tv Book Discussion on The House of Secrets CSPAN September 5, 2016 7:00am-7:46am EDT
>> do we have time for a response? well, that statement really makes the point that the residue of jim crow is still very much with us. in this country. i think the question is how do we continue to be raised that stain? i want to thank all of our panelists are coming here today to help us explore those questions. i urge you to read all of their books because i think those questions that you have, you find a lot of the answers in their books. thank you for coming today.
i like to thank our sponsors and the mississippi folk festival for inviting us all here today. thank you very much. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> up next on booktv can train to raise together stories of benedict arnold and the revolutionary war general in his new fictional thriller. [applause]
>> we are going to have fun tonight. one, we've got kids in the front row and that means chaos, people. we've got c-span here. let's hear it for c-span. no better than the washington d.c. metro area. the viewers of c-span are in this room right now. that means the regular viewers of course. we welcome everyone to c-span. but there's a couple other things we do nowhere else and we are going to do here. first i will tell you about the difference between history and destiny. history is what happened, but destiny is what must happen. 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. that means don't stand next to me in a rainstorm.
i was telling my son this story. his dad was struck and lightning. he's like my gosh, we could be struck or lightning. as he says that, you won't be, but yeah, sure, you may be. my son and my family, my wife and kids were taken in track train from new york city and washington d.c. for this event in their train was struck by lightning. my son texted me and is like you are not going to believe. destiny, people. this is destiny. first of all, where is jim day? send up one second. all these other things here. i love you. thanks for all you do. i assume you got rid of all your
stickers and everything was done. find jim if you want a lego version of me. he's like the drug dealer of lego stickers. you got one? thank you. that does look like me. so this is yours. so use the other person i want to thank. i don't get to do this anywhere else. amy, raise your hand. amy, there is a couple years ago my history teacher contacted me saying that she was sick and she had a kidney where she might die. we put it on a facebook page and people actually said, you know what, brad, could you donate a kidney to save her? of all the people that i couldn't believe volunteer, there is one person is that i volunteered but i don't care from the teacher. you're going to hear back.
don't worry. she's really busy. for whatever reason i took the e-mail and forwarded it. when flipped through the cracks, one that we must be at the person missed was amy. what happened was when i got the e-mail, they e-mailed me back and said the women he sent us, she was the match. so just six months ago, amy came down to florida where he lived and amy gave her a kidney to my history teacher. wait a minute. we actually check to reset whatever happened to the original e-mail. they said it went to spam, it was gone forever. again, history and destiny. come on, people. [applause] so if you want to be a good person, go donate a body part to a stranger and you get to be first in line.
where's that kid at the playoff game? this kid right here, this kid has a championship little league game tonight and he said he is skipping his game. don't ruin a good story. the world series little league because he wanted to come here for the book signing and his mom told me that his dad is the coach of the team. dad is so bad tonight. his son is here tonight with mom, coming to the front of the line. let's hear it for the kid. [applause] year that applies? and man, who is here? from the national archives they know someone is here. they're going to raise their hand. i know who they are. thanks to my friends who are
from the national archives. they e-mailed me as i was coming out. thank you to everyone who helps with these books. to my wife and kids who faced lightning to get here. again, if you want to be a better person and give a kidney come you have to cite lightning and you get to the front of the line thing that will bring us to the house of secrets. let's talk about history. this book was written by myself and tod goldberg -- tod. and to me a good idea as a living thing. someone once told me they if you don't do it, eventually someone else will do it and that terrified me. for five years is stuck with me and i didn't know what to do it. i didn't know how to get rid of it. this is can he keep going. we have to figure this out. we have to do this story. the story started for me when i was in the national archives in
national archives are noticing what they the treasure vault in the treasure vault is where they keep other really good stuff not open to the public. they handed me a sheet of paper that looked like a paperback book if he turned it sideways. on the sheet of paper that there was george washington gave to his top members of the military to sign. i solemnly swear i will never betray d.c. united states. number one in the top corner, two, three, four, five. number five, the fifth one was signed by a guy named benedict arnold. in that moment, it's a mean what kind each other. we say don't be a benedict arnold, kind of a curse word for people who love history. it wasn't some name you call someone. benedict arnold was a decorated officer who thought that his fledgling country and was promoted in part of the inner circle of george washington. he was a real person who put pen
to paper on the sheet of paper and i just couldn't shake that. and then i heard this story which really cracked the book open. the last one between benedict arnold and george washington are among the most heartbreaking in u.s. history because they were like the bss that the revolutionary. what happened in benedict arnold retraced george washington reportedly they say that's one of the only times george washington has ever seen crying. that image stuck with me. an addict arnold wrote a letter and alexander hamilton, he did deliver this letter from benedict arnold to george washington and in this letter from benedict arnold he said three things from george washington. he said one, don't tell my wife. she denies a traitor. two, he said don't tell my staff, i did this myself.
