Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Meet Grant Jerkins, author of A VERY SIMPLE CRIME.

Here we are at last. I am thrilled to introduce author Grant Jerkins, and talk about his book A VERY SIMPLE CRIME. I hope you won’t mind, Grant, but having the esteemed writer, actor and painter Robert Leland Taylor here just seemed a lovely idea.

Mme Perry: A VERY SIMPLE CRIME captivated me because of the well drawn characters, the story, and very sharp writing. How long did you work on this book?

Grant Jerkins: It’s funny, because the published version of the book was basically my first draft, which took perhaps four months to write. During the years of struggle to find a publisher (long before the epublishing revolution), I ended up writing several additional drafts to suit other people’s vision of what the book should be. I even wrote a screenplay version. In the end, it was that first fevered four month draft that made it into print.

Robert Leland Taylor: I notice that you're often drawn to the darker side of human nature. Does this represent a pessimistic view of humankind on your part?

GJ: Hmmm. You’re putting me on the spot with this one. I hate to say I’m pessimistic or misanthropic, but clearly I’m drawn to characters who are. I think maybe I just feel like each of us is born into the dark, stumbling through it as we mature, and that most of us will never find our way out of the dark in our lifetimes. But that doesn’t mean we can’t help each other out along the way. Light a match and share a minute or two of illumination with a friend. But the match goes out and we have to keep moving forward. Alone. In the dark.
MP: Which authors do you most enjoy reading?

GJ: I love the writing of James M. Cain. He’s not as well known today as his peers - Hemmingway, Chandler, and Hammet, but he’s my favorite. John O’Brien. Lawrence Block. Stephen King has been a major influence. Kurt Vonnegut, JD Salinger, and Truman Capote. Flannery O’Connor is a favorite. Right now I’m really enchanted with Donald Ray Pollock and Daniel Woodrell.

RLT: How do you feel about reading your own stuff? Is it a pleasant or unpleasant experience for you?

GJ: By the time a book gets published, you’ve read it so many times that you can’t help but be sick of it. And by that point you can see all the chicken wire, duct tape, and spackle holding it in place. You can’t fathom how others won’t see the awkward stitches where you’ve sewn your creature together. That said, I can still find passages that I enjoy reading and sharing with others.

MP: Do you have a specific process for creating your characters and their backgrounds?

GJ: Good question! I do not have a specific process for creating characters. I know a lot of writers use a system or check lists (What does your character want? What is he/she struggling to achieve?) to create characters, but that seems so artificial to me.

RLT: What aspect of novel-writing do you find the most difficult?

GJ: Beginning. The single hardest thing about writing a novel is starting the damn thing. After that, if you’re disciplined and write every day, it’s not that hard of a process. It’s even an enjoyable process. If you’re not disciplined and you don’t write every day, then the days you do write feel like you’re starting all over again, and it’s just torture.

RLT: Boxers or briefs--and how often, if ever, do you change them?

GJ: Commando.

MP: You don’t have to answer Robert’s last question, Grant, you know he can easily become distracted and take everyone with him.

GJ: I’m sorry, what?

RLT: On a scale of one to ten, one being the worst, how sorry are you for agreeing to do this interview and how badly will it hurt your career?

MP: Mr. Taylor!

GJ: Commando.

MP: Now, now, Mr. Taylor, you promised to behave. Thank you for being our guest, Grant. Tell us the title of your next book, and when we will see it.

GJ: The next book is called AT THE END OF THE ROAD, which sounds a little bit like directions to the town dump, but actually it’s a very personal book about my experiences growing up on an isolated red dirt road in rural Georgia (which was surprisingly violent).

The book is based on a real incident from my childhood. When I was ten, I was riding my bike in the middle of the road in front of my house when a car came speeding around a curve in the road. To avoid hitting me, the woman behind the wheel had to swerve. Her car flipped and rolled, landing on its side. The woman crawled out, bloody and battered. She asked me to help her, but I ran away. I was scared. I was ten years old. So I ran away and never told a soul. The next day I went back and the car was gone. No sign of the accident remained. The woman and her car had just disappeared. AT THE END OF THE ROAD is my imagining of what might have happened to that woman.

