Tell us about yourself and what inspired you to start writing.
I’m the chief operating officer and senior vice president of sales and marketing at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. I earned my degree in journalism from the University of Memphis and then held positions at several advertising agencies and organizations, including Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.
I currently serve on the boards of the D.C. chapter of the American Advertising Federation and the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.
I live with my wife and daughters in historic Arlington, Va. I’m passionate about discovering and sharing forgotten stories from the past, and in my spare time I explore the history of the American south, especially around my home in West Tennessee.
Tell us about your books.
My first book was “The Forgotten Adventures of Richard Halliburton: from Tennessee to Timbuktu.” It was published a couple of years ago and was about a forgotten explorer who wrote during the 1920s and 1930s. My latest book is “An Odd Book, How the First Modern Pop Culture Reporter Conquered New York.” It’s about the first pop culture reporter who wrote around the same time. I really enjoy researching and writing about those early decades when the world was go through so many changes.
How did you go about getting published?
My first book was published by a traditional publisher. I self-published this latest book. I tried self-publishing to see if I could do it and it turned out I really loved the whole process.
What is your writing process? Do you have a time, day or place you like to write?
I write really early in the morning. I usually get up around 4 a.m.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Full-time job, pets, hobbies?
I am the chief operating officer of the Newseum in Washington, D.C. I love history and spend many hours on bike riding around DC checking out the museums and monuments.
Any advice for authors about book covers?
I was fortunate enough that a very talented friend volunteered to write the current one. He did a phenomenal job. I actually two he designed and I like them both so I did a little social media campaign and crowd-sourced the final choice. That was a lot of fun.
Any marketing tips you’d like to share with other authors?
Just dive in and create and share as much content as possible.
What’s your favorite book?
What are you reading now?
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
What’s your next book project?
My current book is about Odd McIntyre. As the highest-paid and most-read reporter of his era, he achieved great fame and fortune in the early decades of the twentieth century. In his daily column about New York, he recorded what was happening backstage and behind the scenes with popular culture in the city and around the world.
He was close friends with many of the leading personalities of the day, including writers Edna Ferber, Ernest Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald; entertainers Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., Billie Burke, and Will Rogers; composers George Gershwin and Meredith Willson; actors Rudolph Valentino and Charlie Chaplin, and many others.
With the help of his wife, Maybelle, Odd triumphed over a debilitating mental illness and years of professional failure to become the nation’s preeminent pop culture writer. He was there as the telegraph changed the news business, and then as radio changed everything. He covered live entertainment as it shifted from vaudeville to something new and exciting on Broadway, and had a literal front-row seat as moving pictures evolved from nickelodeons, to silent films, and finally to talkies.
Buried under a century of change, what Odd wrote about entertainment, media, and politics nearly one hundred years ago provides a unique glimpse into one of the most fascinating periods in American popular culture.