September 25, 2007
MPN: You spoke last week in Chicago at the Polonia Bookstore.
DWJ: Yes, the group was the Chicago Society of the Polish National Alliance. It is a fraternal organization of Polish-American businessmen. There were about fifty men in attendance and they were all extremely interested in the book, especially the part about the 1939 German invasion of Poland. One very memorable moment was when an elderly man stood up and said how much he appreciated the presentation. He was one of those soldiers who was captured during the invasion and survived two years in the Soviet Gulags in Siberia. We discussed all the myths surrounding that campaign as well as Poland’s overall contribution to the WW2 war effort, which was considerable. It was a good night in Chicago, great people.
MPN: So then from Chicago you drove back up to Wisconsin, to meet with the Peninsula Belgian-American Club.
DWJ: Northeast Wisconsin is home to the largest concentration of Belgian-Americans in the US. Most are descendants of immigrants that arrived in the beginning and mid-twentieth century. The interesting thing is that many of these folks travel to Belgium on a regular basis, and every year 20 or 30 Belgians travel to Namur, Wisconsin for the annual Belgian Days festival.
MPN: Then you'll be speaking and giving presentations in Brussels this coming December.
DWJ: Night of Flames has generated a lot of interest among the members of the American Club of Brussels. This is a large organization of ex-patriot Americans working in Brussels. Brussels, of course, is home to NATO as well as the European Union and there are thousands of Americans living and working in the area.
MPN: Are you working on a sequel to Night of Flames?
DWJ: Yes. The story of Anna and Jan continues with the search for her father after the end of the war.
MPN: I should mention that Night of Flames will appear on bookshelves the first week in October. Thanks Doug.
September 21, 2007
September 20, 2007
Chris sat down with The War of Knives author Broos Campbell this morning to check in and see how Peter Wicked is coming along, chat about Toussaint, the movie, and play a little fantasy cinema with characters in the Matty Graves novels.
C: So, what have you been up to, working on the third novel in the Matty Graves series?
B: I just turned in an extensive rewrite of Peter Wicked, book three in the series, and the glossary. I still have to finish the maps and the historical note. That last will be difficult in that I pretty much made everything up, except for the layout of the White House. Oh, and a column that Matty hides behind at one point. I don't think there were any columns on the main floor of the President's House at the time. Other than that—pure lies.
C: How has writing this one compared with the others? Is this indeed a trilogy, or is this more of an open-ended serial venture?
B: I hated The War of Knives until fairly far into the revisions. Jackie Swift, who is a fantastic editor, cajoled and pushed me along until it started running on its own accord. Now I like it a lot. I'm having a similar experience with Peter Wicked. It's only now, in what I hope is the last rewrite, that I've gotten to admire it. If I can read it for the hundredth time and still like it, I figure it's pretty good.
I hope Peter Wicked won't be the last of the series. I have plans for another triplet, set in the
Mediterranean during the Barbary Wars. I wrote a rough draft of the first one a while back.
C: Regarding the movie production of Toussaint, what do you think of the casting of Don Cheadle in the role of Toussaint Louverture? Any opinions? I'd say that's great casting. I
mean, who better? Although, that Chiwetel Ejiofor's pretty sharp too.
B: They're both in Talk to Me, which I haven't seen yet but want to. Don Cheadle is an excellent choice to play Toussaint. I'm not sure who Ejiofor is cast as, but I hope it's as Christophe. He was a complex man.
Mos Def and Jonathan Rhys Meyers seem to have joined the cast, too. Mos Def would be great as the monster Dessalines, and Rhys Meyers as Sonthonax, the subtly wicked French minister to the colony. I don't know which roles they actually have, though.
Naturally I'm glad that anyone's doing a biopic on Toussaint, as it'd be a boost to me, but mostly I'm hopeful about the movie for Toussaint's sake. His is a great story, filled with glory and tragedy. I hope also that it reawakens interest in Haiti. Those poor people have had a shockingly terrible time for two centuries now. We owe them much better than we've given them.
C: Who'd play Matty Graves in the movie version of The War of Knives?
B: Dunno. Whoever the American version is of Ioan Gruffudd, who did a fine job as Horatio Hornblower. If you darkened his skin a bit and taught him to talk like Davy Crockett, he'd be a hoot. He's getting on a bit, though. He must be 30 by now.
I know who I'd want to play Cahoon, the Irish sergeant in The War of Knives—Rick Crawford, the Belfast actor who helped me with Cahoon's dialect.
-Peter Wicked will be published by McBooks Press in September 2008.
-as reviewed in
“Children who acquire a taste for chicken nuggets, roast beef and French fries today are the cancer patients and weight-loss patients of tomorrow”
In Better than Peanut Butter and Jelly, Dr. Neil Barnard reminds us of the disaster that is the industrial American diet. Harmonious Living offers a 5/5 star review of Marty Mattare's excellent dietary roadmap for the introduction of healthy food for our children. This revised edition also offers help on the introduction of vegetarian and vegan lifestyles. Harmonious Living is a sharp little website itself, offering Helpful Hints on Teaching Your Kids About the Environment, resources for those seeking tips on Well Being and Spiritual Wholeness, Environmental Education, even how to make your own Biodiesel. Hats off to -
September 19, 2007
From the Depths thriller author Gerry Doyle will be auctioned off to the highest bidder at Fancy Schmancy, a benefit to be held in Chicago on October 5 by the gang over at Barrel of Monkeys. The highest bidder will receive a set of review copies for their book group to read, which will then be followed up by a personal visit by the author himself. A bit about the Barrel:
Barrel of Monkeys (BOM) is an ensemble of actor/educators that creates an alternative learning environment in which children share their personal voices and celebrate the power of their imaginations.
BOM accomplishes this through creative writing workshops and in-school performances of children's stories. BOM also engages the broader community in support of the visions of children through public performances of their work.
Barrel of Monkeys is currently celebrating its 10th year!Click here