The book will be in stores November 1st, and it’s currently available for pre-order wherever you like to buy books. Unless you buy your books out of Robert’s garage. He doesn’t do pre-orders. Still waiting on my copy of Decision Points.

MP: Also waiting on mine. Mr. Taylor? Thank you both for being my guests here at Madame Perry’s Salon. It has been every bit the pleasure I imagined. Much success to you both.

RLT: I'd just like to say that I've read AT THE END OF THE ROAD and was blown away by it. It touched me on a number of emotional levels that I can't begin to describe. I wasn't aware until now that the story was partially based on an actual incident, and this makes it all the more intriguing. It deserves to become a huge success. Thanks for sharing, Grant, and thanks to you, Jennifer, for having me.

MP: You can follow Grant on TwitterFacebook, or visit his website to find out where you can see him live.

And here's a nice bit of post script: Barbet Schroeder (Barfly, Reversal of Fortune) is attached to direct the film version. Adapted for the screen by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Nicholas Kazan (At Close Range, Reversal of Fortune) and O'Neill Fellowship playwright Terry Curtis Fox (Cops, The Pornographer's Daughter.) Currently in pre-production.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Winner of the BlogFest 2011 Giveaway!

The drawing for the first BlogFest 2011 giveaway took place Monday night
at Maddy's Ribs & BBQ in Decatur, Georgia by Ann Guilfoile.
 Ann is the very popular co-interviewer of her brother, author Kevin Guilfoile.
Assisting in the event were Kimmy Sue Ruby Lou Shaughnessy
and her hairier half Andy Shaughnessy.

Don't panic, I will have a second and maybe third winner next week.

Yes, it's Margaret!

And the winner is "Margaret!"
Congratulations, Margaret, as soon as we have a mailing addy the goodies will be heading your way.
And we plan another drawing or two from the same list so standby, and thank you for supporting Madame Perry's Salon. I hope to bring you more of the best writers for your enjoyment.

Kimmy Sue, Mme Perry, Andy and Ann congratulating Margaret.

Friday, July 15, 2011

BlogFest 2011 Is Here

BlogFest 2011, is the brilliant event by Cinnamon Brown, creator of the blog A Journey Of Books. You will learn more there about what fabulous goings on are in store.
Here is an excerpt:

It's that time! Now through July 17th at 11:59pm EST we will be participating in BlogFest 2011! I know you've heard about it! I know you're anxious! I know you're overflowing with excitement!

What is BlogFest?  BlogFest is a massive carnival of giveaways with a great collection of participating blogs. Each blog has a giveaway and the idea is to hop from blog to blog, entering all the giveaways your little heart desires. Hopefully you might even come across a few blogs you might want to bookmark and continue visiting. From "BlogFest 2011 - A Journey Of Books."

Madame Perry's Salon has a gift basket to giveaway with these goodies!

Autographed copy of A Very Simple Crime from author Grant Jerkins

A trio of e-books, The Other Boyfriend, Like Casablanca, and The Soul Bearers  
from Aussie author and TV host Sylvia Massara
Autographed CD from Raspberry Tea from journalist/musician Brian Bingaman

Jennifer Perry Combo T-shirt
T-Shirt and CD from The Jennifer Perry Combo

Leave a comment with your name, e-mail addy for notification, and state that you wish to be entered in the drawing.

Or send to my e-mail. Every blog participating has a giveaway, and A Journey Of Books has a grand prize so enter everything your hearts desires. I have links below to some of the blogs. You can find them all at A Journey Of Books.

Malevolent Musing
Manga Maniac Cafe
Meg Mims, Author 
Memoirs Of A Misanthrope
Michelle & Leslie's Book Picks
Michelle's Book Blog
A Journey Of Books

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Live From Hollywood And The Pages Of Vanity Fair - Jessica Handler!

And with a title like that I say let's get to it. Author and poet Collin Kelley, a dear mutual friend of mine and Jessica's, is here to talk about her memoir Invisible Sisters and see if she'll dish on the stars.

M.Perry: By the time you were nine both of your younger sisters had been diagnosed with terminal illnesses - Kostmann’s syndrome and leukemia - and you began introducing yourself as ‘the well sibling.” How, and when, did you realize that your family was different from others in this respect?

