The first was about James Lee Burke. I interviewed him before I was published. Jim is a delightful person, intelligent and self-deprecating and funny. Anyway, he knew I was anxious about ever making it as a writer, and at one point, he told me, "You're a winner, I can tell." I kept that tape in my car for months and when I needed to, I would rewind it 10 seconds and listen to him reassure me.
The second NPR story was about Cara Black. Cara and I did the Vegas Valley Bookfest four or five years ago. It was a wonderful festival with sparsely attended events. Let's just say Las Vegas is not a reading town. And they put us up in Sam's Town, a place where all the gamblers seemed bitter and determined, and were often crippled and elderly. And everyone smoked. It was like a fog machine was working overtime. Even Cara, who at that time was a smoker, found the smoke overwhelming.