Monday, 31 March 2014

No 1. Best Selling Author Joanne Harris

My guest today is world wide, No.1 best selling author, Joanne Harris.

Joanne Harris (MBE) was born in Barnsley in 1964, of a French mother and an English father. She studied Modern and Medieval Languages at Cambridge and was a teacher for fifteen years, during which time she published three novels, including Chocolat (1999), which was made into an Oscar-nominated film starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp.Since then, she has written 14 more novels, two collections of short stories and three cookbooks. Her books are now published in over 50 countries and have won a number of British and international awards. She is an honorary Fellow of St Cathrine’s College, Cambridge, has honorary doctorates in literature from the universities of Sheffield and Huddersfield, and has been a judge for the Whitbread Prize, the Orange Prize, the Desmond Elliott Prize and the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science.

Joanne, welcome and thank you very much for agreeing to be my guest today. I feel truly privileged.

You have a  new book out,  an adult fantasy The Gospel Of Loki based on Norse Mythology. Would you like to tell us about it?

"It’s a retelling of the Norse Myths of the Prose and Poetic Eddas, written in the voice of Loki, the Trickster god. It begins with the Creation, and follows the rise and fall of the gods of Asgard, as Loki, initially brought in from the world of Chaos to help the gods, becomes increasingly alienated and angry, finally turning against them in revenge for their treatment of him"...

You have crossed genre from Romance to Thrillers and now Fantasy, not forgetting your French Cook Books and The Little Book Of Chocolat. Where next?

"I don’t agree that I’ve crossed over any genres – and I don’t think I’ve ever written a romance. My books, though often different in tone, are all linked by a number of strong themes; the outsider; the community under pressure; aspects of the family; everyday magic; themes of identity and perception; the importance of stories and folk tales.

You are a huge inspiration to myself. Your use of words are beautiful, and your ability to provoke the senses through food is a gift. Do you think that the fact that you have synaesthesia (a rare ability to experience colour as smells) has helped in the way you write description?

"Possibly; but I don’t have a point of comparison. I’ve always perceived the world as I do, and I try to bring all aspects of sensuality into my writing".

As it's lent we must talk about Chocolat, (by the way my friend and I would pay good money to see our local Catholic Priest in the front window of a chocolate shop) I read the book many years ago and related to it fully, especially as I'm a single mother. What or whom inspired you to write the story that sent your own career rocketing?

"I wanted to write a book about the cultural aspects of fasting and feasting. It was Easter; the shops were filled with chocolate. Chocolate seemed like a good place to start".

I saw one of your Tweets on Twitter, you were going out to dinner with the late, Scottish author Ian Banks. I thought that was marvelous, it was like that moment when someone asks who would your ideal guest would be at a dinner party. There was you and Ian Banks going to dinner.  Like yourself,  he is one the great 20th century writers, and again a huge inspiration to many. With books like The Wasp Factory and Espedair Street.  Can you share any memories or thoughts about Ian Banks and his works with us?.

"Iain was a wonderful man; I’d met him a number of times while we were both on tour, and I’m a huge admirer of his work. As a man, he was kind; funny; completely unpretentious and yet extraordinarily smart. His death comes as such a sad loss to all of us".

My all time favorite book is Blackberry Wine. An enchanting, magical tale. Was any of it taken from your own life?

"Yes; the main character, Joe, draws heavily on that of my paternal grandfather; a gardener and sometime magician who influenced my childhood enormously".

I can't go without asking you whilst Chocolat was being filmed, were you available on set for consultation? and if so did you share a little glass of wine with Johnny Depp, and maybe some mild flirtation, or a snog?. I know you are happily married. I've done my research.  I'm asking this question for my daughter ..obviously!

"Yes, I was on set during the filming (there’s a lot about this on my website); it was a lot of fun. And yes, I did meet the actors (although I have to admit that Johnny, though very nice as a person, really doesn’t appeal to me in the way he obviously does to - ahem! - your daughter)".


Thanks very much Joanne.

