Author Interviews

Texas
2:09 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

In ‘Into the Field’ a Veteran Foreign Correspondent Tells His Own Story

Author Tracy Dahlby (second from right) dines with a group of students during a 2008 China trip.
Rebecca Davis

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected through technology, the need for international news has steadily increased. But America’s appetite for foreign journalism has never been that large.

Many traditional news outlets have cut down on foreign correspondents, which makes author and professor Tracy Dahlby an increasingly rare subspecies of journalist. Dahlby’s memoir, “Into the Field: A Foreign Correspondent’s Notebook,” provides a remarkable look at his vast experiences in Asia and the transformation of media that’s still on the way.

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Life & Arts
4:31 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Tomlinson Hill: Book Explores a Family History of Slaves and Slaveholders

Chris Tomlinson in the KUT studios.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Chris Tomlinson spent most of his life comfortable that he knew who he was and where he came from. After all, a small part of Texas was named after his ancestors. Tomlinson Hill is a small town community in Falls County. It's a place where generations of his family carved out a comfortable living from the land.

Before the Civil War, they also owned slaves. But Chris grew up believing what he'd been told: that the slaves his family owned were happy – so happy they took the family name and settled the land after they were free.

It was not until after he returned from 11 years in Africa as the Nairobi Bureau Chief for the Associated Press that Tomlinson decided to delve into his family history. What he learned not only changed his sense of family, it changed his sense of history as well. The result of his search is the book, "Tomlinson Hill."

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Books
5:30 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Listen: Austin Author Jeff Abbott on the Ins and Outs of His New Thriller 'Inside Man'

"Inside Man" is Austin author Jeff Abbott's fourth novel featuring CIA-trained operative Sam Capra. This one ends in a cliffhanger, but Capra fans take heart: Abbott says he has already signed contracts to write the fifth and sixth Sam Capra novels.
Leslie Abbott Photography.

Good guys and bad guys are always easy to sort out in thrillers, right? Not so fast. In the murky waters of Jeff Abbott's latest novel Inside Man, the roles are not always so clear cut or easily defined.

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Texas
3:05 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

For Trailblazing Texan Oveta Culp Hobby, a Long Overdue Biography

Col Oveta Culp Hobby (right) talks with Auxiliary Margaret Peterson and Capt. Elizabeth Gilbert in this 1943 photo at New York's Mitchel Field.
Al Aumuller/ World Telegram & Sun/Library of Congress

From the small Texas town of Killeen, Oveta Culp Hobby grew up into a remarkable woman, serving her country and opening doors for women in the military.  

She helped establish the Women’s Army Corps and received a distinguished service medal – the first woman in the army ever to do so. She also served as Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare under President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

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Author Interviews
2:57 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Author Graeme Simsion on Asperger's, 'The Rosie Project' and Its Sequel

Graeme Simsion talks about his breakout hit, The Rosie Project, with the Texas Standard.
Credit ChinLin Pan/KUT

If you read fiction, and you don’t know about  "The Rosie Project," you’re missing something. The book was a breakout hit all over the world, raking in reviews ranging from merely exuberant to down right delirious. So what’s all the fuss about?

"The Rosie Project" is a flat-out fun read by an author who appears to have a lot of different interests dosed with a healthy sense of humor. But believe it or not, the book started out as high drama.

"This is the story of Don Tillman," author Graeme Simsion tells The Texas Standard's Emily Donahue. 

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Kirkus on the Standard
2:45 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Two Summer Reads You Won't Want to Put Down

Summer reading season is here. So what are you taking (metaphorically or not) to the beach? 

Fear not: In this edition of Kirkus on the Standard, David Brown speaks with Kirkus Reviews editor Clay Smith about a couple reading recommendations to get you through the heat.

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Life & Arts
4:13 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Here Are Five Page-Turners for Summer Reading Season

This weekend not only kicks of the summer vacation and travel season. It also kicks off the summer reading season. So The Texas Standard reached out to the mavens of manuscripts at the Kirkus Reviews. 

