Eoin Colfer and Oliver Jeffers – Imaginary Fred

Author Eoin Colfer

Author Eoin Colfer

Illustrator Oliver Jeffers

Illustrator Oliver Jeffers

The Book

The Book

 Did you know that sometimes, with a little electricity, or luck, or even magic, an imaginary friend might appear when you need one? An imaginary friend like Fred.

Fred is the best imaginary friend you could ever hope for, but no matter how hard he tries, the same thing always happens: his friend finds a real friend in the real world, and Fred fades away, bit by bit, waiting to be wished for again . . .Then one day, a boy called Sam wishes for a friend, and Fred appears! For a while, everything is perfect. But what about the day when Sam finds a real friend?  Could it be that this time, something magical might happen . . . ?

The perfect chemistry between Eoin Colfer’s text and Oliver Jeffers’s artwork makes for a dazzlingly original picture book.  Eoin and Oliver are friends from the same place (Ireland), who now live an ocean apart, and wanted to collaborate on what has become such a beloved phenomenon of the childhood experience.

About the author: Eoin Colfer is the internationally bestselling author of the Artemis Fowl series, as well as several standalone novels, including the highly acclaimed Airman. His newest series is W.A.R.P. Eoin was born and raised in Ireland, where he was appointed Children’s Laureate. Eoin has two imaginary friends who are hilarious because they insist they are his actual sons and need stuff like food and clothing.

About the illustrator: Oliver Jeffers makes art and tells stories. From his much-loved debut, How to Catch a Star, Oliver has gone on to create a collection of award-winning and bestselling picture books (including the illustrations for The Day the Crayons Quit, written by Drew Daywalt), which have been translated into many languages all over the world. Originally from Northern Ireland, Oliver now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Oliver used to have an imaginary friend called Egbert. But Egbert stole his bicycle and was last seen pedaling west as hard as he could. That was seventeen years ago.

Listen to the podcast and discover what part Guinness played in the brainstorming session that led to the book. Click on the grey podcast bar below.

Lee Child’s latest Jack Reacher novel – Make Me

Lee Child Make MeLee Child“Why is this town called Mother’s Rest?” That’s all Reacher wants to know. But no one will tell him. It’s a tiny place hidden in a thousand square miles of wheat fields, with a railroad stop, and sullen and watchful people, and a worried woman named Michelle Chang, who mistakes him for someone else: her missing partner in a private investigation she thinks must have started small and then turned lethal.

Reacher has no particular place to go, and all the time in the world to get there, and there’s something about Chang . . . so he teams up with her and starts to ask around. He thinks: How bad can this thing be? But before long he’s plunged into a desperate race through LA, Chicago, Phoenix, and San Francisco, and through the hidden parts of the internet, up against thugs and assassins every step of the way—right back to where he started, in Mother’s Rest, where he must confront the worst nightmare he could imagine.

Walking away would have been easier. But as always, Reacher’s rule is: If you want me to stop, you’re going to have to make me.

That’s the blurb on Amazon, but the book is even better. There’s a reason Stephen King calls Jack Reacher “the coolest continuing series character.” This is the Good Stuff. Grab it while you can. To hear our interview with Lee Child, click on the grey podcast bar below. This is our third interview with Lee Child. Hear our previous interview for Never Go Back and Personal. And there’s more where that came from. You’ll find more than 150 other author interviews here.

Kristin Hannah – The Nightengale


Photo by Charles Bush

Photo by Charles Bush

New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah’s latest novel The Nightengale

is a departure from her previous books. While as carefully crafted as her other work, it is a more emotionally searing, often brutal story set in France during World War II. With life as they knew it utterly changed, two sisters—one in Paris, the other in the French countryside – find their moral and physical strength sorely tested. Isabelle joins the resistance and creates an escape route out of the Nazi-occupied territory for downed Allied airmen. Struggling in her impoverished village, Vianne tries to keep her small family alive, but is moved to acts of heroism that put her life and that of her child in grave danger.

With courage, grace and powerful insight, Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale is a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women.

That’s the official description. Let me add as a reviewer that Kristin Hannah has written a novel of visceral intensity. It grabbed me and made me think about the women of the French Resistance and the role they played with fresh respect. These are characters that get inside you, and you will be the better for having known them. To listen to our interview, click on the grey podcast bar below. More information about her and her many books can be found on her website here.

