Interview with William Hazelgrove, author of ‘Madam President: The Secret Presidency of Edith Wilson’
William Elliott Hazelgrove is the best-selling author of thirteen novels, Ripples, Tobacco Sticks, Mica Highways, Rocket Man, The Pitcher, Real Santa, Jackpine and The Pitcher 2. His books have received starred reviews in Publisher Weekly and Booklist, Book of the Month Selections, Junior Library Guild Selections, ALA Editors Choice Awards and optioned for the movies. He was the Ernest Hemingway Writer in Residence where he wrote in the attic of Ernest Hemingway’s birthplace. He has written articles and reviews for USA Today and other publications. He has been the subject of interviews in NPR’s All Things Considered along with features in The New York Times, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, Richmond Times Dispatch, USA Today, People, Channel 11, NBC, WBEZ, WGN. The Pitcher is a Junior Library Guild Selection and was chosen Book of the Year by Books and Authors. net. His next book Jackpine will be out Spring 2014 with Koehler Books. A follow up novel Real Santa will be out fall of 2014. Madam President The Secret Presidency of Edith Wilson will be out Fall 2016. Storyline optioned the movie rights. Forging a President How the West Created Teddy Roosevelt will be out May 2017.
He runs a political cultural blog, The View From Hemingway’s Attic.
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Literarily Speaking: Thanks for being here, William! Can you tell us where you are from?
William Hazelgrove: Richmond, Virginia
LS: How did you come up with your title?
W.H.: I wanted to combine the current world with what happened in 1919 when Edith Wilson took over the White House. Madam President The Secret Presidency of Edith Wilson seemed to do both.
L.S.: They say you can judge a book by its cover. Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?
W.H.: Regnery designed the cover and did a great job The photo tells the whole story of the relationship between Edith and Woodrow Wilson.
L.S.: Can you tell us something about your book that would make me run out and buy it?
W.H.: If you want to understand what it would be like to have our first woman president then read this book. The United States was run by a woman for two years from 1919 to 1921 and her name was Edith Wilson.
L.S.: Are there any messages in this book that you want the reader to know about?
W.H.: Well the story of Edith Wilson who ran the government while her husband was recovering from a stroke is simply this: Either it is a story of a normal woman in extraordinary circumstances or an exptroidinary woman who was able to rise to the situation.
L.S.: What was your most favorite chapter to write and why?
W.H.: Probably the chapter when Edith and Woodrow get married because it was so idyllic.
L.S.: Why did you feel you had to write this book?
W.H.: I was intrigued when I read Scott Bergs biography on Woodrow Wilson when he said that some people called her the first woman president.
L.S.: Now, some fun questions – What deep dark secret would you like to share with us?
W.H.: Even after eleven books you always wonder if you will be able to write another.
L.S.: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
W.H.: France. I have always heard of the writers on the West Bank.
L.S.: Are you a morning person or a night person?
W.H.: A night person. I am always up late.
L.S.: Are there any members in your family who also like to write?
W.H.: Not really.
L.S.: As a child, were you a dreamer?
W.H.: Yes. I think I was.
L.S.: Last but not least, the magic genie has granted you one wish. What would that be?
W.H.: To hit The New York Times bestseller list with Madam President.
L.S.: Thank you so much for this interview! Do you have any final words?
W.H.: Never give up on yourself.