Nancy Wiegman has been interviewing authors on Nancy's Bookshelf, aired on Northstate Public Radio (KCHO, 91.7 FM), since July 2007. The half-hour weekly program features local writers as well as visitors with a bit more notoriety, including Maya Angelou, Mike Farrell, Steve Lopez, Paula Poundstone, and Scott Simon. For each interview, it's clear to listeners that the host has done her homework, including the requisite reading. Her questions help the author tell the story of the book; they offer gentle nudges, astute reflections, compassionate understanding.
And now, with the help of husband Neal (book designer and transcriptionist extraordinaire), thirty-one of the interviews, including those above, are appearing in printed form. Reading "Conversations With Writers" ($14.95 in paperback from Yellow Arrow Press) is like sitting down to eat with some of the most interesting people; their words, which sometimes pass us by in audio form, become something different on the page: They are there to savor, to ponder, to read again. (Audio archives of the interviews are available on the KCHO.org site.)
Lyon Books in downtown Chico will be hosting a signing and discussion with Nancy and Neal Wiegman, Wednesday, August 28 at 7:00 p.m.
Nancy volunteers for the broadcast, directs the yoga program at Chico Sports Club, has a Master's in French linguistics, and was named Outstanding Woman of Chico in 1999. Neal has a Ph.D. in Spanish and is himself the author of several books, including the novel "Walking the Way: A Medieval Quest." (His interview by Nancy is included in the book, which also contains several photographs, additional notes by Neal, a list of the guests on each program through July 2013, and--full disclosure--several excerpts from this column and some kind mentions.)
Interviews range from Rob Burton, on the history of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in "Hops and Dreams," to Troy Jollimore, Chico State University philosopher and award-winning poet, whose "Love Poem" is just this: "I ache for you / with all of the teeth / that fell out of my mouth / when I was a child."
There's the story of Janis Joplin, from her sister Laura; Robb Wolf on "The Paleo Solution," Laird Easton on Harry Kessler ("The Red Count"), who knew Nietzsche; and more. The table is set. The book is the feast.