My Favorite College Professor Interviews Me

Last week I published my interview of my favorite college professor Bob Gross, acclaimed author of The Minutemen and Their World. That book was published in 1976, received the prestigious Bancroft Prize, and became a perennial bestseller. His next book, The Transcendentalists and Their World, will be published this fall – a full 43 years after Bob initially signed the contract for it! It’s an inspiring and moving story of four decades of perseverance.

This week I’m publishing Bob’s interview of me.

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A Book 43 Years In the Making

Do you sometimes feel like you’re a slow writer? Get envious of the guys who put out two novels a year? My favorite professor when I was an undergraduate at Amherst College, Bob Gross, signed a book contract in 1978 and he’s just getting it published this year! After 43 years! His first book was a big hit in the 70s, winning a major award and becoming a national bestseller; hopefully this book will be big too. It comes out this fall, and I’m excited to read it.

Recently I interviewed Bob about the 43-year process of writing this book. I found his story moving and inspiring.

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Why Are Crime Writers So Darn Nice?

Promoting a novel you’ve written can be nerve-wracking, so last week I called up Matt Coyle, author of the Rick Cahill private eye series, for advice about marketing my upcoming novel The Necklace. I’d never met Matt, but I was hoping he’d give me a few minutes of his time and make some general suggestions.

Instead, by the end of that day, he called a bookstore owner he knew and set up a signing for me there; offered to interview me on his podcast; and got me onto another podcast that I’d been hoping to get on, but figured I wasn’t famous enough. I was stunned by Matt’s generosity.

The thing is, as gracious as he was, he wasn’t all that unusual. A few months ago, my publisher assigned me the daunting task of getting blurbs for my book. I was given the names and email addresses of seven bestselling crime writers.

Seriously? Why would these famous authors take the time to read my book and write an advertisement for me? What was in it for them?

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Queen’s Gambit Meets the Pick and Roll

The other day, while watching Queen’s Gambit on Netflix and checking the latest NBA trade rumors on Twitter, my sons and I began speculating on which famous chess player is the most like LeBron. Before we knew it, we had a whole list of chess grandmasters and NBA superstars who were separated at birth. Here’s our top ten, in the order we thought of them:

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The Cello

(Note: The Cello is a short short story I wrote last year. It was published in Flash Fiction Magazine.)

Doug waited in the audience for his wife’s cello to appear, in the arms of a young man named Christopher Hsieh, according to the concert program.

He had met them – his wife and her cello, that is – sixty-one years ago, at a performance of the Dutch Symphony Orchestra.

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