tv Book Discussion on The Lynching CSPAN July 30, 2016 6:30pm-7:16pm EDT
we have fun for a couple of reasons. to be have c-span here. [applause] there is no better -- in the metro washington area through the viewers of c-span i think are in this room right now. we love you and the regular viewers of course that we welcome everyone from c-span but there are couple of other things that we do know russell are going to to hear. for somebody to tell you about the difference between history and destiny and history is what happened and this is true. i can't believe this is happening but my father may he rest in peace was struck by lightning. his father, my grandfather, i'm not joking, was struck by
lightning. i said don't stand next to me in rainstorm and last request telling my son the story and telling them listen my dad was struck by lightning, his dad was struck by lightning and he's like oh my -- we could be struck by lightning and i would say we won't be but sure, we might be. tonight, this is true my son and my family, my wife and my kids were taking the amtrak train to washington d.c. for this event. and they're trained was struck by lightning. my son texted me and he's like you are not going to believe what happened tonight. [laughter] destiny people, so you will see they will come in running late but this is destiny. a couple of other things which we can do anywhere else in the country first of all where is
jim day? i want to say thank you to jim. jim, stand up on second. this is jim who does so much work for lego versions of me and all these other things but i love you, thank you for all you do. [applause] fine gem if you want a sticker of a lego version of me. jim has them. when you need them to mr. man. he's like a drug dealer of lego stickers. you got one? oh good. that does look like me. so this is yours. so now here's the other person i want to thank. you won't get this anywhere else. amy, raise your hand please. this is amy. a couple of years ago my history teacher contacted me saying that she was sick and she needed a kidney or she might die and we put it on my facebook page and amazingly people actually said you know what rad, this teacher
changed my life and gave me love of history could you donate a kidney to save her? of all the people that i couldn't believe volunteer there was one person who said hey of volunteer but i didn't hear from the teacher. never heard back and i was like you are going to hear back, don't worry. she's really busy at forever reason i took that e-mail and i forwarded it. one fell through the cracks, one that we missed in the person we missed was. what happened was when i got the e-mail they contacted her and e-mailed me me back in the city were not going to believe this. she was the match. so six months ago amy came down to florida right with and amy gave her kidney to my history teacher. [applause] we actually checked if we said whatever happened to that original e-mail and they checked the weekend and is said it went to spam and it was gone forever.
again history and destiny. let's hear it for amy who gave a body part to a stranger. come on people. [applause] so if you want to be a better person donated body parts for stranger and if you do you get to be first in line tonight but i'm just telling you anyone who donates. where's the kid who had the playoff game? this kid right here, this is true, this kid has a championship little league game tonight. he said he is skipping his game. don't ruin a good story. the world series of little league is tonight. said he is skipping it because he wanted to come to the book signing and his mom told me that his dad is the coach of the team. is that true? dad is so mad tonight. the sun is here tonight with mom coming to the front of the line. let's hear it from the kid. [applause] do you hear that. [applause] x. applauses that litters the
gives you. not sports, applauses what literacy gets you. who is here from the national archives? i know someone is here. they are going to raise their hand because they are shy. archivists are shy. thanks to my friends from the national archives, the archivist e-mailed me so thank you to everyone from the national archives two to my wife and my kids who faced lightning to get here again if you want to be a better person amy you have to fight lightning and uke get to go to the front of the line and that brings us to the house of secrets. we talked about destiny, let's talk about history. this book was written by myself and todd goldberg. people i said word of the book ideas come from and to me the good idea is a living thing and someone once told me a good idea , if you don't do it eventually someone else will do it.
that terrified me because i had this idea that for five years stuck with me. i do know to do with it. he kept sticking with me. we have to tear this out. we have to do the story and the story started for me when i was than the national archives and i was in what they call the treasure vault and the treasure vault is where they keep the good stuff. they took in the backroom and hand me the sheet of paper that looked like a paperback book if you turn it sideways. on this sheet of paper was an oath of allegiance that george washington gave to his top members in the military to sign. i solemnly swear i will never betray these people of the united states. you number them so number one at the top corner, two, three, four and five and number five the fifth one was summoned by a man named an addict arnold. benedict arnold is a name we kind of call each other. it's almost a curse word for
people who love history but in a moment benedict arnold was in the name you called someone. benedict arnold was a decorated officer who fought for this fledgling cop -- country who was promoted in part of that inner circle of george washington. benedict arnold was a real person that put pen to paper and i just couldn't shake that in that i heard the story which cracked the book open. the last moments between benedict arnold and george washington are among the most heartbreaking in u.s. history. they were dear friends. they were like the bff's in a revolutionary and what happened wasn't benedict arnold and george washington reportedly say that it's the only time george washington is seen crying. the image of george washington the bother of our country stuck with me and then i heard this detail. benedict arnold wrote a letter. he didn't delivered in rapport
song but delivered this letter from benedict arnold to george washington in this letter from benedict arnold he said three things from george washington. one, don't kill my wife, she didn't know i was a traitor and two don't kill the staff. they do didn't always a traitor either and three and one of the craziest he said can you please send me my belongings. this most hated man since judas himself said hey and i have my stuff and the amazing part is to this day nobody knows what was in that baggage that george washington sent back to benedict arnold and he did send it back. he sent the baggage back and nobody knows what was in that baggage. i don't want to read chapter 85 of the house of secrets but on chapter 85 you will see my theory and i couldn't shake that idea.