Editor-in-chief Clay Smith sat down with David Brown to discuss some of the best books available this season. Smith's picks for summer reading with a punch include:

Natchez Burning by Greg Isles. "Greg Isles is a guy who has been publishing thrillers for a while and he was on a routing publishing schedule, you know, year after year ... He had a car crash and was induced into a coma recently and so this is his first thriller in five years. And it deals with all that southern stuff. You know, race, long held secrets, society and readers are loving it. It is hard to put down."

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Author Interviews
8:19 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Author Robert Bryce: Why Thinking Smaller Will Bring the Future Faster

What do transistors, lithium batteries and AK-47s have in common?

Each one of those inventions fast-forwarded human history. They and many more, argues Austin-based author Robert Bryce, are examples of a trend in nature and society toward making things, faster, cheaper and – Bryce argues – better.

Bryce's new book is called "Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper: How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong." He spoke to Texas Standard host David Brown.

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Politics of Pakistan
5:21 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Author T.V. Paul Talks About 'The Warrior State: Pakistan in the Contemporary World'

Credit Samantha Ortega for KUT News

In the 1960s, Pres. Lyndon Baines Johnson signed a major change in immigration rules into law. Eliminating per country quotas, the move made it easier for immigrants with professional experience and education to come to the Unites States.

From that moment forward, Pakistanis began coming to the U.S. in waves.

Dallas and Houston are now top destinations for Pakistani immigrants. In both cities, Pakistanis have high rates of working in elite positions – a contrast to opportunities available to those remaining in Pakistan today.

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Life & Arts
3:47 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

'Orange Aardvark' is a Colorful Book For Kids

"It's an Orange Aardvark!" is the new book from Michael Hall. It's a short book, so we don't want to give anything away. But we can tell you it involves carpenter ants, a lot of holes and a hilarious payoff. Kirkus Reviews calls the book “suspenseful and entertaining; all-around great fun.”

The Texas Standard spoke to Hall on the phone, on a lunch break between school visits. "I enjoy the school appearances," Hall said. "The kids are so attentive and curious. They're just great audiences and it's a lot of fun."

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Life & Arts
12:59 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Elizabeth Crook's 'Monday Monday' Revisits UT's Infamous Tower Shooting

Elizabeth Crook, author of "Monday Monday", at the KUT Studios.
Credit Samantha Ortega for Texas Standard

There are few incidents in Texas history as compelling as the UT Tower shooting.

On August 1, 1966, a UT student and ex-marine named Charles Whitman climbed to the top of the UT Tower and opened fire on the pedestrians below. 16 people were killed. Dozens were injured. It was the first mass shooting on a US college campus. And it changed many lives.

Austin novelist Elizabeth Crook has used the events of that day to craft a vivid and emotional novel, "Monday, Monday." She told KUT's Emily Donahue that she felt some qualms about her subject matter. She began writing in 2006. And as she wrote, several school shootings occurred, from Virginia Tech to Sandy Hook.

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Why It's Not So Bad to Speak 'Bad English'
3:22 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

On the Bard's Birthday, Who Wrote It: Shakespeare or a Rapper?

Shakespeare or Big Daddy Kane? According to "Bad English" author Ammon Shea, slang and informal English is usually "much older than we think."

It's happened to all of us: just when you're ready to deliver the perfect rebuttal,  last word or final point, your tongue trips up and you slaughter your English.

Don't fret about it, says author Ammon Shea. The man who spent a year reading the Oxford English Dictionary is taking on grammarians and nitpickers alike.

Shea's new book "Bad English: A History of Linguistic Aggravation" (out this June) is an eye-opening look at how language mistakes have become accepted as correct usage.

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Life & Arts
10:49 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Novelist Elizabeth Strout Talks About 'The Burgess Boys'

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Elizabeth Strout visited KUT Austin to speak about her book "The Burgess Boys"
Credit Samantha Ortega for KUT News

The novel "The Burgess Boys" took the nation by storm last year. This month, the novel is available in paperback.

The follow-up to Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel "Olive Kitteridge" spent weeks atop the New York Times bestseller list and months making the rounds of book-circles.

Elizabeth Strout visited with the Texas Standard's Emily Donahue to talk about her book. Listen to their conversation in the audio player below.

Life & Arts
6:00 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Austin Author's New Thriller Links Love, Mystery and World War I

A young man about to go to war meets a young woman. They fall in love. A reckless, passionate affair follows. It lasts just a week, but it reverberates through six lifetimes.

