Author Interview: Amy Waldman

November 8, 2011  |  No Comments  |  Share

Atlanta is a great place to be in November.  The weather is usually pretty great and if you’re a book lover you can expect to be entertained all month by the breadth of programming presented by the Book Festival of the MJCCA.  From celebrities Regis Philbin and Dyan Cannon to fiction superstars including Alice Hoffman and Myla Goldberg to political experts like Jim Lehrer, the Book Festival of the MJCCA has something for everyone.

This year I was honored to moderate a conversation called Rising Literary Voices which featured Mary Glickman, (HOME IN THE MORNING) and Amy Waldman (THE SUBMISSION).  Both Mary and Amy were kind enough to sit down with me backstage to share some insight into their work. Today’s interview is with Amy – and stay tuned for my talk with Mary which will air next week.

THE SUBMISSION which came out in August of this year is the story of an attempt to select a design for a memorial in the wake of a terrorist attack in New York City. Read More

Author Interview: Dr. Helen Fisher

November 2, 2011  |  No Comments  |  Share

Ah yes, November is here… holiday season is upon us… the season of overeating, overspending and personal reflection.  Sometimes what is supposed to be a time of joy can be just the opposite and this can be especially true if you’re single.  Well, Midtown Review is here for you.  We are actually delivering the perfect man or woman to you door.  Okay, maybe not.  But WHY HIM? WHY HER? by Dr. Helen Fisher, Advisor to the matchmaking website WILL help you figure out who you should be looking for and maybe why your past attempts haven’t worked so well.

I interviewed Dr. Fisher a couple of years ago when the book came out in hardcover and this remains one of my favorite interviews of all time.  Dr. Fisher and I hit it off right away (very possibly because of our similar brain chemistry) and the book provided some amazing PGOs… “penetrating glimpse(s) of the obvious”. (For more about PGOs – listen to the interview – or of course, read the book!)

If you’re not looking for love at the moment, but just want to understand your family Read More

Author Interview: Alma Katsu

October 25, 2011  |  No Comments  |  Share

I love when I get to combine an author interview with a “Debut Spotlight“, and I love it even more when I feel like I’m helping bring attention to what I know will be THE NEXT BIG THING.  Seriously my friends, THE TAKER, the first in a trilogy by debut author Alma Katsu, is that good.

For starters, it has all the right ingredients; love, sex, immortality, history, royalty, alchemy, violence – and that’s just in the first couple pages.  Kidding.  But seriously, even though you may think you know these ingredients and have tasted this cake before… trust me, you haven’t.  Alma manages to mix these ingredients up in a whole new way, creating a delicious page turning novel that will keep you up at night and make you long for more.

Want more details?  Here’s the publisher’s summary of the book:  

True love can last an eternity . . . but immortality comes at a price. . . .

On the midnight shift at a hospital in rural Maine, Dr. Luke Findley is expecting another quiet evening of frostbite and the occasional domestic dispute. But the minute Lanore Read More

Author Interview: A TICKET TO THE CIRCUS

October 11, 2011  |  No Comments  |  Share

Today’s episode of the Midtown Review Podcast comes from the archives.  It was one of my favorites back in 2009, and I thought it was worth another listen.

Norris Church Mailer passed away last November at age 61.  She was a model, actress, writer, wife and mother who live the kind  of life most of us can only dream about.  And that’s saying a lot for a little girl who grew up in rural Arkansas.  A TICKET TO THE CIRCUS is the story of her life and her love affair with and marriage to Norman Mailer.  I had the privilege of interviewing Norris (and touring the Margaret Mitchell House with her) back in 2009 when she was in Atlanta for the hardcover release of the book.

The paperback, which came out this spring will make an excellent read for book clubs who are searching for a compelling memoir.  In the book, Norris was very forthcoming about the extramarital affairs Norman had and her subsequent decision to stay with him.  She was also quite up front and unapologetic about the way she chose to live her life.  It was this strength of spirit and character that I saw in Norris when I met her though she was clearly already physically in decline.

Not only was she strong, smart and beautiful, Norris was one of the warmest people I have ever met.  We chatted like old friends from the second we were introduced and when the interview was over she even gave me her phone number and said I should call her if I was ever in New York.  Sadly I didn’t get up there before she passed away, but I will always remember her fondly.

I hope you enjoy getting to know Norris as much as I did, and be sure to check out the rest of our author interview series on iTunes!

– Dana Barrett, Managing Editor

Author Interview: Lynn Cullen

September 26, 2011  |  No Comments  |  Share

If you are a Phillipa Gregory fan and just can’t get enough of the Tudors and all things royal in that time period, you are going to want to get to know author Lynn Cullen and her Mad Queen Juana of Spain.

REIGN OF MADNESS tells the story of Juana, a royal who was never supposed to be Queen.  Sister to King Henry’s Catherine of Aragon, she was far down the line of succession and was raised to marry well but not to rule.  Alas through a series of untimely deaths, Juana did become Queen but the manipulating men in her life, her husband (Phillipe the Handsome) her father and even her son, made sure she was Queen in name only and that they held the real power.

Married at 16 to the hottie Phillipe, Juana was undone by her lust and it was used against her.  That said, the rumors of her madness were just that… rumors.  She was as sane as you and me and she paid dearly for her youthful mistakes.  I mean seriously, who hasn’t been hot for some dumb guy?

Lynn Cullen takes the story of Juana and digs behind the myth to the human story underneath.  As much as Read More

People’s Choice Podcast Awards 2011

September 16, 2011  |  No Comments  |  Share

Midtown Review needs you!

