“The Next Big Thing” is an Internet meme – defined as a concept that spreads person to person (like an STD?) via the Internet. According to Wikipedia,” the concept of meme was defined and described by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book, The Selfish Gene – an attempt to explain how cultural information spreads.” I remember the book, but not the concept of meme, which probably reflects how little from the book stuck. So it goes.
A week or so ago I got a note from my colleague Zinta Aistars telling me about this meme-thing and asking if I would participate. The “Next Big Thing” is a deal where authors tag other authors and in doing so talk about our work. Idon’t really know what tagging is either, but I said I’d give it a go, here tiz. I’ll post this on my blog and then transfer it at some other moment, when I get the green light from Mz. Z.
The first author I want to tag is Henry Kisor. Henry Kisor is the retired book editor of the Chicago Sun-Times as well as the author of three nonfiction books and three mystery novels. He is also the co-author of one children’s book.
He is the author of a series of mystery novels set in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Season’s Revenge (2003), A Venture into Murder (2005) and Cache of Corpses (2007). A fourth novel, Hang Fire, is forthcoming. I love his series, set in Porcupine County (which will seem a lot like Ontonagon County to some readers.).
His nonfiction works are What’s That Pig Outdoors?: A Memoir of Deafness (1990 and 2010), Zephyr: Tracking a Dream Across America (1994) and Flight of the Gin Fizz: Midlife at 4,500 Feet (1997). The Flight of the Gin Fizz is a terrific book about learning to fly when you are an adult. And deaf.
Henry’s books have been published abroad in German, Dutch and United Kingdom editions.
Kisor writes two blogs, The Reluctant Blogger and The Whodunit Photographer.
He was the book editor of the Chicago Sun-Times from 1978 to his retirement in 2006, after five years in the same position with the old Chicago Daily News.
His reviews and articles have appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post and on MSNBC.com. Between 1977 and 1982 he was an adjunct instructor at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. From 1983 to 1986 he wrote a weekly syndicated column on personal computers that appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, Orlando Sentinel, Seattle Times and other newspapers.
He was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 1981. The Friends of Literature awarded him the first James Friend Memorial Critic Award in 1988 and the Chicago Foundation for Literature Award for Nonfiction in 1991 for What’s That Pig Outdoors? In 1991 Trinity College awarded him an honorary Doctor of Letters degree. In 2001 he was inducted into the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame.
Educated at Trinity College (B.A., 1962) in Hartford, Conn., and at Northwestern University (M.S.J., 1964) in Evanston, Ill., Kisor began his newspaper career in 1964 with the Evening Journal in Wilmington, Del.
He winters in Evanston, Illinois, and summers in Ontonagon, Michigan, with his wife, Deborah Abbott. They have two grown sons, Colin, an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice (m. Melody Pershyn), and Conan, a corporate communications editor and writer for the Boeing Company (m. Annie Tully). They also have two grandsons, William Henry Kisor and Conan Emmet Kisor; two granddaughters, Elizabeth Maria Kisor and Alice Flynn Kisor.
Next on my list is Robert Linsenman. If you’re a trout fisherman, you’ll already know who Bob is. But later this year his first novel will debut — about dog handlers in Vietnam, and called Snowblood’s Journal. Bob doesn’t have a website. Yet. But keep an eye out for the book.
My third writer is Poet Ken McCullough, poet laureate of Winona, Minnesota. Ken McCullough’s most recent books of poetry are Obsidian Point (2003) and Walking Backwards (2005), as well as a book of stories, Left Hand (2004). He has received numerous awards for his poetry including the Academy of American Poets Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Pablo Neruda Award, a Galway Kinnell Poetry Prize, the New Millennium Poetry Award, the Blue Light Book Award and the Capricorn Book Award. He has also received grants from the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry, the Iowa Arts Council, and the Jerome Foundation to continue translating the work of U Sam Oeur, survivor of the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia. Sacred Vows, a bilingual edition of U’s poetry with McCullough’s translations, was published in 1998. U’s memoir, Crossing Three Wildernesses, co-written with McCullough, was published in 2005. McCullough lives in Winona, Minnesota with his wife and younger son. He is an administrator at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and teaches writing courses for the Hawk’s Well Literary Center.
Ken and I were baseball teammates in the UP in the summer before my sophomore year. Like me. he was an AF brat, but unlike me who stayed to attend Rudyard High School in Chippewa County, Ken went to a private school in Delaware. Terrific poet and good guy. He was one hell of a baseball player too. And a trout fisherman.
My last tag is Michael Delp, who is well known to a wide audience as poet, essayist, and short story writer.
Michael Delp is a writer of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction whose works have appeared in numerous national publications. He is the author of Over the Graves of Horses (Wayne State University Press, 1989), Under the Influence of Water (Wayne State University Press, 1992), The Coast of Nowhere (Wayne State University Press, 1997), and The Last Good Water (Wayne State University Press, 2003), in addition to six chapbooks of poetry. He taught creative writing at the Interlochen Arts Academy and received several awards for his teaching.
He is a magician with language and image, Mike is retired from Interlochen Academy, but still actively helping young writers. Also a fine and passionate fisherman.
Tags done, now the meme requires me to answer some questions:
Q: What is the working title of your current/next book?
JTH: September 2012’s book was Red Jacket and that’s my most recent: The next book, set for April 2013 is Hard Ground, Woods Cop Stories, and next September will be the 9th in the Woods Cop Mystery Series, this one entitled, Killing A Cold One.
Q. Where did the idea come from (for the next book)?
JTH. In 2011 my wife and I were driving north for our 5-month stay in the UP and as I drove I got to thinking about all the experiences I had doing patrols with Michigan Conservation Officers all around the state – in my 13th year now – the equivalent of a full year of patrols under all sorts of conditions. And it occurred to me I had so much that would never fit into a novel I wondered if some of the stuff might serve as catalysts for short stories and between May and September I wrote 30 of them. Happily, these will be published in a couple of months.
Q. What genre does the book fall under?
A. Short stories. Beyond that, I couldn‘t categorize. They cover a wide range of possibilities.
Q. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?JTH. I wouldn’t. Books are one thing, films a whole different creature in which I don’t have much interest. Though I love to watch movies, just not in crowds. Seriously, I try to leave some ambiguity with my characters so readers can apply their own imaginations and descriptions. As soon as I name an actor, that wipes out all that imagination and inserts another reality.
Q. One sentence synopsis of my book?
JTH: Conservation officers encounter mind-boggling situations, from an Elvis Impersonators get-together, to re-locating bears, notifying next of kin, handling vehicle accidents, and encounters with persons who would fit nicely into Neptunian society.
Q. Books self-published or represented by an agency?
JTH: Lyons Press Globe Pequot has published my last ten and will publish the next three. My editor at Lyons is Keith Wallman. My agent, with Harold Ober Inc of NYC is Phyllis Westberg.
Q. How long did it take to write the first draft?
JTH: Four-five months for 30 short stories. Up at 0300 every morning, worked till 6, back to bed till 9, then up for the day to hunt agates on Lake Superior, or go trout fishing – from May through September.
I guess that does it. A meme: Who woulda thunk it?