Marissa Bell Toffoli

Archive for the ‘nonfiction’ Category

Interview With Entrepreneur & Writer Ronnie Screwvala

In author interview, Bollywood, books, business, nonfiction, nonfictionentrepreneurship on May 18, 2015 at 10:05 pm
Ronnie Screvala.

Ronnie Screwvala. Photo courtesy of dreamwithyoureyesopen.org.

An introduction to Ronnie Screwvala, the Indian entrepreneur and author of a book of lessons learned, Dream with Your Eyes Open (Rupa Publications, 2015). Screwvala’s candid prose offers inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs everywhere. As much about failures as about successes, Dream wIth Your Eyes Open is about “it can be done,” not “I did it.” A first-generation entrepreneur and social philanthropist, Screwvala is behind UTV in India, which has since become a part of The Walt Disney Company, he has produced numerous Bollywood movies, and is the Founder Trustee of Swades Foundation (named after the film Swades starring Shahrukh Khan). Among other accolades, Screwvala has been named on Esquire’s “List of the 75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century” (September 2008), and ranked 78 among the 100 most influential people in the world on the “Time 100” (Time Magazine, 2009). Read the rest of this entry »

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Interview With Writer Ken LaZebnik

In author interview, directors, essays, film, nonfiction, plays, TV, writing on May 31, 2014 at 11:37 am
Ken LaZebnik. Photo courtesy of the author.

Ken LaZebnik. Photo courtesy of the author.

An introduction to Ken LaZebnik, author of Hollywood Digs (Kelly’s Cove Press, 2014), a book of essays. LaZebnik writes for television, film, and the theater.  His work includes collaborating with Garrison Keillor on Robert Altman’s last film, A Prairie Home Companion, many years of writing for hour-long television dramas, and ten plays. LaZebnik wrote the film Thomas Kinkades Christmas Cottage, which featured Peter O’Toole and Marcia Gay Harden, and was directed by Michael Campus. For television, he has written on series as varied as Touched By An AngelArmy Wives, When Calls The HeartProvidence, and Star Trek: Enterprise.   Read the rest of this entry »

Interview With Writer & Artist Nick Bantock

In art, author interview, books, fiction, nonfiction, writing on February 3, 2014 at 4:24 pm
Nick Bantock. Photo by Yukiko Onley.

Nick Bantock. Photo by Yukiko Onley.

An introduction to Nick Bantock, author of the Griffin and Sabine books and a new book on creativity, The Trickster’s Hat (Perigree, 2014). In The Trickster’s Hat, Bantock shares exercises for writers and artists that explore elements of creativity such as where to begin, working from dreams and archetypes, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy, silence, the unexpected, the mysterious, and more. Read the rest of this entry »

Interview With Writer Duff Brenna

In author interview, books, fiction, memoir, nonfiction, short stories, writing on September 13, 2013 at 10:30 am
Duff Brenna

Duff Brenna. Photo courtesy of the author.

An introduction to Duff Brenna, author of nine books including The Book of Mamie, Minnesota Memoirs, and Murdering the Mom. He is a freelance writer and Professor Emeritus of English literature and creative writing at California State University, San Marcos. Brenna finds ideas for his own writing from reading, and also from talking to people: “I know how to listen when I’m with people. Stories often pop out of their mouths that I use to write my own version of what they were saying. I also use my own life.” Read the rest of this entry »

Interview With Writer Deanne Stillman

In author interview, books, essays, fiction, journalism, nonfiction, writing on August 16, 2013 at 11:58 am
Deanne Stillman

Deanne Stillman. Photo courtesy of the author.

An introduction to Deanne Stillman, author of Desert Reckoning: A Town Sheriff, A Mojave Hermit, and the Biggest Manhunt in Modern California History. Her previous books include Mustang and Twentynine Palms. Stillman is a member of the core faculty at the UC Riverside-Palm Desert Low Residency MFA Creative Writing Program. When asked how she balances content with form, Stillman shared, “Place drives everything; in my stories, the desert or the land shapes the story and the characters, and often is a character itself.”

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Interview With Writer Bruce Littlefield

In books, humor, journalism, memoir, nonfiction, writing on July 10, 2013 at 11:47 am
Bruce Littlefield (and Westminster). Photo courtesy of the author (and dog).

Bruce Littlefield (and Westminster). Photo courtesy of the author (and dog).