Once upon a time, there was a quiet little village in the French countryside, whose people believed in Tranquilité - Tranquility. If you lived in this village, you understood what was expected of you. You knew your place in the scheme of things. And if you happened to forget, someone would help remind you. In this village, if you saw something you weren't supposed to see, you learned to look the other way. If perchance your hopes had been disappointed, you learned never to ask for more. So through good times and bad, famine and feast, the villagers held fast to their traditions. Until, one winter day, a sly wind blew in from the North...~ Chocolat

To find out more about Joanne Harris and her books why not pop over to  or follow Joanne on Twitter @joannechocolat

Sunday, 23 March 2014




Welcoming back to talk about his book Dr. FeelGood, co-author Rick Lertzman. Rick is the great nephew of the famous musician and songwriter Carl Lettzman

Thanks Fiona and for mentioning my Uncle Carl Lettzman.  He did write several songs and he actually owned Lertzman Appliance in Los Angeles during the 1940s , 1950s and 1960s and many of his clientele were well know stars at the time such as Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, Ginger Rogers and others. The Three Stooges were the stars who interested me and in the early 1970s I met them through my Uncle. I later wrote a chapter about the experience in a book called"Stooges Among Us"

> Rick, welcome. I must thank you. my last Q&A post regarding your book was a great success and proved to be very popular with my readers..

> Fiona we have had a wonderful response from your blog.  It was so well written and captured the spirit of the book.
> I believe you have been having a few problems with the media as in they have blocked your book.

> Well yes we have. It seems that the liberal media has tried to bury it.  Since I have zero political agenda and am actually more liberal in thought , I am quite surprised. A very well known writer was paid a hefty fee to write a story of the book and the back story for the Huff Post. When he delivered the story they killed the story.  The writer, who was still paid, was told by the Editor in Chief Howard Fineman that the Kennedy family, who were backers of the Huff Post, wanted them to kill the story since we talk of the Presidents drug addiction among other things. The NY Times, MSNBC and other news outlets have felt that pressure as well and have succumbed.

The book does not have a political viewpoint however. We are simply telling history. And every fact in Dr Feelgood had been painstakingly researched and fact checked.
> In marketing terms doesn't that make the book more exclusive.
>  I understand your frustration at carrying out an interview then to be told it's not going to make copy, Surly the fact that this issue is being raised more folk are going to want to read the book.
It's actually a double edged sword in this case. In fact, we removed over 300 pages of fascinating information for the publishers fear of liability.
Great stories about Angie Dickinson, Johnny Mathis, Andy Williams and Elizabeth Taylor and many others were removed.  However, Bill and I are considering writing this in a follow up book

>  It's like with a child you say "You can't have it" the child says.
> "I want it"

Very true and quite perceptive
At the end of the day does any one really care the JFK ran down the halls of the Carlyle Hotel stark naked, off his head on drugs.

> Yes! We are inquisitive enough to care, but to judge, no I  really don't think so.

I think that when we are viewing our history and look at our leaders with a more jaundiced eye and consider the reality it gives us an opportunity to judge the impacts this behavior could have affected our world.
When we look at our Presidents like Jefferson who slept with and had children with his slave, Sally Bowles; or the mental illness of Lincoln and his wife Mary; or Nixon's alcoholism, or even Bill Clinton's misbehavior - it allows us to view history in another context and in a more realistic way rather than a myth or fable.
>  It's very sad to think that we are judged unfit because we have a chronic illness, hell I have Graves disease without medication and diet control, like a vampire it would suck the very life out of me.

I totally agree. And it is important to remember that JFK did some very positive things as Presudent from creating the Peace Corp, furthering Civil Rights and the Space Program among others. However it is important to view history with a full sense of reality.

> I would have been the first begging at Dr. Max Jacobsons door. And rapidly fell into the abyss soon after. But desperate measures at desperate times.

>  JfK had chronic illnesses and was desperate to serve his people well..

I agree but also believe his excesses led to an escalation of the Cold War because of Krushchev's perception of him as a weak leader.
 The world has always had a fascination for the Kennedy family. The day that family walked into Politics was the day they allowed the world in. The day Jackie Kennedy graced the pages of fashion magazines the world thought she belonged to them.

> She was an amazing lady. Actually my co author Bill Birnes got to know her when she was an book editor at Doubleday.
> Then there's the question of the moral high ground where does one draw the line. In the 21st century celebrity's fight desperately to keep their private lives private. When do we say enough is enough.

I do believe that privacy is a right you give up when you become a leader such as a President. This is history and you are the leader of the free world. Everything they do, personal or private makes an impact.  It helps us judge their actions and their motives.
> Which brings me to the last question. Could it be the Dollar.  Times economically are very hard. Resentment where money is concerned can it'self create all kinds of mischief.

I think in John Kennedy's case it absolutely does. And I think he was raised by his father, Joe, with a sense of entitlement. The Kennedy's were and are America's Royal Family.

