Stephen Hines is a writer and editor and "literary prospector" who has unearthed forgotten material of children's authors Laura Ingalls Wilder and Louisa May Alcott. He has an MA in journalism from Ball State University and was founding Director of Communications for the Tennessee Department of Children's Services. Titanic: Seven Days That Shocked the World is his eighteenth book.
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Titles by this Contributor
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Title (or Working Title) of your book
Titanic: Seven Days That Shocked the World
Do you use myspace, facebook, twitter, or other social networking sites? If so, how do we find you on those sites?
Facebook (Stephen Hines)
What books are you currently reading?
The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton
The New Testament
The Rockefellers by Collier and Horowitz
The Letters of C. S. Lewis, Voume III
How to Attract the Wombat (seriously) by Will Cuppy
The New, Improved! Bob & Ray Book by Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding
The Hearsts by Judith Robinson
I am always reading a mystery book of some sort.
What are your favorite books?
The Thread That Runs So True by Jesse Stuart
A Boy's King Arthur by Sydney Lanier
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Roughing It by Mark Twain
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemmingway
Anything humorous, especially by Stephen Leacock
Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries by Dorothy Sayers
All of the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder
What books would you recommend to your readers?
I would recommend any of the above books and
Annapurna by Maurice Herzog,
Kon Tiki and Aku Aku by Thor Hyeredahl,
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer,
Titanic: A Survivors Story by Archibald Gracie,
The Loss of the S. S. Titanic by Lawrence Beesley,
A Night to Remember by Walter Lord, and
The Discovery of the Titanic by Robert Ballard.
Any message to your readers?
The events surrounding the sinking of the Titanic were important lessons in the limitations of human achievement over the laws of Nature. No matter how great the satellite, gravity will pull it down; not matter how large and strong the ship, driving it carelessly through an ice filed is only tempting disaster. The iceberg that sank the Titanic, while presenting only a small part of itself above water was probably about eight times the mass of the doomed vessel. We can build big; Nature builds bigger.
What is your book about? Please provide a description.
Titanic: Seven Days That Shocked the World is about the historic sinking of the Titanic on its maiden voyage as seen from the perspective of the reporting on this disaster by the world's largest daily newspaper of the time, The Daily Telegraph of London. As the paper of record for most of England, the Telegraph ran some 208 articles on the astonishing disaster in the the first seven days of its coverage, and one day was a Sunday when no paper was published at all! Because of the limitations of the wireless telegraphy of the day, modern readers will experience how readers in the London of 1912 had to wade through fact and some considerable fancy as to what actually happened. On the same day the Daily Telegraph published the fact that the Titanic had sunk (probably), it published that it was saved and being towed to Halifax, Nova Scotia (probably). This is a you-are-there type of experience that will bring the immediacy and horror of the sinking home to the modern reader in a way no other Titanic book ever has. The horror unfolds before you as you learn that there were not enough lifeboats for everyone on board, that there had been numerous warnings of ice ahead of the ship of which she took little notice, and that the "unsinkable" ship had sunk in only two hours and forty minutes.
How long have you been at work on this book?
About a year and a half up until now.
How did the idea originate?
I was aware that the 100 year anniversary of the sinking was coming up and that the very word "titanic" has now come to mean not merely "big" but "a big disaster." I was also aware of continued interest in the Titanic because of traveling exhibits of its memorabilia. There are even cruise ships which will duplicate the historic path of the voyage in 2012! There is a kind of mania of interest in this ship which saw so many rich and famous people die.
Did the book entail any unusual writing habits or places?
The manuscript began with handwritten scrawls on waste paper thriftily saved from the Kroger Grocery store. In the writing, I used my computer, my Royal manual typewriter, fountain pens, ballpoint pens, and even pencils. Finally, I went from full time at Kroger to part-time employee to finish the book. I spent a great deal of time at the Nashville Public Library pouring over the dim microfilm pages of the Telegraph.