Friday, September 27, 2013

Interview with Robert Donnelly, author of Dark Rose


For those who haven’t heard, what’s the book all about?

Dark Rose is the story of Portland's vice scandal of 1956, which was the zenith of repeated and often failed efforts to flush out vice, organized crime, and municipal corruption in what is today one of the country’s most progressive cities.  Portland’s vice rackets, police graft, and dirty politicians were not unique; it is a familiar story for many mid-twentieth-century American cities.  This fascinating event, however, headlined one of the most notable U.S. Senate committees, the McClellan Labor Rackets Committee, led by Senator John McClellan and his chief investigator, Robert Kennedy.  Federal investigators were particularly interested in Portland because the Teamsters union was involved.  Teamsters leaders attempted to organize Portland’s vice industry as they had legitimate industries.  So, Dark Rose is about Portland’s seedy side, which was exposed by a snitch, two maverick reporters, and…well…Congress, with Robert Kennedy.

What was one of the big things you learned from creating this book?

I learned that there are many people around in Portland today who are personally and even emotionally connected to this story.  It was an incredible time in Portland.  I also learned that it takes time and a network of friends and professionals to create a book.  Thanks especially to UW Press.

Which part of the book was most compelling to you?

A few years ago, I was presenting my early research in Portland and a gentleman approached me with irrefutable evidence of graft, corruption, and labor racketeering in the Rose City: wiretap tapes from 1955.  These were tapes made by Portland’s infamous crime boss, James Elkins, who at the time feared he was being double-crossed by the corrupt district attorney and his friends in the Teamsters union.  It is amazing to listen to these guys talk about white-washed investigations, their plans to expand their vice rackets, and which gambling den paid out and how much to the city’s law enforcement officials.  Incredible!

What’s been the most rewarding part of this process?

The most rewarding part of the process came when I first saw the cover for Dark Rose.  I love the cover!

What new projects do you have on the horizon?

I am writing a biography of Teamster Dave Beck.  Beck and Jimmy Hoffa were the big fish Robert Kennedy hoped to fry during the McClellan Committee investigation.  Plenty has been written on Hoffa, but not Beck.  Beck was president of the Teamsters from 1952 until 1957.  He was a millionaire and an incredible fundraiser for many Seattle charities.  He also served on the Board of Regents for the University of Washington and the Washington State Parole Board.  He was “Mr. Seattle.”  When he retired in 1957, however, it was amid a scandal that included allegations of labor racketeering, tax evasion, and embezzlement of Teamster funds.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Q&A with Sandra Nowlan, author of Delicious DASH Flavours

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

Delicious DASH Flavours  is based on the DASH eating plan (DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) developed by the National Institutes of Health that has been shown to reduce high blood pressure as effectively as medication.  As a food scientist I was interested in researching the diet by reading scientific papers proving its validity as well as finding articles in the popular press advocating DASH as a healthy low-salt diet.  I was excited about putting together a collection of delicious healthy recipes that could help people lower their blood pressure and improve their health.

Which section of the book was most enjoyable to write?

Delicious DASH Flavours includes recipes for breakfast, appetizers, soups, salads, vegetables, mains, breads and desserts accompanied by beautiful coloured photos.  Also included is background information on DASH research and guidelines as well as menus for a week, and tips for reducing salt in your diet.  The section I most enjoyed writing was Soups.  I tested soup recipes from chefs across Canada, changing them to meet DASH guidelines, and the variety and flavour of this collection is outstanding.  Some of my favourites include Carrot, Orange and Ginger Soup, Roasted Pear and Sweet Potato Bisque with Lobster Cakes as well as Chilled Melon Soup with Mint.

What was the most challenging part about creating this book?

I sorted through hundreds of recipes from Canadian chefs before selecting about 150 to test.  The preparation of so many dishes was an ambitious undertaking as recipes had to be altered by removing salt and lowering fat and enhancing flavour with spices, herbs and citrus.  I prepared each recipe in my kitchen and then called in family and friends to taste the dishes and give their frank opinions about taste and presentation.  If flavour was bland, the recipe was changed and prepared a second time.  If flavour could not be enhanced, the recipe was discarded.  The greatest endorsement was when the tasters said, ?This isn?t one of those low-salt dishes, is it??  It was difficult to adapt the chefs? recipes for desserts to the DASH guidelines as they were just too rich, so I added many of my own that were fruit based.

What has been the feedback thus far on the book?

Delicious DASH Flavours has been acclaimed in the press as a wonderful, delicious collection of recipes that people enjoy whether or not they are on a salt-reduced diet.  One reviewer said, ?Delicious DASH Flavours is a great cookbook for anyone who's looking to manage their high blood pressure - or just eat less sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol. The recipes are easy to follow and truly delicious! I highly recommend it as an addition to any cook's library. ?

What?s next for you?

