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tv   John Grisham Hampton Sides David Grann  CSPAN  November 18, 2018 1:02am-2:06am EST

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. >> if you wait in line i will sign your book. i will not leave until everybody gets a book signed gets a book signed. [inaudible conversations] . >> good afternoon. it is such a pleasure to welcome you here to our 35th edition of the miami book fair and looking out into the audience i see so many familiar faces it is wonderful
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to see all of you here again this year supporting this outstanding event. i would like to thank the sponsors of miami book fair royal caribbean, the knight foundation and then with that on the miami-dade college. thank you to all the volunteers this weekend year-round would not be as special as it is.
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so please accept our gratitude for that collaboration i look out and i see somebody else that i know so thank you for your collaboration so without further ado and then do formal introductionsu. [applause] . >> good afternoon and welcome it is an honor toor be here and we could not be happier. a long-established local family brand watching it grow
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from a street for your own - - a street fair from that international literary event that it islt today. [applause] with those book lovers all coming together it is unique as a man of rare intellect but then the stockholders recognize to discover that opportunity and then those 3500 books the stockholder
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locations and take a look at the card. and then i would never read a book. today we have the privilege staff writer for "the new yorker" at that time and
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through "the new york times" with those publications. and then for the best true crime book. >> to have that master john grisham with 32 novels with the work of nonfiction and novels for young readers and the list goes on with more than 300 million and transferred interleaved 29 languages with decorated war
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hero and the award winning editor and an author blood and thunder that is the work of nonfiction and with work of nonfiction and his latest book covers the heroic true actions against all odds during the korean war. it is m my honor to introduce john grisham and hampton sides and david grann. [applause]
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. >> we have no moderator. [laughter] but b we just tend to go off the cuff so since i'm the senior guy here, barely. [laughter] it's a close race, we agreed that i would start the moderating for two minutes and then they will talk whatever we decide to talk about enable take over. books, writing and readin
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reading, process, movies, how we do what we do and where we got where we are and also because we are too lazy to admit one - - take remarks that takes the burden off of us and allows us to know what you want to talk about. and if you have a question we will get to that in a minute but all three published books last month something i do every year these guys are a bit slower. [laughter] . >> we are a little slower because we have to fact check. [laughter]
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[applause] i have never been concerned with accuracy. but a single battle in the korean war which is the most intense and dramatic battle about the chosen reservoir and 35 below zero weather conditions in the mountain wilderness on the shores of the frozen lake. the first marine division was put in the impossible position because of bad intelligence coming from their superiors and specifically douglas macarthur the antihero of the book and didn't believe they would intervene in the war but they did and completely surrounded the first marine division and the army unit and nearly annihilated them had
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they not come up with the brilliant plan to bash their way out of this trap on the shores of the lake. that is what the book is about marines hate to use the word retreat but fighting withdrawal 70 miles away at the coast. basically that is what the book is about. >> so what is it that fascinates you quick. >> most of my books are not necessarily about warf se but i think there is something about military stories in the extreme situations that they find themselves that they strip things down to make it
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elemental that they summon those the sense of humor it is always interesting and magnified certain qualities so i guess i'm a nonmilitary writer writing about military situations one of the biggest intense battles. >> that reads like a thriller that i like. . >> back in february to go back to back?
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those that were fascinating and then you turn them into a book quick. >> i hate the cold i will get that out of the way but i have always been interested by the polar explorers by a nice warm fire when i came across a reference that a man named henry planned to do what his hero had failed to do a century earlier to walk from one side of antarctica to the other ict was immediately drawn to the story but then to make this expedition and to do it alone and then to do that and supported and then to forestall starvation and on the sled and nobody ever dared
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to do this before. and one of the things that motivated him was the early 20th century and someone that failed to reach the south pole to track a cut across antarctica but with those remarkable powers of endurance to rescue his party to get them all back alive. and then ask what would they do? it wasas cold his fingers were getting ready to be frosted he lost 40 pounds his body was on the verge of o collapse and yet he had never given up and was so close to the rendezvous
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with history and in that moment what would shackleton do? this is the meaning of true leadership is it to never give up is that to reckon with your limitations and that's one of the major themes off the book deals with. >> we cannot give away the ending. >> no. . >> so in killers of the flower mood, my previous book was to integrate photographs into the narrative i was always focused on text but this is about one of the most sinister crimes in american history i felt it was
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work of documentation to document missing history and i integrated them ry and these are integral into the book because some of you have seen them on the endurance ship frozen a nice and those expeditions but the book includes those photographs that tell a story into themselves. >> what type of communication quick. >> but the most vital piece of equipment is the satellite phone was solar powered batteries and then to call search and rescue referred to as the most expensive taxi ride in the world.