and three, one of the craziest moments of letter writing his area, assist in their favor, can you please send me my baggage and belongings. this guy just put a knife in the back of george washington, the most hated man since judas himself. he basically says can i have my stuff. the reason is to this day, nobody knows what was in that package that george washington said that. he sent the baggage back and nobody knows what was in that package. i did not want to read chapter 85 of the house of secrets, that you will see my and i couldn't shake that idea. for five years, over half a decade, excitedly and like i've got to figure it how to do this idea and that is where i met kyl cooper, my cowriter on this book. you have a choice. you can pick someone you think is worse than you, someone who
is as good as you can someone who is better than you. that's your choice. to me, i was like i know who i am picking. i want the guy who's better than me, the guy who can do something that i can do and accomplish things i struggle with. they tried for years and had no interest. this is a mystery writer, thriller writer. there were some i would love to work with but were busy. for the most part, i've got plenty of plots. i want someone who could do carrots like nothing i've ever seen before. i went and found a literary writer. i found todd has an amazing carrots there. he killed the character. what i thought it's a wonderful book i highly recommend came out of the six months after we were working together in the book that nominated here also a guy named stephen king.
the publisher was like who are you working with? i know, he's a killer, trust me. how it can receive the great reviews we've got this because todd and i together did something that neither of us alone could do. what happened is the opening scene of this book there is a girl named hazel who sits on her father's lap and here's a story for the first time, a gruesome story. she hears a story that is six years old her dad was a conspiracy tv show. i don't write any books in life i've lived then, people. he tells the stories to her that in the revolutionary time it is was the first body that was found. he opened the.bin inside the body was a block of? they contain something. they cut up in the? and then there is a priceless book, a book that belong to benedict arnold.
the six-year-old grossness tell it again. but then again on the stove and brains and the next day she comes back and puts a different hand on the stove and brings it again. and so let's talk about the book. the book opens up but she's grown now 30 years old issue makes up in the hospital and has no memory. she finds out there's been an accident and her father is now dead that hosted this conspiracy tv show. the last person her father was seen with, they found him dead and when they cut open his body the first member she can recall that belongs to benedict arnold. in that moment she realized the little girl had truth to them. they have advice to them and they were all just for her, almost like a train of his daughter all these years.
from there she finds guns at her house. she doesn't know how they got there. she finds scars on her body, can't recall those. she quickly realizes only by solving the murder can she figured out who killed her father and also who she really is. she is the mystery of this book. to me that despot is a great character and hazel herself as the carrots. she has no memory and she can't remember people she met. she has emotional memory loss. it's not like a scooby doo plot. no one gets amnesia. emotional memory loss means the people she was most connected to, she's forgot them. so she could walk into a bar that -- is attracted to, she doesn't know that someone she loves or her worst enemy. everywhere she goes is an adventure in fields like maybe it was a nice person. she's like again? she has this moment where she can read that her life.
i love them as a character, because everything becomes an adventure that moment and everything is new. we all take a moment, not ourselves in the head with a hammer and start over and have our lives anew. i will pick out a really nice camera. it's an amazing idea. but i love about it is as we came up with that, this idea had been carrying around for five years and that's benedict arnold. we all think of the bad guys the story, but it's not the bad guy with a good guy. benedict arnold is like all of us, the complicated guy. we are all not good, not bad. but we are all complicated. i realized in hazel as she finds this life she used to have, she has a chance to suddenly be good. she gets to be just like benedict arnold. sunday's good, some days bad.
