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Tag: Interview (41-50 of 143)

Maceo Parker talks '98% Funky Stuff: My Life in Music': Q&A

“Maceo, I want you to blow!”

When James Brown first said those words, it transformed Maceo Parker from an anonymous sax player into one of the most famous sidemen in music history. The line became a staple of Brown’s recordings and live shows, bringing the name “Maceo” to households across the country. But the story doesn’t end there. Parker’s full list of collaborators reads like a trans-generational wish list: George Clinton and P-Funk, Bootsy Collins, Keith Richards, Prince, De La Soul, Red Hot Chili Peppers, James Taylor, Dave Matthews Band. Not bad for a kid who started out playing soul covers with his brothers in Kinston, North Carolina.

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See the cover, excerpt, and Q&A for potential big-deal debut 'The Bone Season' by Samantha Shannon -- EXCLUSIVE

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Get ready to question what you’re doing with your life. Samantha Shannon, a 21-year-old student currently pursuing a degree in English literature at Oxford University, has written The Bone Season, the first volume in a seven-book series. It has already been sold in 18 countries, and the film rights have been snapped up by The Imaginarium Studios, led by Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings) and Jonathan Cavendish (producer of Bridget Jones’ Diary). The global publication of The Bone Season doesn’t happen until August of this year, but we have the first-ever look at the cover, plus an interview and exclusive excerpt from the young author the Daily Mail has hailed as the possible “next J.K. Rowling.” READ FULL STORY

'The Madman's Daughter' author Megan Shepherd on her 'Lost' inspiration and plans for a movie -- EXCLUSIVE

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A couple months ago, we shared the trailer for Megan Shepherd’s The Madman’s Daughter. Inspired by H. G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau, the gothic horror centers on the 16-year-old Juliet, a maid who leaves London behind to search for her disgraced father. The book finally hit shelves today, so we gave the author a call to talk about her debut novel, her love of Lost, and the importance of music in writing. Read on for teasers about Books 2 and 3, as well as an update on the Madman’s Daughter movie!

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What made you want to write a re-telling of The Island of Dr. Moreau?
MEGAN SHEPHERD: I’m a huge Lost fan and I’ve just always loved the idea of a mysterious tropical island. When it went off the air, I was just like, there’s not much out there that has that same atmosphere. And I was reading Dracula at the time, so I had classics on the brain. Those two things made me remember The Island of Dr. Moreau. There are no female characters in it, but the ideas are so brilliant and lasting, I just really felt like there was potential to tell an entirely new story.

And this is just the first in a trilogy. What are the other two books inspired by?
The second one is based off of Jekyll and Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson and the third one is Frankenstein. It’s the same story, the same characters and everything.

Did you plan on writing three books?
I had written The Madman’s Daughter as a stand-alone title. They always tell new writers not to pitch a trilogy because it’s just much harder to sell. My agent was the one who came up with the idea — he was like, you know it’s kind of a cliffhanger ending, there’s room to expand it, would you be interested in that? I said absolutely. But I had to be creative because The Island of Dr. Moreau story was done. I didn’t want the sequel to be that. So I was thinking this organically flows into Jekyll and Hyde and then thinking of how that book ends, I was like, oh that could flow really well into Frankenstein.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I’d say for the last four or five years that has been my passion. I didn’t think about it before then. I haven’t been one of those people who says since the age of 10, I know I want to be a writer. Which is strange because I grew up in a bookstore, so you think I would have had that idea. I actually think that growing up there, I had this kind of reverence for books and authors and I just didn’t think real people could ever do that.

So what made you change your mind and write this book?
Well The Madman’s Daughter was the fourth manuscript that I had written, so I had plenty of failures. [Laughs] But I had decided about five years ago. I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal in West Africa and one of the projects I did there was a literacy project for school children where another volunteer and I collected local folk tales and had them illustrated by ocal artists and bound them into little books. I just really fell in love with stories and with kids reading them and it totally just got me thinking about producing literature myself.

NEXT: Megan gives us a glimpse of the Madman’s Daughter playlist.

Oprah and Ayana Mathis talk 'Twelve Tribes of Hattie' -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

For those of you who love books, Oprah, and football (marry me?), maybe you should start your Super Bowl party early this year.

