New York, NY
Place of Birth
Amherst, BA, American Studies
Why did you choose to come to Amherst?
The usual: I wanted a liberal arts college, and what better? A gorgeous campus and the ability to participate in sports and other extracurriculars helped.
Favorite (most memorable or most influential) class at Amherst
Geology 101 – I thought it would be a gut and boy, was I surprised! But a great course, too….
Favorite (most memorable or most influential) professor
I wrote a thesis about the connections between Irish nationalism and Irish-Americans.
Awards and Prizes
Magna cum laude
A tough one – for fiction, perhaps Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner or Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. For non-fiction, it’s hard to choose just one. The most recent book that really caught my attention, though, has an Amherst connection: Lives like Loaded Guns by Lyndall Gordon, a very original (and yes, I know, controversial) take on the Dickinson clan. And just to give an honest impression of my reading, I like mysteries and thrillers.
Tips for aspiring writers?
If you are going to write a book, you need to love the subject because it is going to be living with you – all day, every day.
Tell us a bit about your path to becoming an author
I’ve been a journalist most of my career and in the early 2000s, I decided I wanted to write something long-form. It took a while, but at my father’s suggestion, I did a book on the 1908 baseball season – Crazy ’08 – which reflects my interest in baseball. That was part of a two-book contract; my second book was Scoundrels in Law, which reflects my interest in New York City history.