Val Bodurtha, Barbara Baer – December 31, 2017

History, culture, and strong women are at the core of the two novels: The History Makers by Val Bodurtha and The Ballet Lover by Barbara Baer. You’ll want to remember these two authors.

Val Bodurtha’s first novel, The History Makers, is chilling, funny, and a smart coming of age story which imagines a contemporary Aztec civilization, as if the Aztecs had prevailed over the Spanish.

Barbara Baer’s recent book, The Ballet Lover, is set in the 1970’s ballet world, with Soviet defectors, and a searing event that has Rudolph Nureyev letting Natalia Makarova fall to the floor.

Gin Phillips, Rachel Khong – December 3, 2017

Featured on KRCB’s A Novel Idea, two novelists whose books hit big this year.

Fierce Kingdom is a thriller of a book by Gin Phillips, which takes place over the course of three hours in a zoo that is under attack by gunmen, and where a woman and her young son are trapped; ultimately this is a story of motherhood.

Rachel Khong’s novel Goodbye, Vitamin defies literary convention in its wit and lightness to bring us into the inner life of a 30 year old woman who has just been dumped by her boyfriend and is visiting her family, where her father has Alzheimer’s.

Kermit Roosevelt, Larry Hendricks – January 3, 2016

This episode of KRCB’s A Novel Idea features Suzanne Lang in conversation with Kermit Roosevelt on his latest novel, Allegiance, an historical fiction set in the Supreme Court during WWII, with the Japanese internment presenting moral issues that resonate today.

Suzanne also speaks with Larry Hendricks, musician and retired Oakland firefighter on the non-profit organization Oakland Firefighters Random Acts and the work they’re doing in the wake of the Valley and Butte Fires in Northern California.
Host: Suzanne Lang

Jeffrey Miller – January 31, 2016

This episode of KRCB’s A Novel Idea is an “encore” presentation of a favorite broadcast, originally broadcast in 2010, featuring Andre Codrescu and hosted by Monte Rio sage, Pat Nolan; it’s a tribute to Jeffrey Miller, who died tragically before he reached his full expression as an artist.
Host: Suzanne Lang

Richard Michael Levine, Lucille Lang Day – February 7, 2016

This month’s A Novel Idea features authors Richard Michael Levine and Lucille Lang Day.

Levine has just published a short story collection, The Man Who Gave Away His Organ: Love and Obsession at Midlife and joins Suzanne Lang in conversation. Before turning to fiction and poetry, Richard Michael Levine was a magazine writer and editor for many years, publishing feature articles in Harper’s, Esquire, the New York Times Magazine, New York, Rolling Stone and many others. He also taught magazine journalism at the University of California at Berkeley. His non-fiction book Bad Blood: A Family Murder in Marin County, published by Random House and NAL, was a bestseller. He has published poetry in several literary magazines.

Acclaimed poet Lucille Lang Day was last on A Novel Idea when she published the improbable and remarkable story of her life Married at Fourteen : A True Story. She’s got a couple of new poetry volumes out, Dreaming of Sunflowers: Museum Poems, and Becoming an Ancestor. Rebellious and willful as a teenager, Lucy first married at age 14 and gave birth at 15. Between the ages of 14 and 17, she did not attend school. Never the less, Lucy rent on to receive her M.A. in English and M.F.A. in creative writing at San Francisco State University, and her B.A. in biological sciences, M.A. in zoology, and Ph.D. in science/mathematics education at Berkeley. A sensitive and perceptive writer, Lucy and Suzanne talk about, among other things, their common ancestor, Baron von Lang.

Host: Suzanne Lang

Eva Rutland – March 6, 2016

To honor Black History Month and International Women’s Day (March 8th) we present Rosemary Manchester with an encore presentation of a show featuring three generations of strong women of color: matriarch and author of When We Were Colored, Eva Rutland with her daughter Ginger and grand-daughter and namesake, Eva. Feisty, lively, and telling it like it is, the older Rutland, now in her 90’s, was making a living off her writing while raising a big family and tells that story in her memoir, When We Were Colored.

Abby Geni, Lewis deSoto – April 3, 2016

Big Nature, Big California

The Farallon Islands, remote and mysterious, is the setting of Abby Geni’s novel of nature and mystery, The Lightkeepers. Abby talks with Suzanne about the book and her own life as a writer.

Also, the Inland Empire of Southern California is the focus of visual artist Lewis deSoto’s book of photographs and essays. deSoto is known for his visual art, and his essays intimately expose his connections with his Cahuilla roots and the enigmatic qualities of this part of the state, where nature and civilization collide. Suzanne joins Lewis in his Napa, California studio.

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas – May 1, 2016

Suzanne Lang speaks with Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, who has spent a lifetime observing other creatures and other cultures, from her own backyard to the African savannah. Her books have transported millions of readers into the hidden lives of animals―from dogs and cats to deer and lions. Thomas has chronicled the daily lives of African tribes, and even imagined the lives of prehistoric humans.

She opens the doors to her own life with Dreaming of Lions, My Life in Wild Places.

Linda Hervieux, Jeane Slone – June 5, 2016

Black lives matter. Suzanne Lang explores the injustices of Jim Crow American and the valor of an all-Black battalion whose D-Day contributions have been largely ignored until now with author Linda Hervieux, who presents the compelling story of the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion in her book Forgotten, The Untold Story of D-Day’s Black Heroes, at Home and at War. Also featured is Jeane Slone with her WW II historical fiction, She Was an American Spy during World War II.

Wendy E. Simmons – July 4, 2016

Wendy E. Simmons is a world traveler. Not a novice. Not a pushover. Her trip to North Korea challenged every bit of her perceptions of herself and other people. Captured in her recent memoir, My Holiday in North Korea, the Funniest/Worst Place on Earth, Wendy tells the strange, sad, and funny tale of her 10 days as a solo traveler there (if that’s what you call having two minders, a driver, and never being alone except in her hotel room). The book is a publication of Rosetta Books and contains Wendy’s revealing photographs of the journey.