Author Interview: Political Nonfiction Authors Charles Derber and Katherine Adam

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Charlie and Katherine! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

Katherine: I am the Outreach Coordinator for the Philadelphia GROW Project of the Drexel University School of Public Health, which serves the needs of low-income children. I’ve been active in Democratic Party politics at the federal, state, and local levels, and interned for Senator John Kerry.

Charlie: I am a noted social critic and Professor of Sociology at Boston College. I began writing articles in the 1970’s, and have written eleven internationally acclaimed books. I’ve also frequently appear on television and radio talk shows.

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

Charlie: I felt Katherine was on to an important idea – and obviously very timely. I felt like it could shape the public conversation about values and politics in the election year and beyond. It is especially important for the Democrats who have ceded values to Evangelicals and the Republicans – and not recognized their own values.

Katherine: I have always been interested in the intersection of gender and politics, especially in the Democratic Party. With Hillary Clinton in the race, the argument seemed even more relevant.

What kind of research was involved in writing “The New Feminized Majority: How Democrats Can Change America with Women’s Values”?

Charlie: Some of it was historical. Much of it was survey research data, documenting the different values and political attitudes of men and women.

How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?

Charlie: We sent some original ideas and then gave feedback to the designer when they sent us images. The publisher was great – offering us a lot of input. And the designer was very talented. Take a look at the book – it’s beautiful!

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

Charlie: I’ve been publishing books for the last thirty years. It’s always a challenge but always exciting. It takes a lot of hard work. This one’s been a lot of fun – it’s great to have an energized collaborator like Katherine.

Katherine: This is my first book, and while the process has been difficult, it has also been a total blast.

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

Charlie: Very short! About six months.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

Charlie: I’ve had several agents. For big NY houses, they are necessary. But I prefer to make my own case to editors, since I know the argument better anyone else.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Charlie: Well, I’ve written twelve so I would be surprised if I don’t write more. It’s a way of life!

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

Charlie: Mostly late in the day these days. I used to write in the morning.

If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

Charlie: First, get a booking on Oprah. Second, a full-page ad in the NY Times.

Katherine: Spots on the Daily Show and Colbert.

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

Charlie: There are two jobs in writing a book. The first is writing it. The second is promoting it. They are both demanding and both demand a lot of time. It’s necessary to do the second to fulfill the first.

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

Charlie: Keep at it and be open to feedback. If you have something you really want to say, it’s worth fighting to be heard.

Thank you for coming, Charlie and Katherine! Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

Most major bookstores, on the Paradigm website, and the online sites like Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Charlie and Katherine's virtual book tour is brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion and choreographed by Cheryl Malandrinos.
Leave a comment here and you can win a free copy of their book, "The New Feminized Majority".
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