> I thought the book was written very well. If anything a sad tale. No one can be held accountable because it all happened a long time ago
>  Most people are dead.
>  The whole saga occurred in my opinion  through naivety, ignorance and ego. In a time when progression, especially in the medical establishment was still young in development.
>Rick thank you very much and best of luck.

Fiona it was my pleasure and honor to have the opportunity to discuss the book. You certainly bring some fresh and unique questions and observations. Thanks again.


We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light a candle that can guide us through that darkness to a safe and sane future” ~ JFK

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Dr. FeelGood By Richard A Lertzman And William J Birnes.

An exposé of the mysterious doctor who changed the course of history Doctor Max Jacobson, whom the Secret Service under President John F. Kennedy code named “Dr. Feelgood,” developed a unique “energy formula” that altered the paths of some of the twentieth century’s most iconic figures, including the President and Jackie Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, and Elvis. JFK received his first injection (a special mix of “vitamins and hormones,” according to Jacobson) just before his first debate with Vice President Richard Nixon. The shot into JFK’s throat not only cured his laryngitis, but diminished the pain in his back, allowed him to stand up straighter, and invigorated the tired candidate. Kennedy demolished Nixon in that first debate and turned a tide of skepticism about Kennedy into an audience that appreciated his energy and crispness. What JFK didn’t know then was that the injections were actually powerful doses of a combination of highly addictive liquid methamphetamine and steroids. Author and researcher Rick Lertzman and New York Times bestselling author Bill Birnes reveal heretofore unpublished material about the mysterious Dr. Feelgood. Through well-researched prose and interviews with celebrities including George Clooney, Jerry Lewis, Yogi Berra, and Sid Caesar, the authors reveal Jacobson’s vast influence on events such as the assassination of JFK, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Kennedy-Krushchev Vienna Summit, the murder of Marilyn Monroe, the filming of the C. B. Demille classic The Ten Commandments, and the work of many of the great artists of that era. Jacobson destroyed the lives of several famous patients in the entertainment industry and accidentally killed his own wife, Nina, with an overdose of his formula.

It's both an honor and a privilege to have as my guest today New York Times best selling author William J. Birnes.

I thought the book was amazing. It put to bed for me personally a lot of unanswered questions surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy and the murder "suicide" of Marilyn Monroe.

I believe the book took several years to write. What was the reason behind you both getting together and writing the book in the first place?.

"The book started with Rick's investigation into the decline of actor Bob Cummings' career.  He contacted me because actor Dwayne Hickman, whom I represented for his memoir of Dobie Gillis, suggested Rick talk to me because both he and Cummings had worked for my godfather,  George Burns. The book took a long time to publish because publishers were afraid the JFK story and that it might offend the Kennedy Family. Also once we interviewed Dr Lawrence Hatterer about JFK at the Carlyle story, Dr. Hatterer made us not to publish until after his death so he wouldn't break his National Security Oath." 

Max Jacobson "Dr. FeelGood"

What are your most memorable interviews you conducted for research purposes for the book and how did you feel as the truth about the extent of Max Jacobs hold on such influential and high society figures emerged?.

"Dr Lawrence Hatterer who told us about JFK ran naked through the halls of the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan. The stories told to us by Samek about Jacobson, and Tony Bradlee, who talked about the mysterious appearance of CIA Counter-Espinage chief James Angleton in Mary Myer's house after her murder and his search for her diary containing stories about her liaisons with JFK."

Max Jacobson's "Dr FeelGood" actions could be seen as changing the course of American history. I suppose the question left now is what could have happened if all of these wonderful people, with everything to live for hadn't become embroiled with such a man?.

"Would C.B. Demille have completed "The Ten Commandments" without his Methamphetaimine  shots? Would JFK been rolled over by Krushchev at the Vienna summit and then would there have been a Cuban Missile Crisis? Would Mickey Mantle have won the home run Derby against Roger Maris? And would Eddie Fisher still be alive today?"

Dr FeelGood is taking the U.S by storm and is up for yet another award you both must be delighted, whats next on the agenda for both of you?.

"We are looking at a memoir about the founding of Disneyland and how Walt Disney was brought
into the world off television by one of his good friends, who was an actor in television
sitcoms in the 1950s 
Thinking about writing the Bob Cummings story as a complete biography, and talking to one
of the secret service agents who guarded the JFK first family about his years guarding Jackie."