over half a decade i've got to figure out how to do this idea and that's where that tom kohlberg microwriter on this book. when you pair with someone else to write you have a choice. you can pick someone you think is worse than you, someone who is as good as you and someone who is better than you. that's your choice and to me i was like i want the guy who is better than me. i want the guy who can do something that i think i can do can a compass things that i struggle with. todd is an amazing, they tried to give me, the publisher asked me to do looks and they said parra put the history writer pair up with a thriller writer. for the most part i said they're just going to give me more plot. i have plenty of law. i want someone who can do character like no one i've ever seen before. i found todd is amazing at
character. he kills the character and what i love is todd's book which i highly recommend came out in six months after we got nominated. it was nominated book of the year and he lost a guide named stephen king. who were you working with? i know, he's a killer, trust me when i love about this book and how it's received in the great reviews we have gotten is that it's because todd and i together did something that neither of us alone could do. what happened is i always knew the opening scene of this book. there was a story of this girl named hazel who sits on her father's lap and here's a story for the first time, gruesome story and she hears the story. sixers older dad hosted a conspiracy tv show. i don't write any books unless i live them, people. that's a weight is these days and he tells the stories to her that in the revolutionary times
there was a frozen body that was found. he says his body when they did this rudimentary autopsy come inside the body was a block of wax or contain something. they cut open open the waxen and there is a priceless book, book that belongs to benedict arnold arnold. this little 6-year-old girl says , tell it again. this is different than anyone else. hazel is the kind of girl that puts her hand on the stove and burns it and the next that it comes back and puts a different hand on the stove just to compare the pain. let's talk about the book. the book opens up and hazel wakes in the hospital. she is grown now, she's 30 years old. she wakes up the hospital and she has no memory. she finds out there's an accident or father is now dead. the fbi tells her the last person that her father was seen with they found him dead and when they cut open his body the first memory that she can't recall a book that belonged to
benedict arnold. the stories are dad told her as a little girl mature to them. their warnings to them and they had it vice to them and they were all just for her almost like a training of his daughter all these years. from there she finds guns that are in her house and she does know how they got there. she finds cars on her body. she can't recall those and she quickly realizes only by solving this murder can she figure out who killed her father and also who she really is. she is the mystery of this book. to me a great plot is a great plot but the best plot is a great character and hazel herself as a character. she has no memory and she can't member people she met. she has emotional memory loss so it's not amnesia. no one gets amnesia but she has emotional memory loss which means the people that she was the most connected to, she has forgotten them. she was walking to a bar and the
guy she was attracted to, she doesn't know much he loves her worst enemy and our freeware she goes is an adventure and everywhere she goes she feels like maybe i was in a nice person. she meets people and meets people and their like oh my god please don't start trouble again. she has this moment where she can relive her life. she can restart her life and i love that is a character because everything becomes an adventure in that moment and everything is new. when we all think you take a moment and not ourselves in the head with a hammer and start over and have our lives a new, i would pick out a really nice hammer. it's an amazing idea and what i loved about it is as we came up with it he. perfectly with this idea that i've been carrying around for five years and that's benedict arnold said to me the fun of it is banned but -- and benedict arnold we think of the bad guy of the story but is not the bad guy are the good guys. he's like all of us, the complicated guy. he's a complicated man.
we are not all good and not all bad, we are all good and all bad that we are complicated. i realize hazel as she finds his life she used to have in this life that wasn't so good and had a chance to suddenly be good she gets to be like an addict arnold, on sundays good and on some days bad judge like the rest of us and flawed like the rest of us. where i'll amazing and all terrified and we are all brave and we are all cowards and we are always depend us. that's it we are his people and they realized at the time i was in this character in this plot we could explore not just hazel but the stories of an addict arnold and what it means to be good and what it means to be bad and what our are attendees about the fun of it is when i was researching this book by the way have the gray sources i have are on this rack right now. look around, people. judge each other completely. it's washington d.c. and virginia.
