Monday, May 14, 2012

Michigander Monday: Scott Martelle

I'm pleased to welcome Scott Martelle to Michigander Monday!

Debbie:  Scott, please tell us a little about yourself.

Scott:  I'm a veteran journalist, including nine years at The Detroit News ('86-'95) and about a dozen years at the Los Angeles Times ('97-'08). I live in Irvine, about 45 miles south of Los Angeles, with my schoolteaching wife and our two sons. I work freelance now, and I write books.

Debbie:  And, of course, we want to know all about your books.

Scott:  And I'd love to tell you about them. Detroit: A Biography is my third. My first was Blood Passion: The Ludlow Massacre and Class War in the American West (2007) about a 1913-14 coal strike that turned into a guerrilla war in which at least 75 people were killed. My second was The Fear Within: Spies, Commies, and American Democracy on Trial (2011) about the first of the post-WWII Smith Act trials of the leaders of the Communist Party-USA. Though the case was against communists, the book is about the trampling of civil liberties during times of perceived external stress. Sound familiar?

Debbie:  Other books or projects on the horizon?

Scott:  I'm in the early stages of a book about the century-long search for the body of John Paul Jones, who died and was buried in a hurry in Paris during the French Revolution. He was finally found and ensconced at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1905-06. So the book is a narrative retelling of the efforts to find his grave (by then, covered by buildings). The book should be out in a couple of years.

Debbie:  Upcoming appearances?

ScottAugust 14 in Gaylord, MI. The bulk of my appearances were in April, when Detroit was published.

Debbie:  Do you have a favorite Michigan bookstore? And/or a favorite Michigan library?

Scott:  I love Bookbeat in Oak Park, Nicola's in Ann Arbor and Schuler's in Lansing, but my all-time favorite is King's in downtown Detroit. One of the two best used-books stores I've ever patronized, and it's a must-stop whenever I'm in Detroit. And the Detroit Public Library, even with its budget problems, is a remarkable place.

Debbie:  How about a favorite place in Michigan?

ScottHonest? John's Bar and the Anchor Bar (there's a theme there, I know) in Detroit, and Calumet in the U.P. It just feels like a whole different country up there.

Debbie:  Do you have a Michigan event or happening that you love to attend?

Scott:  Two things I used to love to do when I lived in Detroit was hit the jazz festival at Hart Plaza, and the Grand Prix on Belle Isle. And Tigers games - even if it IS a new ballpark.

Debbie:  A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?

ScottM.L. Liebler, the hardest-working man in literature (Detroit-area poet who teaches at Wayne State). Bryan Gruley, who, though he lives in Chicago now, writes great mysteries set in the fictional northern Michigan town of Starvation Lake. Hockey is a recurring theme - unusual in mysteries. And Big Al Lengel, one of the founding editors at Deadline: Detroit.

Debbie:  Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about Michigan?

Scott:  It's nothing like what you think. The good things are better, and the bad things are worse. And it's a place that everyone should visit at some point, from the heart of Detroit to the tip of the Keneenaw Peninsula.

Debbie:  Finally, last question:  Some folks in Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders; others Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally: what's the better term, "Michigander" or "Michiganian"?

Scott:  Michigander. I like the avian reference, and also the suggestion of "look around."

Debbie:  Michigander it is!  Scott, thank you so much for joining us today for Michigander Monday!

To learn more about Scott Martelle and his books, stop by his web site, his blog, and his FaceBook page.

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