Chicago author Robert K. Elder featured on NBC's Last Call with Carson Daly

March 14, 2011

Hi, it's Steve Edwards here pinch-hitting for the vacationing Justin Kaufmann.  As Justin laps up the sun and waves at an undiscolosed location, I've been covering his web production shifts, which keeps me up way too late most nights. 

It also has me scouring sites for interesting Chicago tidbits - like this one featuring writer Robert K. Elder, a recent and frequent guest as of late on WBEZ's Eight Forty-Eight.

Why? Elder is a former staff writer for the Chicago Tribune who has been on a roll lately.  Seriously.  The guy leaves the Trib and in a span of about a year has not one, but three books published. 

The first is Last Words of the Executed, an acclaimed oral history which features the collected last words and statements made by those facing capital punishment.  And it even features a forward by our own late, legendary chronicler Studs Terkel.

Elder quickly followed Last Words with more words - this time from film directors.  The result is a fascinating collection of interviews with some of today's most respected directors, including Danny Boyle, Atom Egoyan and John Woo.  It's called The Film That Changed My Life.

The third book?  You'll get a sneak peak in the video above. 

We're still not sure why a can of Diet Coke was featured prominently in the foreground of an interview set and filmed inside of a bar - and on a show called Last Call with Carson Daly, no less - but it's a great look at a Chicago writer fascinated by how people are shaped by life experience.