Former First lady and Style Icon Jackie Kennedy Onassis

Best selling author William J. Birnes

  • William J. Birnes

  • Wikipedia William J. "Bill" Birnes (born November 7, 1944) is an American author, editor, publisher and literary rights agent. A graduate of New York University, he holds a Ph.D in medieval literature (with a dissertation on Piers Plowman) from the same institution (1974) and later earned a from Concord Law School.[1]
    As a writer of popular nonfiction, he co-authored The Riverman with detective/academic Robert D. Keppel (1995), an account of serial killer Ted Bundy's involvement in the apprehension of Green River Killer Gary Ridgway. The book was adapted into a made-for-TV film (2004) on A&E. Following the publication of The Day After Roswell (1998), a collaboration with Philip J. Corso, Birnes has emerged as a prominent UFOlogist.
    In his previous career as a literary scholar, Birnes served as a Lily Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania and taught literature and linguistics at Trenton State College.
    He has appeared on the History Channel's television documentary series: UFO Files (2004-2007), Ancient Aliens (2009-2013), and I Know What I Saw. He starred in UFO Hunters (2008-2009) as leader of an investigative team of fellow ufologists.[2]

  • Bibliography[edit]

    • The Day After Roswell (1998) with Philip J. Corso ISBN 0-671-00461-1
    • Star Trek Cookbook (1999) with Ethan Phillips
    • Unsolved UFO Mysteries (2000) with Harold Burt
    • The UFO Magazine UFO Encyclopedia (2004)
    • Space Wars: The First Six Hours of World War III (2007) with William B. Scott, Michael J. Coumatos ISBN 0-7653-1087-2
    • Worker in the Light: Unlock Your Five Senses And Liberate Your Limitless Potential (2008) with George Noory
    • Serial Violence: Analysis of Modus Operandi and Signature Characteristics of Killers (2008) with Robert D. Keppel
    • The Haunting of America: From the Salem Witch Trials to Harry Houdini (2009) with Joel Martin & George Noory
    • Journey to the Light: Find Your Spiritual Self and Enter Into a World of Infinite Opportunity (2009) with George Noory
    • Counterspace: The Next Hours of World War III (2009) with William B. Scott & Michael J. Coumatos
    • UFO Hunters (2009)
    • George Noory's Late-Night Snacks: Winning Recipes for Late-Night Radio Listening, with George Noory (2013)
    • The Haunting of Twenty-First-Century America with Joel Martin (2013)

  • Author Richard A. Lertzman

    Richard A. Lertzman

    Richard A. Lertzman studied as a film student as an undergraduate at Case Western Reserve University and sought his masters degree in film at the University of Southern California. As a film historian, Mr. Lertzman was the publisher and editor of Screen Scene Magazine and Film World. Mr. Lertzman has studied and has contributed to several tomes on film comedy teams.
    He is also the Chairman of the Quest Media Group that has worked to legalize casinos in Ohio. The Quest Gaming Group are partners (with Quicken Loans and Caesars) in the casino resorts in Cleveland and Cincinnati, Ohio.

    Rick is the co-author (with William J. Birnes) of a new book, Dr. Feelgood that was published in May 2013 by W W Norton/Skyhorse Publishing.

    He is also creating the Classic Television Network with his partner William J. Birnes in conjunction with NBC/Universal. This will be the first 24/7 streaming internet television network featuring many programs from the “Golden Age” of television. Rick has also contributed a chapter to the Stooges book, Stooges Among Us, by Lon Davis (Bear Manor). Rick's upcoming book is a biography of the amazing a sad life of actor Bob Cummings.

    Rick and his late wife Sandy have two sons and founded the that rescues distressed animals. Mr. Lertzman resides in Moreland Hills, Ohio and Marina Del Rev, CA.

    The Dr. Feelgood book is selling in hardback worldwide by W.W. Norton/Skyhorse books, is on Kindle, Amazon Audible Audio books, Brilliance audio books (CD's) and will soon be released in paperback by Norton/Skyhorse. It is being sold worldwide. The book was featured in front page stories in the New York Post, Daily News, London Mail, Star Magazine, National Enquirer, etc. We have done interviews for the book with Geraldo Rivera (on Fox and ABC Radio), Lou Dobbs (on Fox Business on Lou Dobbs Live), The Doctors TV program, with Dick Morris on CBS Radio, Coast to Coast Radio and countless others. We are still doing book tours nationwide.
    The book has been nominated for several awards including for the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Biography. 

    For more of Dr. FeelGood Follow Richard Lertzman on Twitter @ricklertzman