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Don Canaan personally delivering his books
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Florida Governor Rick Scott awards a medal to me. It seems as if we use the same barber.
Don Canaan went from a Bronx tenement to success in television news film and print journalism. He edited news film and award-winning documentaries for NBC News in New York. Then The Ohio State University’s School of Journalism offered him an opportunity to earn a master’s degree and a subsequent career as a novelist, as well as a reporter and editor for newspapers and magazines.
Authors Do the Craziest Things!
By Mary Lois Sanders
When two authors, strangers, get together and create an internet radio program have they bitten off more than they can chew? Maybe, but award-winning authors Mark H. Newhouse and Don Canaan teamed up to produce an on-going series of radio interviews called Author’s Beat, and voilá. 66 episodes of the Author’s Beat podcast were broadcast.
Both Mark and Don agree that they have been inspired by what they’ve learned in the process. In producing Author’s Beat, they have discovered passions and talents they never imagined, a benefit worth more than just promoting the books of their fellow authors.
Newhouse says that their already-archived half-hour programs share the books and fascinating lives of authors via live and phone interviews. The stories are inspiring, humorous, and haunting, some even bringing tears to their eyes.
“It has been an amazing adventure,” Newhouse, the initially reluctant host of Author’s Beat, said. “I’m basically shy and to be able to sit with these dedicated authors for a fast-moving and interesting conversation is something I never thought I could do.”
Newhouse, a member of the Florida Writer’s Association, the Author’s Guild, SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), the founder and past-president of the Writer’s League of The Villages, was drafted into this challenging project by fellow WLOV member, Don Canaan, who directs and produces the programs.
Canaan, a former award-winning film editor for NBC News, as well as author and journalist, has had his newsletter on the web since 1994. “I felt this was a great opportunity to help our members share their creativity with a wider audience and for us to improve our own skills and learn from experts. We never expected that having so much fun would be so educational and personally rewarding,” Canaan said.
Newhouse handles the guest lineup and reads all of the books and author biographies the week before the taping of each show, while Canaan directs and edits the program.
“We don’t judge the books, but share them and the back story of how these authors developed their passion and overcame obstacles to produce their achievements. Our hope is to inspire children and adults to read and write more by showing how everyone has a story to share,” Newhouse said.
One author investigated the real-life mystery of a hero of World War II who saved more than 100,000 Jews from the Nazis, was subsequently imprisoned by the Soviet Union and, for all practical purposes, vanished. Canaan chose this book to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day and the millions who died during this tragic time.
The co-producers have often been surprised at how well the interviews have gone. “It isn’t always easy,” Canaan said. “At first some of the tech problems, like poor sound quality, timing, and other little gremlins, made it seem as if we’d never get this done, but we’re very proud of the end result—a fast half-hour glimpse at books and authors that are fun, informative and heard by more than 10,000 listeners (and increasing at a rate of about 1,000 per week). We’ve learned things about our fellow writers we never could have anticipated and our program has been cited for its content and growing popularity.”
Authors come from all backgrounds—a Cincinnati police officer turned pastor; the daughter of an alcoholic and abusive father; a wife whose husband told her he had bought a golf course in Vermont—a golf course in snow country? Anything is possible in the world of writers.
“What we’ve learned is that every author has a different reason for why they write, but one thing they all have in common is their passion for what they are doing,” Newhouse said. “It is a passion we share with them.”
“We’re not going to stop until we have every single author we can get,” Canaan said with a mischievous gleam in his eye.
Newhouse agreed, saying, “Unless Don kills me first. This is a labor of love. It is lots of preparation and work. Neither of us makes any money from this, but what we do gain is priceless.”
Newhouse summed up, saying, “As a former teacher I am amazed at how much these short programs have taught me. These writers have overcome some amazing obstacles and are a light for others to follow. We’re just helping to keep that light glowing, which, in turn, keeps the light glowing inside of us as well. We hope others will feel as inspired by these programs as we do.”
All Rights Reserved by Don Canaan, 611 Saint Andrews Blvd. The Villages, FL, 32159 USA. Telephone: (407) 558-3766, dcanaan4 (at) gmail (dot) com