Monday, February 9, 2009

Last month I read a lot of books about Abraham Lincoln so that I could update my Abraham Lincoln feature on the Through the Looking Glass Book Review website. One of the books I read was by author Harry Mazer, and it is called My brother Abe. The story is told by Abraham Lincoln's sister, Sally, and it beautifully captures the hardship and difficulties that Abraham Lincoln's family faced.

I was so moved by the book that I decided to interview the author:

1. I just read your book My Brother Abe and I enjoyed it enormously. Where did the idea for this book come from? THERE ARE VERY FEW STORIES ABOUT ABE LINCOLN’S EARLIEST YEARS, BUT I REALIZED THERE WERE NONE ABOUT SARAH LINCOLN, HIS OLDER SISTER.

2. Abraham Lincoln’s sister Sally tells the story, often in the vernacular of the times. How did you create this voice for Sally? RESEARCH INTO SPEECH PATTERNS OF THE WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAIN PEOPLE, CERTAINLY, BUT BASICALLY IMAGINATION.

3. As I understand it there isn’t that much information available about Abraham Lincoln’s early years. Where did you find the material that you used to write this book? I FOUND MUCH OF MY MATERIAL IN HARRIET ARNOW’S THE FLOWERING OF NEW ENGLAND, WHICH IS A KIND OF BASIC TEXT ABOUT THAT WORLD.

4. Writing a book is always hard work. What did you enjoy about writing this particular title? I ENJOYED CREATING THE CHARACTER OF SARAH LINCOLN, WHO WAS A BLANK SLATE.

5. This is very different from your other books in some ways. What do you think makes this book stand out? IN TELLING SALLY’S STORY, I FOUND A WAY TO TELL ABRAHAM LINCOLN’S STORY.

6. Do you find that you put a lot of yourself into your books? I FIND MYSELF IN ALL MY BOOKS.

7. Is there a particular time in history that you would like to write about? I’VE WRITTEN ABOUT CONTEMPORAY SUBJECTS AND HISTORIC SUBJECTS AND HAVE FOUND THEM ALL ABSORBING.

8. Your daughter has also become a successful writer. What is it like to see your child follow in your footsteps? IT FILLS ME WITH PRIDE.

9. You have written several books with your wife? Was it hard to make the shift from writing alone to writing as part of a team? NO. I ENJOYED EVERY BIT OF IT. EVEN WHEN WE FOUGHT, I ENJOYED IT.

10. I know it is awfully hard to choose, but which book did you especially like when you were a young person? MY FAVORITE BOOK OF ALL TIME IS ROBINSON CRUSOE, A SURVIVAL STORY, WHICH IS MY ABIDING SUBJECT.

Thank you so much Harry Mazer for participating in this interview.

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