when i was researching the book i met this military intelligence officer and i i said where does united states get its best information? where does its best information come from and one of the things they said to me, this is a true story. years ago there was a dictator who hated the united states. this dictator hated the united states that he said he hated us quote to their heart into their bones. but no one new is the state hater was one of the top with tenet secretly working for the united states. he was actually a spy for america. i was like why? did you pay him money quickly set for the very best reason of all because it of family here what happened was one of his top lieutenants had a sick child who needed medical attention that only the united states could give so we gave this young child medical attention and exchange this lieutenant gave us
information about terrorist the weaponry out of the hands of extremists and help us with an investigation that no one knew about. you will see it in the book and you'll ask yourself, did it really happen. i love that i get get to film the book with details like that. that's what -- how the house of secrets opens any good tix were hazel and this world then you get to explore she is, is she good and is she bad. obviously that's where the book starts. what i love to do is answer questions about the book because to me that's also the fun and i has lots of questions. she has been trying to get my attention the entire time. you can ask anything you want. you can ask about kids books comey can ask about the thrillers, you can ask about the research but i will tell you one thing i need to say here thank you to barnes & noble for a -- hosting but thank you to all of
you for coming. let's get to questions and we will explore some more. >> my buddy leo has a question for you. >> okay shouted out. >> this is a good question. the question is is the lego set coming outlooks you are laughing now. this is where i'm going to break your heart. i'm going to show you something. this is a milia erhardt, i'm a milia ehrhardt lego set. we had someone build a force and here's the thing. i'll now be on tv so america's god help us. lego love this idea and lego said you are not star wars. i'm like i didn't need
if you get 10,000 people, tell the "ghostbusters" was made and how i met your mother set was made an impact if you put the words, so now we just launched, we have 2000 people. i can see in this crowd there are over 200 people here so we had better be a 2500 tomorrow but if you put the words lego a milia ehrhardt in google this will be the first thing that comes up. go to the page. this was to give my kids real heroes. no one has more lightsabers than i do. i can give my kids a lego set of amelia ehrhardt. i want to do and lego abraham lincoln sat and albert einstein set and how great would it be if
we could inspire kids with real amazing toys to play with so please come i appreciate it. thank you. can you guys see it? lego amelia ehrhardt, go and vote. >> could you make a susan b. anthony latest at? >> everyone wants their own lego set. don't worry, i promise. she once susan b. anthony. eleanor roosevelt. this is what you want your kid asking. martin luther king jr. from the kid who skipped little league. i'm telling you i love that. george washington. this is what i want to do. this is what i want kids in america to do. trust me, tell your dad, dad if he let me you will register for
amelia earhart tonight and if you don't register and vote you don't love me, dad. say those words and watch what you get. >> on the inner circle you have the scavenger hunts. do you have future plans for doing something like that? >> let's talk about this. for those that don't know i love hiding things about my books. i can't do a tv show called decoded without playing some decoded and some of the things we should talk about is conspiracies conspiracies. first on this question in the book the inner circle i put a secret code that is hidden in there and if you the secret code in the pages of the inner circle there was a reward that was there. you got to it and he found it through ward was hidden and i'm not telling you where in america was hidden but you got it. it took four years before someone finally cracked it and djembe who's sitting here
crafted. he's the first person in four years and jim cracked it. let's hear from jim. [applause] jim also loves the google code so jim also was kind enough to put it back. it is out there. it's still there. it's hidden for the taking. if you want to treasure is hidden in the pages of the inner circle. i think jamell not tell you where it is. he's not going to tell you but it's still there. i will not tell you anything else that i've hidden over the years. in the kids books i am hidden in every book. >> i saw that. >> you saw that, right? look for the guy who looks like me. and you think i'm the only thing. there are so many things hidden in the kids books you will never find. i hide my number 27. it's in the next kids book but what else do i hide? child.
