Last week I had the privilege of being part of a group set up to be in on a conference call to Best Selling Author David Baldacci. David (I am going to call him David 😉 ) has been writing fiction since 1996 starting with his book Absolute Power. Most recently, two books have been published; The Escape (part of the John Puller series), and The Finisher, David’s first dabble into the Young Adult genre.
Our group all had an opportunity to ask David a question or two, and here are some of the key points I walked away with.
When David was asked by his Scholastic Editor Rachel Griffiths about his portrayal of strong women characters in his books, David replied,
I guess I don’t write about damsels in distress because I don’t happen to know any. I have a lot of guy friends that need a lot of help and not so much the women. I grew up with a force of nature in my mother. And I am married to a force of nature with my wife, Michelle.
For myself, I was interested in hearing about his book, The Finisher, which is a new genre for him. When David was asked about this book and the reason for writing something completely different he said,
I have always felt that as a writer if you do not stretch yourself you sort of wither on the vine. So for me, it was a challenge to get out of my comfort zone and write in a genre and in a way that I have never written about before.
As David went on and discussed the books he loved growing up and now shares with his own kids, I adored the fact that he said that the Harry Potter series was the first series they did together as a family and they listened to it on audio; David praising Jim Dale’s narration (as do I!).
Another big take away from this interview was the fact that David and his wife Michelle started a foundation called The Wish You Well Foundation. This foundation supports family literacy in the United States by fostering and promoting the development and expansion of new and existing literacy and educational programs.
The foundation has been in existence for fifteen years and receives around 5,000 applications a year for funds across the country. David says it is a lot of applications, but they go through every single one of them. They also have a book collection drive where they gather books and send them home with people in need of books. They have given out over a million books in the last four years. If interested in knowing more about that program you can check it out here.
My question was about his love of the library. I had heard that David was a library advocate and I wanted to hear more about that. David said,
As a kid I went to the library every day. I had favorite Librarian’s. They would let me check out more books than you are supposed to because they knew I would read them all and come back next week for more. Even though I never left town growing up, I seen the world through books.
In our little town where we live in Virginia we did not have a local library. So my wife and I got behind a movement and helped build a public library here in our community. Filling a place with books and walking in and seeing those ideas on a shelf is the coolest thing in the world. We are a nation that is built on that type of concept, and we are a nation of libraries. That’s something we have to keep and hold dear.
I found out that David is the chair for National Library Week 2015. (SOOOOO COOL!) He also sits on the National Book Festival Board for the Library Of Congress, and was on the state board in Virginia.
(Dang… I asked the right question! 🙂 )
There was so much more great things about this interview, and I could go on and on! David was a wonderful author to talk to, very personable and clearly someone who has a passion for books and literacy. I will link to the other participants (below) who were in on this conversation and I suggest you check out what they all are writing about this amazing interview as there was a lot of good things! 🙂