 I have recently published a second cookbook, Low-salt DASH Dinners, which is a collection of 100 recipes (mostly my own favourite family recipes with additional ones from Canadian chefs) for simple, quick to prepare and tasty dinners, including a variety of ethnic choices as well as side dishes.  Low-salt dishes include main course salads, slow and savoury dinners, pasta, brunch and informal dinners as well as simply elegant dinners. The book is illustrated with large colour photos showing how attractively the food can be presented.
I have also written a cookbook of family favourites called Something Good, as yet unpublished.

5 Questions with Nora T. Gedgaudas, author of Primal Body, Primal Mind

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

Writing Primal Body, Primal Mind was an exciting process of connecting dots many would not readily think to connect together.  The book was a long term culmination of many aspects of health, diet, modern society, longevity research and our evolutionary history that blends surprisingly well together and creates a unique perspective many seem to find refreshing, exciting, quite compelling and even inspiring.

Which section of the book was most enjoyable to write?

This may sound like a cop-out, but it was really a love affair from cover to cover.  I think for me what was best about it were the most “eye opening” aspects—the myth shattering and paradigm shifting elements that truly seem to have an “awakening” effect on those that read it.  I am particularly passionate about that aspect of it.

What was the most challenging part about creating this book?

What was most challenging was the process of drawing together many different (seemingly unrelated) subjects and areas in a way that could make comprehensive sense to anyone that reads it.  So much out there of what is written about any particular subject takes a fairly compartmentalized view.  Compartmentalization is something typical of the way we are conditioned to think and is the way our educational system works, after all.  This book isn’t like that—it draws from many different things and creates a sort of comprehensive and synergistic alchemy.  Much of the information in it came to me over a period of many, many years and resulted in an evolutionary unfolding in my own thinking.  This culminated over time in several generations of “AHA’s”, articles and manuscripts I had written that I finally decided to weave together into a more integrated publication.  It was no small challenge and no small accomplishment putting it all together in a way that really worked.  The result has truly been gratifying.

What has been the feedback thus far on the book?

The feedback on the book has honestly been overwhelming.  It simply never occurred to me the book would have such a powerful impact on so many people and have the kind of success it is enjoying.  I’ve been particularly pleasantly surprised, too, at the number of emails I’ve gotten from all manner of healthcare providers and experts across the board (MD’s, PhD’s, ND’s, DO’s, DC’s, and neurologists) who tell me I’m right on---especially since what my book represents is a considerable departure from mainstream thinking.  I am now receiving in excess of 100 emails a day that include innumerable positive testimonials and responses to the book from many (including even vegetarians and vegans) experiencing their lives and their health in a whole new way as a result of applying some or many of the ideas I present.  Some are real tear-jerkers.  It all feels a little surreal at times.

What’s next for you?

That’s a great question.  I still have my very full time neurofeedback and nutritional therapy practice.  Where the book is concerned, however, there are many new possibilities and opportunities presenting themselves I am currently sorting through and the direction of my career goals seems to be in significant flux.  I think what I would like to do is more speaking and creating more specific information products that can help people both integrate the principles in the book into their lives more effectively, as well as help people more broadly (as opposed to simply one-on-one) with more specific aspects of what might be challenging for them.  I am also working on creating a larger resource network that can give people more of a “one stop shop” for resources of all kinds related to information in my book.  I am quite excited about this and looking forward to promoting the work of many others that are aligned with the principles of Primal Body, Primal Mind.  It seems I am being approached daily with exciting new projects, proposals and ideas and I have a lot of thinking to do around that.  Right now it’s a little overwhelming, but very exciting.I am also about to take all this internationally as I plan to travel to Australia this November on a paid 3-4 city speaking tour there.  The event is being well promoted and is receiving a lot of intense public interest. Primal Body, Primal Mind is already huge in Australia.  I guess we’ll see where it all leads.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

5 Questions with Jamie Talan, author of Deep Brain Stimulation

What inspired you to put this book together?

I have been a science reporter covering the brain for 30 years, spending my first 25 years as a daily reporter for a New York newspaper called Newsday. As my interest in the brain is diverse, I was asked to write the book as many people were now using the technology for a variety of different neurological diseases. I decided that the best way to tell the story of deep brain stimulation was to interview patients from all walks of life and use their experience with DBS to write the short history of the technique.
Which section of the book did you find easiest and most natural to write?
I loved interviewing different scientists and the patients who so graciously shared their lives with me. I grew very close to a number of people during this process and they will always be a part of my life. I enjoyed the chapter on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, where we meet Mario. And on the science side, I loved the chapter on Minimally Conscious States and the work of Dr. Nicholas Schiff.
Did the final product come out as you envisioned it when you first started?
Yes, the book is a small but powerful story of science in the making. I have always seen it as my mission to educate people and that is precisely what this book enabled me to do.
What is the best compliment you have received on the book?
I have heard from many patients that they decided to get DBS after reading the book and learned a lot and that is very comforting to know. Again, educating people is the key. We had an amazing book talk at Book Revue in Huntington NY and a patient/physician in my book came to talk as well as a neurologist who has done many DBS surgeries. It was a packed crowd and everyone seemed pleased by the stories.
What are some new and upcoming things we can expect from you?
I am now writing a coming of age book about a family of a boy with Neurofibromatosis. It is an incredibly engaging story.