Jessica Handler: I probably didn’t consciously realize that we were different – and in so many ways, not only medically – until the moment that I said phrase to a doctor. I was nine, and, as you’ll read in Invisible Sisters, was at Duke University Hospital with both my younger sisters and our parents to undergo some lab work to try and figure out how this anomaly – two sisters with white cell disorders on opposing sides of a spectrum – came to be. (No one’s ever figured it out, as far as I know.) I introduced myself that day as “the well sibling.” This is a real term now, but I don’t know if it was then. I doubt it. I think I’d overheard my father say it about me, or perhaps I thought of it then, but it seemed to define my role pretty efficiently.

Even then, though, I knew that our family was normal for us. My sisters weren’t treated differently; they had slumber parties and pets and schoolwork, and lived very regular lives for the most part. It was normal for me to be that calm around doctors, for us to travel to medical centers and be examined. That experience is a little bit like living in the third person voice.

After Invisible Sisters came out, friends who’d known me even during those times told me they’d never known the extent of our story. That’s a testament, good or bad, that’s a reader’s call, to how normal our lives were.

MP: In writing a memoir you must spend a lot of time revisiting past situations and feelings. Did this ever bring about a different viewpoint on any situations for you while writing Invisible Sisters?

Jessica Handler
JH: Oh, of course. You can’t write memoir well when the crux of the story is so fresh in your mind and heart that the work is an emotional explosion rather than a crafted story. Of course there was a great deal of emotion in writing the book, sad and happy, but distance is crucial. I came to understand so much more about my father in writing the book, I think in part because by that time I was older than he was in the story I was writing. I viewed his losses and his reactions as a fellow adult, not solely as a wounded daughter.

Collin Kelley: Is there anything you didn't put in the memoir that wish you had now?

JH: I’m very satisfied with the scope of the book. I worked closely with my editor at Public Affairs, Morgen Van Vorst, who had great insights about shaping the book, which helped me at the time to figure out what I wanted and needed to put in that I had perhaps skated over in earlier drafts. There’s nothing in Invisible Sisters that I wouldn’t tell someone in conversation. That said, there are pieces of my family’s stories that I have omitted due to personal privacy issues and the fact that those bits weren’t crucial to the story I was telling. Those I won’t tell you in conversation. They’re just for me.

MP: It was so exciting to see you in Vanity Fair magazine. Tell us about it. Fun? Did you get to keep the dress? Anything to dish?

JH: The Vanity Fair shoot was amazing fun, and after eight hours on various lawns of the Swan House I was pretty much in giggles the whole time. I didn’t get to keep the dress, but honestly, what would I do with it? I’m a jeans and t-shirt gal. I knew five of the women before the shoot, and had of course heard of everyone, so it was a delight to meet the others. I am a huge admirer of Natasha Trethewey’s poetry particularly, so meeting her was kind of a fan-girl thrill.

Hmm, what to dish... It took two passes with dish soap to get the ‘product’ out of my hair. It doesn’t stand up like that on its own! And I learned that couture comes in two-digit sizes, not just in size four. And I’m wearing my grandmother’s pearls in that shot, because she would have kvelled. I texted my publicist pretty much every twenty minutes to essentially shriek with joy. The whole day was extremely girly.

Collin Kelley
CK: Tell us about working in Hollywood? Can you dish on a famous celebrity encounter?

JH: I’m still so touched and honored to have met Divine; Harris Glenn Milstead. He was a guest on a talk/variety show where I was a production coordinator, and I spent some time talking with him in the green room. John Waters’s movies had been big with my college friends and me. He was kind, soft-spoken, and just so elegant and gentlemanly. And he was wearing a grey pinstriped three-piece suit and a big diamond earring. I just loved him. And no, I won’t tell you here who the rock star at the after hours club is in the LA chapter of Invisible Sisters, but if you ask me in person, I might. The club was Club Zero, on North Cahuenga though, if that means anything to any 1980s archivist-types.

JP: Hmm, maybe when the three of us meet up at Agave for some nibbly things and a few of Collin's stories. Thank you so much for spending time with us, Jessica.

JH: Of course, happy to spend time with. Soon, IRL.

CK: XO Love and smoochies!

Jessica Handler's nonfiction has appeared in, More Magazine, Southern Arts Journal, and Ars Medica. You can visit Jessica Handler's website, or follow her on Twitter.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Kevin Guilfoile, author of The Thousand and Cast of Shadows.

