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356 - Recommended Reading: Immortal

Speaker: Mark Worden (Standard British accent)

Alma Katsu is the author of the best-selling novel, The Taker, which was recently published in Italian by Longanesi with the title, Immortal. It is a mystery thriller set in the state of Maine, in New England. Alma Katsu herself grew up in this area in the northeastern United States. It has a rich tradition of stories of witchcraft and ghosts and we asked her why this was so:

Alma Katsu (Standard American accent)

I don’t know, except, I guess, for America, it’s what passes for old! So you go up there and you see houses from the 17th century, or you see these really old cemeteries, where the headstones are, you know, they’re made of… of slate and they’re shattering because of all of the winters and, you know, it just looks really creepy. It’s nothing compared to Europe, of course! But, you know, the town I grew up in, very small town, was so creepy. I mean, small, small town: five giant cemeteries! Some of them were just, you know, had these big crypts in them and they were surrounded by iron gates with chains over them. I mean, how can you grow up in that environment and not end up getting sort of a spooky turn of mind, you

know?

Prior to becoming a novelist Alma Katsu worked as an intelligence analyst for the CIA. We asked her whether the world was now a safer or a more dangerous place than at the start of her career:

Alma Katsu

Well, the nature of... of what’s a threat certainly has changed. You know, I’m kind of an optimist, so I think the world is an incredibly richer place now because there’s, you know, the sort of barriers that separate countries have been broken down. You know, we as people, have more opportunity to really know our fellow man in a distant part of the world, to understand their lives, to have insight into lives, to understand their challenges, more so than at any point in history, and I really believe in the fundamental goodness of human nature. I think the more we know about each other, the more we’re going to get along, actually, rather than threaten each other.

(Alma Katsu was talking to Mark Worden)


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