WBEZ | Fiction http://www.wbez.org/tags/fiction Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The return of Easy Rawlins http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range/return-easy-rawlins-105444 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Walter%20Mosley%20AP%20small.jpg" style="height: 431px; width: 620px;" title="Walter Mosley returns with another edition of his Easy Rawlins detective series. (AP/Bebeto Matthews, file)" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F78433633&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>For a writer who got started late, Walter Mosley has never had trouble staying busy.</p><p>Although the 61-year-old author didn&rsquo;t pick up his pen until he was in his mid-30s, Mosley has already written more than 37 books, including works of science fiction, young adult fiction, politically driven non-fiction, erotica and a graphic novel co-authored with comics legends Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Mosley has written plays, too, the most recent of which, <em><a href="http://www.congosquaretheatre.org/#!fall-of-heaven/cb51">Fall of Heaven</a></em>, will open at Chicago&rsquo;s Congo Square Theatre later this month.</p><p>But Mosely is best known &ndash; and most beloved among his fans, including former President Bill Clinton &ndash; for his best-selling Easy Rawlins detective series. Rawlins, a hard-boiled black private eye and World War II veteran, solves mysteries while exposing the racial inequalities of America in the 1940s, &lsquo;50s and &lsquo;60s. Mosley, who grew up the son of a white, Jewish mother and a black father in 1950s L.A., was no stranger to such inequalities. In 1965, he witnessed the race riots in Watts firsthand.</p><p>Fans were disappointed when Mosley retired the Easy Rawlins series with 2007&rsquo;s <em>Blonde Faith</em> &ndash; and elated when he revealed he would resurrect the series with a new novel due to come out in May. Mosley came to Chicago last month, and during his talk at Chicago Public Library he gave a sneak peek at his forthcoming novel and revealed its title &ndash; <em>Little Green</em>. This latest edition of the Rawlins&rsquo; saga finds the detective recovering from a car wreck and near-death experience, and according to the publisher&rsquo;s website, &ldquo;cruising the hippified streets of the Sunset Strip circa 1967, in search of a young black man who has gone missing.&rdquo;</p><p>You can hear Mosley read the first chapter of <em>Little Green</em> in the audio above. You&#39;ll have to wait until May to find out what happens next. That&#39;s when the book comes out, and when Mosley says he&#39;ll be back to read &nbsp;chapter two.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range">Dynamic Range</a></em>&nbsp;<em>showcases hidden gems unearthed from</em>&nbsp;<em><a href="https://soundcloud.com/chicago-amplified/a-conversation-with-u-s">Chicago Amplified&rsquo;s</a></em>&nbsp;<em>vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Walter Mosley spoke at an event presented by Chicago Public Library in January. Click</em>&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/walter-mosley-105306">here</a>&nbsp;to hear the event in its entirety.</em></p></p> Sat, 09 Feb 2013 08:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range/return-easy-rawlins-105444 Video: Novelist John Green talks 'The Fault in Our Stars' http://www.wbez.org/blog/mark-bazer/2012-01-09/video-novelist-john-green-talks-fault-our-stars-95403 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-January/2012-01-10/john green book flickr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>John Green was the first guest on the very first <em>Interview Show —&nbsp;</em>four years ago, in February 2008. He'd already published his first, award-winning novel, <em>Looking for Alaska</em>. And since then, it’s been a joy to watch him accomplish more of what he set out to do: write smart, thoughtful young adult novels about love, death, friendship, loneliness — without any vampires.</p><p>In the process, John has helped thousands of teenagers fall in love with books. And he’s also done something I don’t know he set out to do, and that’s inspire a whole community (called "Nerdfighters") who now share a lot more — including their own jargon — than John's novels.&nbsp;</p><p>But the release of a new John Green novel is still the main event. (The day his new book, <em>The Fault in Our Stars</em>, went up on Amazon for pre-order, it shot to number one.) With <em>The Fault in Our Stars</em> out Jan. 10, John visited the show again (on Jan. 6) to talk the book, passing through the red-light district in Amsterdam on the way to the library, and a whole lot more.</p><p>(Note: There may be some audio NSFW. Just listen with headphones!)</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/NsslMZ81jls" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe></p></p> Mon, 09 Jan 2012 23:19:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/mark-bazer/2012-01-09/video-novelist-john-green-talks-fault-our-stars-95403 When (dead) writers Tweet: The art of concise imitation http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-08-30/when-dead-writers-tweet-art-concise-imitation-91315 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-31/Little House_Flickr_Susy Morris.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Twitter may seem like an annoying, hyperactive, self-important and cursory way to communicate, but you have to admit, it's addictive. And lately, it has become far more than a way to share your favorite VMA performance with 500 people at once (for the record: Beyonce baby bump!). Through Twitter, users have fomented revolutions, rallied around political candidates and broken news. Artists are also using the short format to express themselves: comedians use it as a wit stream, poets experiment with short verse and so on. But perhaps the most compelling use of Twitter comes from the performance artists — those users who take on new identities under the guise of an @ handle.