Archive for the ‘Historical Fiction’ Category

Lyndsay Faye’s Jane Steele Novel Inspired By Jane Eyre

April 17, 2016 Leave a comment

Lyndsay Faye

Lyndsay Faye, author of the novel Jane Steele, is today’s guest at 12:30 p.m. CST on KAZI Book Review on KAZI 88.7 FM in Austin.  The inspiration for Lyndsay Faye’s new novel Jane Steele, is the Classic 1847 English novel Jane Eyre, written by Charlotte Bronte.  What makes Jane Steele so fascinating is her novels protagonist has read Jane Eyre and is inspired by it, but has lived a life in 1840s England that subverts the expectations of a gentile, woman protagonist.

As I have learned fro reading 3 previous Lyndsay Faye novels, imagebringing light to the history and social justice issues in the mid 1800s is in her wheelhouse, and with Jane Steele she does not disappoint.  Whether she schools us on the Anglo-Sikk War in the late 1840s and the limited rights of women of the time, she makes learning history as entertaining as an HBO miniseries.

Lyndsay Faye is the author of four novels including the Timothy Wilde Trilogy, an actress, and a lover of all things Sherlocke Holmes.


Haitian Author Fabienne Josaphat Interview Today on KAZI

April 10, 2016 Leave a comment

imageFabienne Josaphat, author of DANCING IN THE BARON’S SHADOW will be appearing at the on KAZI Book Review today at 12:30 p.m. CST/1:30 p.m on KAZI 88.7 FM. Set in Haiti in 1965, DANCING IN THE BARON’S SHADOW focuses on the struggles of Haitians to survive the brutal regime of Papa Doc Duvaler through the experiences of two brothers, Nicolas, a lawyer, and Raymond, a cab driver. When Nicolas is sent to the notorious Fort Dimanche prison by dictator Papa Doc’s militia, his brother Raymond concocts a daring plan imageto help him escape. In our interview we discussed Fabienne’s path to becoming a writer and how the relationship between her father and his brother inspired the tumultuous relationship between the two brothers in her novel.

Fabienne Josaphat received her M.F.A. in creative writing from Florida International University. Dancing in the Baron’s Shadow is her first novel. She lives in Miami.

James Lee Burke Discusses Latest Novel on KAZI

December 19, 2015 Leave a comment

imageJames Lee Burke talks about the influence of the quest for the Holy Grail, the biblical story of Ishamel, and World War 1 in a discussion of his latest novel, HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN, on the Sunday, December 20 edition of KAZI Book Review at 12:30 p.m. CST  on KAZI 88.7 FM.

Book Summary From the Publisher

From its opening scene in revolutionary Mexico to the Battle of the Marne in 1918 to the bordellos and saloons of San Antonio during the reign of the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang, House of the Rising Sun is an epic tale of love, loss, betrayal, vengeance, and retribution that follows Texas Ranger Hackberry Holland on his journey to reunite with his estranged son, Ishmael, a captain in the United States Army.

After a violent encounter that leaves four Mexican soldiers dead, Hackberry escapes the country in possession of a stolen artifact, earning the ire of a bloodthirsty Austrian arms dealer who then places Ishmael in the crosshairs of a plot to recapture his prize, believed to be the mythic cup of Christ.

Along the way, we meet three extraordinary women: Ruby Dansen, the Danish immigrant who is Ishmael’s mother and Hackberry’s one true love; Beatrice DeMolay, a brothel madam; and Maggie Bassett, onetime lover of the Sundance Kid. In her own way, each woman will aid Hackberry in his quest to reconcile with Ishmael, to vanquish their enemies, and to return the Grail to its rightful place.

Author Bio

James Lee Burke was born in Houston, Texas, in 1936 and grew up on the Texas-Louisiana gulf coast. He attended Southwestern Louisiana Institute and later received a B. A. Degree in English and an M. A. from the University of Missouri in 1958 and 1960 respectively. Over the years he worked as a landman for Sinclair Oil Company, pipeliner, land surveyor, newspaper reporter, college English professor, social worker on Skid Row in Los Angeles, clerk for the Louisiana Employment Service, and instructor in the U. S. Job Corps.

He and his wife Pearl met in graduate school and have been married 48 years. They have four children: Jim Jr., an assistant U.S. Attorney; Andree, a school psychologist; Pamala, a T. V. ad producer; and Alafair, a law professor and novelist who has 4 novels out with Henry Holt publishing.

Burke’s work has been awarded an Edgar twice for Best Crime Novel of the Year. He has also been a recipient of a Breadloaf and Guggenheim Fellowship and an NEA grant. Two of his novels, Heaven’s Prisoners and Two For Texas, have been made into motion pictures. His short stories have been published in The Atlantic Monthly, New Stories from the South, Best American Short Stories, Antioch Review, Southern Review, and The Kenyon Review. His novel The Lost Get-Back Boogie was rejected 111 times over a period of nine years, and upon publication by Louisiana State University press was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Today he and his wife live in Missoula, Montana, and New Iberia, Louisiana


A Taste of Texas Book Festival Authors Featured on KAZI Book Review

October 10, 2015 Leave a comment
Attica Locke

Attica Locke

KAZI Book Review will feature excerpts from interviews with four authors appearing at the Texas Book Festival on the October 11 edition of KAZI Book Review on KAZI 88.7 FM:

James McGrath Morris photo by Patty Morris

James McGrath Morris

  • Attica Locke, author of the novel PLEASANTVILLE, a murder mystery set in 1996 revolving around a campaign to elect Houston’s first black mayor,
  • James McGrath Morris, author of EYE ON THE STRUGGLE, a biography of the Black newspaper white house correspondent Ethel Payne,
  • Laila Lalami, author of a historical novel about the first Black to explore America, THE MOORS ACCOUNT, and
  • Laila Lalami

    Laila Lalami

    Vu Tran, author of a mystery novel about the search for an enigmatic Vietnamese woman, DRAGONFISH.