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. >> but the good news it's likely to be filmed. >> yes. it is about the members of the osage nation inn oklahoma have become in the wealthiest people per capita in the world because of the oil deposits under their land than they were serially murdered in one of the most criminal conspiracies of americande history and becomes one of the first major homicide cases. and i spoke the other day and the only thing more murky than a criminal conspiracy than what is happening with your project in hollywood. [laughter] and then scorsese is supposed to direct. [applause]
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. >> we have similar content about what cole does to people to the spirit and the psyche and then to fight the battle the men who fight this battle are the chosen few. i interviewed them all over the place that was the great joy getting to know the veterans most of theman have moved i noticed places like florida and arizona in southern california they lost fingers and toes and some of
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these men froze to death that the weapons would not fire the medics and to put morphine in their mouth and that's how you dealt with the cold using that force and how different men reckon with that. . >> and to say to expeditions and was taught get wet and you die. it's true on one of the expeditions he had a companion who went to get a drink of
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water they were walking 15 hours a day minus 15 - - 75 degrees fahrenheit one amisstep you plunge into divorce. it was the first expedition with the water he started to pour in the gust blew and he made a mistake and in an instant his hands froze. he had his gloves on but that is how cold it was and they had to get the cooker to warm up his hand he instructed him again if you get wet you die. but one of the overlapping things but antarctica is a place but that environment is the perfect laboratory for human dynamics because of the
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claustrophobia in the freezing that whichpe members turn on each other into though world of the flies cases of unity and murder. and then to test his own character and leadership ability but this is those that are peeling back to that elemental nature. >> so now people talk about things in open court they would never discussed privately because they have to give details they don't want
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to give. often against their will that they are supposed to tell the truth so if you see those incredible dramas play out in courtrooms daily and if i had not been to the courtroom watching the trial not as a lawyer but as a spectator i would not have had the inspiration to write my first book that what i thought was compelling and the settings because this could be a compelling courtroom drama. so you didn't go to antarctica quick. >> i did not. >> north korea quick.
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> you have to do research. >> i probably would not have gone back. hard labor smashing rocks into gravel i would rather not do it. i went to south korea of course, . >> but that battlefield google earth. but unfortunately it's not too far from where the nuclear testing is been done i could not go but so you piece it together the best you can but the last book was set in the arctic 35 below zero. i am in my cold phase right now. . >> it is in the kingdomse of ice from the united states navy
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landing on the north pole talk about the laboratory for human nature it is so true. if you go north everything goes south. and that mutiny and cannibalism. good times but they avoid those. it does become a laboratory then there is such a deep and broad literature. . >> who is moderating out? . >>.
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>> i am just wondering all three of you. >> so what do we think of the top human endurance and history? . >> i have no idea. i don't write that. [laughter]no . >> as a writer i would say tolstoy. but what is interesting the
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explorers that i had written about had outward goals they were exploring regions that were less known to outsiders. so with that element of discovery searching for a lost city and then to have the source of the river but these later expeditions that people are grasping to external objects becauseng the world has been discovered with google maps. so they have the external object to be the first to do something but these great earlier feats but i would rank the expedition with that endurance shift into the ice before they reach their base
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at antarctica the boat sank than they were trapped on a floating ice flow more than 1000 miles from the nearest island from any inhabitation this was and then to figure out a way to get them back out alive. . >> and then i quit flying planes for a bunch of good reasons that i love the story of charles lindbergh with 43 consecutive hours in most the time it was a dark pit and cannot see what he was going with very basic instruments he was awake for more than 60 hours he did not sleep the night before the once he got to paris he could not go to sleep then.
