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“Political and moral extremists ignore at their peril moderate supporters. If there is one lesson to be learned from Prohibition, it is this.”

  1. -from Domesticating Drink

Domesticating Drink

Way back in the last century before I was a YA author, I was a geeky student. So geeky that I spent six years at the University of Pennsylvania getting a doctorate in American Civilization, and then wrote a book about prohibition and repeal and American drinking habits. Which has nothing to do with dairy farming, football (okay, it might have something to do with football) or witch-princesses who can barely fly brooms. The reason I’m confessing this now is that I appear in a Ken Burns documentary on prohibition entitled, cleverly enough, Prohibition. So I decided it was time to come out of the closet.

My YA fans may find this a bit disconcerting, which I can understand. But imagine how the geeky college students feel when they look up the author of the book they’ve just been assigned for their Alcohol in America class (which is the kind of ultra-cool class you get to take in college, which is one reason college is so totally worth it), and all they can find are references to Dairy Queen. Say whaaaat?

Just to be clear, however, if it hadn’t been for Domesticating Drink, I would never have been brave enough to try DQ or PB or any of my other novels. In writing about an event that took place 60 years before I was born, I learned how to research and study and organize data, and these skills are what gave me the confidence to tackle football and dairy farming – two subjects about which I otherwise know pretty much zero.

So don’t knock history papers. Trust me: nothing you learn will ever be wasted. Nothing. Not even math.