Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Today's Q&A interview session with the author

Book author and former Herd DB Craig T. Greenlee
       Q. How long did the book take you from start to finish?
       A. About 4 ½ years. But there’s a good reason why it took that long. Originally, my recollections about my time at Marshall were going to run as a lengthy feature article in the Winston-Salem Journal (NC) daily newspaper. Once the feature was finished (March 2007), it sat for about a year and never ran. That’s when I withdrew the article for the newspaper’s use and decided that it would be better if I expanded what I had written and turn it into a self-published book. I decided to expand the book to include those people whose voices had never been included in previously released projects about the plane crash. My initial feature article involved the recollections of four people. By the time I finished the final manuscript, I had interviewed 20 people. Expansion worked very well because it provided in-depth insights from a multitude of credible sources.
       Q. What aspect of writing the book did you find particularly challenging?
       A. My interviews with Macie Lugo, Janice Cooley and Debbie (Bailey) Bowen. Macie and Janice had boyfriends who were on that plane. In this instance, we’re talking about college sweethearts— Macie and defensive back Larry Sanders; Janice and running back Art Harris. Debbie, the first black cheerleader at Marshall, was embraced as a baby sister by Joe Hood, Robert VanHorn and Freddy Wilson. Even though it’s been forty-one years since the tragedy, I was keenly aware that asking them to relive those memories of long ago was not the easiest thing for them to do. I’ll always be appreciative of their willingness to openly discuss a subject that still stirs up memories of agony and sadness. More than anything, I wanted them to feel at ease during their interviews. For me, it was important that I asked questions in such a way that it wouldn’t come off as being intrusive.
       Q. What can we look forward to in your next book?
       A: Haven’t quite figured out which direction to take. I have a box full of pictures of famous athletes and celebrities that I’d like to publish as a book. This will not be a picture book. I will include some detailed recollections of my observations and interviews with the people that I photographed during the course of my 30-plus years as a journalist. Even so, that’s subject to change. In recent months, I’ve started to entertain thoughts of doing a sequel of sorts to November Ever After. Since the release of this memoir, I’ve had so many conversations and email messages from people telling me about different aspects of the crash that I had never heard about. I’m finding that there are so many intriguing stories out there and that folks don’t mind sharing those memories. For those who are interested his sharing what you know, leave a comment on this blog or the book’s website.

Additional resources:
Book excerpt/Chapter 10
Website for November Ever After

No comments:

Post a Comment