An introduction to Bruce Littlefield, author of Moving In: Tales of an Unlicensed Marriage, which chronicles the first year of home ownership with his partner of 20 years, Scott Stewart. Littlefield’s other books include Airstream LivingGarage Sale America, Merry Christmas AmericaThe Bedtime Book for Dogs and the best-selling My Two Moms (written with civil rights advocate Zach Wahls), and Use What You’ve Got (written with ABC Shark Tank star Barbara Corcoran). Originally from South Carolina, Bruce has designed and owned two award-winning restaurants, and Edgewater Farm, his 1940’s Catskills farmhouse, which he renovated and decorated himself, has been featured in numerous publications. Bruce’s number one tip for a happy life is, “Laugh. A lot!”

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Interview With Writer Peter Mehlman

In books, essays, film, humor, journalism, nonfiction, TV, writing on April 17, 2013 at 1:56 pm
Peter Mehlman. Photo courtesy of the author.

Peter Mehlman. Photo courtesy of the author.

An introduction to Peter Mehlman, author of Mandela Was Late: Odd things & essays from the Seinfeld writer who coined yada, yada, and made spongeworthy a compliment (The Sager Group, 2013). Mehlman is a multiple Primetime Emmy Award nominee, known for his work on the sitcom Seinfeld. He has won acclaim for his NPR commentaries and hilarious and poignant op-eds and personal essays in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Huffington Post, and Esquire. Host of the Webby-nominated YouTube series Narrow World of Sports, Mehlman grew up in Queens, New York, graduated from the University of Maryland, and now lives in Los Angeles. Read the rest of this entry »

Interview With Writer & Photographer Tom Carter

In art, essays, journalism, nonfiction, photography, travel, writing on December 20, 2012 at 8:01 pm
Tom Carter

Tom Carter. Photo courtesy of the author.

An introduction to travel writer and photographer Tom Carter, whose recent book CHINA: Portrait of a People is being hailed as the most comprehensive book of photography on modern China published by a single author. The book is organized by region with thoughtful descriptions for photos that offer a candid and moving glimpse of life in China. As Carter says in the introduction, “Where I have been, you will be; what I have seen, you will see.” Carter, who is originally from San Francisco, California, is now at work on a few books, including another photo book, INDIA: Portrait of a People. Read the rest of this entry »

Interview With Writer Jim Boots

In books, business, consulting, nonfiction, writing on August 17, 2012 at 6:41 pm
Jim Boots

Jim Boots. Photo by Marissa Bell Toffoli (2012).

An introduction to Jim Boots, founder of the consulting group Global Process Innovation and author of BPM Boots on the Ground (Meghan-Kiffer Press, 2012), a book about how to implement strategic business process management (BPM). Boots shares what he learned from working for one of the world’s largest organizations, and gives readers an idea of how to create change within any company. When Boots recently retired after thirty years at Chevron, he pursued a new adventure as a BPM consultant that began with writing this book. As Boots explains it, BPM is about representing processes graphically “to get people to think very deeply about what they do together and how to improve on it.” Read the rest of this entry »

Interview With Writer Katherine Chiljan

In books, history, nonfiction, plays, poetry, writing on June 30, 2012 at 12:39 pm
Katherine Chiljan

Katherine Chiljan. Photo by Marissa Bell Toffoli (2012).

An introduction to Katherine Chiljan, author of Shakespeare Suppressed: The Uncensored Truth About Shakespeare and his Works (Faire Editions, 2011), and two anthologies: Dedication Letters to the Earl of Oxford, and Letters and Poems of Edward, Earl of Oxford. In 2012, Chiljan received the Vero Nihil Verius Award for Distinguished Scholarship from Concordia University in Oregon. Chiljan has studied the Shakespeare authorship question for over 26 years, has debated the topic with English professors at the Smithsonian Institution and at the Mechanics’ Institute in San Francisco. She has written several articles for the newsletter of the Shakespeare-Oxford Society, was its editor, and is a former Society trustee.

In Shakespeare Suppressed, Chiljan examines the identity of the great author, presenting evidence that supports a somewhat unpopular but convincing argument that he was not the man who hailed from Stratford-upon-Avon, not the man commonly credited as the writer of masterpieces like Romeo and Juliet. Freed of the Stratford Man model, problems of dating plays, piracy, and more can begin to be solved, and a new exciting figure of the author emerges. The book explores why the man from Stratford was falsely credited as Shakespeare after his death, but the implications of Chiljan’s research extend much further and offer Shakespeare fans, students, and scholars fresh perspective on the most celebrated poet and dramatist in history. Read the rest of this entry »

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