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Author Spotlight: Scott Simon

Festival Staff / February 26, 2016

If you miss hearing Scott Simon’s voice, at once authoritative and folksy, on NPR’s Morning Edition Saturday while he’s on a leave of absence, you can get a fix at the Tucson Festival of Books.

The prolific award-winning journalist, essayist and author has won every broadcast award available, including the coveted Peabody Award. He can be found everywhere: hosting the award-winning national radio program, telling stories on CBS Sunday Morning, writing articles for newspapers and magazines and speaking about his craft and life all over the world.

Simon’s books are just as eclectic. He’s written three memoirs, two fiction novels and one biography with another on the way.

He agreed to answer a few questions for us in preparation for his visit to the Tucson Festival of Books.

What are you working on right now?
I am collaborating on a book with the great [singer] Tony Bennett about some of the people who have influenced him most in his amazing life.

You’ve written three memoirs now. What is it within you that compels you to share these deeply personal stories with the public?
They are the stories and people that I know best. In the case of Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other, my wife and I had come to feel strongly about adoption and knew that many people were interested in our story. We thought that we might dispel a lot of mysteries.

In the case of Unforgettable, we knew that millions of people had come to know my mother and her story. It struck me as a story that would give people entertainment (my mother would have loved that) and some inspiration, too.

What does fiction writing give you that your other jobs in journalism don’t?

The chance to fully express myself and exercise imagination.

What inspires you to create your books?

There's no one good answer to that. I begin with what interests me and try to figure if it would interest others.

What does the day-to-day business of being an author actually look like for you?
Getting up early, looking at an empty screen and trying to fill it with something worthwhile.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Do the same.

Simon appeared at the Tucson Festival of Books in 2010 and 2011. His ties to Tucson have expanded, recently, as he narrated Arizona Public Media’s production of Passing On, a documentary about the end of life that aired Feb. 22 and 23.

Find Scott Simon at the Tucson Festival of Books: A Conversation with Scott Simonon Saturday, March 12, and Remember Me: Memoirs of Parents and as moderator at Meet Faye and Jonathan Kellerman on Sunday, March 13. Find out more about Scott Simon on his website.

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