That's just one layer of the narrative in a new novel by Austin author Justin Go. “The Steady Running of the Hour” includes a race against time and crosses two centuries and multiple continents – from the drawing rooms of London to the horror of World War I battlefields – through Europe, Asia and the U.S.

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Author Interviews
5:00 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Renowned Texas Journalist Shares Family History in 'The Harness Maker's Dream'

"The Harness Maker's Dream" tells the story of the Kallison family.
Credit facebook.com/HarnessMakersDream

The Kallison family name has resonated amongst Texans for generations.

It's the name of the department store in San Antonio crowned by a cowboy carrying a saddle on his right shoulder. It's also the of the Kallison Ranch, the place that brought Texas ranching into the 20th century.

"The Harness Maker’s Dream" recounts the story of Nathan Kallison, the Jewish Russian who escaped persecution and later became a successful rancher in Texas.

 

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Life & Arts
6:05 am
Fri January 31, 2014

'The Obedient Assassin' Tells the Story of Trotsky's Killer

John P. Davidson at the KUT Studio
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Imagine – you have it all – a life of luxury, famous friends, a beautiful lover. You are a good, supportive friend – happy and content. And it’s all a lie.

The truth keeps you up at night, tortures you during the day. But you can’t change who you are.

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Life & Arts
7:55 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Amy Tan's New Book 'The Valley of Amazement' is Filled With Family Secrets

The Valley of Amazement
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

It’s been eight years since Amy Tan’s last book. But critics are already saying “The Valley of Amazement” was worth waiting for. 

It’s a complicated story of mothers and daughters, secrets and lies, the past and the present, China and America. And – perhaps above all – it’s about women’s fierce wills to survive.

KUT's Emily Donahue spoke with Amy Tan about her new book. She was five years into writing a different novel, Tan says, when she took a new look at an old family photo.

“I had a photo of my grandmother sitting on my desk and it was my favorite photo of her,” Tan says. “She looks quite beautiful and dreamy eyed, and it is in fact the photo that is on the hard cover edition of ‘The Bonesetter's Daughter.’” 

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Author Interviews
8:57 am
Fri November 29, 2013

'Dallas Noir' Explores the City's Alluring Shimmer and Seedy Underbelly

The cover of Dallas Noir, a new collection of fictional stories.
Akashic Books

While Pulitzer Prize winner Larry McMurty described Dallas in Texas Monthly as “a second-rate city that wishes it were first-rate,” literary agent and editor David Hale Smith prefers a different description. This one’s found in the lines of Jimmie Dale Gilmore’s song “Dallas:"

Dallas is a rich man with a death wish in his eyes

A steel and concrete soul in a warm-hearted love disguise.

“It’s one of the great lyrics of all time. The song is a poem, but it really nails Dallas, and of course nails the essence of this book we put together,” Smith says. He sat down with KUT's David Brown to discuss that new book, “Dallas Noir." 

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Author Interviews
4:35 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

The Lair: The Story Behind the Story of the Teen Vampire Series

Emily McKay is the author of "The Lair," the sequel to "The Farm."
Emily Donahue, KUT News

Imagine a book about the future – a future where children are groomed to feed wild vampire-like beasts. A book with good guys who are bad guys, bad guys who retain a touch of humanity, and a few characters primed to save the world.

The Lair” is the second in a series of young adult books from Round Rock author Emily McKay. The first was “The Farm.”  Both are set in a post-apocalyptic future, in which adults have failed young people, and young people have adulthood thrust upon them.

McKay's vampires are neither glamorous nor elegant, but they are smarter, stronger and faster than humans. And in both “The Farm” and “The Lair,” human children are farmed to feed human/vampire Ticks.

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Books
2:59 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Why Superman's Origins May Be Steeped in Judaism

Superman and author Larry Tye. Tye says part of Superman's appeal originates with the trials and tribulations of his creator.
Larry Tye

It's a bird … it's a plane … it's … you guessed it: Superman.

The high-flying Son of Krypton has been been a cultural force for 75 years and, while he's graced the panels of comic books and the silver screen, his humble beginnings and evolution over the years have reflected changing political and cultural tides, says Superman biographer Larry Tye.

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