On Sunday, Feb. 3, as part of Super Soul Sunday on OWN, Oprah Winfrey is sitting down with 39-year-old debut novelist Ayana Mathis to discuss The Twelve Tribes of Hattie. Oprah’s selection of Hattie for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 put Mathis on the map in a big way. The novel has drawn comparisons to the work of Toni Morrison, and it has shot to the Top 20 Fiction best-sellers list. Check out a clip below to see Mathis talk about the awesomeness and pressure of being an Oprah’s Book Club pick: READ FULL STORY

'Mara Dyer' author Michelle Hodkin talks her love of YA darkness and R.L. Stine -- EXCLUSIVE

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The holidays are upon us and you know what that means — quality reading time! So if you’re looking for a great book and haven’t yet discovered Michelle Hodkin’s The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer or its sequel The Evolution of Mara Dyer, carve out a few hours between opening presents and eating take-out. (Hey, don’t judge — no one in my family can cook!) Just to whet your appetite: Entertainment Weekly spoke to Hodkin about her YA debut, her experience as a lawyer, and the inspiration for Mara Dyer.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The true story behind The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is creepy.
MICHELLE HODKIN: [Laughs] It’s definitely inspired by [a real event]. There was a person who I met in 2008 and she started telling me about her daughter, who’d been in this building collapse. That’s not the law that I practice, so I couldn’t help her, but I took down her information. As she turned to leave, I realized that her daughter had been with her the whole time and I just was immediately struck by the sense that there was more to the story. A year later, someone said something that reminded me of that girl, so I called the number and it was disconnected. It was just like lightning — I was on the plane ride home from my brother’s graduation and I literally started writing on the plane. It was immediate — one day I was a lawyer and the next day I was a writer. READ FULL STORY

Gary Shteyngart discusses his upcoming roast, Nabokov, and his sex life

It’s been a decade since the Soviet-born author Gary Shteyngart published his debut novel, The Russian Debutante’s Handbook. (Or, as he likes to call it, The Russian Debutante’s Handjob.) Since then, he’s developed a top-shelf reputation in the publishing world thanks to celebrated novels like 2006’s Absurdistan and 2010’s Super Sad True Love Story, not to mention popular essaysubiquitous book blurbs, and a highly active Twitter account.

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of his debut, the Brooklyn Academy of Music will be hosting a roast of Shteyngart tonight, with high-profile guests like Kurt Andersen, Jay McInerney, and Sloane Crosley getting in on the action. In honor of the writer’s imminent shaming, we got the man on the phone and discussed his career, his fears, and the fate of publishing. He even offered to blurb the interview for us: “Not since Gay Talese failed to interview Frank Sinatra has there been an interview of such importance and scope. The best interview I’ve had since my co-op board.”

Read on to find out more about Shteyngart’s thoughts on sheep, American Airlines, and the person whom he’d most like to roast.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So, where are you?
GARY SHTEYNGART:
I’m in the countryside above New York. Upstate, as some might say. It’s really nice here. There are trees, and sheep. A lot of sheep.

Are they your sheep?
Nah, they belong to a sheep farm. But I’d love to rent a few just to mow the lawn, because they eat a lot of grass.

But then you’d have to store them somewhere.
That’s the big problem. Where do you put them? And then how do you not eat them? They’re so tasty.

You just have to resist these urges, Gary. Moving on — your roast is coming up. Are you excited about that?
I am excited! I mean, it’s time to get roasted, I think. It’s been ten years of being a whatever, and it’ll be nice to… well, maybe not celebrate [my work], but they’ll at least allude to it.

Your dog Felix seems to be a little more nervous than you are. Are there any secrets that you or Felix fear will come out during the roast?
Oh, I think they’ll all come out. I mean, people know that I’m illiterate – that’s not a big secret. But there’s so many other dark things. The sheep, for example. My links to Petraeus. I mean, it’s all very dark.

What’s your darkest secret?
That I sometimes dance. There are pictures. Apparently my upper body doesn’t move, it’s just — I’m all legs.

So, Felix — how often does he write, and what kind of stuff usually?
You know, Felix is a very experimental writer. So he’s not exactly the kind of writer I thought he could be. But it’s all this kind of meta-universe where, you know, he can talk. It’s complicated. He went to Iowa. Which is funny, because I didn’t get into Iowa, but my dachshund did. So he’s a proud graduate. And he’s doing a Ph. D in Comp Lit at Yale now, which is annoying, because he’s always gone. He’s always traveling to New Haven. And he’s editing the canine edition of Granta.