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. >> i have questions for the two of you you may consider masters suspense as you lay out history the way the story unfolds i was curious do you have any kind of things that guide you to take "the reader" along on the journey? . >> there are two kinds of suspense there is the suspense of the what and then thou why? why did that happen? those most interesting or what you tell what happened right off the bat. and that is the structure of
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your new book i heard it described as a wide done it? that creates layers of psychology. so every suspenseful novel every mystery is all different you know, who killed who in the first chapter and as a writer i was determined to string you along to the very lastt page before you knew why. it's almost cruel but i really enjoyed it. [laughter] i pulled it off. i did it. you have to go to the last page don't do that. it is cheating. . >> - - not something i
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mastered writing books about how you do that good suspense written by good writers i have my favorites a lot of it is careful planning ahead of time you better know where you're going when you start if you don't know that answer you probably will mess u up. you also have to drop off clues along the way and that takes planning. one of the rules i have for writing fiction is do not write the first scene until you write the last you know, it. and plot and plan the whole story then you realize you
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nehave to expand their roles there are a few tricks that you learn along the way. my goal iss to hook you on the first page to the ending you may not see coming in that is my goal every time that's what i like to read this ladies waiting patiently. >> i think it was the appellate not the litigator talking about corporations supporting judges once they are in they wait for the case to go in front of them? . >> i think that was the appeal. >> do you think that's better
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or worse today? . >> i would outlaw all judicial elections immediately. the amount of money that goes into judicial elections with the judges campaigning for office once they are elected they may refuse to recuse themselves when people come before them it is a rotten system. that's what i wrote the book to expose and 35 states have elected judges it is a terrible system there is a better way to pick judges and prosecutors we should do it and save a lot of money and bad law and on wrongful convictions and problems we have in the system like mass incarceration that is my bread and butter but i like to write
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about i have a lot of books left to right. [applause] . >> on korea you mentioned could you tell some of the stories of the soldiers from korea in this battle? . >> the current book? yes. the book is really structured around a bunch of individual stories of survival and resilience and one of the most decorated battles in american history a guy named hector i had the privilege of interviewing about one year before he died here in florida. at the time a 20 -year-old kid from new jersey italian-american never spent
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one day in combat before and barely trained and on the night november 271950 the chinese came in waves about midnight they always fought at midnight and in this cacophony of horns and symbols hear they come wave after wave with the light of the flares he picked up his rifle and started firing. he thought with the entrenching tool and hand to hand t combat, bayonet, he fought through the entire night and at dawn they counted the corpses he killed over 100 chinese he was grievously wounded and evacuated eventually then he spent the rest of his life just trying to figure out what happened how did that happen? how did he survive? how did he doe that?
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what forces did he summon to accomplish that to save his platoon and a recipient of the congressional medal of honor as a lot of guys were in the battle but he didn't feel like he deservedt. it he felt those that died that deserve the metals in amazing guy one of many so that is the real reward to do a book like this and to figure out its meaning and the korean war is a forgotten war we have not dealt with it except for reruns of mash the way we did
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that is the generation we are saying goodbye to this is a parent's generation of a kareemem - - korean war veteran this was the most dramatic and pivotal battle in the korean war. >> you always like it because that's your job. >> what's your next book? . >> there is always a superstition about talking about it but essentially it is
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like the opposite of the shackleton expedition that they get shipwrecked and are cut off from the arts and society and rather than work together they descend into the lord of the flies and turn on each other with mun muni, murder and various treachery so that's what that is about. >> the same old stuff. [laughter] human nature. >> true story. >> it took place in the 18th century. >> he doesn't want to tell it. >> i'm trying to be vague and cryptic. >> they are trying to get around cape horn. >> are you going to go there or just mail it in?. [laughter] it is a warmer island.
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>> i am spending my days that i still find it amazing i was a reporter interviewing people that were alive and i'm always amazed that i spend my days looking at logbooks from the ships that the people went through hurricanes and cap journals and they are washed out you can only read them on a digital scanner but there are these incredible records but they would just say gale force winds today tommy departed the world and i ate a biscuit. [laughter]ld . >> see your writing for "the new yorker" at the same time crack. >> but i'm very slow. you make us all look yo bad. >> what is your priority?
