05 Oct

My appearance on the Travel Channel’s Mysteries at the Museum

This is a bit belated, but I appeared this past Friday night on an episode of Mysteries at the Museum on the Travel Channel. Here’s a taste:

Why me, and why this program? One of the subjects I profiled in Can I See Your I.D.? True Stories of False Identities was serial impostor Ferdinand Waldo Demara Jr.

In my book, I focused on this Massachusetts-born high school dropout’s exploits as surgeon “Dr. Joseph Cyr” in the Canadian navy during the Korean War. But when Mysteries at the Museum needed someone to speak — on camera at the Texas Prison Museum — about Demara’s stint working for the Texas prison system under the name “Ben Jones,” they went for some guy in a purple shirt calling himself “Chris Barton.”

I’ll post a link to the full episode when it becomes available online.

05 Mar

Heck, my mother should know…

…that I’ve been published in The Horn Book!

The absolutely stellar March/April special issue focusing on “Fact, Fiction, and In Between” includes contributions from Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Erica Zappy, Matt Tavares, Marc Aronson, Steve Jenkins, Elizabeth Partridge, Monica Edinger, Tanya Lee Stone, Laurie Halse Anderson, Andrea Davis Pinkney, Candace Fleming, Katerine Paterson, Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, Margarita Engle, Deborah Heiligman, James Cross Giblin, Viki Ash and Thom Barthelmess, Marthe Jocelyn, Steven Herb, Leonard S. Marcus, Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer … and me.

Here’s a bit of my short essay “Your Mother Should Know,” about a last-minute twist in my research for Can I See Your I.D.? True Stories of False Identities:

By the time the U.S. Navy got around to fulfilling my Freedom of Information Act request, I’d forgotten that I had requested it. But even though my text for Can I See Your I.D.? was finished, I couldn’t help but take a look at the documents pertaining to one of my subjects, serial impostor Ferdinand Waldo Demara Jr.

One document referred to “a letter from [redacted] dated 14 August 1944, in which she requested information concerning the whereabouts of her brother, Ferdinand S. [sic] Demara, who had been A.W.O.L.”

This was trouble.

And as if that wasn’t enough to liven up my week, I received the First Big Review of Can I See Your I.D.? from Kirkus Reviews:

Barton’s use of the second-person point of view gives these stories dramatic tension and a sense of immediacy. Hoppe’s graphic panels enhance this effect. … Teens in the thick of creating identities themselves will find this riveting.

April 14 is the book’s official publication date. I’m starting to get a wee bit excited.

21 Nov

I’d like to be in San Antonio, but something(s) came up

Photo by Hank Walker, 1958

I won’t be among the litfolk romping in San Antonio this weekend at NCTE, but I’m happy with my alternative plans:

  • Playing around with the book’s worth of sketches (and then some) that I just received from S.V.T. illustrator Tom Lichtenheld
  • Attending the wedding of my middle school and high school literary collaborator J.B. Smith (perhaps someday I’ll post our Sophocles-meets-Three’s Company script, Janetigone)

Wherever you’ll be and whatever you’ll be doing, I hope you enjoy it.