Live from Music Row Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – guest host Aaron Gulbransen welcomed Fox News host and author Raymond Arroyo to the newsmaker line to talk about his new book The Unexpected Light of Thomas Alva Edison and the book signing at the Cool Springs Barnes and Noble on Saturday at 11 a.m.
Gulbransen: On the newsmaker line we have an author and you’ve seen him on Fox News, Raymond Aroyo. How are you, sir?
Arroyo: Hey, how are you, Aaron? Thanks for having me on.
Gulbransen: Oh, thank you for coming on. It’s good to meet you here on the radio. I want to get right in, and we can get into the substance of the book and what you’re doing. You’re coming to town tomorrow for a book signing?
Arroyo: Yes. I’m at the Cool Springs, Barnes and Noble at 11 a.m. and I’ll be talking about and signing copies of my new Edison book. It’s called The Unexpected Light of Thomas Alva Edison. I love coming back to Nashville and to Brentwood and Franklin.
With all of my books, I’ve come through town and I’ve just had an incredible time meeting so many, not only readers but viewers. And the conversation back and forth is always fun and warm. And it’s, like I said, it’s like coming back home. We’re having a Jazz Fest back in New Orleans, but for me, this is more important than fun. So I’ll take it.
Gulbransen: I don’t want to throw you off track, but I’m looking right here at one of your previous stops in Simi Valley, California on your book tour. Was that at the Reagan Presidential Library?
Arroyo: It was. I was at the Reagan Library early on when the first week the book was out. And they’ve been so good to me, and it’s an incredible place to go. I have to tell you. Reagan and Nancy Reagan are not only buried there, but there are so many artifacts, and it’s just spectacular. It’s at the top of a mountain. It overlooks the entire valley. If you haven’t had an opportunity to go, people should go.
Every time I have a book come out, I try to go to the Reagan Library because they do such beautiful events. But I have to tell you, Cool Springs Barnes and Noble is not far off. We had 100s of people last time I was here in December for a Christmas book. So I’m looking forward to seeing everybody tomorrow at 11 a.m.
Carmichael: Raymond, can you give us just some hints about what’s in the book?
Arroyo: This is a new series from Harper Collins that I decided to start because look, you all cover and we all cover the sad fallout from Americans forgetting who they are and America losing its way. So I thought, how can we get families and children to focus on what makes America exceptional and what makes us stand apart from the rest of the world?
So I started looking at these great lives and I stumbled upon a quote from Thomas Edison and he said, my mother was the making of me. If it had not been for my mother’s faith and devotion at a particular time in my life, I should never have become an inventor. And when I saw that, I thought, wow, who is this inventor? Who is this mother?
And what was this crisis point in his life? And I quickly discovered that Thomas Edison, who was a very curious boy and a tactile learner, burned down barns trying to learn how fires were made. He fell into the canal behind the house a few times. He was mischievous and curious as boys normally are. And his mother saw that spark in him. She sent him to school.
And when he was eight years old, the schoolmaster said he was an idiot, and he can’t be taught, and he threw him out of the school. And the mother took him back and said, my boy has more curiosity and intelligence than you’ll ever have, and I’m going to homeschool him which she did.
And she allowed him to read the great books of classical literature and scientific journals of the day. And what happened there was Edison really taught himself how the world worked, how nature worked, and how science, steam, and electricity could change our lives. That was the end of his formal training.
And I often say Edison really should be the patron saint of homeschooling because he would go on to create inventions that you and I and everyone listening continue to thrive and use every day of our lives. The microphone, the phonograph, the motion picture, the camera, and of course, the light bulb, but the dynamo and the electric grid.
I could spend an hour on the minor things that you don’t think about, like the curling iron and the tattoo pen. Incredible inventions from a boy who the world was willing and ready to cast aside. And if not for the love of a mother at a particular time, he would never have created any of these things we use every day of our lives. I thought that story was worth commemorating.
Carmichael: God, that’s terrific. Good for you. That’s terrific. That’ll be a great book. I can just tell I’m going to buy it. Do you sell it straight off your website or do I go to someplace else?
Arroyo: No, you can go to your local bookstore, Barnes and Noble, or Amazon, and of course at my website, Raymondarroyo.com. There are videos there and some cool links where you can get it as well.
Gulbransen: I just find this really cool. We see it every day. I’m the executive director of Tennessee Faith and Freedom, so I pay a lot of attention to what is affecting kids, especially in all kinds of materials, right? Obviously, on Fox News and every other news outlet under the sun, people are seeing what’s happening there. So it’s really cool to see something like this that’s really positive. How many books have you written? Three or four or am I way low on that?
Arroyo: I think I’m up to 10 or 11. I write for adults, and I write for children and families. And I consider these family reads. People crudely call them picture books. I consider them family reads because it’s the only time a picture book when a mom and dad and a child will sit together and read a book or a grandparent and a child.
And I want that conversation. And I’ve had so many letters from parents who say I had no idea this happened. I didn’t know Edison was thrown out of school or that his mother was formative in his being an inventor.
She was, and I thought this and other stories need to be captured and I call the series Turnabout Tales because we all have these turnabout tales and the, the logo the motto for the series is challenges faced, decisions made, history turned because that’s what happens in every one of our lives. And we need an adult. It’s important to have an adult or a mentor in that child’s life to help guide them down the path that they were intended, I think by God.
Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Raymond Arroyo” by Raymond Arroyo. Photo “The Unexpected Light of Thomas Alva Edison” by Raymond Arroyo. Background Photo “Barnes and Noble” by Ed. CC BY-SA 3.0.