we are all amazing and we are all terrified. we are all brave and where all carers. we are all stupendous. some of us all in the same day. that's who we are as people. i realize that this character and in the spot we could explore not just hazel, but the story of benedict arnold of what it means to be good and what it to be bad at what her identity is about. i always love that stuff. it's researching this book, by the way, have to great sources i have are hidden in this crowd right now. look around, people. check each other completely. it's washington d.c. in regina. here's one of the things that happened when i was researching the book i met this military intelligence officer. i said where is the best intelligence come from? one of the things he said to me as it is a true story. he said that years ago there was
a dictator who hated the united states. he said he hated us, to their heart into their bones. no one knew this dictator to one of his top lieutenants was secretly working for the united states. he was actually a spy from america. i was like why? the very best reason of all, because the family. what happened is one of his top lieutenants had a sick child who needed the kind of medical attention that only the united states could give. so they gave this young child medical attention. he gave us information about weaponry out of the hands of extremists, hopeless at the financial investigation. go see it in the book an essay that's interesting. i didn't make it up. it's real, and happened. i love that i get to field the book with details like that.
as for the house's secret opens in u.k. to explore hazel in this world and you get to explore who she is. and of course you get to explore benedict arnold picked which is so fun to me because benedict arnold is amazing. that's really where the book starts. but i'd love to do is also answer questions about the book. i can tell someone here has lots of questions. she's trying to get my attention the entire time. you can ask about the kids books, thrillers, research, but i will tell you the one thing i need to save need to say to you, thank you to barnes and noble but thank you for all of you who can't. let's get some questions and explore some research. >> my buddy leah has a question for you. [inaudible]
>> the question is he a millionaire like i said come out. if you haven't seen -- you are laughing now. i'm going to make you -- so this is now i'm going to show you something. this is amelia ehrhardt lego set. we have someone build it for us and here's the thing. i know i'll put it on tv so america is going to help us. lego loved this idea. you're not start wars. you're not marble. i didn't need you to tell me that. i understand that. i know very clearly. is a 10,000 people who vote for a criminal will consider making a pit at the that was made through the how amateur mothers that was built by the woman who built this. so right now we just launched this. we have 2000 people. i can see in this crowd there's
over 200 people here. we better be at least 2500 tomorrow. if you put the word lego amelia ehrhardt in google, this'll be the the first thing that comes to. they take your name and e-mail, give them your fake when you get to bother marketers and vote. the point that this was to give my kids really serious. i love when they can play with "star wars" in those things. but i also love that i can give my kids alike is that the real heroes. and if we do that, i want to do an albert einstein said he never said we can do. and how great if we can inspire a case of amazing toys to play with. thank you. i appreciate it. let's see where we go. other questions, gal?
[inaudible] eleanor roosevelt. this is what you want your kid asking. martin luther king junior from little league. i love that. >> george washington. >> this is that i want kids in america today. .com if you love me, you will go register for a lego amelia ehrhardt. if you don't register and vote, you don't does me, dad. say those words and watch what you get. >> the inner circle you have a scavenger hunt that you planted in above. your future plans for something like that.
>> i love hiding things in all my books. i can't do a tv show called decoded. one of the things we should talk about this kind of conspiracies. first a few things. i'm about the inner circle, i put a secret code that was hidden in there. if you crack the secret code hidden in the pages of the inner circle ,-com,-com ma there was a record that was there. if you got through it and you found it, is one wishing. i'm not telling you where it was hidden, but you got it. it took four years before someone finally crack it and jim davis sitting here. the first person in four years and jim cracked it. let's hear it for jim. now jim also loves a good demo code. so jim also was kind enough to put it back in its out there and it's still there and is hidden
for the taking. if you want the treasurer, it's hidden in the pages of the inner circle. jim will not tell you where it is. but it is still there. i will not tell you anything else i've hidden over the years, but in the kids books i am hidden in every book. >> i saw that. >> you saw that appeared last night look for the guy who looks like me. there's so many things hidden in the kids books to another find. i have my number 27. what else do i hide? child. i don't hide that, but we have lots fun things number 27 is symbolic as special to me. i will say this. we'll talk about conspiracies is
here is the thing. right now i hosted for years a conspiracy tv show. conspiracies used to be something that were really a french thing. they really were. a few of conspiracies, you would fit in the garage. if you love comic books, you were a fringe group. in a holiday somewhere once a month and no one really cared about you. and suddenly, it looks i run everything. comic books that were in every screen in every television and it's the same thing with conspiracies. they are now mainstream. and now you have donald trump talking about ted cruz, lee harvey oswald, vince foster. hillary saying she will release records on ufos should select it. the two main candidates run for the president to you. but are they talking about major mainstream conspiracies.
