Author Roger Simon Explains Book Writing as He Completes His 14th Book, ‘American Refugee’

Feb 2, 2023

Live from Music Row Thursday 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. – host Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Roger Simon in studio to discuss the book writing process as he completes his new book, American Refugee.

Leahy: In studio, our very good friend, all-star panelist, my former boss at PJTV, an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter, novelist, writer, author, and also the lead columnist. Perhaps the most popular columnist these days at The Epoch Times, Mr. Roger Simon. Good morning, Roger.

Simon: Good morning.

Leahy: So much to talk about. Of course. Ground Groundhog Day all over again.

Simon: Does it ever work?

Leahy: (Laughs) I don’t know. It’s like Punxsutawney Phil in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, they’re going to drag him out today, and if he sees his shadow it’s six more weeks of winter. I always thought that was weird, didn’t you?

Like, oh, the sun’s out, and you go to get six more days of winter. But anyways, of course, the great Bill Murray movie, right? Groundhog Day. That was a great movie. I’ve seen it over and over again.

Simon: Yes, it was really good.

Leahy: Andy McDowell, it was one of her two really good movies, I thought. Didn’t she do Four Weddings and a Funeral? But that was like how long ago is this? 25 years ago? A long time ago.

Simon: It’s been a long time since they’ve been good movies.

Leahy: You’re a Hollywood guy.

Simon: Sort of.

Leahy: Screenwriter. Sort of. But you’re a screenwriter. You were in that milieu. I want to talk about this. You’ve got a book coming out, and you’re going through the process of it. You have a publisher, of course. You’ve published, I don’t know, a number of books.

Simon: This will be 14.

Leahy: 14! Wow! So, Roger, our listeners have heard about the book. It’s called American Refugee. It’s about people fleeing California and other blue states and moving to great income tax states where there’s more freedom, like, oh, Tennessee and Texas, and Florida.

Simon: Texas and Tennessee are primarily the ones I talk about. Mostly Tennessee, of course, because you know what? When you sit down and write a book like this, you realize that takes a long time to get to know a place.

Leahy: It does.

Simon: And my qualifications, as much as I enjoy going to Florida and sitting on the beach for a short time, I don’t know as much about Florida. And less about Texas. Texas is very hard to get a hold of.

Leahy: It’s because it’s so big. It’s like five different states. It was a separate country for nine years from 1836 to 1845. It’s interesting because you left California four and a half years ago.

I think after four and a half years, Roger, I think you’re getting a good sense of what Tennessee is, right? That’s a good time to say, yes, you got an understanding of Tennessee.

Simon: I had enough to fill a book. I’ll put it that way.

Leahy: Tell our listeners about this process of writing a book, because I have a little experience. Not nearly what yours is. But tell us about where you are in that process and what happens.

Simon: I’m at a very happy moment because I delivered it to my publisher at Encounter Books, with whom I’ve done two other books, actually, in New York, and they liked it. (Chuckles)

No matter how many books you do, and I haven’t had an interesting experience with another writer about this because it was his first novel and he was terrified. And I’m writing I wrote a blurb for his book.

Leahy: I know who this fellow is, and when this comes out and it’s public, we’ll talk about it.

Simon: You might want to have him on here.

Leahy: I will. If you like his book, I’m going to like it.

Simon: I would say you would, but you’re always nervous about it, no matter how many times. Novak Djokovic is nervous every time he steps on a tennis court and he’s won so many matches you can’t even think about it. It’s just the nature of being in an occupation where you’re judged.

Leahy: You’ve finished the manuscript for American Refugee.

Simon: Now I’m doing a little last-minute combing over it.

Leahy: You’ve sent it to the publisher and they’ve responded positively.

Simon: Positively. The guy who runs Encounter Books, Roger Kimball, is pretty well-known and a very well-known conservative, intellectual. Written books himself. And so I know him very well.

Leahy: And he liked it.

Simon: He wasn’t BS-ing. He’d send me back to the woodshed to do a little more.

Leahy: I know that feeling.

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 Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.