Author Archive

Author’s Novel Shares Haitian-American Experience

November 16, 2015 Leave a comment
Elsie Augustave

Elsie Augustave

Tune in at 8 a.m. CST for my interview with Elsie Augustave, author of the 2013 novel THE ROVING TREE, on KAZI Book Review.  THE ROVING TREE follows a young Haitian adoptee, Iris Odys, through various journeys across the world. Odys is the rejected daughter of a Haitian maid and of the middle-class Haitian man who employs her. In addition to the struggle for identity of cross-cultural adoptees, the book explores themes of class, color and religion in Haiti.

Bert Ashe Memoir – Twisted: My Dreadlock Chronicles

November 15, 2015 Leave a comment

TwistedTune in today at 12:30 p.m. CST for my interview with Bert Ashe, author of TWISTED: My Dreadlock Chronicles, on KAZI Book Review on KAZI 88.7 FM.  The interview originally broadcast on August 24.  To read a full description of book click:

Early Morning Reading: The Ethics of Swagger

November 11, 2015 Leave a comment

The Ethics of SwaggerI just finished reading a chapter about Ernest Gaines prizing winning novel, A LESSON BEFORE DYING, in Michael DeRell Hill’s book, THE ETHICS OF SWAGGER: Prizewinning African American Novels, 1977-1993.  Set in rural Louisiana in the late 1940s, A LESSON BEFORE DYING is about a black teacher recruited by his aunt to educate a young black man wrongfully accused of murder on deathrow on how to be a man.  It deals with the racial conflicts of the deep south and how despite the main character’s education, it doesn’t preclude him from bring treated as a second class citizen.  I’m taping an interview with Hill Saturday.  Here is a footnote from page 88 in THE ETHICS OF SWAGGER that caught my attention:

“Gaine’s responses to wrongful conviction and black middle class impotence featured humility as potentially edifying…For evidence of both popular and bourgois rebellion, see, respectively, Public Enemy’s classic album It Takes A Nation of Millions (1988) and the April 1990 Ebony  cover story, “Success is the Best Revenge,” about Vanessa Williams…This portrait of bourgeois bliss engaged a specific triumph over racial prejudice, but the story’s title phrase emerged as a generic slogan of affluence as activism.”

In his book, Hill examines how prizewinning African American authors dealt with white literary expectations and incorporated black traditions in their novels including TonI Morrison’s BELOVED, Alice Walker’s THE COLOR PURPLE, Charles Johnson’s MIDDLE PASSAGE, Gaines’ A LESSON BEFORE DYING, and others.

Early Morning Reading: Negroland

November 9, 2015 Leave a comment

NegrolandI’m enjoying the elegant writing of Margo Jefferson’s memoir, NEGROLAND.  Jefferson, a Pulitzer prize winning theater and book critic, grew up in Chicago living a privileged life as the daughter of a doctor.  In one of the interesting passages from NEGROLAND, Margo asks her mother if their family is upper-class. “We’re considered upper-class Negroes and upper-middle class Americans,” Mother says.  “But most people would like to consider us Just More Negroes.”

Psychopath Assistant District Attorney As Protagonist Makes Interesting Read

November 8, 2015 Leave a comment

Hollow ManTune in at 12:30 p.m. CST to KAZI 88.7 FM in Austin, TX for my live interview with Austin writer Mark Pryor, author of the suspense novel HOLLOW MAN.  Set in Austin, HOLLOW MAN is a gripping first person narrated suspense novel with a fascinating protagonist – a Travis County Assistant District Attorney who conspires with two people to rob a landlord on the day he collects rent.  Okay, what really makes the ADA interesting is he is a self acknowledged psycopath who has struggled for years to appear normal to the outside world.

Book Description

Dominic is a prosecutor, a musician, and an Englishman living in Texas. He’s also a psychopath. His main goal is to hide his condition and lead a seemingly normal life in hopes to pay off his debts and become a full-time musician in Austin’s  club scene. But on one lousy day his carefully-controlled world starts to shatter: he’s demoted at work and accused of stealing a fellow musician’s song.

​He also meets a beautiful woman in a lime green dress–perhaps the biggest threat to his safety of all. At her urging, Dominic hatches a plan to steal a van he knows will be filled with cash. He picks two friends as accomplices, insisting on no guns and no violence. But a security guard catches them in the act and simple theft turns into capital murder.

Cracks start to show in the conspiracy and, with no allegiance to anyone but himself, Dominic has to decide whether to stick by his partners in crime, or let his true nature come out to play.

Mark Pryor

Mark Pryor

About Mark Pryor

Mark grew up in Hertfordshire, England, and now lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife and three young children. Over the years, he has been many things: ski instructor, journalist, personal trainer, and bra folder (he lasted one day: fired for giggling at the ridiculousness of the job.  If it’s any excuse, he was just nineteen years old.)