what happened and what i love, one of the fun parts of writing the book is i get to explore what it was like to host the show. the fun of it for me was i realized over time that people tell me secrets. and the department of homeland security called me in and brought me in. i've had president of the united states wright made matters. i've got a george h.w. bush to send a week in houston. people from fort knox said they want to talk to me about whether -- one of their lawyers, john wilkes booth to shot abraham lincoln tracked me down and said to me it was an amazing moment. i for one knows if you read any history book, 12 days or abraham lincoln was shot, john wilkes booth was then killed.
they said they shot the wrong guy. he escaped and they have the proof anyone to hear that story. yes, i want to hear that story. and so, to me, i love that people tell me the secrets. i walked in, the dining room came out. i write thrillers for a living. i realized i am the perfect spy. iem. but moore insisted, the more you laugh and the more you go maybe he's telling the truth. that is just what i want you to think. bad is it. i had the perfect cover because i can go anywhere. i said how do i not use that idea and the next vote? the house of secrets creates that. and also the other side of what you work on this. what happens is when
conspiracies become so mainstream, when your presidential candidates talking about it, there develops a true industry of conspiracy. it is a true industry. a lot of people do it in the most odd ways and although it's never been about fear mongering by the governments always out to get you out of it's about trying to get the hardest thing of all to the american people. we are going to tell you that the story above all, the true story. when we first started filming, one of the producers said to me at the last fact you have on shows like this, the more scary music you play. that's the industry of conspiracy. that is sad to me. we will never do that show. i never want to be part of that show. they will see when you read "the house of secrets," you will see website for the insight to be one of the seafood gets to to host a conspiracy tv show. because at that, i had someone
in the book signing from to bring me the holy grail at an event. all of these amazing things just because of the job i have and i love that i get to do that. so close in secrets and all those things are forever a part of this project and all the projects that i work on. yes. got another one? [inaudible] -- i don't know why. she said i watch things i don't like and i don't know why. interesting she said that after a talk about my own television show. back of the line today. questions of tv shows and movies. so, for those continue to tell history channel their grade. lost history did everything it was supposed to do. it really did.
we were so happy with the ratings. the only issue was as i'm sure you've realized on your cable channel is sent each two, which we were on actually got changed over. they just change the channel and rebranded it. so that's where we went. we love working with the history channel. it looks like we will be filming a special towards the end of the year and we are excited to be doing that. you will hopefully have something back soon. as for movies and things like that, i can't say anything, but let's have my fingers crossed for something really exciting to announce the house of secrets -- "the house of secrets". how's that for a mystery? [inaudible] >> yes, story time. anyone who follows me on facebook, we started realizing as they rolled it out, were
doing live video. you can put ip or what you're eating for dinner and show a slide. who wants to see that? were we to do with the technology as we could tell stories could remember and sunday nights, they were always really like a family night. i love the idea that on family night you can bring back the lost art of telling stories. so what we did is use this technology and i just got on facebook on 8:00 on a sunday and i would just read stories to people. we had a thing 200 people watching them than 300 people watching by the time we got to the end, we did a big step it straight. 2000 people watching mind. when it was done we had 100,000 people who watch the video when it was finished. to the point where we have a captain himself came to my house and he was like the wayne's world of literacy was what it was.
