Interview with Alan Kennedy-Shaffer

Jen: We have a special guest today, Alan Kennedy-Shaffer. Alan, will you please share a short bio with us?
Alan: Alan Kennedy-Shaffer served as a regional field director for Barack Obama and the Democratic Party in Virginia. Educated at Yale University and William & Mary Law School, Kennedy-Shaffer is the author of The Obama Revolution and Denial and Deception: A Study of the Bush Administration’s Rhetorical Case for Invading Iraq. Kennedy-Shaffer’s writings have also appeared in The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, the Washington Post, the Patriot-News, and the Virginia Gazette. Alan lives in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.

Jen: Tell us about The Obama Revolution and where it’s available.
Alan: The Obama Revolution is the first book written about the most organized campaign in American history by a former campaign staffer and provides an in-the-trenches look into the movement that made Barack Obama the 44th President of the United States and changed the world. From the late-night phone calls and data entry to the grueling treks across traditionally Republican territory, The Obama Revolution tells a side of the story rarely told.

The Obama Revolution is available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. More information about the book is available through Phoenix Books.

Jen: How did you get into politics?
Alan: I have always been interested in politics as a way of creating change on a local, national, and global level. Our public officials have a duty to represent the long-term interests of the people of the United States and the values that we share as members of the human race. I got involved with the Obama campaign by attending more rallies than I can count, listening to more speeches than I can name, and hoping that I would be able to join the movement.

Jen: Please tell us a little about your experience with the Obama campaign.
Alan: I volunteered to serve in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, as an Obama Organizing Fellow, and was then hired to work for Barack Obama and the Democratic Party in Virginia. My experiences on the campaign became the foundation for The Obama Revolution, a book that comes out of the Obama campaign’s emphasis on the 50-State Strategy and outreach in every state, every city, and every county. You never knew which phone call or door knock would put Obama over the top.

Jen: Why did you write this book?
Alan: My first book, Denial and Deception: A Study of the Bush Administration’s Rhetorical Case for Invading Iraq, examined the relationship between the rhetoric of President George W. Bush, public opinion, and the war in Iraq. When Barack Obama came along and challenged the mindset that led us down such a disastrous route in Iraq, I knew that a new story about the hopes and dreams of millions of Americans needed to be told. That is what The Obama Revolution is all about.

Jen: Describe your writing in three words.
Alan: Powerful, poignant, and hopeful. (At least that’s what my mother says.)

Jen: Do you have a writing routine?
Alan: I wish. My friends say that I am a first-class procrastinator. For The Obama Revolution, I worked day and night until the day when I had to send my manuscript to the editor. WaWa made enormous profits from my late-night coffee breaks.

Jen: How do you shut out disruptions?
Alan: For me, I either have to be in a room with no disruptions at all–close the door, turn off the radio, stop incessantly checking my email–or I have to write in a crowded coffee house where the background noise blends together.

Jen: What’s the most rewarding aspect?
Alan: The most rewarding aspect of The Obama Revolution is knowing that my book is one of the first accounts of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and the first book by someone who worked on the campaign. With any luck, my book will inspire future generations of believers to commit themselves to turning their hopes and dreams into change for a better world. If one person reads The Obama Revolution and is inspired, I will have been successful.

Jen: What did you do to celebrate the sale of your first book?
Alan: To celebrate the arrival of The Obama Revolution, I enjoyed Margaritas with a few of my friends in Williamsburg.

Jen: Who has inspired you as an author?
Alan: Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy, Alice Walker, Howard Fast, Bob Woodward, Molly Ivins–and so many progressive authors who changed the way we look at the world.

Jen: What’s next for you?
Alan: The Daily Show. Hello, Jon Stewart–did you lose my phone number?

Seriously, though, I do have a lot of book signings and interviews coming up. My publicist seems to think that people are actually into this Obama fellow. Go figure.

Jen: Where can you be found on the web?
Alan: http://www.alankennedy-shaffer

Through my website, readers can learn more about The Obama RevoThe Obama Revolution, find out when and where my next book signing will be, and read what the critics have said about the book. Alternatively, readers can join The Obama Revolution on Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter.

Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Alan: What are you doing to change the world?

Jen: Alan, thanks so much for making a stop on your blog tour here at Book Talk. One lucky commenter today will win a copy of The Obama Revolution. Due to shipping costs, the contest is only open to US residents. If you’d like to be entered in the drawing, leave a comment today and I’ll pick a winner around 6 pm PST.