From Texas, USA, welcome author Stephen G. Yanoff! Announcing Yanoff’s new book release The Second Mourning: The Untold Story of America’s Most Bizarre Political Murder, a non-fiction account of the terrifying and violent murder of USA President James A. Garfield.
The Second Mourning is a fascinating book, delving into political mayhem and prolific mysteries. I enjoyed Yanoff’s book and recommend The Second Mourning to those looking for a good read. The facts and events draw the reader into this non-fiction historical thriller.
The author of several intriguing books, Yanoff is also a prize-winning playwright. His books grace bookshelves around the globe. Listen to Yanoff on Wednesday, November 12, 2014, from 4-5 PM USA Pacific Time, where he will be featured via talk-live radio broadcast, courtesy of Voice America, on Star Style, a global radio program connecting with millions of listeners in 219 countries! Yanoff will be discussing The Second Mourning, as well as providing insight to the publishing industry.
What books have you written?
I’ve written four mystery novels which are based upon my career as an insurance investigator/underwriter. Each book deals with an actual high risk insurance claim. The books are: The Graceland Gang, The Pirate Path, Devil’s Cove, and Ransom on the Rhone.
What intrigued you about the death of President James A. Garfield?
The actual true details of his death were fascinating, but never fully explained to the public. Had Garfield not been assassinated, he would have probably become one of the best Presidents in U.S. history.
You imply that The Second Mourning is probably the most important book you have ever written. Why?
I think it's very important to finally share Garfield's incredible life story, and to tell the untold story of his death. His life and career deserve to be studied in greater detail, and preserved for future generations. In many ways, he was one of the most remarkable men of his century.
Extensive research and bibliography, 731 end notes, etc. The details are all there. Did you have difficulty with obtaining any of your information? How long did it take to compile?
Early on, I decided to use "first-hand accounts" of the period, so I actually spent five years purchasing the books that were published during Garfield's term and shortly after his death. These books provided an invaluable source of information, and they turned out to be a pretty darn good investment, too! Compiling all of the endnotes (731) took approximately three years, but it was worth the effort. New details and new claims must be supported by reliable sources.
There were several intriguing incidents in The Second Mourning. What factual incident stood out to you?
There were several: The fact that the assassin (Charles Guiteau) was never asked to surrender his weapon at the depot. The fact that Guiteau survived the great Chicago fire and one of the worst maritime disasters of the century, and the fact that he survived not one, but two assassination attempts on his own life. I was also intrigued that Garfield had a strong premonition of his own death, and predicted the very time that he would die. The face to face meeting between Garfield and Guiteau (in the White House) was also rather amazing.
According to The New York Times, on July 3, 1881 President Garfield had a premonition about his death. However, the morning of July 2, 1881 Garfield was shot. Did Garfield tell of his premonition while on his deathbed?
Yes, from time to time (during his lengthy demise) he would tell visitors about his premonition, which he had had since youth. He even predicted some of the gory details that would accompany his passing.
Charles J. Guiteau, Garfield’s assassin, was clearly an incredibly desolate man. What astounded you the most about his character?
The saddest part about Guiteau was that he was clearly insane from birth. His mother, several aunts, and several uncles all died in insane asylums. He also had a father who was physically and verbally abusive to him, and was thought to be crazy, too. He literally failed at everything throughout life and was scorned and ridiculed from the day he was born to the day he was hung.
A great book! Now, let’s talk about your writing habits. Where do you like to write?
I write wherever I happen to be at the moment. I am able to "block out" any and all distractions and focus on a thought, a sentence, or a paragraph. Mostly though, I write in my comfortable study at home.
How do you maintain thoughts, ideas, and extensive reference material?
If I have a thought or bit of dialogue I want to use, I immediately jot it down on a pad. My mystery novels require a lot of research, so it helps to use a dedicated notebook for each story. I usually fill at least two notebooks during my writing of a new book. Thankfully, there are no endnotes required for fiction writing!
Who is your favorite author?
My favorite author has always been, and always will be, Mark Twain. The man was a pure genius, and was blessed with an extraordinary amount of wisdom and talent. I also adore his sense of humor. In my opinion, his autobiography is one of the classic books of American literature.
What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading all (or most) of the books by two remarkable women named Louise Penny and Jo Bannister. They both write smart, believable mystery novels, and they both have a huge following. The best way to learn to write is to read, and these ladies know how to write a good book!
What are you currently writing?
I am in the middle of my 5th mystery novel, A Run for the Money. I have also begun outlining another non-fiction book, this one revealing the incredible true story of the Reno Brothers Gang from Indiana. (The book is titled, Hell-Bent in Heaven.)
As a playwright, what plays have you written?
When I served as playwright-in-residence at the University of Texas, I wrote 4 full-length comedies and several one-act plays. One of my full-length plays (A Hell of a Time) was selected as the opening play of the Houston Civic Center. I had a few one-act plays published, but gradually became more interested in writing books.
Where is your next book signing/event?
The next event for me will be the Texas Book Festival, which takes place in Austin, and is expected to attract 40,000 visitors. The festival is the 4th largest book event in the nation, and this year I will be featured in two categories: "Mystery" and "History."
Do you have advice for beginning writers?
The best advice that I can give, is the advice that I received from a famous mystery author who is no longer with us. If you want to learn how to write, start reading, keep reading, and don't stop reading!
List 10 things that your fans may not know about you…
My fans may or may not know that I was a born in Nashville, Tennessee. That I was a collegiate wrestling champion. That I worked as a stand-up comic and performed at The Improv and Catch a Rising Star. That I was on the college sky diving team. That I owned a marine archaeology firm. (Treasure Island Group). That I have 40 years of scuba diving experience. That I had the privilege of exploring sunken cities in Greece and Turkey. That I have a bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree from Texas A&M University. That I taught public speaking at St. Edward's University for 7 years. And finally, that my personal motto is: "You are never too old to be what you might have been!"
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