I've been a Kevin Guilfoile fan since his first novel, Cast of Shadows, was published. When he agreed to be a guest in Madame Perry's Salon to talk about his newest book, The Thousand, I knew I'd want one of my more sophisticated and intellectual pals to sit in the co-interviewer seat. So I am pleased to also introduce my friend Ann Guilfoile.

Madame Perry: The Thousand has an intricate web of plots and motivations. A couple of characters we can imagine from real life folks like Johnnie Cochran or Phil Spector. Yet many are original in their personal quirks, burdens and needs. How do you draw or create these characters?

Kevin Guilfoile: Inventing the characters is the fun part, although I'd be hard pressed to explain how you do it. They start as imaginary playmates of some sort. Then you drop them into a situation and figure out how they would react and that's how your plot unfolds. Of course you don't really get to know them until you start writing them, and so frequently you realize that you expected a character to do something that, now that you know her better, she wouldn't do. So you have her do B instead of A and then you figure out how that will change everything that happens after that. That's the way that your characters often lead you to a place that you didn't expect.

People who were familiar with the Chicago music scene in the 90s will recognize that the character of Burning Patrick is based loosely on a real person named Wesley Willis. Like Patrick, Wesley was homeless, selling his sketches of El Tracks on the street until he was basically adopted by a rock band, who helped shelter him. They also formed a band around him and fulfilled Wesley's dream of being a rock star.

Ann Guilfoile: How come there are so many characters unlike your sister in your books?

KG: Are you kidding? My books are filled with liars and sociopaths.

MP: In your novel Cast Of Shadows, one character was driven by a religious group. This is a kind of group and person we see occasionally see in the news. However, in The Thousand there is a group of people with a very discreet and cult-like devotion to philosopher mathematician Pythgoras. Where did the idea for this come about?

KG: I was working on the first draft of the novel, and it had many of the same elements of the final one--a young woman with special mental gifts, and the intersection of art and science and math and religion--but something about it wasn't quite working. One night I had dinner with a friend named Tom Morris, who had been a philosophy professor of mine in college. I was spelling out the trouble I was having and he put down his fork and said, "You need to go home and read everything you can find about Pythagoras." Once I did that, the story really began to fall together.

Kevin Guilfoile
 Pythagoras was one of the most influential individuals in history--his teachings were the foundation of modern science, music, math, astronomy, and religion--but most people know nothing about him beyond the Pythagorean Theorem, which he didn't have anything to do with. Plus he was an insane and reclusive cult leader on top of it, who thought his friends were reincarnated as dogs and that it was a sin to eat beans. I couldn't not write about him after that.

AG: On a scale of 9 to 10 how would you rate the influence of your sister in your life?

KG: My sister took me to see Star Wars when I was nine years old. Without a doubt one of the most influential experiences of my life. She also taught me how to ride a bike and introduced me to the music of Boz Scaggs.

MP: Before reading Cast Of Shadows I had read some of your very humorous pieces in McSweeney’s and in a book of essays titled 1001 Damnations. Quite a contrast to your books, which makes me wonder if you have any screwball comedy screenplays incubating in your office?

Ann Guilfoile
KG: I have written a screenplay, actually, which might go into production as soon as next year. It's more a dark comedy than a screwball one. It's about Chicago record collectors in the late 1980s and it's sort of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre meets High Fidelity meets Reservoir Dogs.

AG: If it weren't for your sister, would you be living in a homeless shelter or in the street?

KG: I've always seen myself as more of an "under the bridge" kind of guy.

MP: When you think of your books being made into films, do you have specific actors in mind that you feel would personify the characters as you see them?

KG: That's always a difficult question for me. The reader spends a few days or weeks with the characters, but the writer spends years with them. It's hard to just imagine some actor becoming them. Film is a very different art from literature. I'm not sure what role the author should play in shaping the film (unless he's adapting it himself). Tony Phelan and Joan Rater, two writers/producers from Grey's Anatomy, are working on the Cast of Shadows screenplay. I told them I was around if they have any questions, but I'm more interested in seeing their interpretation of the novel than I am in influencing it.

AG: Where is the $50 you owe your sister?

