Stephen James and “American Stew”

AuthorHouse is pleased to welcome Stephen James to Author’s Digest. Stephen’s self-published book American Stew: Hope in a Toxic Culture was the recent winner of an Independent Press Award in the Cultural Criticism category.


Author Stephen James

Author Stephen James

Stephen, please tell us a bit about yourself.


I’m a communications professional with forty years of experience working in a variety of media, including documentaries, local PBS television, and corporate communications. I’ve followed the American culture from many vantage points, and have written for the United Nations, public television, and various corporations.


I’m also the executive director of The Humanist Society of Metropolitan New York (HSMNY) and president of Contemporary Heroism Initiative (CHI), an undertaking based on modern social scientific thinking that promotes understanding and public discourse in the hope of furthering the common good.


Were there any authors or books that influenced you?


My work is based on the theories of Ernest Becker (particularly his books The Denial of Death and Escape From Evil). I strive to apply his ideas to contemporary social concerns. My writing style is influenced by some of the great nonfiction writers, like Jarrod Diamond, Malcolm Gladwell, Richard Dawkins, Bertrand Russell, and many others. I credit the Writers Studio in New York for teaching me the fundamentals of fiction writing that I have applied to nonfiction.


American StewWhat’s the one message you’d like to convey to readers through American Stew?


Americans are profoundly troubled at this time. Understanding human motivation through advances in social science is vitally important in addressing (and hopefully solving) our most daunting problems.


What was your favorite part of the self-publishing process?


Receiving my first copy and showing it to my family, friends and colleagues. It was a unique experience!




We’ll continue our interview with Stephen James next week. American Stew, his award-winning book, is available at Amazon and the AuthorHouse Bookstore.


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