Interview with James Renner, author of The Great Forgetting

30 Nov 2015
Tell us a little bit about your new release, The Great Forgetting.

The Great Forgetting is my love letter to conspiracy theories. It’s a thriller in the spirit of the X-Files, and supposes that our government conspired against us to erase 100 years of human history. The only hope we have to remember rests in the hands of a history teacher from Ohio and his group of misfit friends and family.

What books do you find yourself returning to again and again?

Oh, anything by E.B. White. Dude knew his grammar. Best to get it from the source. I think about John Irving’s stories a lot. And Franzen, of course.

Pretend you qualified for the Olympics this year. What sport would you compete in?

I hope I’d be a contender for speed typing.

Who was your childhood hero?

I had three heroes as a kid: Stephen King, Steven Spielberg, and David Letterman. Each of them did their first big thing when they were 24 and it was a race in my mind to make something happen in my life by then. I became a paid journalist at 24. I guess that ain’t bad.

If you had to pick one place to vacation for the rest of your life, where would you choose?

I love the little islands on Lake Erie. If I had unlimited resources, I’d buy up Rattlesnake Island and turn it into a quiet hideaway.

You wouldn’t be caught dead, where?

I wouldn’t be caught dead at a Chick-fil-A. What a creepy, culty place. I don’t care how good their chicken is.

What’s your favorite quote or scene from The Great Forgetting?

My favorite quote is “let’s roll.” It’s said on a plane on 9/11 towards the end, but in a very different context.

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

It’s still the Boy Scout motto: Be prepared.


James Renner is the author of the new book The Great Forgetting.

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Author Website

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