    Vu Tran

    Vu Tran

The Texas Book Festival is October 17-18 and more information about all the authors appearing is available at

Be sure to tune in Monday, October 12, for the Monday edition of KAZI Book Review which will feature an interview with Wendell Pierce, author of a memoir about his efforts to rebuild the New Orleans neighborhood he grew up in after Hurricane Katrina, THE WIND IN THE REEDS: A Storm, A Play, and the City That Would Not Be Broken.

Historical Mystery Novel Explores Conflict Between New and Old South in 1881 Atlanta

September 26, 2015 Leave a comment

The ScribeTune in to KAZI 88.7 FM Sunday at 12:30 p.m. CST for my interview with Matthew Guinn, author of the new novel THE SCRIBE.

Book Description From the Publisher

On the eve of Atlanta’s 1881 International Cotton Exposition, disgraced former detective Thomas Canby is called back to the city to track a serial murderer who seems to be targeting its wealthiest black entrepreneurs. The killer’s method is both strange and unusually gruesome: on each victim’s body, a letter of the alphabet is inscribed.  Intent on shielding the city’s celebration of New South industry, its most prominent businessmen—“the Ring”—pressure Canby to tie up the case. Paired with Atlanta’s first African American officer, Cyrus Underwood, Canby must face down enduring racism, and his own prejudices, to see clearly the source of these bloody crimes. Meanwhile, if he can restore his reputation, he might win back the woman he loves.

With scrupulous attention to historical detail, Edgar Award finalist Matthew Guinn draws readers into a vortex of tense, atmospheric storytelling, confronting the sins and fears of both old South and new.

About Matthew Guinn

Matthew Guinn

Matthew Guinn

A native of Atlanta, Matthew Guinn earned a BA in English from the University of Georgia. He continued graduate school at the University of Mississippi, where he met his wife Kristen and completed a master’s degree. At the University of South Carolina, where he earned a Ph.D. in English, he was personal assistant to the late James Dickey. In addition to the Universities of Mississippi and South Carolina, he has taught at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and at Tulane University’s School of Continuing Studies in Madison, Mississippi.

Matthew and Kristen live in Jackson, Mississippi, with their two children, Braiden and Phoebe.

Novels: Murder  Mystery Set in D.C. and Historical Novel Set in Brazil

July 26, 2015 Leave a comment

Neely Tucker, author of MURDER, D.C. and Victoria Shorr, author of BACKLANDS, are the July 26 guests on KAZI Book Review at 12:30 p.m. CST/1:30 p.m. EST on KAZI 88.7FM.

MURDER, D.C. is the second murder mystery novel featuring the Washington D.C. News reporter Sully Carter.  As described on Neely Tucker’s web site: When Billy Ellison, the son of Washington, D.C.’s most influential African-American family, is found dead in the Potomac near a violent drug haven, veteran metro reporter Sully Carter knows it’s time to start asking some serious questions—no matter what the consequences
Neely Tucker writes non-fiction by day at the The Washington Post, where he has been a staff writer for fifteen years, and is currently assigned to cover the 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign.

Though written as a novel, BACKLANDS tells the true story of a group of nomadic outlaws who reigned over the northeastern Brazil from about 1922 until 1938. Taking from the rich, admired―and feared―by the poor, they were led by the famously charismatic bandit Lampiao. The gang maintained their influence by fighting off all the police and soldiers the region could muster.  The story is primarily narrated by Lampiao’s lover, Maria, and has a Bonnie and Clyde vibe to it.

Victoria Shorr is a writer and political activist who lived in Brazil for ten years. Currently she lives in Los Angeles, where she cofounded the Archer School for Girls, and is now working to found a college-prep school for girls on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.


Black Cowboy Nat Love A.K.A. Deadwood Dick Featured in Novel Paradise Sky

July 11, 2015 Leave a comment

Joe Lansdale shares his story on how he decided to write about African American cowboy Nat Love in his new novel PARADISE LOVE on the 2nd segment of the July 12 edition of KAZI Book Review on KAZI 88.7FM.  Lansdale’s interview airs immediately after the Jewell Parker Rhodes interview.

Lansdale writes in a piece for Mulholland Books how he became interested in black cowboys: “In the late 1970’s, I became intrigued with nonfiction material I read about black cowboys and soldiers in the Old West. I was surprised to find that their contribution to the West was much larger than I had been led to believe by general history books, Western novels, and films over the years. The reason for this is painful but real: Racism had hidden their contribution.”

In PARADISE SKY, Texas novelist Joe Lansdale spins the tale through a first person narative that begins with Love on the run from a lynch mob chasing him for looking at the derriere of the wife of a white man. Unable to find him, they kill his father instead. Set in the late 1800s, Love is taken in by a white farmer with progressive views on race that teaches him how to shoot and ride horses.  After the farmer’s death, he travels across the western territories with the aggrieved husband still in pursuit.  During his travels he becomes a Buffalo soldier, is befriended by Wild Bill Hickock, and ultimately has a showdown with the aggrieved husband who never stopped pursuing him.

Joe Lansdale, who lives in Nacogdoches, Texas, is the author of more than a dozen novels including the Edgar Award winning THE BOTTOMS.