National Writers Series

Interviews and IPR broadcasts of Traverse City's National Writers Series, founded by Interlochen alumnus and New York Times bestselling author Doug Stanton.

National Writers Series: An evening with Jim and Lynn Kouf

Aug 18, 2016

Jim and Lynn Kouf have helped write and produce many Hollywood films, including Con Air, National Treasure, and Money Monster. Their most recent project together is the TV series “Grimm.” Jim and Lynn Kouf talk this hour with actor, writer, and director Benjamin Busch, who asked Jim how you get started as a writer in Hollywood.

National Writers Series: An evening with Lucy Kalanithi

Aug 17, 2016

When neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with cancer, he decided to write a memoir. He didn’t live to see his book “When Breath Becomes Air” published, but it turned into a New York Times number one bestseller.

His widow, Lucy Kalanithi, helped finish the book after Paul couldn’t continue. Doug Stanton talks this hour with Lucy Kalanithi.

National Writers Series: An evening with Brian Castner

Jul 14, 2016

Writer and veteran Brian Castner wanted to write about the war in Afghanistan, but he wasn’t able to get interviews with generals, politicians, or other high-profile figures. So he decided to write the book that only he could write. Brian Castner’s latest book, “All the Ways We Kill and Die,” is about his friend and Traverse City native Matthew Schwartz, who was killed by an explosive device in Afghanistan. The book is an investigation into finding the person who made the bomb that killed Schwartz. Castner talks this hour with actor, author, and fellow veteran Benjamin Busch.

National Writers Series: An evening with David Ebershoff

Jun 23, 2016

David Ebershoff's novel “The Danish Girl,” is based on the story of a real person, but it’s a fictional book. Ebershoff says he wrote it as fiction to take us inside the character’s heart. “The Danish Girl” is about a Danish man named Einar Wegener who becomes one of the first people to seek out gender-altering surgery to become a woman, named Lili Elbe. David Ebershoff talks with writer David Griffith, who asked Ebershoff if he knew when he was writing “The Danish Girl” that it would interest the public so widely.

National Writers Series: An evening with Laurie R. King

Apr 26, 2016

Laurie R. King is best-known for her series of books based on Sherlock Holmes. She's the author of fourteen mysteries featuring her character Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes as crime-solving partners. She talked this hour with fellow author Cari Noga.

National Writers Series: An evening with James Tobin

Apr 8, 2016

James Tobin is a journalisthistorian, biographer, and professor. He’s written books about World War II journalist Ernie Pyle and aviation pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright. Tobin’s latest work of narrative nonfiction is The Man He Became: How FDR Defied Polio to Win the Presidency.” He talked with former newspaper editor Bob Giles, who asked Tobin how he got the idea to write a book about Ernie Pyle.

Bonnie Jo Campbell grew up in western Michigan, and her stories draw on her experiences with the dark side of rural life. Her latest collection of short stories is called “Mothers, Tell Your Daughters.” She talks this hour with poet, essayist, and undertaker Thomas Lynch. Campbell starts off the program talking about her book “American Salvage.”

National Writers Series: An evening with Susan Casey

Jan 14, 2016

Susan Casey is former editor-in-chief for O, the Oprah Magazine. She’s the author of three books: “The Devil’s Teeth,” about great white sharks, “The Wave,” about the people who surf and study giant waves, and her latest, “Voices In the Ocean: A Journey Into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins.”

National Writers Series: An evening with Sarah Chayes

Dec 10, 2015

Sarah Chayes has worked as a foreign correspondent for National Public Radio and lived for a decade in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Her latest book is called “Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security.” Chayes grew up being interested in international affairs by having parents who were active in several presidential administrations. She talks this hour with Jack Segal, former diplomat and co-chair of Traverse City’s International Affairs Forum. Segal started off asking Chayes what it was like growing up with parents who were prominent in Washington politics.

Vanessa Diffenbaugh's first novel, The Language of Flowers, is about a foster child aging out of the system. Her second and latest book, We Never Asked for Wings, takes on immigration and education. Vanessa Diffenbaugh's books tackle big topics that highlight regular peoples' struggles and triumphs. Diffenbaugh talked to Sarah Bearup-Neal, a writer and artist from Glen Arbor.

National Writers Series: An evening with Harlan Coben

Aug 6, 2015

Mystery and thriller writer Harlan Coben says a writer needs three things: inspiration, perspiration, and the most important, desperation. Harlan Coben's novels have debuted at the top of the New York Times bestseller list seven times. His book "Tell No One" was made into a French film of the same name. Coben's latest novel is "The Stranger." To start off the evening's event at the City Opera House, Traverse City mayor Michael Estes presented Harlan Coben with a key to the city. Doug Stanton began the conversation telling Coben he's had quite a year.

National Writers Series: An evening with Jeff Shaara

Jul 3, 2015

On this program from the National Writers Series, Jeff Shaara explains why General Sherman was so successful in the American Civil War. Even though Sherman is known for his "total war" strategy, Shaara says his tactics weren't as harsh as many people believe. Jeff Shaara is the author of six works of historical fiction about the Civil War. The latest is called "The Fateful Lightning." He talks this hour with Ed Tracy, CEO of Roxbury Road Creative.

National Writers Series: An evening with Debbie Macomber

Jun 3, 2015

Debbie Macomber's "Cedar Cove" series has been turned into a TV show on the Hallmark Channel. She has more than 170 million copies of her books in print worldwide and her novels have spent over 750 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, with eight hitting number one. Macomber has also written bestselling cookbooks, inspirational and non-fiction works, and children's books. This hour she talks with Ron Hogan, acquiring fiction and nonfiction editor at Regan Arts.

Garth Stein's latest book, "A Sudden Light," begins from the perspective of a 14-year-old boy. Stein is fascinated with this stage of life at the edge of adulthood. His previous novel, "The Art of Racing in the Rain," has sold more than 4 million copies and spent three years on the New York Times bestseller list. He's interviewed by Sarah Bearup-Neal, a journalist and fiber artist from Glen Arbor.

Mystery Novelist - Tess Gerritsen

Feb 12, 2015

When mystery novelist Tess Gerritsen she was young, she had an experience that defined her writing. A neighbor she was close to was arrested for murdering his sister in law. She says that for her, crime writing is about trying to understand who the real person is behind the smiling mask. Tess Gerritsen is best known for her series of books featuring police detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles, which inspired the TV series "Rizzoli and Isles." She talks with Traverse City teacher and Front Street Writers workshop leader Kerrey Woughter.