Writers & Writing

This is your source for NPR author interviews, recent broadcasts from the Traverse City National Writers Series, and IPR's radio series Michigan Writers on the Air. You can also find NPR authors & interviews here.

Essay: Scattered Clouds

May 10, 2019

I sit at the kitchen table with my husband before dinner. We’re drinking a beer and eating pretzels and talking about the day. And while we’re talking, I look over his shoulder out the window where gray-bellied clouds are moving across a blue sky. 


Essay: Looking Back

May 3, 2019

“The first time I saw your mother,” my father liked to say, “I knew I was going to marry her.’” He was sitting in church choir at the time and my mother was coming in late to practice. Late on purpose so that she would be noticed. It was a fairytale beginning, my parents’ marriage. 


On this edition of Michigan Writers on the Air:

Author Heather Shumaker will discuss her debut children’s book, The Griffins of Castle Cary,

Veteran women’s fiction and romance writer Tanya Anne Crosby will read from and talk about her newest novel, Everyday Lies,

And Fleda Brown will read some stunning shipwreck poems by Michigan writer Cindy Hunter Morgan.

Listen to the whole episode below:

Essay: Leaving Home

Apr 26, 2019

It began with me sleeping overnight at my grandparents’ house. They lived close by, so it didn’t feel like being away, or not very far away. The next step was sleeping overnight at my best friend’s. Everything about Bonnie’s house was different:  late bedtime, unlimited candy, noisy furnace. 


National Writers Series: An evening with Lisa Scottoline

Apr 25, 2019
Halle Meyers

Lisa Scottoline is known for her legal thrillers, including the Rosato and Associates series, about women who are partners at a law firm. She's written thirty-two novels, and her latest book, "Someone Knows," is a stand-alone novel that tells the story of five teenagers whose lives are shattered after a dangerous prank goes wrong. Lisa also writes a weekly column for the Philadelphia Inquirer with her daughter.

Essay: Horse Love

Apr 19, 2019

When I was about eight years old, I fell in love with horses.  It began with “Black Beauty,” the classic novel about a carriage horse who narrates his life story.  Then I begged my father for riding lessons and found myself climbing into an English saddle on a bay mare named “Miss Muffet.” Horses were a lot higher off the ground than they looked!


National Writers Series: An evening with Keith Gave

Apr 16, 2019
Halle Meyers

Keith Gave spent six years in the U.S. Army, where he worked as a Russian linguist for the National Security Agency. When he left the army, Keith became a sports reporter covering hockey for the Detroit Free Press. He didn’t know then how his Russian experience would play a role in his journalism career. Keith explains it all in his book “The Russian Five: A Story of Espionage, Defection, Bribery and Courage.” This hour, Keith talks with fellow author, journalist and hockey fan Tim Rappleye. Keith told Tim that he was working on a new project.

National Writers Series: An evening with Tommy Tomlinson

Apr 15, 2019
Halle Meyers

Tommy Tomlinson spent 23 years as a reporter and columnist for the Charlotte Observer newspaper, and he’s written for publications including Esquire and Sports Illustrated. Since childhood, Tommy has struggled with obesity, and he decided to change his life by losing weight. He wrote about the process in his memoir, “The Elephant In the Room: One Fat Man’s Quest to Get Smaller in a Growing America.” Tommy talks this hour with acupuncturist and storyteller Elon Cameron. Tommy told Elon that when he started writing his book, he weighed 460 pounds.

Essay: Hitchhiking to Stonehenge

Apr 12, 2019

Homer asked if I wanted to go to Stonehenge. “We’ll have to hitch-hike,” he said, so we took the London tube as far west as we could and stood in the rain with our thumbs out. A lorry driver waved and shifted his enormous semi down, down until it finally stopped and we climbed into the cab. 


Essay: Giving Your Gifts

Apr 5, 2019

When people ask me how I became a writer, I tell them about Mrs. Goudzwaard, my tenth grade English teacher.  She gave me an A+ on a paper once and read it to the class.  I was embarrassed, of course, but also amazed.  I didn’t know I could write!


Essay: Forgiving My Father

Mar 29, 2019

“On the way to the hospital, we didn’t have a name picked out for a girl,” my father liked say. “We were so sure it was going to be a boy.”


Essay: Geographic Fix

Mar 22, 2019

When my first marriage was seven years old and my daughter four, I started feeling restless and discontent.  Looking around for something to blame, I decided that our house was too small and the neighborhood too noisy.