he sat there with me. we did that and we had like 50,000 people. i forget the real number, but it was this amazing game. we plan on doing more storytime. there is a film that someone so famous it is in vain. i won't say who it is, but it was someone who i can't say whether it's current or past but in the white house. it is the funniest storytime i promise you will ever see. we are just editing and putting it together. it will take a couple months because they want to save up for a couple moments. check on my face but aging lca. >> how do we go from just writing for yourself to submitting yourself. >> how do you go from writing for yourself and then submitting and publishing the book? i will tell you you will be sitting here and c-span will be here and there's going to be
like 250 of your closest friends. you have a story to tell. it's so pure, so beautiful. i started writing because the job i went to didn't work out. i moved myself to boston in the week i got to boston, my mentor took me under his wing left the job. i thought oh my gosh i write my life. i did what any of you would do when you think you've are your life. i said i'm going to write a novel. i was the most logical thing i could think of. i just wanted to tell my story for myself. the first novel has got me 24 rejection letters. there were only 20 rejection letters did i got 24 rejection letters. but above tonight year i fell in love and they said if they don't like a book i read another and the answer in terms of submitting your book and you should go to brad meltzer.com.
all you have to do is get one person to say yes. one person tells cbs, one editor you're a published author. your job is to find that person. at the back and take a 24 rejection than i was right and they were wrong. i only look at the experiences life is subject to. whatever you do with your life, with your teachers stay home, lawyer, doctor, whatever it is you do, don't let anyone tell you now. if you love it, keep doing it and you will submit it and find someone will say yes and your job is to find them. keep going, keep going, keep going. other questions. we'll do a couple more. >> number one, did you kill yourself off in the book? [inaudible]
>> the first one is did you kill yourself in the book because you're a character. i did. i totally did. the character i won't ruin the end of the book so you'll see what happens to the character who was supposedly made, but really has nothing to do with me. the fun part of writing a book where you have a job. a broad look at her right now. that's my favorite part because that person feel so bad and now we are going to totally call attention to her. so what i love when you do something like that is we really do get to put myself in this world under the microscope. the fun part is some special conspiracies. when you're in the business of telling conspiracy stories, you've got to solve one. because if you don't, the audience thinks you're full of
it. you've got to bring in fact come effect to bring a solution. if you don't eventually lose faith that goes somewhere else. what is why others on watergate happened, every dream and every nightmare that everyone had was suddenly rail. the government really was out to get you. and the president really was breaking into your house and i. all of our fears became true and in that moment every conspiracy at blogger in sunlight for every horror story after that. especially so close to jfk. to me the interesting part is we get to than the pages of the house of secrets. you get to pull apart but it makes. i went to michigan to think about flint and of course no one is in favor of the disaster. i will tell you one of the greatest moments of my entire life to waste a couple weeks ago because i had to go back.
i went to ann arbor, michigan. thank you in the back, i appreciate it. they asked me to deliver the commencement address at michigan law school. i kind of art he gave this speech before because when i was 22 years old, living in washington d.c., my mentor, eli segal, who is the person who gave me the job and hired me, he hired me as a speechwriter for americorps, for the president national service program. one of the first he asked me to work on for him is this commencement address at the university of michigan law school. so here i was when i was 24 years old and now it's back there were 46 years old and all those years later. the amazing part was i talked about it and this is actually a really good -- very important thing i need to say tonight is one of the hardest things and the greatest risk still ever
taken your life is admitting what you want. we know what we want, but to admit what we want. if you do, you might not get it. you might fail. but you have to admit what you love. you have to admit what scares you and you have to admit what brought you here in the first place. when i was doing this speech and i never tell a story but i've got to tell it here today. admitting what you fear. when i used to work at the häagen-dazs, skipping ice cream and i remembered this woman came one day and she kept snapping her finger at him. we actually convince the owner of the store where 17 tonight guys a management store because we had worked there for so long. i gave a fake age. so we were the managers at the store. this woman snapping her fingers. i'll be with you once i can.
she says now, you serve me now. i said when you are rude like that i'm not going to serve you. she says i want to see the manager. i at the manager for you. can i help you? she says you're not the manager i said i am. i said i'm still not going to serve you because you're being so rude to everyone. she said you're going to work at this mr. bought ice cream store for the rest of their miserable life. acidifying here for the rest of my miserable life, you'll still never get any ice cream. and they used to tell the story and laugh and say it didn't bother me. but as i said they are common it totally bothered me. it made me feel like my life would be like my own dads. my dad had a really rough time is money. i felt like i was never going to succeed. they made me feel like my life is limited somehow and someway. it wasn't about wanting money or wine success like that.