Soman Chainani – The School For Good And Evil: The Last Ever After

The School of Good and EvilSoman-ChainaniAre you an Ever or a Never?* 

New York Times bestseller and acclaimed award-winning filmmaker 

Soman Chainani returns with the epic conclusion in THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL series, 

that R.L. Stine called “a wild and dangerous fairy tale ride.”


The School for Good and Evil to be produced by Universal Pictures 

Soman Chainani, a Harvard-educated fairy tale expert, turns all pre-conceived notions of Disney princesses and Grimms’ fairy tales upside down with his whimsical, captivating and even subversive tale of two archetypal heroines who are not what they appear to be on the surface.

Since going on-sale in 2013, The School for Good and Evil series has sold more than half a million copies and has been sold into twenty countries worldwide. Universal Pictures snapped up movie rights and powerhouses Joe Roth (MaleficentSnow White and the Huntsman) and Jane Startz (Tuck EverlastingThe Indian in the Cupboard) will produce the film adaptation.

Each of the novels has had a theme – book one’s question was “Good versus Evil,” with main characters Sophie and Agatha put into the (supposedly) wrong schools; the definitions of Good and Evil turned out to not be as black and white as they seemed. In book two, “Boys versus Girls:” the notion that princesses don’t need princes to survive was explored. And now, in book three, “New vs. Old” is brought into discussion as stories are told and retold, as they evolve and change with new characters who discover you can’t really have a future without the past.

*FYI: At the School for Good and Evil, ordinary girls and boys are trained to become legendary fairy tale heroes and villains. Children who attend the School for Good are called “Evers” and children in the School for Evil are “Nevers.” 

Join Soman Chainani (pronounced like Roman with an “s,” and “Chey-na-nee”) on Tuesday, July 21st as he can discuss:

  • How THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL turns all pre-conceived notions of Disney princesses and Grimms’ fairytales on their heads.
  • Who gets to decide their fate to be trained as fairy tale heroes or villains.
  • Ever vs Never – which is Soman?
  • Having graduated summa cum laude from Harvard and his thesis on why evil women make such irresistible fairytale villains.
  • Working as an acclaimed screenwriter and film director. How does the film world differ from the writing world? And his work on the upcoming movie

To listen to our interview, click on the grey podcast button blow:

Ann Reichardt – The Dance Card: Looking for Love After Divorce

Ann ReichardtThe Dance Card“There’s a big difference between someone in their early 50s and even someone in their sixties when it comes to dating and what are we looking for in a relationship,” says Ann Reichardt.

After thirty years of marriage and without a hint of warning, Ann Reichardt’s husband left her for another woman. He told her he no longer loved her and wanted a divorce. The unceremonious and unexpected end of her marriage left her devastated and blindsided, and was a rude awakening. Her dream of eternal marital bliss was over.

In her memoir, THE DANCE CARD: Looking for Love After Divorce, Ann describes her quest to find love again after dealing with loss, sadness, anger, confusion, depression and disbelief—all the emotions she felt at the end of her marriage. When Ann finally felt the urge to date again she wondered, “Where does a fifty-plus-something woman with grown children who hasn’t dated in 30 years begin?”

At age 56 Ann jumped into the deep end of the cyberspace dating pool.  Her quest to find love took her on an exciting journey filled with romance, lust, drama, heartbreak and ultimately self-discovery. She discusses:

  • Why gone are the days of blind dates set up by a friend, meeting at a local church or barhopping.
  • What she discovered when she first visited online dating sites, how she felt, and why she ultimately decided to do online dating;
  • What to look for when dating online
  • Why she named her suitors after different dances, and what those dances said about their personalities and dating styles
  • Why “Mr. Slow” was the perfect re-bound relationship but why it didn’t last
  • Why rebound relationships usually don’t last
  • What she learned about herself from her dating experiences
  • The challenges of online dating and dating after divorce
  • Why she wrote the book and what she wants to impart to other single women of all ages, whether they are divorced or never-married


Ann Reichardt earned her BS degree in Nursing and Education and worked as an orthopedic nurseand public health nurse in both hospital and clinical settings. After retirement, she returned to her creative passions: writing, drawing, painting and illustrating for children’s and poetry books. THE DANCE CARD is her first book. Ann resides in Wisconsin. She has two adult daughters who have encouraged her in every aspect of her new life. She is presently working on her second book. For more information, please visithttp://annreichardt.com/author/annreichardt/

Listen to our interview by clicking on the grey podcast bar below:


Dr. David Casarett – Stoned: A Doctor’s Case for Medical Marijuana

Dr David CasarettStoned coverIn STONED: A Doctor’s Case For Medical Marijuana Dr. Casarett sets out to do anything—including experi­menting on himself—to find evidence of marijuana’s medical potential. He smears mysterious marijuana paste on his legs and samples pot wine. He poses as a patient at a seedy California clinic and takes lessons from an artisanal hash maker. In conversations with researchers, doctors, and patients around the world he learns how marijuana works—and doesn’t—in real life. Please let me know if you would like an interview with Dr. Casarett.