</p><p>Among the new Twitter performers, the most popular seem to be those who have adopted the identities of famous authors, both living and dead. There is no pretense of reality in these imitations — it is a game, an inside joke — and people are really getting into it. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, after all, and who better to flatter via the written word than one's favorite writers? It only makes sense that Twitter, with its text-based delivery formula, would become fertile ground for literary mockingbirds.</p><p>One of the first (and most popular) of the faux-author accounts to pop up, out of the hundreds that exist now, was <a href="twitter.com/halfpintingalls">@halfpintingalls</a>, the "authentic" feed of Laura Ingalls Wilder. The user's bio read, "I was born in 1867 in a log cabin in the Big Woods of Wisconsin." Her tweets tapped into a deep nostalgia that members of the Twitter generation could easily relate to (many read the <em>Little House </em>books obsessively as children). She tweeted irreverently about prairie life, with updates like, "Curling your bangs with a slate pencil works pretty well. Giving yourself a pedicure with a spinning wheel? Not so much." and "Anyone know how to pry loose a hoopskirt stuck in a privy doorway?! Asking for a friend."</p><p>HalfPintIngalls turned out to be the alter ego of <a href="http://www.facebook.com/TheWilderLife">Wendy McClure</a>, whose book about Wilder, <em>The Wilder Life</em>, came out in April of this year. For McClure, playing Wilder was both book research and marketing scheme.</p><p>"It started for the same reason I have done anything on the Internet, which is just to amuse myself," said McClure when we caught up with her about her Twitter exploits. "HalfPint was a precursor to my book project, and it later became a testing ground for the kind of irreverence that <em>Little House </em>fans would put up with — turns out they all have a great sense of humor."</p><p>McClure says that she did not begin the account with subversive performance in mind. "I wouldn't go so far as to say it is art," she says. "It was just interesting to me. And I couldn't help but think that looking at the differences between the way we live now and the way they lived then, that you just have to do something absurd juxtaposed with modern technology."</p><p>@HalfPintIngalls did not lead McClure directly to her book deal (as several Twitter accounts have done for others, like <a href="http://twitter.com/#%21/shitmydadsays">@sh*tmydadsays</a>), but she recognized the value of it when she was able to write <em>The Wilder Life. </em>"I didn't want to turn HalfPint into advertising for the book, but working on Twitter really helped me while I was writing to gauge the way people responded to her."</p><p>McClure is unique in that she is tweeting as Wilder at least semi-professionally, but most of the 140 character impersonators are not working with any kind of commercial imperative. They are simply trying to break down writers' iconic styles into 140 characters as a labor of love or comedy, often playing with the novelty of pairing an author's style with the technology of the modern age.</p><p>Some of the accounts are loving homages: See <a href="http://twitter.com/#%21/bcollinspoetry">@billycollins</a>, <a href="http://twitter.com/#%21/flanneryoconnor">@flanneryoconnor</a>, and <a href="twitter.com/borgesknowsbest">@borgesknowsbest</a>. Some are parodies: <a href="twitter.com/shakespearesays">@shakespearesays</a>, <a href="twitter.com/hemingsteen">@hemingsteen</a>. There's <a href="http://twitter.com/#%21/InTheGreenLight">Fitzgerald</a>, <a href="http://twitter.com/#%21/WilliamFalkner">Faulkner</a>, <a href="twitter.com/joandidion">Didion</a>. <a href="http://twitter.com/#%21/NothingButDick">Melville</a>, <a href="http://twitter.com/#%21/itssylviaplath">Plath</a>, <a href="http://twitter.com/#%21/MrJDSalinger">Salinger</a>, <a href="http://www.twitter.com/msdorothyparker">Dorothy Parker</a>.</p><p>For almost every author you can think of, someone is out there working a fake Twitter feed. It has become a club of obsession, a contest of one-upmanship based on insider knowledge of an author's tone, personal life, and historial era. The best accounts, like that of <a href="http://twitter.com/#%21/DrSamuelJohnson">Samuel Johnson</a> are successful research projects as well as gags.</p><p>What do you think? Are we entering a new age of literary knowledge and scholarship, played out one tweet at a time? Or are you sick of all the fake accounts trading on the reputation of great longform writers? Tell us what you think of this new trend.</p><div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio.</div></p> Tue, 30 Aug 2011 14:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-08-30/when-dead-writers-tweet-art-concise-imitation-91315 Simpson Prosecutor Marcia Clark Takes On Fiction http://www.wbez.org/story/arts-amp-life/2011-04-18/simpson-prosecutor-marcia-clark-takes-fiction-85372 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/0" alt="" /><p><p>Marcia Clark was a rising legal star in the Los Angeles District Attorney's office when she was assigned to the OJ Simpson trial. Clark's every move was televised in what's now referred to as "The Trial of the Century." Fifteen years later, she's still hip deep in crime, but from a different perspective — as a mystery writer. Her first novel, <em>Guilt by Association, </em>is being released this week, and it draws from Clark's experiences on the front lines of legal prosecution.