KG: I paid her back in wit.

MP: How did it feel to have Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times give such a powerful review praising The Thousand?

KG: Ms. Kakutani has been very good to me. She had many kind things to say about Cast of Shadows, as well. Obviously not everyone is going to perceive your book in exactly the same way that you see it, but it's gratifying when someone does, and when that person is the lead book reviewer at the New York Times, you consider yourself especially lucky. It cushions the blow, I suppose, when the next guy doesn't like it as much.

MP: Thank you for taking time to talk with us. We wish you much continued success and hope you’ll visit again.

Get more information on Kevin Guilfoile by visiting Kevin Guilfoile's website, or the Cast of Shadows site, and follow him on Twitter

Monday, May 9, 2011

Meet Australian Novelist & Television Host - Sylvia Massara!

Welcome back to my salon where today I'll share another wonderful result of cyberspace, social media and the way we booklovers transcend distance and time (zones.) For this is how I met Australian novelist, screenwriter, and television producer & host Sylvia Massara.

Sylvia Massara
Perry: Welcome to Madame Perry's Salon, Sylvia. We have a lot to talk about. First, I don’t know how you have time to be such a prolific writer, blogger, television show host, and still make time to help other authors. Your three novels – The Soul Bearers, The Other Boyfriend, and Like Casablanca are in print as well as e-books. Why did you choose to add the e-book format?

Massara: I kind of “stumbled” into digital publishing, Jennifer. My initial aim was to get my first two novels published through a traditional publisher, but this was taking such a long time—not to mention the number of publishers and agents who didn’t even reply to my letters of enquiry or submissions! Anyway, for a while I did nothing and as I was working a fulltime job, I pretty much shelved everything. And then I got sick. I developed a lower back/pelvic problem that made it impossible for me to continue working for about a year, and it was during this time that I took solace in the social media.

This is how I discovered the world of digital publishing. You know how it is, one thing led to another, and suddenly I was engrossed in formatting my novels into e-books. So my intent was to self-publish in e-book format, and later bring the novels out in paperback.

So far, The Other Boyfriend is out in paperback as well as e-book format. I wanted to test the waters and see what sold best. To date, my e-book sales far outweigh my paperback sales, so now I’m thinking that I will stay with the e-book formats; at least until Hollywood discovers one of my books and makes it to a movie, and then I’m sure that a traditional publisher or two will approach me for the book rights. LOL.

Perry: While reading The Other Boyfriend I truly enjoyed that I could ‘see’ the characters because they were so well drawn. Their dialogue, mannerisms, and settings were vividly described so I felt that I was in the scene live and in person! How much time is spent developing the characters for each book?

Massara: This varies with every writer. With me it happens fairly quickly. In the space of a couple of hours I’ll have most of my characters mapped out. You see, my characters live inside my head all the time, and I guess it’s a matter of who shouts the loudest to come out and be written in a novel. I told another interviewer only the other day that she should call me “Sybil”!

Perry: Actually, Sybil came to mind when you were describing the characters shouting at you from inside your head. In the past few years video book trailers have become quite the clever marketing tool for authors. You have three great ones, and I especially enjoyed the one for Like Casablanca. Do you create them yourself?

Massara: Yes, I do. This is courtesy of that illness I had. During the time I was ill, not only did I learn to publish digitally, but I also learned a lot about social media, blogging, making and editing videos and promoting my novels through book trailers.

I love being creative; whether it’s writing, filming videos or making trailers. I’ve always been a creative person and I guess always will be. So now you see why I walk around with all these characters inside my head. LOL. I am always engaged in some creative pursuit.

Perry: You are the creator and host of The Lit Chick Show. Entertaining, funny and sharp, TLCS is a virtual television show where you interview authors. Is this your first foray into the broadcasting milieu?

Massara: I’ve never had a talk show, if that’s what you mean—not even a virtual one. But from age 5, I always wanted to be an actress. This was my primary dream, but unfortunately I didn’t follow it. Acting is always seen as an insecure career, and out of all the actors in the world, I’ve been told that only around 2% can make a fulltime living out of it. Mind you, it seems the same thing applies to authors!