His first real career was as a newspaper reporter in Colchester, Essex.  There, he covered the police and crime beat for almost two years.  He also wrote stories on foreign assignments, including accounts from Northern Ireland while with the British Army, and from Romania where he covered the first-anniversary celebrations of that country’s revolution.

Mark moved to America in 1994, mostly for the weather.  He attended journalism school at the University of North Carolina, in Chapel Hill, and then law school at Duke University, graduating with honors and a lot of debt.  He is currently an Assistant District Attorney with the Travis County DA’s office.

Mark is also the author of the Hugo Marston series, which is set mostly in Paris, but also in London and Barcelona.  Hugo is the head of security at the US Embassy in Paris, and a former FBI profiler.

Jack London: The Fiction Writer As Social Reformer

November 1, 2015 Leave a comment

Cecelia TichiIn Cecelia Tichi’s new book Jack London: A Writer’s Fight For A Better America, she argues that London used characters and plot in his novels such as Call of the Wild and the Sea Lord not only as entertainment, but also as a way to illuminate the oppression of workers in industrial America and other unfair social conditions in the early 1900s.  London, who was the best selling author in America from 1903 to his death in 1916, mined his experiences as a laborer often working in harsh conditions to bring social reality to his popular adventure novels.  Tune in Monday at 8 a.m. CST/9 a.m. EST to KAZI Book Review for my interview.

Book Description

Jack London (1876-1916) found fame with his wolf-dog tales and sagas of the frozen North, but Cecelia Tichi challenges the long-standing view of London as merely a mass-market producer of potboilers. A onetime child laborer, London led a life of poverty in the Gilded Age before rising to worldwide acclaim for stories, novels, and essays designed to hasten the social, economic, and political advance of America. In this major reinterpretation of London’s career, Tichi examines how the beloved writer leveraged his written words as a force for the future.
Tracing the arc of London’s work from the late 1800s through the 1910s, Tichi profiles the writer’s allies and adversaries in the cities, on the factory floor, inside prison walls, and in the farmlands. Thoroughly exploring London’s importance as an artist and as a political and public figure, Tichi brings to life a man who merits recognition as one of America’s foremost public intellectuals.

Author Bio

Novel Tells Story of 20 Years of Friendship Between Three Women

October 31, 2015 Leave a comment

How to Start a FireTune in Sunday at 12:30 p.m. CST/1:30 p.m. EST for an interview with Lisa Lutz, author of HOW TO START A FIRE.  Lutz is best known for her comic mystery novel series featuring the Spellmans, a family of private investigators set in San Franicisco.  With her new novel, HOW TO START A FIRE  she tells a wild, sad, funny story of twenty years in the friendship of three very different women.

In our light hearted interview we discussed how her new novel has some autobiographical elements, her decision to leave the Spellmans behind, and her new thriller novel coming out in March, THE PASSENGER.

I was joined in the interview by KAZI Book Review contributor Tim Chamberlain.

Book Description

How to Start a Fire, tells a wild, sad, funny story of twenty years in the friendship of three very different women. Thrown together in college, they grow to adulthood united and divided by secrets, lies, and a single night that shaped all of them.

When UC Santa Cruz roommates Anna and Kate find passed-out Georgiana Leoni on a lawn one night, they wheel her to their dorm in a shopping cart. Twenty years later, they gather around a campfire on the lawn of a New England mansion. What happens in between—the web of wild adventures, unspoken jealousies, and sudden tragedies that alter the course of their lives—is charted with sharp wit and aching sadness in this meticulously constructed novel.

Anna, the de facto leader, is fearless and restless—moving fast to stay one step ahead of her demons. Quirky, contemplative Kate is a natural sidekick but a terrible wingman (“If you go home with him, might I suggest breathing through your mouth”). And then there’s George: the most desired woman in any room, and the one most likely to leave with the worst man.

Shot through with the crackling dialogue, irresistible characters, and propulsive narrative drive that make Lutz’s books so beloved, How to Start a Fire pulls us deep into Anna, Kate, and George’s complicated bond and pays homage to the abiding, irrational love we share with the family we choose.

Lisa Lutz Bio

Lisa Lutz

Lisa Lutz

Lutz is the New York Times bestselling author of The Spellman Files, Curse of the Spellmans, Revenge of the Spellmans, The Spellmans Strike Again, Trail of the Spellmans, Spellman Six: The Next Generation (previously published as The Last Word), Heads You Lose (with David Hayward), and the children’s book, How to Negotiate Everything (illustrated by Jaime Temairik). Her latest book, How to Start a Fire, was published in May 2015. Lutz has won the Alex award and has been nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Novel.

Although she attended UC Santa Cruz, UC Irvine, the University of Leeds in England, and San Francisco State University, she still does not have a bachelor’s degree. Lisa spent most of the 1990s hopping through a string of low-paying odd jobs while writing and rewriting the screenplay Plan B, a mob comedy. After the film was made in 2000, she vowed she would never write another screenplay. Lisa lives in a town you’ve never heard of in upstate New York.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 660 other followers