Dr. Casarett unearths tales of near-miraculous success, such as a child with chronic seizures who finally found relief in cannabidiol oil. In Tel Aviv, he learns of a nursing home that’s found success giving marijuana to dementia patients. On the other hand, one patient who believed marijuana cured her lung cancer had clearly been misled. As Casarett sifts the myth and misinformation from the scientific ev­idence, he explains, among other things:

  • The science of how marijuana works.  Our bodies have their own version of the chemicals in marijuana that make us high.  Marijuana ‘works’ by tapping into that system and fooling our bodies, and our brains.
  • Marijuana’s benefits.  Marijuana does have real medical benefits, and has been shown to be useful in treating pain, nausea, insomnia and loss of appetite that’s associated with serious illnesses like cancer.
  • The science of how to use marijuana.  That seems like it should be simple, but it’s not.  There are lots of options besides smoking a joint, but some of those options work better than others.  For instance, you can’t get high by making a salad of marijuana leaves.  Marijuana tea and beer don’t work either, nor does marijuana-infused ointment.  But one of the newest methods—vaporization—is very effective and safe.
  • Using marijuana to treat childhood seizures.  This is the last resort for many parents, and although it sounds like fringe science—or child abuse—it’s actually safe and may be effective.
  • Risks of brain damage due to long-term marijuana use. Marijuana does have effects on the brain, and long-term users have brains that look different, and work differently, than non-users do.
  • Whether marijuana can cure cancer. People use it for this reason, often in place of chemotherapy.  That’s a bad idea, and a dangerous thing to do. But it’s not totally crazy.  There actually are some scientific reasons why the ingredients in marijuana might be used to treat cancer someday.
  • Marijuana addiction. We don’t usually think of marijuana as being addictive, but it is. And stopping suddenly can cause withdrawal symptoms.
  • Marijuana overdose. It’s possible to get too large a dose of marijuana, with side effects like anxiety and paranoia.  But the good news is that it’s impossible to fatally overdose.
  • Why marijuana doesn’t cause lung damage. You’d think that smoking marijuana would cause lung damage and chronic lung disease, but several good, large-scale studies have found that this isn’t true.
  • The risks of driving while stoned. Marijuana has a devastating effect on people’s ability to drive safely.  Those effects are at least as great as those of alcohol, but unlike alcohol, there’s no widely-accepted blood or breath test to determine whether someone is too high to drive.
  • Is marijuana a medicine? Its ingredients have medical properties, and even significant benefits. But that doesn’t mean we should think of it as a medicine.  Marijuana has hundreds of substances, most of which haven’t been subjected to any research to understand what they do.
  • How do you know if the medical marijuana you’re using is safe? Often, you don’t.  Marijuana can be contaminated with bacteria, fungus, and chemicals like pesticides.  That’s why any marijuana you use should be tested by a reputable laboratory.

Often humorous, occasionally heartbreaking, and full of counterintuitive conclusions, STONED offers a compassionate and much-needed medical practitioner’s perspective on the potential of this misunderstood plant

You can hear our interview with Dr. Casarett by clicking on the grey podcast bar below:

Mandy Smith – Cabin Fever

Mandy SmithCabin Fever cover
During her twelve years as a Virgin Atlantic flight attendant, Mandy Smith experienced the good, the bad, and the downright naughty of flying the friendly skies. Smith candidly dishes about her life as a “trolley dolly” in the international bestseller, CABIN FEVER: The Sizzling Secrets of a Virgin Airlines Flight Attendant. But beyond the raucous parties around the globe, Mandy can provide her insider tips for being a friendly flyer: how to calm an upset baby when his or her ears are hurting, try Tylenol PM instead of a sleeping tablet, how to pack lightly, and what to do if you’re going to be sick. Plus, she dispels the most common myths about flight attendants and how the airline industry is addressing sexual harassment.

You can hear our interview by clicking on the grey podcast bar below: