Veronica Roth’s Divergent View of Grad School

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 7.06.45 AMAmazonVeronicaRothVeronica Roth seems like one of the nicest authors I’ve talked to in a while and her Divergent series has racked up huge sales. But we did have different views on one important aspect of our shared experiences. Listen in to find out where Veronica’s sunny disposition ran into my more sober one.

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Thurber House author Tony Mendoza’s favorite part of America might be yours as well

Mendoza and Kayla interview still

August 6 Thurber House guest Tony Mendoza has been an educator, an engineer, an architect, and an almost obsessive photographer of cats. His first book, Ernie, chronicled several months in the life of his roommate’s cat. His latest, A Cuban Summer, focuses on his time as a teenager in Cuba.

Mendoza talked to Craft summer intern Kayla about his time in Cuba, his move to America, and why dating was better in America than Cuba (hint: one country relied on chaperones).

Mendoza Cover

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Craft’s Nightmare Affair


mindeearnett_author_photoblwtIn the dark hallways of an eerie school of mermaids, trash trolls, and magic, there is also attempted murder.

Leave it to Kayla, the summer Craft intern, to conjure up  an interview with the mind behind The Arkwell Academy series, Mindee Arnett.  Her contemporary fantasy collections for young adults delves into the life of Dusty who is literally a nightmare. Not because she is a headstrong teenager, but she actually has the responsibility of invading people’s dreams. That is where Dusty stumbles onto a few clues that land her right in the middle of some unsolved crimes. The first novel, The Nightmare Affair, was nominated for best fiction for Y.A. by Young Adult Library Services Association, and its successor, The Nightmare Dilemma, has already received tremendous praise from its readers. As Arnett said during her interview at the 2014 Ohioana Book Festival, “I really wanted it to be a fun environment. Basically, the kind of school I would want to go to if I could.”

Mindee Arnett has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in English literature from Wright State University. She currently lives with her husband and two children on a farm in Ohio where she is free to ride horses and collect as many cats as she wants. This author’s creative abilities led her to publish the sci-fi adventure, Avalon, featuring a rebellious hero, and other short stories for magazine publication. If you ever have the pleasure of meeting Arnett, be sure to ask about all of her wide varieties of hobbies (both old and new) such as amateur boxing and Civil War reenacting.

If you don’t quite have the right spell to get a visit with Arnett, you can listen to her broadcast 90.5 WCBE on July 16, 2014 at 8:00 PM or listen to the full interview.  Arnett appreciates her online followers, so feel free to like this charming author on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

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The Gilded Age visits the Thurber House on July 23

Cover of Gilded Age

Lawyer and novelist Claire McMillan will appear with the The Thurber House on Wednesday, July 23, reading from her book Gilded Age, a modern retelling of Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth.

We discussed how her computer file names betray her anxieties about writing, where in the bedroom she does her best writing, and what vandalous act made Edith Wharton “deliciously cranky.”

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Thurber House Author Loves Columbus

-Kayla Geyer

(AP Photo/Andrew Welsh-Huggins)

Fourth Down and Out WEB

When was the last time you told Columbus she was pretty? Andrew Welsh-Huggins, July 9th Thurber House author, values the beauty and intrigue of Columbus so much that when he based his novel, Fourth Down and Out, on a disgraced Ohio State football player, he was proud to walk Columbus’s streets to accurately portray every last brick of his beloved city. As he said during our talk: “When it came time to set scenes in German Village I went down to German Village: I walked the streets; I walked in the day; I walked them at night. I wanted to get a completely accurate feel for them.”

In one of his first fictional pieces, Welsh-Huggins follows private-eye detective, Andy Hayes, into a case involving a scandalous video that has already caused one person to die. Faced with the opportunity to crack his current case, Andy must trace the clues back to the university where he fell from fortune years ago. Although Andy’s situation might remind readers of instances in the news revolving around scandals in college football, Welsh-Huggins says, “Unfortunately, there are a lot of role models not just at Ohio State but at universities around the country for football players who fell on hard times. So first of all, it’s fiction. And second, Andy’s history is a starting point, and so people probably will recognize certain characteristics of him in maybe their own heroes who fell on hard times.”

