TRAVERSE CITY — Doug Stanton doesn’t want an interview with an author. He wants a conversation.
The founder of the National Writers Series said that mindset has been a staple of the annual event since it began in 2010. That’s why when he brings in New York Times bestselling author Hampton Sides next month he won’t ask traditional questions.
“With each interview, the key is to be focused on the person and to try to see the world through their eyes,” Stanton said. “Most authors find it dreadfully boring to stand at a lectern and answer questions. They don’t often get the chance to be there as real people.”
Sides is best-known for his nonfiction adventure books that often depict wars or expeditions. He’s the author of “Ghost Soldiers,” “Blood and Thunder,” “Hellhound on his Trail” and his latest work: “In the Kingdom of Ice.”
He teaches and serves as a Journalist in Residence at Colorado College and writes for The New Yorker among other national magazines.
Sides' journalism background makes him a master of narrative non-fiction and he uses historical documents to breathe new life into stories for contemporary readers, Stanton said.
“He’s a master of finding the right details buried in history and arranging all these diamonds on the desk in the right order so it reads like a great story,” he said. “(The series) is designed to invite the audience to lean in around the campfire of a great story and to take part in a great conservation about how it’s made and what it means. Hampton is a perfect person to do that.”
Sides will take the stage of the City Opera House Sept.17 at 7 p.m. and will begin with a one-hour discussion with Stanton and a 30-minute question and answer session with the audience. Tickets start at $15 for general admission and can be purchased online at nationalwritersseries.org or in person at the City Opera House box office. Student and educator discounts are available.