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. >> you are tough i thought this would be easy. >> for many years primarily for the magazine the books are my priority because i take so long flowers of the moon took five years now i'm moving into the warmow phase it is hard research like tahiti and hawaii maybe we should collaborated is a ship story as well the third and final voyage of captain cook the british navigator who
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rediscovered he used to say he discovered it but of course, the polynesians discovered at first he discovered it 1777 and did some exploring around the arctic so i do still have some cold weather but then he came back to hawaii and of course, as you know, things did not go so well for him there he was killed, baked and possibly eaten so it will have a recipe in the back. [laughter] . >>. >> my question is for all the
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view i have been a big fan i don't know if you're always asked these questions but what book that you wrote is your favorite and what book that you did not write is your favorite quick. >> y my favorite book is what just came out. [laughter] get in time for the christmas rush. the last is always the best. it is hard for me to look back with any sense of fairness i've been doing a lot of books over a lot of years the first one is always a favorite the reckoning in the top three it is a special book when the
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story finally came to gather a year ago the story is based on a real story that iy heard that happened in a small town in mississippi many years ago and i had that in my mind for a long time the whole story finally came together and i was staring at it and it was time to write it in for the first time i was a little bit intimidated because the story is that good i didn't know if i could write it but the story was exceptional so it's one of my favorite. >> no. one of yours. >> it's like what is your favorite kid? every book comes from a different part if you are different phase of yourr life andd a different challenges
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that were different the hurdles were different so that's a really hard question to answer but i do have a collection the anthology of my early journalism work called americana and i guess that is my favorite book because i look back and it makes me smile that is my collection as a young writer and these odd journeys i went on as a 20 and 30 -year-old young journalist and how that influenced my later career. i look back at some fondness on my early work even my early writing makes me wince. that?e it was a little sophomoric but i think it was a favorite book of mine. >> and your book soldiers
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while reading it it was very emotional because i am from the philippines that was a heartfelt book. >> interestingly that you mentioned ghost soldiers that is about world war ii and a rescue that took place late in the war with the last survivors of the death march that were rescued from a prison camp that is a natural segue to john's new book that involves the death march this was a segue to a question but what kind of research did you do for that middle section of your book? . >> yeah that was almost 20 years ago. after 20 years ago i forgot i
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had always been a little bit fascinated by the death march so i started to research it and the more i read there are probably a dozen survivor accounts that i read it is a fascinating little small piece of world war ii i was captivated. also i wanted to throw a curveball at "the reader" we start off with a murder in small-town mississippi we have a trial with an execution that is my bread-and-butter and now all of a sudden the book takes a hard left and goes to war for 150 pages.
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nobody saw that coming i'm not sure i saw that coming i didn't have to do it that way but itre was fascinating and the more i wrote was important because these guys are dying off every day, these veterans and important to take a story that involves so many american prisoners to say that we do remember but in the end i'm all about selling books. [laughter] . >> you do it well. i have asked you this before but how many trees you have killed? [laughter] . >> if you're going to get personal i have a contract with my publisher they have to
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use paper that has been recycled. [applause]e and now with the e-books i don't have to worry about that because there are no trees involved. >> your favorite book? . >> it is interesting i look at writing as a self confidence con game you have to convince yourself with each project what you are doing matters and it's the best thing you have ever done otherwise you will not get through it so each project to work on you are working on your psychology to keep going killers of the flower been three years into that project you have to convince yourself and then when i finished i look at every writing venture as a failure is horrible to say that never succeed in writing
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the perfect book it's impossible you have an ideal you try to get to you get as close as you can and convince yourself you will get there but then it's a failure and then you move on to the next one that you convince yourself that going to be great and it's a failure and i will just fail a lot. [laughter] . >> i have a question how you come up with plotting out your book? what you talk about generally? . >> writers are thieves we just steal stories. because we write nonfiction
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i'm always looking like the legal setting to provide a book or a mystery i'm always looking for the issue with aywrongful convictions like right now the front page of the opioid crisis there is a big fat novel in there somewhere i have not found it yet there are too many issues with pharma and medicine it is overwhelming i tried to get my head around it and i haven't been able to do that yet. and then i can work out a story but that's the way i'm always thinking of the headline stories. and idea will rattle around
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but the good one stick and then that process to write stuffar down with magazine articles and newspaper articles and once we have a good idea what is a first or second part? if i really like it then then chapter one what happens in chapter one? write a paragraph and then when i get to chapter 40 i better we finished. i tell students all the time the two things you want to do one - - what you need to do is what you don't want to do outline and revise. never to do in a first or second draft.
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>> so weeding out the things that are not necessary my wife says this is really dragging right here. this is slow and that's an insult it is a process. >> and then to find out if your book is turned into a movie do you watch the process? . >> i haven't had a movie made
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in 15 years. hollywood does not make smart adult dramas anymore they would rather make spiderman five. there are not very good dramas being made to have no interest make films based on my novels anymore there is interest we have three or four go to television maybe those will work i don't know but i have learned to stay away from it. back in the early days i had never written a screenplay that was used that's a different set of muscles. i don't want to do that but the best approach stephen king told me 25 years ago when it comes to hollywood there are two groups of writers the first consist of those who do not sell their stuff to hollywood for any reason. a very small group.