</p><p>The Simpson case — and his acquittal — was a turning point for Clark. As the lead prosecutor on the case, she felt the jury had made up its mind early on. Charred remains from the 1992 riots following the first Rodney King trial still marred empty lots in South Los Angeles. Despite her entreaties to the jury to not even the score by acquitting Simpson of the murders of his ex wife and her friend, Clark says she saw the writing on the wall.</p><p>When the jury ruled that Simpson was not guilty, it was the end of a difficult road for Clark. "By the end of that trial, I was really physically not well... exhausted and just a mess," she tells NPR. She retreated to her home in suburban Los Angeles to recover, physically and mentally. "It took me a while to get my strength back up."</p><p><strong>Juggling Private And Public Battles<br /></strong></p><p><strong> </strong>Over the year that the Simpson drama played out, the public saw a frazzled, sometimes testy woman intent on bringing a once-beloved sports icon to justice. What they didn't see was the reason Clark looked so gaunt — she was juggling her legal duties with the primary care of her two toddler sons.</p><p><strong> </strong></p><p><strong> </strong>"It was kind of this crazy rubber band feeling of running to work, working as many hours as I could, and then running home so I could take care of the kids, with armloads of work I could do at home," she says. "I was always running to or from something."</p><p>The biggest challenge in her professional life eventually caused the biggest challenge in her private one, and for a while Clark joined Simpson in the headlines of the nightly entertainment news as she waged a bitter custody battle with her husband.</p><p>Clark eventually settled with her estranged second husband — they're now divorced — and moved her sons even deeper into the suburbs to reconstruct a normal life. She lectured, wrote a TV drama and has been a steady presence on television as a legal analyst.</p><p>Though Clark swore that she was done with the criminal courts after the Simpson case, it turns out that she meant only as a lawyer. She's returned to the courtroom several times in the past few years in her new endeavor as a legal thriller writer.</p><p><strong>Trying Her Hand At Fiction</strong></p><p>Her first mystery,<em> Guilt by Association</em>, features Rachel Knight, a heroine not unlike herself. Like Clark, Rachel is a DA, and a rising star in the Special Trials unit, which handles prominent, sensitive and controversial trials.</p><p>"Rachel Knight is better, smarter, cooler, and tougher than I am," Clark says. "But she's also a lot like me: she has a big mouth, she often gets in trouble. She pissed people off — especially judges — and she's not really good with authority, but she is really good at her job."</p><p>After Rachel's co-worker Jake is found dead in an extremely compromising position, Rachel makes it her duty — against all warnings of conflict of interest — to discover what really happened to him. Working with Bailey Keller, a ballsy detective who reminds Rachel of her younger self, the two women anger everyone from wealthy patricians to entrepreneurial gangbangers with their questioning.</p><p>"Not every prosecutor works the way Rachel works in the book," Clark explains. "Rachel is in Special Trials, that's a small unit that works the big cases, and they work it from the ground up with the detectives, just about from the day from when the body is found. So that's unusual — most prosecutors get the case on the way into the court room as they're picking a jury."</p><p><strong>A Stickler For Legal Details</strong></p><p>Clark paid special attention to getting the minutia of procedure right. "If you're going to educate the public and tell them how things happen in the courtroom, then you have a duty to tell it right — don't misinform," she says.</p><p>She also understands the need for dramatization in a supposedly realistic plot, but believes that it's important to keep your story legally accurate. "You amp things up and you speed things up, but technically you can still be legally correct. This is the big beef I have with novels as well as television shows — it actually makes for a better show when you accommodate the truth."</p><p>Early reviews from critics and mystery writers alike say Clark knows what she's talking about. For someone who had been rejected by several publishers and fired by her first agent before landing a book deal, that's especially satisfying.</p><p>Clark says her name might help get her published, but it can't carry her all the way. "If that were true, I would have gotten the other books picked up, right?" she asks, referring to her previous manuscripts.</p><p>Still, she says her name is proof that she walks the walk, and she hopes it will help enough to turn her first Rachel Knight book into a series. She's finishing the second now, and is looking forward to reading some good fiction this summer — crime fiction, of course. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1303198027?&gn=Simpson+Prosecutor+Marcia+Clark+Takes+On+Fiction&ev=event2&ch=1033&h1=Fiction,Author+Interviews,Books,Arts+%26+Life,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=135511735&c7=1033&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1033&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110419&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=3&v21=D%3Dc2&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Mon, 18 Apr 2011 23:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/arts-amp-life/2011-04-18/simpson-prosecutor-marcia-clark-takes-fiction-85372