it was just a theater of real problems that were going to be brought on and i was terrified of that. i realized in that moment, when i admit what i fear, i also knew that fear drove me. it drove me to write, to succeed. it's the reason i'm here today. not to prove somebody wrong, but it was by rocket fuel. and if you like it so important to say you'll see it in the pages of the book. for all of you, your greatest strengths are always to reduce weakness, but sure greatest weakness is also your greatest strength. so find what scares you and let it be your rocket fuel. this is the best part of the story is when i got to the end of the speech, i went and looked back in time to speech that my mentor that i worked on when i was 24 years old here in washington d.c. and i tracked down the speech. this is the speech that had were
that i may or may not have written. i couldn't remember. the truth is i had no idea. that is completely lost history. what i did find was a line for the end of the speech and the lion said this. this is to all of you sitting here today that i hope 33 years from now, one of you is lucky enough to be sitting up here and giving this speech. whoever it is in this audience, you are just thought, you were lucky. i was in my office crying. i thought he's talking to me. i could've written alliance. it was like i was talking to myself. and i think i will leave you with this because it is the perfect ending. i feel here today in this town where he started writing for the first time, i just feel so lucky to be here in a thank you for supporting me with the kids books.
i thank you for supporting me with the thriller senate means so much to me. i'll take one final question and then we can go from there. >> who is your historical figure that she must identify with and why and also who is the historical figure over the centuries or millennia or whatever that sure most inspired by? >> what historical figures to identify with and who inspires me? that is our kids both. that is at the core of it is, for those who don't have a spokes, i was tired of my own kid looking that reality stars and loud mouth athlete. i said in so many better heroes, so we started with books like im and amelia erhardt i am abraham lincoln. i have albert einstein, i am rosa parks. but i am lucille ball because i wanted my daughter to have an entertainment hero who is more than just pretty. not that it isn't okay to be
different, but spectacular to be different. i am helen keller when she goes on, the pages of the book go black. this is how i see the world. cover your ears. this is how i hear the world. when she learns to read braille, this is my name. my name is helen. what is your name? the real braille alphabet is in the book. i love that helen keller never stops. it is about a moral lesson. helen keller says i will neither -- i would knows no limitations or know no bounds or albert einstein saying it's always, always be curious. those are my answers here that's who i admire. abraham lincoln is the one for me. he's the one who lives up to the hype every time. i will always choose kindness and i will always speak up for others. this is what it says. on the front we come up with the
most part of the book. the most impart is the moral blessing. put it right on the back. it says here i will always speak my mind and speak for others. that is something to aspire to for kids. i will tell you in september we are doing im george washington and then we are doing im jane goodall, which i'm super excited to do. i will tell you this. in "the house of secrets" we do a lot of benedictarnold. as i can put in the post-the kids books. we say there's no cherry tree. don't give them this information. i put a whole page that says this is the link and the secret code name was 711. the editor was like do we need to put this in there? i'm like we totally need this in there. i've read these books to my son and we get to that part of a
second visible link, that's so cool. i'm like i know, tell my editor is so true. you will see the invisible link. i wanted to see if we could do invisible link in the book, but someone has to figure that out. i promise if i say it now someone will figure that out. maybe in one magic copy, how awesome would that be and then my phone number and a prize. not saying it did happen, just saying it could happen. we actually will tell you that we also, we discuss six more books. we are doing 18 of these now, so they will keep coming. [applause] with that said, i'm not going to say it was after that. it is the nerdiest person that comes after george washington and jane goodall. i can't wait to share with you. there's so many things to be cleared. i promise this is our level of nerdy.
we are going right here. with that said, thank you to everyone coming tonight and they really, really appreciate you supporting "the house of secrets." thanks to c-span for supporting us always. i really appreciate it. [applause] >> okay, don't know just yet. really put the can to give them one more round of applause? thank you. [applause] >> lara heimert, what are some books coming out from basic baseball? >> i'm excited about one called were detected which is a memoir by the former editor in the former editor in chief in this dictionary who has been there for about 40 years until retirement in 2013. and in that time oversaw the complete transformation of dictionaries of lexicography in the