Dan Klefstad

Morning Edition Host & Book Series Editor

Good morning, Early Riser! Since 1997 I've been waking WNIJ listeners with the latest news, weather and other information, with the goal of seamlessly weaving this content into NPR's Morning Edition.

What do I do after the show ends at 9:00? I read. I'm especially interested in literature from the WNIJ area, which led me to adopt the "Book Beat" in 2012. Throughout the year, I immerse myself in works written by Illinois and Wisconsin authors. Then I interview these writers for Morning Edition and record them reading excerpts. You can download these interviews and excerpts from WNIJ's "Read With Me" book series archive.

If you're a writer from this area, or have a personal connection to this place, send your book to me at 801 N. 1st St., DeKalb, IL 60115. You can also email it to dklefstad@niu.edu. I'm looking for novels, poems, short fiction, memoirs and creative nonfiction. While many of the books I feature come from traditional presses, I do accept self-published works. Just make sure your book got a good edit.

Thanks,

@danklefstad

#WNIJReadWithMe

Ways to Connect

Jeff VanderMeer is that rare author who's about to become a household name.

One of his books, Annihilation, was made into a movie which Paramount Pictures scheduled for release this September. The film stars Natalie Portman.

VanderMeer's best-selling novel is an NIU "STEM Read" selection; that group held an event with the author Monday at the DeKalb Public Library.

Mike Doyle wasn't in Belvidere on April 21, 1967. The Rockford native was a freshman at UW-Whitewater when an F4 tornado ripped through Boone County.

But Doyle's been living with that twister for years.

His book, The Belvidere Tornado, was first published in 2008. It tells the stories of people who survived the storm, and the 24 who didn't.

When Doyle finished the manuscript, he got up from his desk and walked into the living room.

Every Mother's Day, millions of Americans take Mom to brunch. Kids try to repay a year of home-cooked meals with breakfast in bed. And those remembering a departed mom place flowers at the cemetery or raise a glass to her portrait.

This year, WNIJ listeners can write a poem and maybe read it on the air. We launched our first-ever Mother's Day Poetry Contest this morning.

Ingrid Christie

Would you read your diary aloud in public? David Sedaris has been doing it for years as part of his live shows.

The award-winning essayist and humorist will perform at Rockford's Coronado Theater on April 24. During this show, he'll share some of the entries from his forthcoming book, Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002).

But don't expect juicy details about his past, private life or dreams. "Nobody cares about anyone's dreams," he says.

When Christine Sneed begins a story, she never knows where her characters will take it.

"Usually I'm about halfway through and I still won't know what's going to happen at the end," Sneed says, "but I have some sense of where I'm going."

The award-winning author has the experience to avoid early-draft pitfalls, and shares this knowledge with her students at Northwestern University and Regis University.

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