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the second consist of those whoo do and if you do a couple rules, get all of your money up front kiss it goodbye and expect it to be something different if you don't like it then go join the first group. that is good advice i try to .ollow >> your experience? . >> what you are really supposed to do is dry to the nevada california border in the middle of the night reach into your trunk and hurl your manuscript over the border than hollywood guys meet you and they hurled money over the border then you turn around and drive away and never see each other again. [laughter]en one of my books was turned into a movie filmed by a really nice guy named harvey weinstein. [laughter]y
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and it was called the great raid basically the story we were talking about earlier i call it the perfectly good raidtl it was not amused movie that was hugely successful commercially or critically but it was an interesting attempt it is an interesting process to go to the set to see it being filmed i got to meet james franco who was a young actor then but it is an experience it comes out different from the way you wrote that and you have to surrender that and let it be what it is some of my others have been optioned but right now none of those are actively scrutinized by anybody like martind scorsese. >> c was james gray that book
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came out in 2009 and i got a call the production company wanted to develop that into a movie so me being very naïve not having the experience ran to my wife and say guess what they will make a movie and it will come out next year. 2010 came then 2011, 2012, 2017 and finally came out that's harder than finding the lost city in the middle of the jungl jungle. [laughter] i don't get involved i help answer historical questions or materials but try to focus on my work i have been pretty lucky i'm hoping to get into the hands like the lost city of z-letter and they just made my first new yorker story i ever wrote into a movie with
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robert redford and sissy spacek but the one moment is at the premiere i bring my kids they think dad who is a dork and writes in his office and for 24 hours i am pretty cool then it goes away. [laughter] . >> what inspired you to become aned author. >> she is from my hometown of southaven mississippi her mom and i were buddies growing up i use to sign books in bookstores in memphis she would always come to my book signings this is a number of years ago we have photographs of me holding her as ago baby and as she grew up a succession of photographs you live in florida now? good to see you.
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what was the question? [laughter] what inspired you to become an author what advice would you give i try to stay away from advice it's easy to give and easier to ignore. if you are serious about writing you have to have a real career first you enjoy doing whether a lawyer or teaching school or a journalist something to pay the bills and survive entry writing as a very serious hobby that you do every day. the best piece of advice unless you are writing one page a day every day nothing will happen you can think
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about it or talk about or dream about it but until you sit down every day preferably the same time, same place same cup of coffee was structured to write one page that day it will notth happen if you do it every day than two years you have written a book then you could ship it off to new york then they ship it right back. [laughter] . >> i always say falconer said this one of the most important things is just to read everything there are writers who write differently than you and learn from them. they are the best so reading is so essential i am always reading and studying and learning i read hampton and john get a better sense of how to do the the craft and then the most fundamental glitches if you really want to be a writer then write and you have to
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just sit there and write when it is not going well and when it is and there is no simple way for me writing is very hard and slow but you just keep doing it. >> you have advice? . >> i live in memphis very close to you that is an important part of my upbringing it was there that i met the first writer i ever met shelby foote the great civil war historian and he gave me some advice when i became a young writer he had the beard and the pipe in the amazing accent and told me don't talk about your work great writing is done under enormous pressure if you go to the cocktail party here or there and you talk out the story site cooking beans in a
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pressure cooker if you let off the pressure a little bit ofsu time it will never get cooked and then even if it is it will not be cooked well. just don't talk about it if you have a big problem talk to your editor or your wife but don't fritter it away with small talk. >> did you ever see his manuscripts? . >> yes he wrote long hand in a strange looking script he said he always wrote 500 words a day. >> slacker. >> for 20 years later he had a trilogy of the civil war. >> he would finish one leather bound book, but so what
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is that role for you? . >> it is a new development for me i don't know if i would use that for every work with those images but it could be photographed maybe they don't exist. the photographs should echo
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the text that add to it that those photographs help to capture it. when you see this solid figure walking across the landscape to bring something into your mind. but you don't want them to be redundant so for killers of the flower moon those crimes were so hard to believe have them marrying into families to kill their spouses and get the oil money but to see the photographs of these were real people with such a weep important reminder elise began to collect photographs of the
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victims i put them on my bookshelf i had one or two but that over the years the numbers grew into the dozens that is a constant reminder what the book is about. so putting them in the book i thought was important. >> how many total victims were there? . >> the official death toll for those that were killed for the oil money the official was 27 but i tried to document in the book it was in the scores if not hundreds. >> do you have a question? . >> i'm with the book fair. >> you are telling me it is over? [laughter] [applause]
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. >> one announcement you can pick up signed copies outside and they will be signing their books across the hall. [inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats. our next session is about to begin. thank you. welcome, again. i know many of you have been here with us at the miami book fair sinar


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