Vick Mickunas

Host - Book Nook

Vick Mickunas introduced the Book Nook author interview program for WYSO in 1994. Over the years he has produced more than 1500 interviews with writers, musicians, poets, politicians, and celebrities. Listen to the Book Nook with Vick Mickunas for intimate conversations about books with the writers who create them.  Vick Mickunas reviews books for the Dayton Daily News and the Springfield News Sun.

Ways to Connect

When Vince Flynn came out to Yellow Springs to record our first radio show together he was an author on the rise. During our first conversation he described how he had quit a lucrative job to focus on writing his first novel. Flynn would write during the day then tend bar in St. Paul during the evenings. Flynn self-published that first book and it did well, so well that it was picked up by a major publisher, Simon and Schuster, and reissued. At that point Vince Flynn was on his way.

Here in the United States we live our lives of astounding affluence. We take so many things for granted; fresh water, inexpensive fuels, hot showers, electricity, low crime rates, clean air, abundant food and shelter, heat, air conditioning, the internet; transportation, the list goes on and on. Our consumer society remains blissfully oblivious to how much of the rest of the world lives.

In 1994 I started interviewing authors on the radio. I probably would never have decided to do that if it hadn't been for the fact that in those days in any given year there were hundreds of authors passing through Dayton on book tours. Now we are fortunate to have one or two in the area during any given week.

18 years ago an author from Edinburgh, Scotland passed through on a tour to publicize her historical novel "Gemini." Her name was Dorothy Dunnett. On the day that she came out to our studios in Yellow Springs it was the first and only time that she had ever been to Ohio. I had not been familiar with her work prior to reading "Gemini."

Over the course of our conversation that day I began to realize that she was very well regarded, that she had produced a prodigious body of work, and that she had a huge readership. I also discovered that before she became a novelist she had been quite well known as a portrait artist. As you listen to this interview I think you'll understand why I found myself to be totally charmed by this articulate and clever guest.

William Howard Taft is the only president who also served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He was our 27th president and was the most judicial of the lot. While he was a reluctant president; he never really wanted the job, he was an immensely gifted chief justice and is considered to have been one of the best judges to have served in that position.

Publishers will often send out advance copies of books so that I will have the opportunity to read them before the books are officially published. I am always reading something and I'll usually finish a book before starting the next one. Usually. Now and then I'll receive a book by one of my favorite writers and I'll instantly drop whatever book I was reading so that I can start reading the latest by one of those authors whose work I treasure. Philip Kerr was one of those authors.

Jessica Strawser lives in Cincinnati-she was looking for the perfect setting for "Not That I Could Tell," her second novel. She decided that the ideal place for it would be a community that she enjoys visiting, the village of Yellow Springs, Ohio.

As this story of domestic suspense opens a woman has vanished along with her children and nobody seems to know where they might have gone. The missing woman had been going through a contentious divorce, she has been separated from her husband, a physician who is living in an apartment while the divorce proceedings are underway.

22 years ago a relatively unknown poet became a publishing sensation after she released her first memoir. Frances Mayes had written about her experiences renovating an ancient villa in the Tuscany region of Italy. That book, "Under the Tuscan Sun,  became a massive blockbuster best-seller. The paperback remained on the best-seller list for years.

Laura Lippman's latest novel is a standalone noir that pays tribute to the work of the legendary James M. Cain. Lippmann got the theme for this one in part from a newspaper story that ran during her days as a journalist in Baltimore. During this interview she tiptoed around what that news story was actually about because knowing what it discussed would have been a bit of a spoiler

It is always a pleasure to interview an author who is making a literary debut with the publication of that first book. It is even more special when that author is someone you remember as a youth rambling the streets of your own town. Recently I had that experience when I conducted this interview with Moriel Rothman-Zecher.

Here's the review of his novel that I wrote for the Cox Ohio newspapers:

T.J. Turner returned to the program to discuss the second book in his series that imagines an alternate history of our American Civil War. In the first book "Lincoln's Bodyguard," the author created a story line in which President Abraham Lincoln was not assassinated at Ford's Theater in April, 1865. Instead, Lincoln had been saved by his bodyguard who is also the main protagonist in the first book and in this new one "Land of Wolves."