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Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Interview With Author Sandy Rosenthal


Words Whispered in Water:

Why the Levees Broke in Hurricane Katrina

After Hurricane Katrina and the levee breaches in New Orleans, Sandy Rosenthal became a citizen investigator and founder of the non-profit with 25,000 supporters nationally. Her book is about how she, and her group, exposed the culprit in the disaster––the Army Corps of Engineers––and how the federal agency spent millions covering up its levee-building mistakes and fooling the American public. Rosenthal is an advocate for the 62% of the American population (190 million people) currently residing in counties protected by levees. When Rosenthal is not advocating for safe levees, she plays tennis and practices yoga. For more information, please see:

Here is an interesting interview with Sandy:

1. What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book? One of my most trusted advisors urged me to write a book. He believed that 1) my story was unique, 2) only I could tell it, and 3) the nation needed it. My faith in my advisor's judgement propelled me to start writing in October of 2013. 

2. What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted reader? After the levee breaches during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the people of New Orleans were labeled irresponsible and a burden to the nation. My book set the record straight; that the flooding was due to the federal government's ineptitude, and how that same government tried to hide that ineptitude from the American people. My target reader is people outside the city of New Orleans who might not understand that they too, live by levees (62% of population).

3. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? What should remain with them long after putting it down? Never underestimate the power of asking a question, and demanding an answer. I hope to inspire others to write a wrong that they see; be it at work, their neighborhood, their hometown, state or even the nation. 

4. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers? To write, one must block out at least 2 hours a day of truly uninterrupted time. And don't worry about finding a publisher. You need only one! 

5. What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading? I see a trend in self-publishing, and feel that is a right. A human being should feel empowered to self-publish. But I also believe the joy of reading books is alive and well and that goes the same for the publishing industry.

6. What challenges did you overcome to write your book? I had to write my book while leading my growing and influential grassroots group. For example, my writing had to stop while pushed for levee board reform and mobilized the people of the state of Louisiana to pass new legislation. We did succeed, but no writing got done for four months! 

7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours? In describing the shocking and fascinating corruption and collusion by the engineering establishment, the media and the Army Corps of Engineers, my book also summarizes most if not all of the major levee breaches and how they affected New Orleans neighborhoods. My book could be a great textbook for these academic categories: journalism, communications, government, emergency response, public relations, political science, history, Southern regional studies, civil engineering and for any academic who wants to encourage investigative journalism and social activism.


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are the product of his desire to help writers succeed. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by Brian Feinblum ©2020. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He hosted several panels on book publicity for Book Expo and often speaks before writers conferences and author seminars.

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