Category

History

History, Journalism, Memoir, Non Fiction

May 05: The Explorer Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World

ICEBOUND by Andrea Pitzer

In the 1500s, William Barents became the first Dutch polar explorer to set sail in an attempt to discover a northern route to China. Andrea Pitzer became fascinated by his story. So much so, that she did what all curious journalists would do—she set sail to retrace his journey.

We discuss what Andrea learned about Barents’ three Arctic expeditions, and some of the little known history around his challenges and successes. Andrea also shares how her own expedition to the Russian Arctic was life changing; what surprised her the most. And the highlight of her experience sailing on a tall ship, where she spent time high up the mast.

About Andrea Pitzer

Icebound: Shipwrecked At The Edge Of The World is the latest book by critically acclaimed author and journalist  Andrea Pitzer. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Review of Books, The Daily Beast, Vox, and Slate. Andrea’s two previous books are One Long Night and The Secret History of Vladimir Nabokov.

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History, Non Fiction, Social Issues, Women's Issues

APR 14: The Agitators with NYT Bestselling Author Dorothy Wickenden

Three Friends Who Fought for Abolition and Women’s Rights

The Agitators tells fascinating stories surrounding America’s abolition, the Underground Railroad, and early women’s rights movements from the intimate perspective of three friendsMartha Coffin Wright, Frances A. Seward, and Harriet Tubman.

It took Dorothy Wickenden seven years to research and write The Agitators. Today she shares some of the challenges in the lives of these “agitators”, and how they were united in spirit, despite having very different backgrounds. We also discuss how Quakers led the first large movement to abolish slavery. Some of the research that surprised and delighted the author. And what she would ask these women, if she could.

About Dorothy Wickenden

Dorothy Wickenden is the author of Nothing Daunted and The Agitators, and has been the executive editor of The New Yorker since 1996. She also writes for the magazine and is the moderator of its weekly podcast Politics & More. A former Nieman Fellow at Harvard, Wickenden was national affairs editor at Newsweek from 1993-1995.

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Fiction, History, Writers on Writing

MAR 17: The Girl From the Channel Islands with NYT Bestselling Author Jenny Lecoat

Inspired by the true story of a young Jewish woman trapped on the Isle of Jersey under Nazi occupation in WWII

Based on her background, maybe Jenny Lecoat’s first novel was destined to start a bidding war and become a New York Times Bestseller.

The Girl From the Channel Islands is based on the true story of Hedy Bercu. We discuss why Jenny told Bercu’s story via fiction versus nonfiction; where she took creative license and why. How Jenny’s background influenced her; and how the book sparked a bidding war with two major publishers.  Jenny also shares some of the true stories she ran into during her research. And what it took to go from successful screenplay writer to successful novelist.

About Jenny Lecoat

Born in the Channel Islands, Jenny Lecoat grew up with family who passed down their own stories of life in German occupied Jersey. Following an early career in stand-up comedy, and writing features for periodicals, she became a screenwriter. Jenny Lecoat’s feature film Another Mother’s Son was released in 2017.

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Fiction, History, Thriller, Writers on Writing

FEB 24: Steve Berry with The Kaiser’s Web

New York Times & #1 International Bestselling Author

Steve Berry returns to Conversations Live with his latest book, which happens to be #16 in the Cotton Malone Series, and Berry’s 20th novel — The Kaiser’s Web. When a secret dossier from a World War II-era Soviet spy is exposed, it could rewrite history and impact Germany’s upcoming national elections, forever changing the political landscape of Europe.

Since Steve is an avid historian and travels extensively for his research, how is he handling pandemic restrictions? How did this impact background material  for The Kaiser’s Web? And what is Steve’s most important piece of marketing advice for authors?

About Steve Berry

History lies at the heart of every Steve Berry novel. His title’s include The Kaiser’s Web, The Warsaw Protocol, The Malta Exchange, and others. Berry’s books have been translated into 41 languages with 25,000,000 copies in 52 countries. They consistently appear in the top echelon of The New York Times,USA Today, and Indie bestseller lists. And in 2010, a NPR survey named The Templar Legacy one of the top 100 thrillers ever written.

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Biography, History, Non Fiction

FEB 03: Icebound with Andrea Pitzer

Shipwrecked At The Edge Of The World

“‘Icebound’ takes us back to the Arctic, in all its terror and splendor” — says The New York Times. And today Andrea Pitzer has two true stories to tell. The first about Dutch polar explorer, William Barents, who set sail in the 1500s to find a northern route to China.  The second, her own life-changing journey to sail in Barents’ wake.

We discuss the ancient explorer’s trials and successes during his three Arctic expeditions.  How Andrea sailed a tall ship and spent time high up the mast. How her expedition to the Russian Arctic changed her. And what surprised her the most.

