Steve Sheinkin

Steve Sheinkin: "I use it like an office sometimes"

"When I became an adult, I realized all the coolest people I knew were librarians."

I always loved going to the library as a kid and collecting as many books as I could. And it could be any subject, that's what was great about the library was going there and getting a stack of books from all different subjects.

I especially loved true stories, that also you know, blended into historical fiction. I loved that. "Mutiny on the Bounty," "The Great Train Robbery," books like that...they took a real historical event and turned it into a thriller. Those were the books that excited me the most, so it's always fun to go look see what I can find like that.

And to this day, I love finding books that I didn't expect to find. I did that just on my trip, flying out from New York... just went and meant to find one book, but found something else and I find ideas for books that way too.

I go there and I think I'm searching for one thing, but I end up finding the thing that's next to it, or maybe the thing across the aisle that's on a different subject, so, invaluable, every day. I use it like crazy these days. I have two young children, two and six, and we go there all the time for them.

I'll use it like an office sometimes. I live in Saratoga Springs, New York, now... great public library. I go upstairs. It's very quiet and I can sit there for hours at a time and just work. I can find the history books I need on the shelf, sit down and work. I go downstairs to get a cup of coffee and uh... take the kids there after work. It's second home basically, for me you know since... as a kid, I always pictured librarians in this a stereotypical way, and then when I became an adult, I realized all the coolest people I knew were librarians... men and women.

And it's true to this day, all the time I meet someone new and they're a librarian. I'm always amazed, they're just the coolest people.

[On censorship] I'm obviously very against censorship and banning books. I think it's so much more important to let kids... if something's outrageously inappropriate that's one thing, but to let kids read the controversial books and then talk to them about it as opposed to cutting something out. I know as a kid it just would make me more curious to know, "what is it that's controversial about this?"And it's a great way to learn too, to say alright here's why... this is "Huck Finn," here's why it is controversial. And a kid can handle so much more than we give them credit for in terms of the complexities of American history, which is what I work on. It's better to have to make it more complicated as opposed to over simplify.

My latest one is called "Bomb." It's about, it's this non-fiction thriller. So that's what I try to do. I try to take historical facts and turn them it into books that read like thrillers, that are novels because people, especially young readers, when they hear history they might expect, "Oh it's going to be boring. It's gonna be like my textbook." But this is not. So I take true stories and turn them into sort of page-turners. That's my plan and this is a page-turner about the race to make the atomic bomb during World War II, and at the same time the attempt to steal it, because as the Americans were trying to make it, the Germans were trying to build one and the Soviets were trying to steal the plans from the Americans. So it's this global thriller taking place on different continents at the same time. Definitely my most ambitious book, so I'm excited to see how it goes over.

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Saratoga Springs, New York