Essay: Doing Your Duty

Mar 15, 2019

Every Sunday afternoon when I was a kid, my father went to visit his father—a widower who lived alone.  Sometimes our whole family went to see Grandpa Anderson, but often it was just my dad.  The two men weren’t close and I don’t know what they found to talk about.


Essay: Ask for What You Want

Mar 8, 2019

When my daughter was young, I used to embarrass her when we went to restaurants because I asked for the table I wanted.  Someone was going to get that nice table by the window; why not us?  Anyway, it couldn’t hurt to ask, politely.  And, most of the time, we sat by the window—no objections made.


Essay: Ice Floes

Mar 1, 2019

Ours is the only car in the parking lot on this Sunday afternoon. My husband and I walk north along the Lake Michigan shore, pulling on gloves and putting up hoods. It might be twenty degrees on the thermometer but it feels like zero.  


Essay: Turquoise Silk Dress

Feb 15, 2019

I am looking through my button box and pick up a small cloth-covered button. “Turquoise silk,” I murmur, remembering the dress it came from, a dress I wore only once.


Essay: Saying Hello

Feb 8, 2019

I am leaving a store when I notice the woman in front of me. There is something familiar in her walk and then I know who she is—a friend from long ago.


Essay: My House

Feb 1, 2019

When I die, I will leave the people I love which makes me sad.  But what really bothers me—and I confess this with a certain embarrassment—is leaving my house.  As a house, it’s not that special—an old, two-story, needs-work place—but as a source of shelter and security, it has never let me down.  I can’t say that about people.


National Writers Series: An evening with Gillian Flynn

Jan 27, 2019
HJB Photo

Gillian Flynn is best known as the author of “Gone Girl.” She also wrote the screenplay of the film version. Since then, Gillian has written more for the big and small screen. She co-wrote the screenplay for the 2018 film “Widows,” as well as the TV adaptation of her book “Sharp Objects.” She also wrote the series “Utopia,” which will be released by Amazon this year. Doug Stanton spoke to Gillian at the Traverse City Opera House in April 2013. She told him she loved macabre stories since she was a child, when her father played her movies that were possibly inappropriate for her age.

National Writers Series: An evening with Harlan Coben

Jan 26, 2019

Harlan Coben has published over 30 novels. His book "Tell No One" was made into a film of the same name. In the past few years, Harlan’s created three TV shows available on Netflix: No Second Chance, The Five, and Safe. His latest novel “Run Away” will come out in March of this year. Doug Stanton spoke with Harlan on the stage of the Traverse City Opera House in July 2015. At that time, his book “The Stranger” had just come out. Doug asked Harlan to tell him about how he balances his work with his family life.  

National Writers Series: An evening with Greg Iles

Jan 26, 2019

Greg Iles is known for his Penn Cage series of thrillers that take place in Natchez, Mississippi. Iles’s newest book, coming out in March 2019, is “Cemetery Road.” It’s a stand-alone novel of friendship, betrayal, and secrets that threaten to destroy a small Mississippi town. Doug Stanton talked with Greg Iles at the Traverse City Opera House in April 2017. At that time, his book “Mississippi Blood” had just been released.  It’s the third book in his Natchez Burning trilogy. Greg Iles began writing the trilogy while recovering from a traffic accident that almost killed him.

Essay: Conflict Resolution

Jan 23, 2019

When I was in junior high school, I wore my hair long and straight like most of the girls.  My mother thought it would look better short and curly.  This was a constant source of tension between us—but when we got angry, we didn’t talk about it.  We stopped speaking.  Sometimes for days.

Essay: Cleanliness

Jan 11, 2019

My mother was fond of saying, “Cleanliness is next to godliness,” as she pointed me toward my bedroom.  It was years before I discovered this wasn’t one of the Ten Commandments, wasn’t even in the Bible. 

Essay: Chronic Illness

Dec 28, 2018

Sometimes when our family was on a trip, my father would start driving wildly and too fast.  We begged him to stop but he was ornery, rebellious.  My brother and I were terrified, my mother furious.  But Dad wasn’t drunk; he was having an insulin reaction—and needed something to eat. 

Essay: Tell Me

Dec 21, 2018

My mother loved Christmas. The decorating began early and covered every available surface:  holly on the banister, stockings on the mantel, candles on the tables. My father used to joke that the electric bill went down because we lit the house with candles.


Pages