About Andrea Pitzer

Critically acclaimed author Andrea Pitzer is a journalist whose writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Review of Books, The Daily Beast, Vox, and Slate. Her two previous books are One Long Night and The Secret History of Vladimir Nabokov. Her latest is Icebound: Shipwrecked At The Edge Of The World.

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History, Non Fiction, Women's Issues

AUG 19: Olive the Lionheart with Brad Ricca

It’s 1910 when 30-year-old redhead and Scottish socialite Olive MacLeod defies all wisdom, packs her bags, and travels to Africa to find her missing fiance. Author Brad Ricca tells the true story of Olive the Lionheart based on her own journals and photographs, the lost journals of her fiance — naturalist Boyd Alexander — and the many letters that crossed continents between them.

Olive’s adventure of the heart sweeps her across deserts, cities, swamps, and jungles. We discuss what was at the heart of the journey, and what drove her. Because while some define her as a hero, Olive realizes in Africa that her journey’s not just about finding her fiance. It’s also about facing her demons and finding herself.

Brad Ricca is an award-winning writer and the Edgar-nominated author of the bestselling Mrs. Sherlock Holmes.  He has appeared in documentaries on the History Channel and AMC. And has been a guest on shows such as Criminal, All Things Considered, and BBC Radio. More about Brad Ricca’s work and Olive the Lionheart: Lost Love, Imperial Spies, and Woman’s Journey into the Heart of Africa.

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History, Non Fiction

MAY 20: The Lincoln Conspiracy with Brad Meltzer

“ …  a story few people know, one that’s set in a time of deep political division in America … It shows us what good leaders can do in times of strife – perfectly on point for where our country is today.” Brad Meltzer

Brad Meltzer returns to Conversations Live to share some of the stories from The Lincoln Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill America’s 16th President and Why it Failed. While most Americans know Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, few know of the first attempt on his life. It happened on the way to his inauguration, setting his presidency off to a rocky start. We discuss the challenges he faced as an underdog and how, even during times of civil war, Lincoln’s primary aim was to unite the country.

Brad Meltzer is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Escape Artist and many other bestselling thrillers, as well as the Ordinary People Change the World series. He is also the host of the History Channel TV shows Brad Meltzer’s Decoded and Brad Meltzer’s Lost History. Meltzer coauthored The Lincoln Conspiracy with Josh Mensch, a New York Times bestselling author and documentary television producer, with a focus on American history.

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Creativity, Fiction, History, Writers on Writing

MAR 25: James Rollins & The Last Odyssey

Vicki welcomes back for the fourth time #1 New York Times Bestselling author James Rollins to discuss the 15th novel in his popular Sigma Force series.  Blending historical fact and science fiction with the suspense of a thriller, The Last Odyssey is described as the thinking readers fiction.

Today we’ll talk about how some of the history and James’ travels inspired the story.  We’ll also separate a little fact from fiction, and take a sneak peek at a new book of short fiction coming later in the year.

James Rollins is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of international thrillers, translated into more than forty languages, with more than 25 million copies sold.  A practicing veterinarian, Rollins has pursued scuba, spelunking, and other adventures around the world, and currently lives and writes in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

 

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Fiction, History, Writers on Writing, Young Adult Fiction

MAR 04: Sharon Cameron with The Light in Hidden Places

With World War II Poland as a backdrop, The Light in Hidden Places is based on the extraordinary true story of Stefania Podgorska, a teenage girl who made the choice to hide 13 Jews in the attic, while two Nazis requisitioned the house below them.  Author Sharon Cameron took a hands-on approach to her research, stepping foot into the places and experiences of one of the most troubling times in world history.  As memories dwindle, Sharon emphasizes the importance of carrying history forward through storytelling, and shares where, how, and why she took creative license in telling this remarkable story.

Sharon Cameron is a multiple award-winning author, and the #1 NYT bestselling author of The Dark Unwinding, A Spark UnseenRookThe Forgetting, and The Knowing. 

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Arts, History, Non Fiction, Women's Issues

JAN 29: Women in Film – Hollywood, Her Story

Women in film, Hollywood Her StoryWhen the 2020 Academy Award nominations were announced, many said women in film are finally breaking through. Today’s guests say “No, they’re making a comeback!”

Co-authors Barbara Bridges and Jill S. Tietjen discuss how women helped found the movie industry – a time when they ran silent movie studios and held positions of power. When a female director, and an actress, were paid more than any man in the business.

We explore when and why that changed. Why it’s important we have more female representation in the industry. How they collaborated during the writing process. And snippets from their beautiful book Hollywood, Her Story: An Illustrated History of Women and the Movies.

Jill S. Tietjen is an author, speaker, and electrical engineer. One of the top historians on women in the U.S., Jill is inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame and her work has won many awards.  Entrepreneur Barbara Bridges cofounded Women+Film to bring audiences together with films by, and about, women. The Denver Post named her as one of Colorado’s Top Thinkers in Arts and Culture.

 

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