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Cover Image of Small Island : A Novel by Andrea Levy published by Picador
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What They're Up To Now: Writers We've Podcast

abstract:Reading, researching and interviewing an author whose book comes across my desk for review at BookBuffet is a fun process. It's fascinating to be able to speak intimately with authors about: the source of their inspiration and characters, their methods of writing, the values they attach to their work, and who their mentors are. When it's time to say goodbye, you really feel as though you've gained some insight into an interesting life. So when we hear back from writers about their latest book, film or television projects, we love to share the updates with you. Here are (in alphabetic order): Zoe Archer, Joseph Boyden, Kit Bakke, Julian Fellows, Margaret MacMillan, Kem Nunn, Susan Orlean, Jonathan Safran Foer, Tracy Quan and Michela Wrong. Find out about their latest novels, tv pilots, babies, academic appointments, and life in general. We've been sent review copies of some of their new books and will give you a quick run-down.


August 20, 2008

Zoe Archer

Zoe Archer is the romance pen name of Ami Silber. 'Zoe' educated me in the surprise lucrative aspects of the romance novel industry when we talked about her first book, Lady X's Cowboy. Lady X won the Historic Romance Writers Prize, and has been translated into French. Zoe's second romance novel is out, titled Love in a Bottle. Ami published her first literary fiction title under her real name, (that's serious fiction—not romance) and it's titled, Early Bright (Toby Press, 2008.) It will be available in stores this fall, but I've been sent an advance reader copy, and Early Bright is another well researched book. It's set in Los Angeles circa 1948, and it's about an avant garde jazz musician named Louis Greenberg who inhabits the clubs by night, and by day he practices as a con artist. It's full of passion, cynicism and underground life.

Joseph Boyden

Ah, Joseph. This author is a delight to speak with. I'm excited that his award winning second novel, Three Day Road has been successfully adapted into a screenplay - by his wife! And the project has been championed by filmmaker Nelofer Pazira. Joseph's third novel is titled, Through Black Spruce (available Sept 11, 2008) published again by Penguin Books. Through Black Spruce follows the lives of some of the characters introduced in Three Day Road. We're looking forward to that, Joseph!

Kit Bakke

Kit drove up from Seattle to Whistler in a snow storm to present at our Whistler Reads Cornucopia event in 2006. She continues to live in Seattle and to actively promote her first novel, Miss Alcott's E-Mail. She has also written the oral history of Hilda Evangeline Silva Sprague, a 101 year old pioneering women who lives north of Seattle (published by Kit's second novel is tentatively titled, Dot to Dot. It is waiting " find a publisher. editor, cover design, and all that stuff,"
writes Kit.

Julian Fellows

It's difficult to keep up with Julian whose first "novel of manners" entitled SNOBS (2004) we interviewed him about from within the UK. Fresh with his Academy Award for the screenplay of "Gosford Park," Julian wrote another delicious screenplay adaptation, this time the classic William Makepeace Thackeray novel, "Vanity Fair" luxuriously produced by Mira Nair. Next he wrote the libretto for the still-running West End, London musical "Mary Poppins," and had a stunning directorial debut in the feature film "Separate Lies," which is one of my all-time favorite films. Julian lives with his wife, Emma Joy Kitchener (who is Lady-in-Waiting to Princess Michael of Kent), and their son Peregrine (named after his father).

Margaret MacMillan

Now here is a woman with a work ethic. Not surprising, since she is the great granddaughter of former Prime Minister David Lloyd George. When we interviewed Margaret about Paris 1919 she was then Provost of Trinity College at the University of Toronto. She now holds the prestigious position of Warden of St. Antony's College at Oxford University (2007). Her historic books have won her numerous accolades and awards. Nixon In China. (Viking Canada, 2006). Nixon and Mao: The Week That Changed the World. (Random House, 2007) are both excellent reads. For a while there I thought she was cornering the market on world conferences. Her latest book, yes that's one every year, is Uses And Abuses Of History. (Viking Canada, 2008). Well done Margaret!

Kem Nunn

The knostic surf-noir novelist has had a rash of great film and television projects since we interviewed him in 2004 about his fifth book, (his third surf-noir novel) Tijuana Straights. He has collaborated with HBO Producer David Milch on the show Deadwood and with Milch co-produced the HBO series John from Cincinnati, a surfing series set in Imperial Beach, California which premiered on June 10, 2007.

Susan Orlean

Susan is a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine, and so she's always up to something creative and interesting. We first spoke with Susan about her novel, The Orchid Thief and the whole drama of being included in the Kaufman screenplay adaptation, "Adaptation" of her novel that was directed by Spike Jones. Meryl Streep, who played "Susan" was nominated for an Academy Award for the role. Today, Susan keeps very busy on her rural property, surrounded by her loving family (her red-headed adorable son) husband, and her famous Welsh springer spaniel, Cooper. She is currently working on a biographical history about another famous dog, the dog-actor Rin Tin Tin. Susan writes, "I'm two years over deadline - right on time!"

Jonathan Safran Foer

We interviewed JSF back in 2002 after his first novel, Everything is Illuminated was published. Since then he married writer Nicole Krauss (2004) and published his second novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: A Novel(2005) a post 9/11 story. The literary couple has had their first child, Sasha (2006). Jonathan has written numerous pieces for the Guardian, the NYT and is teaching "Intermediate Fiction" at Yale University as of spring 2008.

Tracy Quan

Tracy Quan is a beautiful, intelligent Asian woman who I just had to meet for cocktails on the upper East Side after our interview surrounding her first novel, Memoirs of a Manhattan Call Girl (St.Martins Press, 2005) That light but revealing story is based on ten years experience as a former sex trade worker. Tracy has gone on to write two more installments for her sexy main character, Nancy Chan: Diary of a Married Call Girl (Harper Perennial, 2006) and now Diary of a Jetsetting Call Girl (UK Harper Perennial June, 2008). Each UK book cover was designed by Jude Law's sister, Nigela Law. But don't let these page-turners mislead you. Tracy writes for the Guardian, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and speaks with passionate conviction on issues surrounding the sex trade and sexual politics. Most recently she appeared on Larry King as a guest surrounding the Eliot Spitzer scandal. She's also appeared on an alphabet soup of stations: CBC, BBC, NPR to name a few. The exciting news from Tracy is that her first novel has been optioned for a pilot for television. If all goes well, it's going to follow on the (spike) heels of "Sex And the City." Good luck Tracy! Visit Tracy's website for more information.

Michela Wrong

I interviewed Michela when I was researching a novel I later published about the Democratic Republic of Congo's copper mining industry. Michela had been a Reuters, BBC and Financial Times correspondent in Africa for over a decade, and covered the fall of Mobutu. Her novel on that coup, In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in Mobutu's Congo(Harper Collins, 2002) was awarded the PEN Faulkner Award. She has followed it up with books on neighboring African nations, and their respective scandals: I Didn't Do It for You : How the World Betrayed a Small African Nation is about Eritrea, and her latest (title not known) is a scathing account of politics in Kenya. After that last book is published Michela plans to take a break from socio-political nonfiction books on Africa and try her hand at fiction. I'm sure it will be equally pithy and thought provoking.



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