Words by Aaron Ball
Photos by J. Lockridge
Shelagh Shapiro is a published author, family woman, and host of the show ‘Write The Book’ on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM The Radiator. The show has aired since March 22nd, 2008. It currently airs Mondays from 2:00-3:00pm. ‘Write the Book’ consists mainly of interviews, as Shelagh explains, “I interview people in the book business, very generally. So that encompasses authors, poets, agents, editors, bookstore owners, illustrators, publicists… It’s a long list. I try to give a well-rounded impression of the world of books, but most often the guests are writers.”
One of the more recent interviews for ‘Write The Book’ had guest Scott Russell Sanders describing an essay he wrote on the subject of Arks. During the show, Scott delved deep into his subject: “In the story of Noah and the flood, the ark preserves all creatures that live on land, so that the earth can be replenished after the waters recede. More broadly, we can think of an ark as any vessel that preserves something vital through troubled times, something essential to the well-being of the planet and to humankind. In this sense, books can be arks. Libraries are arks. So are museums, land trusts, housing coops, and free schools. And so are public access radio stations, for they sustain the possibility of non-commercial conversation and entertainment. They enable us to keep sharing our art and ideas, without having to pander to big corporations in order to use the public airwaves.”
‘Write The Book’ is directed toward writers and readers who might be interested in the on-goings of the book business. The show may cover “what motivated an author in a certain direction, plot-wise or in developing characters, why a certain poet leans toward formalism, how a mystery writer found her agent, how a best-selling author managed to land on the NY Times’ list. Things of that nature,” says Shelagh.
Not only does the show air on WOMM-LP 105.9FM ‘The Radiator’, but it is also offered as a podcast at http://writethebook.podbean.com. The podcast has allowed listeners to download the program from all over the world, from as far away as Hong Kong, to London, and the Pacific Islands.
When Shelagh isn’t working directly on her show, she is spending time with family, working on her writing, and absorbing more books whether it be on paper, or on tape while walking her dogs. Shelagh is a published author and has had short stories published in a number of magazines. She is also currently working on a few novels – “one about half-way through a first draft, another nearing the end of what I hope is a final revision.” Shelagh says she would never have become published if it weren’t for an “acquired” ability to deal with rejection. For every story she has had published, she says she has had about twenty others rejected. Shelagh believes you have to not only be imaginative, but also tough.
Part of the difficulty of being published was a catalyst for starting the show. Shelagh elaborates, “I wanted to better understand the industry for my own purposes and as far as I know, no other show existed in this area that addressed these same issues.” For Shelagh, it is a wonderful experience spending time with people like Scott Russell Sanders, and she can say the same about the many other wonderful people she has had the chance to interview for Write The Book.