If you are a fan of his work, it wouldn’t surprise you that Welsh-Huggins counted steps in the football stadium to get his facts straight even for a fictitious story. As a legal affairs reporter for Associated Press, he’s used his eye for detail to produce two previous books: Hatred at Home: al-Qaida on Trial in the American Midwest and No Winners Here Tonight: Race, Politics, and Geography in One of the Country’s Busiest Death Penalty State. His research for Hatred at Home required piecing together the evidence for three trials of men accused of terrorist involvement right here in Columbus.

While No Winners Here Tonight used policy and history to combat the idea that Ohio’s death penalty laws are just. No matter the story, Andrew Welsh-Huggins delivers a thought-provoking tale that is honest and believable, making the city of Columbus proud to call him local.

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Ask Veronica Roth, author of Divergent, a question; win her book!

Win this bookNow is YOUR chance to ask Veronica Roth about her hit books Divergent and Insurgent and the movie version of Divergent, as well as her brand new book Four, a collection of short stories set in Roth’s dystopian Chicago told from Tobias “Four” Eaton’s point of view. Just enter your question into the comment section below and if we use your question, you’ll win Four.* Then listen to WCBE for your question and her answer!



*Available for pickup at 540 Jack Gibbs Blvd., Columbus, Ohio. Shipping not available. Comments must be left by 5 pm Monday, July 7, 2014.

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Superman’s Real Home Is Cleveland!

Brad Ricca editted

What if I told you Superman was real? Or that some characters in the Superman comic book series were real?

At the 2014 Ohioana Book Festival, Craft summer intern Kayla talked with the good-humored Brad Ricca, author of Super Boys: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster- The Creators of Superman, which recreates the adventures of Superman’s original writer and illustrator, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Ricca spent years exploring the lives of Siegel and Shuster, starting with their  Great Depression origins. Her interview with Ricca reveals some of the facts he found that not even the living relatives of the two creators knew.

Even if you aren’t a comic buff, Ricca’s personality and passion for comics fills the readers in on the interesting history of the comic and the creators in their youth. Hailing from the city of Cleveland, Ricca earned a Ph.D. English from Case Western Reserve University. He was recently awarded a 2014 Cleveland Arts Prize, and he has been invited to share  his knowledge of comics in publications such as The New York Times, Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, and others. Super Boys was declared one of the top ten arts books of 2013 by Booklist and received praise from Stan Lee former chairman and president of Marvel Comics.

As Kayla says, “It was fairly nerve-wracking to meet the author acclaimed by Stan Lee himself, but Ricca is easy-going and comical in the best kind of way. He made me realize just how important comic books, Superman, and Stan Lee are to the world.”

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CAPA Summer Movie Series

Ohio Theater interior

Ohio Theater interior

Next time on Craft: Cary Grant, Steve McQueen, and Alfred Hitchcock visit. It’s my talk with Rich Corsi, CAPA VP of Programming about the 2014 summer movie series. Tune in to find out what will be on the big screen this summer and which film will feature the machine that goes “ping!”

 Check it out on YouTube

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David Giffels: So Much More than Devo and Beavis and Butthead


Journalist and essayist David Giffels has written for the New York Times Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Grantland, and Redbook among others. His most recent book is The Hard Way on Purpose, a collection of essays about growing up near Akron and Cleveland, an area he sees as embodying a sense of place, but “a weird, surreal place,” The Rust Belt.

We discussed The Rust Belt, shared stories of destroyed places of our youth (his in Cleveland, mine in Toledo), and ended with a look at his experiences writing for Bevis and Butthead and a book on Devo.

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Time for a Switchback to Celtic music


Celtic band Switchback, Martin McCormack and Brian FitzGerald, will be in Columbus for two concerts this weekend, June 13 and 14: Friday night at Hoover House Concerts (contact Nancy Tomei at 740-965-3935 for tickets)  and Saturday night at Hey, Hey Bar and Grill. Brian filled me in on songwriting, Celtic music, and how my cruelty as a writing teacher was ruining students.


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