Mark Winegardner was born and raised in Bryan, Ohio. His parents owned an RV dealership there, and every summer he travelled with his family across the USA in various travel trailers and motor-homes. By the time he was 15, he had been in all 48 contiguous states. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Miami University and went on to receive a MFA in fiction writing from George Mason University. He published his first book at age 26, while still in graduate school. He has taught at Miami, George Mason, George Washington, and John Carroll Universities, and is now a professor in the creative writing program at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida.
His novels include The Godfather Returns, Crooked River Burning, and The Veracruz Blues. He published a collection of short stories, That's True of Everybody, in 2002. His newest novel, The Godfather's Revenge, was published in November 2006. His Godfather novels continue the story of the Corleone family depicted in Mario Puzo's The Godfather.
His books have been chosen as among the best of the year by the New York Times Book Review, Chicago Sun-Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today and the New York Public Library. His work has appeared in GQ, Playboy, The Sporting News, Witness, Story Quarterly, American Short Fiction, Ladies Home Journal, and The New York Times Magazine. Several of his stories have been chosen as Distinguished Stories of the Year in The Best American Short Stories.
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An Interview with Mark Winegardner
When did you first read The Godfather?
When I was about 12. Like a lot or kids who grow up to be writers, I started reading books meant for adults looking for the dirty parts. I had good reason to believe there might be worthwhile moments there. When I heard Random House was looking for an author, I read it again with new appreciation.
Why did you want to write it?
I feel like my entire body of work has been about the mythology of America, and this book fits squarely within that. It's a magnificent opportunity to write about characters that people already know and are invested in, and in some ways, it's as big a thrill as if I were writing about Jesse James or Abraham Lincoln. Particularly when I saw how much more story there was to be told, and how little The Godfather had touched on the glory years of the mob in the late 1950's, I was thrilled to have the chance to take a whack at all of that.
Are you nervous about what the reaction will be?
I've been writing almost every day of my life for the past twenty years, and it's a wonderful thing to be the author of a book people are waiting for, whether they're sharpening their knives for it or ...
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