A visit with Alice Germond

Legendary journalist Jack Germond completed his first work of fiction, A Small Story for Page 3, just days before he passed away. Those of us at MuseItUp Publishing were proud to count Jack among our fellow authors. Today, we are honored to welcome his wife, Alice Germond, to our blog.

Mrs. Germond, your husband had a very impressive career in journalism. What made him decide to write a novel?

Jack played with the idea for a number of years as he was out on the trail or thinking about our politics.  After he wrote his memoir and an opinion book he ran out of excuses.

What was the seed from which A Small Story for Page 3 grew?

I think it grew out of ethical questions that crop up in both the news business and in politics.  And a lot of great characters he met or imagined.

Could you describe your husband’s writing method:  fast. (Love this answer!)

Did he prefer to plan and outline, or to fly by the seat of his pants?

He pondered a good deal but didn’t outline anything.

Did he do a lot of research prior to starting the writing process?

His life’s work was his research.

Did he like music or silence while he was writing?

Silence, except when I interrupted him with day to day life stuff.

Where did he like to write?

At his desk by the bay window that looks out on the Shennandoah River.

Is there a character in his novel with whom your husband could identify?

Harry Fletcher, definitely, though he gave him other dimensions and worries.

We writers seem to spend a lot of time discussing our hobbies. What were some of Jack’s favorites?

Jack loved the track.  He studied the racing form the way he studied candidates for president.  He enjoyed good food and drink with great company and was known to extend the evening…

What inspired your husband?

Hope that he and we all would get it right.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

He loved his life and his work — and was fortunate to live during the halcyon days of newspapers and before Perrier replaced good wine.

Thank you for joining us to promote your husband’s book. Jack had a larger-than-life presence. He is truly missed.

a-small-story-for-page-3-200x300

Harry Fletcher can’t for the life of him figure out what exactly the ‘nugget’ of information his colleague, Eddie Concannon, uncovered prior to his death is. Picking his way along the threads of information, Harry soon finds himself at odds with government officials and his own newspaper seems to be involved in the collusion.  Join Harry as he deciphers the clues and enjoy a journey into the world of investigative reporting set against a colorful back drop of characters and locations.

A Small Story for Page 3 can be found on:

MuseItUp Publishing

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Photo Credit: Ann Hawthorne

Photo Credit: Ann Hawthorne

Jack Germond (January 30, 1928 – August 14, 2013) was a retired newspaper man, columnist and TV pundit. But like a Thoroughbred racehorse, a reporter never actually retires—he just writes about other things. The author brings his vast knowledge and understanding of the press and the business of getting the information to public to bear in his breakout novel, A Small Story for Page 3. Mr. Germond was nationally known as a bemused liberal and was a regular on The McLaughlin Group as well as appearing on other public affairs TV programs — CNN, Meet The Press and The Today Show among others. He covered ten presidential elections, and with Jules Witcover wrote a book covering each presidential election from 1980 to 1992. Timothy Crouse made Germond a prominent figure in “Boys on the Bus” his acclaimed book on the 1972 presidential election. Mr. Germond has previously published two non-fiction books, his memoir “Fat Man in A Middle Seat” (Random House 2002) and “Fat Man Fed Up” (Random House 2005) a scride on the decline of politics in the United States. Along with Jules Witcover he wrote a syndicated column that ran in 140 papers five days a week from 1977 to 2001.  2000.
Chris Farley once spoofed Germond on Saturday Night Live. Germond was known for his no nonsense approach to reporting and his love of good food, good liquor and good friends. He instituted The Germond Rule which two generations of political reporters have adhered to. The rule simply stated that when a group of reporters dined together the tab would be split evenly, no matter who ate or drank more. This caused his many friends to eat and drink defensively when covering stories and enjoying good company.

Alice Germond is the Secretary Emeritus of the Democratic National Committee. She was elected Secretary unopposed three times from 2002 to January 2013. Alice also served on the Executive Committee, the Rules and By-Laws Committee and as Secretary for the Democratic National Convention where she called the role of states that determines the Party’s nominee. Alice has participated in every Convention since 1974 when the Party wrote its National Charter.  Alice currently is an elected At-Large member of the DNC and serves on the Resolutions Committee.