[laughter] their hidden things and lots of books. i have lots of references references and done things in number 27 is symbolically special to me. i will say this, let's talk about conspiracies and about decoding. here's the thing. right now i hosted for years the conspiracy tv show and conspiracies used to be something that were really a french thing. they were on the french and if you love conspiracies you it's in the garage. it was like comic looks pretty beloved comic books you were a fringe group. you would meet in a holiday and once a month and no one really cared about year. that's how san diego started and suddenly comic looks, it's true i'm not even joking in comic books now are on every screen on every television is the same thing with conspiracies. we used to live in a world where only a crackpot would talk about
conspiracies and i have donald trump talking about ted cruz' dad being involved with lee harvey oswald and hillary saying she's going to release records on ufos if she gets elected. the two main candidates running for the presidency are talking about major conspiracies. they're not just these french things anymore. what i love that we do in "the house of secrets" one of the fun parts of writing a book and hosting a conspiracy tv show is i get to explore what it's like to host the show. the fun of it for me i realized over time people tell me secrets. they tell me secrets and i bet the department of homeland security bring me in. i've had president of the united states write me letters. i've gone to george h.w. bush saying what you spend a week in houston and people from fort knox said to me they want to talk to me about whether there's wrote olden fort knox anymore. i have through their lawyers the family of john wilkes-booth shot abraham lincoln could track me
down. he said to me it was amazing moment. this is the family of john wilkes-booth and everyone knows if you've. any history book as those 12 days after abraham lincoln was shot john wilkes-booth was then killed and this is his family. they said they shot the wrong guy. he actually escaped and they have the proof and you want to hear that story? yes, i want to hear that story. i want to hear that story. to me i love the people tell me the secrets. i went to a private luncheon in the white house and the president's private dining room. no one looked twice at me. why did they tell me secrets? because i write thrillers for living because i host a tv show about conspiracies. i realize i'm the perfect spy. the thing is the more i insist the more you laugh and them more you say maybe he's telling the truth and that's just what i want you to think.
that's it eerie that the perfect cover because i can go anywhere and everyone thinks it's fun research for another thriller. how do i not use that idea in the next book collects "the house of secrets" creates that in the fun of it is the other side would you work on this and what happens is when conspiracies become become mainstream when you have presidential candidates talking about them there is a true industry of conspiracy. that's a we are in now, true industry. you know people who regularly do it in the most odd ways and although it's never been about fear-mongering saying the government is always out to get you aren't stealing your car right now but it's about giving the hardest thing of all to the american people. we will tell you the best story of all. i remember when we first started combing decoded it the less facts you have on shows like this the more scary music you play.
that's the industry of conspiracy. i said we will never do that show. i never want to be part of that show but you will see when you read "the house of secrets" you will see what it's like from the inside and what it's like to be one of these people who gets to host a conspiracy tv show. people come i've had someone. book signing bring me the holy grail. all these amazing things just because of the job i have and i love that i get to do that. obviously codes in secrets and all those things are forever part of this project of all the projects i work on. >> i have things i like and i don't know why. >> she said she -- this is great. she said i watch things i don't like and i don't know why. it's interesting she says that when i talk about my own television show. we know who's going to be at the
back of the line today. questions on tv shows and movies. let's talk about that. for those who love the code it, we love doing lost history. lost history did everything it was supposed to do. it really did. we are so happy with the ratings and so happy with the performance. the only issue is that i'm sure you've realized on a cable channel h2, history sister channel changed over device lan network. that's where it went. we love working with the history channel and i will tell you we will be filming a special towards the end of the year. we are cited to be doing that so you will hopefully have something back soon. as for movies and things like that i can't say anything but let's just say i have my fingers crossed for something exciting to announce about "the house of secrets" very soon so i'm really excited for that one.
sharon. >> can you tell us about storytime. >> yes, storytime. as everyone knows i love a good story so anyone avalos facebook, we realized people were doing live video. you can put up what you are eating for dinner and show it live. who wants a bad but you know we can do this technology is to tell stories through to remember on sunday nights, sunday nights for me was like a family night. i love that idea that on sunday nights you can bring back the lost art of telling stories. what we did is use this technology and i just got on facebook and 8:00 on the sunday would. stories to people. we had 200 people watching in them we had three and a people watching and by the time i got to the end we had 2000 people watching live.
we had 100,000 people who watch the video when it was finished to the point where we had dave pilkey captain himself came to my house. it's like the wayne's world of literacy. he sat there with me. my son's favorite books are captain and we have 50,000 people. it was this amazing thing. we plan on doing more storytime. as a storytime i will tell you that's been filmed for someone so famous it's insane. i won't say who it is but i can't say whether it's current or past but in the white house and it's the funniest storytime i promise you will ever see. it's going to take us a couple of months because want to save it for special moment but storytime is coming back so check on my facebook page and you'll see it.
>> how did you go from writing for yourself to. >> how do you go from writing for yourself and submitting and publishing the book lacks i will tell you when you start writing you don't ever imagine you'd be sitting here in c-span is going to be here and there will be 250 of your closest friends. you write it because you have a story to tell. so pure and it's so beautiful. i started writing and there was a job that i went to the did work out. i move my stuff to boston and the week i got to boston my mentor who took me under his wing left the job. i thought oh my -- i have wrecked my life. i did what any of you would do in a moment where you think you have wrecked your life. i said i'm going to write a novel. ..