The nomination phase for the People’s Choice Podcast Awards 2011 started yesterday and all of us here would greatly appreciate you taking a moment to log on and nominate the Midtown Review author interview podcast!

To nominate us (and all your other favorite podcasts) just go to: and scroll down to the Cultural/Arts category.

For show name, enter: Midtown Review

For show url, enter:

Here at Midtown Review, we believe in helping authors connect with readers and readers connect with great books.  Getting nominated for a Podcast Award would be a great way for us to reach more readers!

The way the system works is this.  Nominations from fans and the public first… (You can only nominate one time, so while you’re there, be sure to nominate all your favorite podcasts).  Then a review by the judges where top contenders in each category are chosen.  Then the voting process opens to the public.

When voting opens, you’ll be able to vote every day for the Midtown Review Podcast.

For now, we need your nomination – so start clicking.  Please…. and thank you!!

– Dana Barrett, Managing Editor

Author Interview: Melanie Benjamin

September 13, 2011  |  No Comments  |  Share

Before there was Kim Kardashian or Kate Gosselin or a “Real Houswife” from anywhere, there was Mercy Lavinia Warren Bump Stratton, or as she was better known, Mrs. Tom Thumb.

Vinnie, as she was called by her friends, was a perfectly proportioned woman but in miniature.  She stood only 32 inches tall and was happy to trade on her size for fame and adventure.  Not unlike today’s reality stars who will trade on their addresses at the Jersey Shore or their famous parents in a similar way.

Vinne was married to P.T. Barnum’s protege General Tom Thumb who was only slightly taller than she and their wedding was so talked about and publicized it actually pushed the Civil War off the front pages of newspapers and captured the imagination of Americans on both sides of the conflict.

I know when I read about someone like Vinnie in passing in a book or when I am randomly stumbling around on the web, I think “Hmmmm… interesting…. I should read more about this person when I have some time,” but somehow I never do.  Author Melanie Benjamin is another story.  Particularly drawn to the Victorian era,  she seems happy to not only do the Read More

Author Interview: Joshilyn Jackson

September 6, 2011  |  No Comments  |  Share

Joshilyn Jackson is not just an author, she’s an entertainer.  From her page-turning books to the audio versions she has narrated, to her visit with our book club, her wonderful talk at The Decatur Book Festival AND her interview with me for Midtown Review, Joshilyn Jackson is laugh out loud funny.  But deep too.  She’s got a lot to say and she’s going to keep you wanting more.

In this interview we focused on BACKSEAT SAINTS and Rose Mae Lolly’s intersection with Arlene Fleet from GODS IN ALABAMA. By the way, Joshilyn says it really doesn’t matter which of the two books you read first.  In fact, even though she wrote GODS first, she almost thinks it’s better to read them the other way around!

We also chatted about the inspiration for the title, the mother-daughter relationship in the book and of course about the main character Rose Mae Lolly.

If you’ve already read SAINTS, you’ll definitely get some fresh insight, but you’ll also get a sneak Read More

Author Interview: Patti Callahan Henry

August 24, 2011  |  No Comments  |  Share

Patti Callahan Henry’s new book COMING UP FOR AIR is the story of a woman being suffocated by a controlling mother and a marriage that I called strained and Patti more directly referred to as disintegrating.

Ellie Calvin is well into her forties, her daughter has left for college and her controlling mother has just passed away.  Between all of that and her domineering, manipulative husband,  she sort of hits the wall and know that something’s got to give.  As she sorts through her mother’s things, she comes across a journal that reveals a side of her mother she never knew and sends her on a journey to uncover the truth.  It is the unraveling mystery in her mother’s past that keeps the pages turning but it is really the heart-wrenchingly honest thoughts and feelings that Ellie expresses that will keep you glued to this novel.  It is rare for an  author to tap into the real pain, confusion, and self-doubt that is often behind the people that seem the most together from the outside.  Patti fearlessly does this with Ellie and because of that the character is eminently  relatable.

Patti herself is eminently relatable and great fun to chat with.  We’ve known each other for years and even though we lived in the same city, we weren’t able to get an interview on the schedule until now – six weeks after Patti moved out of state!  Despite the more serious topics in the  book and the honest revelations of her main character, Patti and I laughed it up last week when she came by my studio,  and I know this interview will put a smile on your face too.

As always, I hope you enjoy it!  And be sure to check out the rest of the author interview series on iTunes!

– Dana Barrett, Managing Editor

Author Interview: Jennifer Haigh

August 19, 2011  |  No Comments  |  Share

How would you react if someone close to you was accused of a horrific crime?  What if the accused was your brother?  Would you stand by him?  What if he was a priest and the crime he was accused of was sexual molestation of a young boy?  This is question plaguing Sheila, the main character in FAITH, the new novel by Jennifer Haigh.

Haigh chooses to tackle a topic most of us won’t talk about in polite company and she challenges us as readers to ask these questions of ourselves.  Though I won’t give it away here, in the FAITH, we do get to find out exactly what happened and whether or not Father Art Breen is guilty.  But in many of these real life situations it is one person vs. another and the truth will only really ever be known by the accused and the accuser.  Tough stuff.

Jennifer took some time out of her busy schedule to talk with me phone about the book, her own discovery of the “truth” in the story, her writing process and even what she’s working on next.  (Fans of her earlier book BAKER TOWERS will be want to tune in for that alone!)

As always, I hope you enjoy the interview.  And be sure to check out the rest of the author interview series on iTunes!

– Dana Barrett, Managing Editor

PS – If you’re in the Atlanta area, join Jennifer, author Amy Waldman and myself at the Decatur Book Festival for a talk about their books!