Saturday, February 19, 2011

5 Questions with Siue Moffat, author of Lickin' the Beaters 2


What inspired this book?

As I was finishing my first book - Lickin 'the Beaters: Low Fat Vegan Desserts Illustrated by 8 Fantastic Artists - I was getting tired of eating low fat desserts. I found a very old candy cookbook at this time and tried my hand at making vegan candy. I loved it and decided I needed to make a full fat, full sugar dessert book.

Which recipe is the one you're using most these days?

I've been giving out my Chocolate Mint Double Decker Cheezecake recipe a lot. It's this crazy concoction that has two layers of cheezecake - one mint and one chocolate. Topped with some candy canes and sitting in a chocolate cookie crust.

What's a misconception about dairy free desserts?

Most non-vegans are still not convinced that dairy free desserts are as tasty as dairy ones. It's an absolute misconception that cookbook authors like me and vegan bakers are constantly trying to set people straight on.

Do you envision dairy free desserts becoming more popular in the mainstream in years to come?

What's wonderful is that since I started my recipe books vegan food is gaining more popularity each year. Once "nonbelievers" have a taste of a great veggie burger, or a fabulously chewy chocolate cookie their minds are opened and misconceptions are thrown out the window. All it takes is a taste - that's pretty powerful!

What's next for you?

I'm continuing my chocolate business - Boardwalk Chocolates. I make vegan fair trade organic truffles, hollow figures, custom pieces etc. It's a good way to spread the delicious news of vegan goodies!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Robert W. Bly, author of “How to Write and Sell Simple Information for Fun and Profit”


What inspired this book?

My desire to teach nonfiction writers how to make a good living instead of a mediocre one.

How can a writer stand out in the crowd?

There are a number of ways; the surest is to write in a narrow niche market and dominate it.

Any sites you'd recommend to get freelance writing jobs or gigs?

No -- AVOID all online job sites. They treat writing as a price-based commodity.

What's a very abundant writing market that many might not know about?

Hobbies -- people will pay a lot for info on their hobbies

What's the most interesting writing gig you've done?

My book The "I Hate Kathie Lee Gifford" Book -- landed me on Hard copy

5 Questions with Joanne Baker, author of "50 Universe Ideas You Really Need to Know"


Which idea was the most interesting to write about?

The chapter on pulsars was fun to write about, because Jocelyn Bell's story of thinking she had discovered alien life as a graduate student is so compelling. Any student can imagine the mix of excitement and dread she must have felt at finding the pulsing radio signal from deep space, wondering whether she had made an embarrassing mistake or was party to some great breakthrough. The whole history of radio astronomy is fascinating too, coming out of post-war physics research.

What's a big misconception about the universe you clear up in this book?

People often ask what's outside the universe - but the universe includes everything. While it's not simple to clear this up - given there are plenty of wild theories of parallel universes and the like that are mind bending even to physicists - I hope I have given a flavour of the ways in which people have thought about the concept of the universe through history. Our horizon has expanded the more we have learned about the universe - it's vast scale was quite unimaginable even a century ago.

How did this book come about?

I wrote a similar book about physics. My background is in astronomy, and the chapters on astronomy in that book were bulging at the seams, so I thought it would be worthwhile to expand on those ideas in a separate book. Astronomy is such a rich subject, with a long history, that it needed a whole book to highlight its scope.

What is the future of the universe?

In short - we don't know. But there are several ingredients that would dictate it. If the universe is dominated by matter, then gravity will one day pull everything together and it may end in a 'big crunch' . Dark energy is a competing force, which would eventually pull everything in the universe apart - stars and planets and galaxies would all be stripped down to a bleak mist of subatomic particles. Or if both these forces - gravity and dark energy - are balanced, then the universe could gently keep expanding for ever. Astronomers are rushing to find out more about the dark energy term especially, as that was only discovered a decade or so ago so we don't know much about its effect.

What aspect of this book will people find most interesting?

Cosmology, the study of the universe as a whole, is fascinating to many people. But I hope that readers will also think about our solar system, and how much we are learning from space missions. The variety of landscapes and the possibility of crude foms of life on moons of Jupiter and Saturn are exciting and are inspiring missions in coming decades, to peer beneath the ice on Europa for example. Planets around other stars are also being discovered at a rapid rate, so astrobiology and exoplanets are areas to watch.

5 Questions with Tui Gordon, author of Revolutionary Women


How did this book come about?

The seed of the idea was just an observation that the image of Che
Guevara is the symbol of "the revolutionary" in western pop culture.
One day I came across a Che Guevara which had been adapted to look
like a woman's face and it brought up the question "Who are our women
revolutionaries?" This book begins to answer that question!

Which woman really struck a chord with you?

All of them, for a plethora of reasons! The first one I researched was
Louise Michel and I was just really struck by how unafraid she was,
how ardent she was about change and how active and optimistic she was
even though she was intimately aware of how hopelessly misdirected the
society she lived in was.

Which women in today's society would you put in a book like this
decades from now?

Some of the women in the book are contemporaries of ours, Vandana
Shiva, Angela Davis, Malalai Joya etc. The book has 30 women who live
or have lived within the last 150 years, but of course there are
hundreds more possible candidates, who knows what amazing women will
be leading the revolutions of the future.

Which woman in the book is someone a lot of people have overlooked in the past?

All of the women have left their mark, perhaps a woman like Haydee
Santamaria of Cuba, who, although her influence was huge and her work
was vital, never cast herself as the figurehead of the revolution. Her
writings becoming more available has made it harder to overlook how
important her philosophy was and how passionate her struggle was.

What's next for you?

I'm in the early stages of a graphic novel, watch this space

5 Questions with Lori Dennis, author of Green Interior Design


What is the book all about?

The design, decoration and maintenance of environmentally and socially responsible, healthy interiors and gardens.

What inspired this book?

I speak about green design throughout the country and was always being asked, "isn't there a book where I can get this information?" I decided to write it.

Which green interior design item impresses you most?

Vintage or antiques furnishings. I like items that come with their own story and history.

Has the market for green interior design increased quite a bit over the past few years? Now prices that prices are closer to conventional products, who wouldn't chose an eco friendly item that is also good for your health? The market is exploding and becoming standard.

Which image in the book is your favorite?

I love the suzanni fabric on this old bench and the snowy mountains in the distance.


5 Questions with Teun Voeten, author of Tunnel People


What is the book all about, for those who don't know?

The book is an in depth portrait of a group of underground homeless people that were living in a rail road tunnel under Manhattan. I describe how they became homeless, their daily lives, their dreams and hopes for the future. I tried to be as honestly as possible without sensationalizing or romanticizing the issues.

What was the most interesting part about putting the book together?

Being original an anthropologist, I actually lived, worked and slept for 5 months with the tunnel people. I helped them collect empty cans, we cooked over open fires, we had a lot of parties and of course, extremely interesting conversations.

What did you learn from the tunnel people?

However dire your circumstances, however poor and downtrodden you are, the most important is not to see yourself as a victim. Make the best of what you have and keep up your dignity. A lot of tunnel people succeeded in doing so. Very admiring.

Which personality you cover in the book was most intriguing?

Bernard, who was nickname "Lord of the Tunnel. Not only was he very intelligent, but also outrageously funny and totally politically incorrect about his fellow homeless tunnel dwellers. Also, he was a great cook.

What's next for you?

I am working on a photo book on the drug violence in Mexico. A very difficult subject, but I think the current disintegration of Mexico, the total impunity and all pervasive corruption are very alarming developments that can have repercussions on a global scale.

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