doyle had the honor to interview Bradbury recently, and time and time again his love of writing is vitally, almost youthfully expressed in his replies.

Kangaroos to Climate Change
An Interview with Dr. Tim Flannery

We're off to the distinctly more primitive jungles of New Guinea with renowned explorer, conservationist, and yes, best selling author Tim Flannery. Tim, who's been huffing and puffing on a whirlwind speaking tour in the United States this year, recently caught his breath and visited with BookThink's Catherine Petruccione. Topics range from exotic black-and-white tree kangaroos to climate change - and it's all unusually thought-provoking stuff.







The Louis Bromfield Legacy
Malabar Farm

There are people who write and people who happen to write, and, though both may produce great books, they are distinctly different animals. Ernest Hemingway, for example, was a man who wrote - somebody you could call a writer first and last. It was his primary purpose in life to write, and it can be argued that everything he did in lieu of writing served to fuel his work - yes, even drinking and philandering. Hemingway's "Lost Generation" contemporary Louis Bromfield, on the other hand, was a man who happened to write. Like Thoreau, whom he is often compared to, his purpose in life was to do larger things, and writing was simply a means to this end.

Louis Bromfield
The Man Behind the Farm

As a result, today we recall Hemingway's life largely as a journey to destruction, certainly nothing to be emulated, let alone anything we can derive significant benefit from; we recall Bromfield's life much differently, more as a trip to Bountiful that even his death couldn't end, and many still derive meaning from it. Media Editor Catherine Petruccione recently visited Bromfield's Malabar Farm in Lucas, Ohio, and today's BookThinker is a passionate tribute to a great man - who happened to write.

BookThink's Author Profiles
An Interview with Sue Grafton

Blockbuster mystery novelist Sue Grafton's next alphabet title, T is for Trespass, is scheduled for release on December 4, 2007 - just in time for Christmas. Sue was most gracious to take time out from her busy writing schedule to discuss this and other, never-dull topics with BookThink's Catherine Petruccione.



BookThink's Author Profiles
An Interview with J.C. Hallman
Part I

Catherine Petruccione interviews the author of The Chess Artist, J.C. Hallman.

An Interview with J.C. Hallman
Part II

Catherine Petruccione continues her interview with J.C. Hallman, focusing on his second book, The Devil is a Gentleman: Exploring American's Religious Fringe

It's Only a Matter of "Thyme"
Before This Title Is
on Everyone's Bookshelf
UK Bookselling

In her first article, BookThink columnist Claire Main profiles a potential hot title for your consideration - Panama Oxridge's Justin Thyme. She stops short of prophesying that Oxridge will reach Rowling heights but presents a solid case nonetheless for investing in limited, doodled first printings of this intriguing book - the first, by the way, in a planned 4-part Tartan of Thyme series.

Interview with Panama Oxridge
UK Bookselling

Claire also interviews the reclusive author of Justin Thyme - a personage so reclusive, in fact, that his or her name has yet to be revealed. Post-interview intrigue ensues, including the delivery of a plain brown package containing a chocolate high heel!





UK Bookselling
The Magic Light of Success
Shines on Julian H. Lewis

Identifying potentially profitable books in advance of (or shortly following) their release can be a risky game, and Claire realizes that nobody can always get this right, let alone predict the next Harry Potter. Nevertheless, it'll be fun keeping score in the coming months, and we at BookThink wish her and you the best of luck - continuing this week with her second recommended title, Julian H. Lewis's The Magic Lantern of Kimbustan. Read why Claire chose this book in her article "UK Bookselling: The Magic Light of Success Shines on Julian H. Lewis."

An Interview with Julian H. Lewis
Read Claire Main's exclusive interview with The Magic Lantern of Kimbustan author Julian H. Lewis.

BookThink's Author Profiles
Richard Powell Redux

Author Richard P. Powell died on December 8, 1999. There was no national day of mourning - on the contrary, most newspapers failed to announce his death in their obituaries. And yet here was a writer who left behind a substantial body of work, produced primarily in the 1940s to 1960s, some of it the fodder of bestseller lists and movies. What's interesting about Powell is that, after decades of reader neglect, he's making a comeback on the heels of the considerable efforts of his daughter, Dorothy Powell Quigley, to republish his better books and, in some cases, seek movie deals.



UK Bookselling
A Modern Day Agatha Christie?

BookThink's Claire Main presents another potential money-maker for BookThinkers today, also a new contest. This time it's crime fiction in the manner of Dame Agatha Christie - Dolores Gordon-Smith's recently published novel, A Fete Worse than Death. Answer the 6 questions in her article correctly, and you'll be entered into a competition for a framed, signed publicity postcard and a Royal Flying Corps cap badge, which protagonist Jack Haldean might have worn. Should you or shouldn't you invest in first editions? You be the judge.

An Interview with Dolores Gordon-Smith
Also up is Claire's interview with author Gordon-Smith. Needless to say, chocolate is involved once again.

BookThink's Author Profiles
Sharing An Adverturous Life
The Books of Freya Stark

Media Editor Catherine Petruccione shares one of her happy discoveries with us today - British travel writer Freya Stark. Stark was a remarkably fearless woman who traveled, often alone, to many lands that some of us wouldn't set foot in, let alone visit. The books that followed from her travels are both many and wonderful - and collectible too.





UK Bookselling
Digging for Victory
Gordon & Williams' Tunnels

Also on board today is UK Contributing Editor Claire Main with the skinny on Tunnels (aka The Highfield Mole) and authors Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams. If you don't live in the UK (or do live there and have been on a Mars sabbatical for the last few years), you may not have heard of these guys. Too bad, if so. Major bookselling profits have passed you by, though there may be more opportunities coming soon.

Interview with Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams
Claire delivers another one of her trademark chocolate-covered interviews today with none other than these very same authors. The pace is predictably breezy with several unexpected stops on William S. Burroughs "Ave."

Naked Nobility
An Interview
with Sally MacKenzie

Until this summer, I'd never read a romance novel. No doubt I could've survived another 58 years without reading one, but I would've missed something special - someone special. What brought this about had nothing to do with the romance genre at all. In the process of researching hypermoderns for BookThink's current Gold Edition series, I came across a book that was displaying unusual behavior in the marketplace. And it just happened to be a romance novel. Thinking that this might be something worth pursuing in a deeper sense, I subsequently set up an interview with its author and read the book - don't we all have to live outside the box sometimes? Many surprises ensued. See what they were in , "Naked Nobility: An Interview with Sally MacKenzie."


The Strangler Fig & Other Tales
An Interview with Mary A. Hood

Also with us today is BookThink's Media Editor Catherine Petruccione. Ordinarily, we seek out the author's we interview; this time it was the author who sought Cathy out - rather, her book store, Old Scrolls Book Shop of Stanley, New York - and what ultimately resulted was an interview with travel writer Mary A. Hood. A happy bonus for us. Moreover, now I know what a strangler fig is, and soon you will too.s


Saving the Independent Book Store
An Interview with Larry Portzline

Catherine Petruccione's interview with Larry Portzline, a man on a mission to save an endangered species - focuses on the indie bookstore. Can he turn back the hands of time? Well, this college instructor (and writer) is going to give it the old college try by taking an extended road trip next year to indies across the fruited plain. And you can help.


Questions or comments?
Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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