Interview With Biographer David Maraniss

I had the absolute honor of interviewing David Maraniss the two-time Pulitzer Prize Winner and award-winning biographer about his writing process.

You can watch the 30-second end clip before you commit to watching the whole hour-long video (posted at the end of this blog).

David shared his writing experiences for writing his most recent book, A Good American Family: The Red Scare and My Father (2019). For this book he researched his own father with a biographer’s eye. David’s father Elliott Maraniss was a WWII veteran who had commanded an all-Black company in the Pacific. He was spied on by the FBI, named as a Communist by an informant, called before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952, fired from his newspaper job, and blacklisted for five years. Yet his father never lost faith in America and emerged on the other side with his family and optimism intact. 

In our conversation, David gives great writing and research advice when dealing with personal and painful memories, especially when it focuses on family. Watch the full hour interview at the link below:

For upcoming interviews and workshops visit my Events Page.

If you like this interview you may also like my interview with John Avlon and Mary C. Curtis on the Art of the Interview:

Write to Unite

After last week’s events this is a conversation you do not want to miss. Presented in Partnership with Greater Cincinnati Society of Professional Journalists and Moderated by Cincinnati Enquirer’s opinion editor Kevin Aldridge, Pulitzer winners for commentary Clarence Page and Kathleen Parker will talk about the power of writing to heal and unite. Can this be possible and how can we columnists work toward that goal? Just $25 for NSNC Members. SPJ members use Coupon Code CINCYSPJ for member discount as well. Register now:

Op-Ed Makes the Difference for Public Hospital Records

After a seven-month legal battle, the courts ruled and then Ohio Department of Health continued to stall. I was super frustrated. Each email from ODH angered me. You see, I was a wrier on the Eye on Ohio project that aimed to report hospital capacity numbers for the public during this COVID-19 pandemic. Our whole team was tired and frustrated for having to continue to argue with the ODH lawyer to gain access to what the courts had confirmed was public record.

I decided to write an op-ed. I am a freelance writer but I’m also a columnist on the Editorial Board of the Cincinnati Enquirer. So, I wrote the op-ed linked below to specifically call out the Socrates Tuch, the ODH Lawyer who insisted on giving us a hard time. The op-ed appeared on Saturday, November 21, 2020.

Read that Op-Ed Here:

The following Monday, November 23, 2020, ODH Press Secretary Melanie Amato sent an email that stated:

Here is the latest information on your public records request. Moving forward, please send your requests to me for I will be supplying you with the information.
Please stop sending to the legal counsel for they have other things to continue to work on.
I appreciate the help. 

Melanie Amato

Magically the data we requested started rolling in and Socrates Tuch was taken out of the loop.

Don’t ever underestimate the power of an op-ed column.

Now, the citizens of Ohio have a clear understanding of what the hospitals in their state are facing with COVID-19. Click the link below to check on the capacity of each hospital that is reporting data. It will help individual communities cope with what’s happening in their area.


freelance writer
Bonnie Jean Feldkamp

Bonnie Jean Feldkamp is an award-winning freelance writer and columnist. She is the Communications Director for the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, member of the Cincinnati Enquirer Editorial Board, and a board member for the Cincinnati Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She lives with her family in Northern Kentucky.  Find her on social media @WriterBonnie.

How to Help Kids Discover Writing and How it Helps Them Cope

Entertaining Insights Podcast Guest

My Journal entry March 10, 1986. I was 11-years-old.

I’ve kept a journal since childhood. Beyond that writing always seemed to come attached to a punishment. I had to write sentences or an essay about how I felt. I’m not sure that’s the best way to encourage kids to write. Writing is about the use of language and literacy so you can’t start later and just say “write this down.” I really believe it starts when you’re young and teaching kids the context and language of the world that they live in. Teaching them how to articulate how they feel. Before they even write it on paper if you can help them find the words for their five senses and articulate that to you, it’s almost a version of emotional intelligence.

Listen to my interview with Dr. Nancy Berk on her Podcast Entertaining Insights as we talk more about kids and writing. My interview starts at 42:06.

Read more parenting advice from Bonnie HERE.

WoodHall Press Interview

Grateful to talk to David LëGere of Woodhall Press about writing, inspiration, and process as well as the upcoming book to which I’ve contributed – Fast Funny Women edited by Gina Barreca. I hope you’ll take 20 minutes and watch the interview.

I’ve written more about my contribution to this book here. Learn more about me here.