Active in the Democratic Party for over 45 years, she has held leadership positions in local, state and national campaigns including Political Director for Clinton/Gore in CA, Deputy National Political Director for Michael Dukakis, and Super Delegate Director for Gary Hart. In 1988 Alice moved to Washington DC, and became Director of Political Operations for Ron Brown’s successful election as Chair of the DNC. She was named his Senior Advisor, coordinating DNC Party Programs and was his liaison to the 1992 Convention. From 1993—1996 she was Director of the DNC’s Government and Party Affairs Departments.

A strong advocate for issues and party values, Alice led the historic effort to put Geraldine Ferraro on the Democratic Ticket while Chair of the National Women’s Political Caucus Democratic Task Force. During her tenure as Executive Vice President of NARAL Pro-Choice America, Fortune Magazine ranked NARAL as the most effective women’s organization in the nation. Alice also worked for the AFL-CIO’s Women’s Division and for SEIU. One of Alice’s earliest experiences was participating in Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” March on the National Mall.

Alice has broad experience as a speaker and working with the press. Her op-eds have been published by major newspapers and on the internet, and in 1995 CBS hired Alice for their special Convention Coverage Unit. She has spoken at Party Events in 50+ States and for the campaigns, organizations and issues with which she is identified. Her international work includes lectures at Tsinghua University in Beijing, leader of two delegations to Taiwan, presentations in Madrid, London, Barcelona, Toronto, the Virgin Islands and several NDI exchanges including one for the European Parliament.

In 2013 President Barack Obama appointed Alice to the prestigious Commission on White House Fellows where she currently serves. Prior commissions include the CA Council on Criminal Justice (Gov. E G Brown, Jr.) and the LA Olympics Government Affairs Committee.

Alice earned her BA from Bennington College, VT in 1965 where she received a non-resident term scholarship and was Chair of the school legislature.  Her MS Degree in Public Administration/Recreation was awarded in 1977 from CA State Un. LA with a 4.0 average.

Now living on a bend of the Shenandoah River in West Virginia, Alice grows vegetables and fruits, goes running with her dog Freddy, and watches the bald eagles who have returned to the region. Coffee on the deck, warm conversation with many friends and visits from six grandchildren are a constant pleasure.

Remaining dates on the blog tour:

November 26 Penny Ehrenkranz
November 27 Victoria Roder
November 28 Leona Pence

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About HFBrainerd

Published novelist and Disney World fanatic. Thanks for coming along on this wild ride!
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11 Responses to A visit with Alice Germond

  1. Alice Germond says:

    Thank you Heather for inviting me to join you on your blog today. And for your questions and for sharing some of Jack’s writing and interests. I look forward to your guests’ comments and questions. Alice

  2. Lovely interview, Heather. It was good to hear Alice’s view of Jack’s writing methods. I’ve enjoyed gaining a picture of him. He’s one of those characters who will remain a long time in people’s memories. If only I could share his ability to write “fast”!

  3. Alice Germond says:

    I think Jack wrote fast as a result of being on deadline so much of his life as a reporter; perhaps had he started out as a novelist he might have developed a different style. Of course, fast is subjective. It took him a number of years to begin to be a writer of fiction. But most important, he liked the challenge and discovered that his characters took on their own lives even if he set up the story line. Jack did ponder a good deal, but when he sat down to write, he wrote.

    Thanks for your comments.

  4. Alice Germond says:

    Me too!

    I recall one day discussing some issue that Jack was puzzling over, I struggled to make a suggestion, to which Jack replied, that was a good idea but “he wouldn’t do that”. I admit I laughed at first, saying something along the lines of you’re in charge of him. Jack laughed too, but allowed that that just wasn’t something he (the character) would say or do. I definitely then realized the characters had taken on lives of their own. Very exciting.

  5. Nancy Bell says:

    I agree, Alice. It’s amazing how the characters take on a life of their own. sometimes mine do things that I never expected them to do or suddenly a new character will pop in the course of writing a scene and I’m like “Wow, where did he/she come from?” But invariably they show up to move the plot forward or to tie up a loose end. It’s kind of like magic when it happens.

    Nancy

    • HFBrainerd says:

      You’re so right, Nancy. I just wrote a scene where the main character turns around and finds that her nemesis is right behind her. And I had no idea he was going to be there until the words appeared on my screen. 🙂

  6. Alice Germond says:

    I love magic. And missing Jack as I do, magic is exquisitely special. Thank you all for another day of both blogging and memories.

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