>> so the first one is did you kill yourself in the book because you're a character i have the opportunity. you will see that and it happens so that it has nothing to do with me. the fun part of writing a book where you have a job that person feel so bad. when you do something like that they have to be successful. when you're in the business of
hearing the stories every once in a while you have to solve one because if you don't the audience thinks that you're full of it. you have to bring a solution. if you don't they lose faith and the go somewhere else. what is wild is that when watergate happened every dream and nightmare that everybody have about the government was really real. and the president was really breaking into your house at night. and in that moment everything was water and sunlight for every story that would come after that. to me they get through there. you get to pull apart what it makes. and of course no one is in favor of that.
one of my greatest moments of my entire life took place does a couple weeks ago because i got to go back to ann arbor michigan and asked me to deliver the address at michigan law school. a kind of already gave the speech before. when i was 22 years old living in washington dc my mentor who gave me that job and hired me he hired me as a speech writer. and one of the first one that he asked me to work on for him was the commencement address. so here i was actually 24 years old and i went back there at 46 years old. all of those years later.
it was a very important thing that i need to say tonight. one of the hardest things in the greatest risks that you will ever take in your life is admitting what you want. we know what we want if you do you might not get it you might fail. you have to do what you love. you have to admit what scares you in when i was doing the speech i talk about admitting your fear. when i used to work with the häagen-dazs and this woman came one day and she snapped her finger at me and she said serve me we got to convince we would work there for so long.
this woman is snapping her fingers at me. and she said no you will serve me now. she snapped her finger s'mores and i said i will get the manager for you. she said you're not the manager. you're been being so rude to everyone she said you will work here for the rest of your miserable life if i'm here you're still never getting ice cream. i told that story as i sat there it totally bothered me and made me feel lick my life would be like my own death. i felt like i was never good to succeed it made me feel
like my life was limited in some way. it wasn't about wanting money or success like that the fear of what my dad had which was real problems that were going to be brought on. i was terrified of that. in that moment when i knew what i feared i also knew that that fear drove me it drove me to succeed. it's the reason i am here today. not to prove some lady ron but it was my deal. it's so important to say and you will see it in the pages of the book it's really right there in the book for all of you the greatest strength or weakness so find what scares you and let it be your rocket fuel. when i got to the end of the speech i actually went back and found the speech that i
worked on when i was 24 years old. attract on the speech and it may or may not had written. have no idea what lines i wrote it in. it was completely lost to history but what i did find was a line towards the end of the speech in the line said this to all of you who are sitting here today that i hope in 33 years from now one of you as lucky enough to be sitting appear and giving the speech you are just that you are lucky. i was reading the speech and i was crying because i was thinking he's talking to me. i think i feel like i need to leave you with this. i feel here today where i started writing for the first
time i feel so lucky to be here and i think you supported me with the kids books and the thrillers in it means so much to me. who is the figure that you most identify with and why. who is the figure that you most are inspired be -- by? >> that is our kid book line. my values i was tired of my own books taking the best of that. i said there are better heroes for them. we've done albert einstein and
rosa parks. it's okay to be different but spectacular to be different. when she goes blind. the pages of the book are black. cover your ears here's how i hear the world. and when she learns to read this is my name and my name is helen. the real braille alphabet is there in the book. it's not about a person when they're born but about a lesson and to me they said or lucy being different it's always be curious. those are my answers. abraham lincoln is the one. he's the one for me. he lives up to the hype every time.
you always choose kindness and i will always speak up for others. on the front is the most important part of the book. it's not what's on the front it's a lesson. i will always speak my mind and speak for others. that is something to us drive for for our kids. we are doing i am george washington and then we are doing i am james which i'm super excited to do. i will tell you this. in the house of house of secrets we do a lot of george washington. i said i'm putting the cool stuff there. there is no cherry tree. we also tell them this is how he viewed invisible ink. do doing to put this in.
we totally need to put this in here. i read them to my son i know tell my editor. we will see the ink. someone has to figure that out. maybe even one copy or one magic copy. i'm not saying it did happen i'm just saying it to say and it could happen. and then we have the book we also had six more books. there to keep coming with that said i'm neck in the tell you who that is. it is the best person that comes after george washington and i can't wait to share with you.
there are so many things to be cleared. i promise it will be there. we are going here. with that said thank you to everyone coming tonight. thank you for c-span for hosting us as always. [applause]. can we give him one more round of applause. he was so awesome. it recently visited capitol hill. >> i always like to read books that are set in foreign countries where i am traveling.