Having said this, I polished off some ambitions when I was younger. During my late 20s and early 30s I was involved in writing screenplays, and a few of them received recognition from some well known Hollywood names, but I guess it was not my destiny that the screenplays would make it to film. Lots of screenplays end up on the shelf. Hollywood proved to be rather fickle and I was disappointed, to say the least.

The one thing I did, which I thoroughly enjoyed during this time, was acting. At the late age of 33 years, I finally decided to get some acting gigs and I was lucky to land a few TV commercials, documentaries and bit parts in a few TV series. One of them, which I’m not sure if it’s known in the US, was called Home and Away. This is a soapy, and the springboard into Hollywood for Aussie actresses Melissa George (Amityville Horror) and Isla Fisher (Confessions of a Shopaholic).

I was lucky to be in a scene with Melissa George in “Home and Away”, where I played the part of a sales assistant in a maternity-wear store, and where I helped her pick out a dress. And regarding Isla Fisher, I didn’t work directly with her, but I shared the same make-up trailer with her and we had a really nice chat. The other evening I watched “Confessions of a Shopaholic” and I sat there thinking about the time I met her and how nice she was to me at the time.

But back to your question, The Lit Chick Show is my first foray into broadcasting on my own, and something I enjoy doing in order to support fellow authors promote their work. I love doing the introductions and better still, interviewing face to face if the author happens to be on my side of the world. I was very lucky to catch Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords, when he was out in Sydney as part of his mini-world tour and he very kindly agreed to feature as a special guest on my show. I was so excited that I made him an honorary Aussie on camera!

Perry: That’s why you are so natural in front of the camera, and your guests seem comfortable as well. Sylvia, I’m so glad you joined us here at Madame Perry’s Salon. We’re looking forward to more books, more episodes of The Lit Chick Show, and for your books to be made into films. I hope you’ll have a part for an American actress. You know, a modern mix of Rosalind Russell and Eve Arden. Just a thought.

Jennifer 'Mme' Perry

Massara: Jennifer, the minute any of my books become movies you are guaranteed a cameo role right alongside of me :-) In the meantime, I would love to feature you on The Lit Chick Show so you can come and tell us all about your wonderful Salon.

Thank you for featuring me on Madame Perry's Salon; I think this is a wonderful place to be and I feel honoured. You've made me feel much at ease and very welcome.

 Perry: An invitation I am thrilled to accept. Thank you.

You can buy Sylvia's books in print, download them, watch The Lit Chick Show, plus follow her on twitter, facebook, and LinkedIn.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Candace Dempsey, author of MURDER IN ITALY, visits Mme. Perry's Salon

You've read the sensational headlines in newspapers, magazines, online media and the tabloids about the tragic death, bizarre circumstances and shocking theories in the death of the British student Meredith Kercher, and the arrest, trial and conviction of her American roommate, Amanda Knox. Or maybe you watched the Lifetime movie about these two young women attending school in Italy. If you haven't read MURDER IN ITALY by Candace Dempsey, the Italian-American journalist who has covered the entire story from the beginning, you are in for an even greater shock.

MURDER IN ITALY (Penguin/Berkley Books) received the Best True Crime Book of 2010 Editor’s Choice Award and Best True Crime Book of 2010 Reader’s Choice Awards. We are very pleased to have author Candace Dempsey visit Madame Perry's Salon.

Jennifer Perry: Welcome to Madame Perry’s Salon, Candace. We are joined by my friend, Atlanta broadcast professional Joy Barge. We are so delighted that you could make time to talk with us.

As I told you before, many times I passed your book MURDER IN ITALY as I scoured the true crime shelves at bookstores. Having bought the sensational media and legal conviction of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for the horrible murder of Meredith Kercher, I didn’t think my opinion could be swayed. Then I bought your book, and was absolutely amazed.

Please tell us how you came to be covering the story, and how you were able to get such a close up view of the proceedings?

Candace Dempsey: The Amanda Knox case has beautiful people, sex, drugs, Italy, a hilltop college town, tragedy. A real-life murder mystery. For me, it’s a natural. I’m an Italian-American journalist from Seattle, Amanda’s hometown. I have many sources there and in Italy, where I flew for trial and interviews. I know Italy well, because I have family there.