If you could roast any writer living or dead, who would it be?
I’d like to roast Nabokov. Wouldn’t that be great? Because you know, he’d blast us, and you wouldn’t imagine he’d permit himself to be roasted. And then I would just invite the things that he feared the most in his life — like the Red Army Choir, maybe. And then I would have all the members of the New York Psychoanalytic Institute show up and serenade him. That could be great.

Did you get to pick who would be roasting you, or was it beyond your control?
Everything’s beyond my control. You think I just woke up one day and said, hey, roast me? They said, look, you have to do this, because that’s how publicity works these days. Anything that’s happening, you have to do it. I’m on Twitter, I’m on Facebook, I’m on — just, help. Help!

When you Google “gary shteyngart,” some of the first autofill results are “gary shteyngart married” and “gary shteyngart girlfriend.” Any thoughts?
Wow! That’s really shocking. I mean, have you seen me lately? Well, I guess shaving part of my beard worked? I didn’t realize I was going to get this kind of adulation. The first book that I wrote, The Russian Debutante’s Handjob, was written just because I wanted someone to share a bed with me. And I guess with these Google results, it’s worked out. But that’s my life. That’s life as a successful contemporary author: they don’t even mention your novels. It’s all about your sex life. And your tweeting. READ FULL STORY

Joseph Gordon-Levitt on 'The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories: Volume 2' and running around in a cape

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has appeared in four films this past year alone — The Dark Knight Rises, Premium Rush, Looper, and Lincoln — but the actor’s real passion lies with hitRECord, his online collaborative production company that inspires users across the world to come together and create singular works of art. Last year, he released a compilation of those online collaborations in the form of The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories: Volume 1. The first volume was so popular that Gordon-Levitt reunited with collaborator wirrow to produce The Tiny Book of Stories: Volume 2, a brand new collection of moving (and funny!) stories from the hitRECord family and It Books. Gordon-Levitt took the time to talk to EW about this new volume, building a happy online community, and running around in a cape in the privacy of his home. READ FULL STORY

National Book Award winner Katherine Boo on 'Behind the Beautiful Forevers', 'unsexy' topics, and 'American Idol' recaps

Last night, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Katherine Boo won the National Book Award in the nonfiction category for her first book, Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity. We weren’t surprised at all by the win — Forevers is a stunning, must-read account of life in Annawadi, a Mumbai slum where unbelievable atrocities are an everyday occurence. Upon the book’s publication in February of this year, EW’s Jeff Giles predicted Boo’s book would be “a conversation starter, an award winner.” After a night of celebrating, Boo took the time to talk to EW about what it means for a difficult book like hers to win a major award — but before we could get into any of that, she had to get this out of the way: “I really like Annie Barrett’s American Idol recaps. They were like my therapy. I’d be tense over writing my book, and I was like, ‘I need to read Annie Barrett.'”

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You were up against some legendary authors in your category. Were you shocked to win?
KATHERINE BOO: I was surprised. I thought it would be Robert Caro [for Passage of Power]. And I think that Anne Applebaum’s Iron Curtain is a great book and Anthony Shadid, for anybody who is writing overseas, is a legend. So I was quite surprised. It’s a whole thing where you’re supposed to write a speech in case you win, and I thought that was kind of lame. [Laughs] I couldn’t do that. I was sitting there realizing, “Oh gosh, I should have written a speech.” READ FULL STORY

Author Jami Attenberg on 'The Middlesteins'

Jami Attenberg, author of The Kept Man and The Melting Season, has experienced a breakthrough of sorts with her latest novel The Middlesteins, which has reached No. 25 on the hardcover fiction best-seller list and is one of Amazon’s picks for best books of the year. Set in a Chicago suburb, the novel tracks the effect Edie Middlestein’s food obsession has on the rest of her family. As Edie’s health deteriorates, her husband of almost 40 years leaves her, placing the burden on their seething daughter Robin, their good-natured son Benny, and his tightly wound wife Rachelle. Attenberg took the time to talk to EW about food addiction and family in The Middlesteins, as well as her career reinvention. READ FULL STORY

License to kill (at telling anecdotes): Sir Roger Moore remembers his time playing 007

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Thanks to Skyfall, the world has contracted James Bond fever again — and even former 007-er Sir Roger Moore isn’t immune. “It’s absolutely marvelous,” says the British actor of the latest Bond adventure, which opens in the U.S. today. “It’s the best Bond film without a doubt.”

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