Newt and Callista Gingrich Talk Latest Books in Bucks
Bucks County Courier
October 30, 2014
Kimberly Burton William Tennent
Last Friday, I had the privilege to interview Newt Gingrich and his wife, Callista.
If you’ve never heard of Gingrich, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve been living under a rock. He is a former Speaker of the House of Representatives and was a presidential candidate in 2012. He’s written many nonfiction and fiction novels about historical events, politics and the like.
His wife, meanwhile, is a movie producer and writes a set of children’s novels based on historical events.
The pair signed books and interacted with the public at The Doylestown Bookshop. They drove through three rush hours — Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia — to attend.
Here are some highlights from our interview:
Q: Can you give us a quick synopsis of your latest books?
Newt Gingrich: “Breakout” basically says that there are pioneers of the future who are developing dramatic new breakthroughs, and there are prison guards of the past who are trying to protect old bureaucracies, old rules, old regulations. And the easiest example is to look at the jump from a manual typewriter to a smartphone, and realize that we should be able to modernize all of government to be as much faster, more powerful, more effective and less expensive as a smartphone is over a manual typewriter.”
Callista Gingrich: My new book called “From Sea To Shining Sea” is the fourth volume in the “Ellis the Elephant” series. This series offers a guided tour of American history for 4- to 8-year-olds. In this book, Ellis the Elephant, who is my time-traveling pachyderm, discovers a growing nation and the great expedition of Lewis and Clark.
Q: What was your goal in writing (“Breakout”)?
NG: To show people that there was hope for a dramatically better future with longer lives, better jobs, more learning, more take-home pay, greater choices, and with a less expensive, less intrusive government that was dramatically more effective.
Q: What was the purpose of writing (the “Ellis the Elephant” series)?
CG: I write this series because I love our country and I believe America is truly an exceptional nation. I think it’s more important, now than ever, that our children understand what makes our country so special. To do that, they need an understanding of our American history. Unfortunately, many of our kids today aren’t learning our history and they are instead learning revisionist or politically correct history. I believe we need to give kids the tools we need at a very early age so they can begin to appreciate the greatness of this nation.
Q: What was the hardest thing about writing (“Breakout”)?
NG: Thinking it up. We spent about a year thinking about where we are and how things have changed and trying to understand what we think America needs to do. We had a whole team that really worked on it for over a year. The writing was easy but the thinking was hard.
Q: What was the hardest thing about writing (the “Ellis” series)?
CG: When I write these children’s books, we outline the book, we determine the stories that need to be told and the values that need to be conveyed. The greatest challenge is condensing it into two verses in each spread and then making those words rhyme.
Q: What advice do both of you have for teenagers (moving on in their lives)?
CG: Follow your dreams. If you do something you’re passionate about, your life with be easier.
NG: My daughter Jackie and I wrote a book called “5 Principles for a Successful Life” which goes along with this well. The five principles are dream big, work hard, enjoy life, learn every day and be true to yourself. We got people like Whoopi Goldberg and David Petraeus to contribute real stories about how these things have affected their lives. I really recommend (“5 Principles for a Successful Life”) to teenagers.
Signed copies of the “Ellis the Elephant” series and “Breakout” are still available at The Doylestown Bookshop.
Republican or Democrat, Newt Gingrich’s newest book will definitely make you think — which in reality is what books are supposed to do.
So break out your bookmarks and try something new; you might just like it.