“How do you write a book?” 24-year-old Thomas Fleming asked best-selling writer Fulton Oursler in 1951.
“Write four pages a day,” Oursler said. “Every day except Sunday. Whether you feel like it or not. Inspiration consists of putting the seat of your pants on the chair at your desk.”
Fleming followed that advice in the more than 50 books he wrote throughout his life.
His book, “The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers,” was his 50th published work. Twenty-three of his books were novels. He was also the only writer in the history of the Book of the Month Club to have had main selections in fiction and in nonfiction. And, he won prizes.
Fleming told David Bruce Smith, founder of the Grateful American™ Foundation, that he sees “Intimate Lives” as a perfect combination of his double talent as a novelist and historian.
“Novelists focus on the intimate side of life,” said Fleming, who was born in Jersey City, the son of a powerful local politician. “This is the first time anyone has looked at the intimate side of the lives of these famous Americans with a historian’s eyes.”
It was a pleasure to meet and interview Fleming in May 2014. We filmed the video on location at Alexander Hamilton’s home, The Grange, in New York City. We hope you’ll enjoy watching it as much as we did filming it.
Click here to watch the interview, in which Fleming answers these questions:
- What were the lives of the great figures in American history really like — including George Washington, Ben Franklin, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison?
- What role did the Founding Mothers play in the lives of these famous men — such as George Washington’s mother, Mary Ball Washington, who was known to be not particularly affectionate?
- How do the customs of the 18th century differ from today’s, including those related to courting, medicine, and hygiene?
- What makes it so important that their stories live on — especially in the minds of kids?
- And how can parents help their kids develop a passion for history?
Scroll down for a dozen fascinating facts about the founding era of our country.