Novelist Walter Mosley explains how watching his mother's experience with dementia helped him craft his latest novel, The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey, which asks: Would you repair your failing memory if it meant your life span would also be significantly shortened?
Many of Spencer's novels feature a turning point -- a dreadful, unplanned act committed by one of the characters. In his latest book, Man in the Woods, a carpenter accidentally kills a man, which leads him to question himself and his relationship with God.
Jonathan Franzen's new novel Freedom has been called "a masterpiece" by Time Magazine and has received rave reviews from critics. Franzen talks about the runaway success of his previous novel The Corrections, and the strong reaction elicited by Freedom.
While writer Stephen King was recovering from a near-fatal car accident, he finished a nonfiction book about the craft of writing. In a 2000 interview with Terry Gross, King talked about the demons that haunted him after the accident -- and how writing helped his recovery process.
Novelist Tim O'Brien served in Vietnam as an infantryman in 1968. He wrote about the war in several novels, including Going After Cacciato and If I Die in a Combat Zone. He spoke with Terry Gross in 1990 about his classic book of short war stories, The Things They Carried.
Novelist Barry Hannah died earlier this week. A native of Mississippi, Hannah won the William Faulkner Prize for his 1972 novel Geronimo Rex. Today, we remember the Souther author, who appeared on Fresh Air in 2001.
Crime novelist James Crumley's detective tales were filled with sex, drugs, violence and profanity, and inspired comparisons to Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, among others. Crumley died Sept. 17 in Missoula, Mont. He was 68.
After a car accident, a 27-year-old man emerges from a coma with a rare neurological disorder. He can recall most everything about his life, but he believes his family members and closest friends are imposters. Richard Powers' The Echo Maker won the National Book Award for fiction in 2006; it's newly out in paperback. (This interview first aired on Dec. 12, 2006.)
Norman Mailer once wrote that before he was 17, he'd formed the desire to be a major writer. That wish certainly came true. One political campaign, two Pulitzer Prizes and an unprecedented level of controversy later, he became a literary grandee unlike any other. This interview originally aired on Oct. 8, 1991.