In fact, I’d just returned from Rome in 2007 when I heard a British student had been murdered in Perugia, Seattle’s sister city, and that the main suspect was Amanda, an honor student from the University of Washington in Seattle. Meredith Kercher’s stabbing was so sad, tragic and ironic. I had to write about it on my blog.

Joy Barge: For some reason, the first time I saw this story I didn't believe Amanda Knox was guilty. It seemed from the start a sort of media hysteria. I tried to imagine what it would be like to be in another country accused of such a heinous crime. When did your opinion about the case begin to change?

Author Candace Dempsey
Dempsey: When police claimed Amanda was cultivating marijuana in her Perugia garden. That’s like growing orchids outdoors in the Arctic. When police lie like that, I get curious. They also told reporters that Amanda had called drifter Rudy Guede, supposedly a co-conspirator, before and after the murder. He didn’t even have a cell phone and police knew it. They’d taken it away on Oct. 27, because Rudy had stolen it.

Even prestigious newspapers like The Times of London simply typed up whatever police or prosecutors leaked on a given day - no matter how illogical or nonsensical. That certainly made me wonder if Amanda could be innocent.

Perry: It seems that Kercher and Knox met because they both responded to a billboard notice seeking roommates, and knew each other only a few weeks before the murder. Knox was with her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito that night anyway. Did it seem this was just disregarded in favor of sensational headlines?

Dempsey: Yes, the roommates shared quarters little more than a month. Nobody knew anybody very well. Meredith’s British friends described Amanda harshly in court, but most of them had met her only once—at the police station after the murder. They became suspicious only after her arrest.

Barge: Do you think Amanda Fox was so targeted by Italian authorities and the media because she is American? Did that have any bearing on her case?

Meredith Kercher
Dempsey: I’m not sure she was targeted, but anti-Americanism plays a part. Read the comments in Italian newspapers. They’ll bring up Guantanamo Bay, the electric chair, George Bush, U.S. arrogance. They’ll talk about “Natural Born Killers” like it’s a documentary. Amanda Knox becomes Sharon Stone in “Basic Instincts.”
There’s also hypocrisy. Perugia’s been called a “Disneyland of drugs” and prostitution thrives there, but you’d think Amanda invented marijuana and premarital sex. The prosecutor was fixated on vibrator and condoms. Very few of Perugia’s 40,000 college students are American. Perugia has serious crime problems that we didn’t cause.

Perry: The Kercher family seemed convinced of Knox’s guilt. Their grief and heartbreak is certainly painful. Do they seem at all swayed by the information brought to light in your book?

Dempsey: Victim’s families usually side with the prosecution. They need to trust someone. We’re all looking at the same facts. I doubt they’ve read my book.
Amanda Knox

Barge: Amanda and her family were recently in the news again on new charges. What do you think about this? Are you in touch with her family at all?

Dempsey: Yes, I’m in touch with Amanda’s family. They’re accessible to journalists. Yes, she’s in court all the time. Her 26-year murder conviction is on appeal. She and her parents are also being tried for slander. Twelve police offers have brought charges against her because she said an officer hit her twice during an all-night interrogation. Her parents are being tried simply for telling a reporter what Amanda said about the hitting.
Police refuse to provide videotapes, audio or even transcript of that interrogation. So it’s a police said/they said. Amanda already has a 26-year sentence. To Americans, these new trials look like harassment, especially when the financially drained parents are hauled into court.

Whatever happens, I’ll cover every twist and turn in the Amanda Knox case on my blog.

Perry: I believe we all want true justice in this case, and for Meredith Kercher’s family and friends to find some peace and consolation after such a despicable tragedy.

Thank you for giving us so much of your time here, Candace, and for your excellent reporting of events. For both the Kercher and Knox families, it is vital that someone is diligently watching the developments with an interest in the truth.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Coming Soon! Interview with Candace Dempsey, award winning author of MURDER IN ITALY

My good friend, broadcast professional Joy Barge, and I interviewed Candace Dempsey about her book MURDER IN ITALY. An Italian-American journalist who covered the Meredith Kercher murder investigation and the trial of Amanda Knox from the beginning, Dempsey gives up a close up view you can't and won't get from media or the Lifetime movie.

I'll post the interview later this week. For now, check out Dempsey's blog.SeattlePI - Candace Dempsey - Lifetime pulls disturbing Amanda Knox video.