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David Whitehouse - Four Way Interview

Dr David Whitehouse studied astrophysics at the world-famous Jodrell Bank radio observatory. He is a former BBC Science Correspondent and BBC Science Editor. He is the author of five books including The Sun: a biography and Journey to the Centre of the Earth, and has written for many newspapers and magazines including The Times, The Guardian, Focus, New Scientist and the Economist. He regularly appears on TV and radio programmes. Asteroid 4036 Whitehouse is named after him. His latest title is Apollo 11: the inside story.

Why space?

I have been interested in astronomy since I was four years old. I recall the exact time. My mother and I were Christmas shopping in Woolworths on the Soho Road in Handsworth, Birmingham. I pointed to a very big book - an encyclopaedia  - that I wanted, but mum thought I wanted the rather thinner book on astronomy I was leaning on. Needless to say I wasn’t happy on Christmas Day, but a few days later I read it, and was hooked forever. It was the time of Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. 

Why this book?
I wanted to find a new way to write a book about Apollo 11 for the 50th anniversary, to produce a narrative that was closer to the story and more intimate with the protagonists. I treated it almost like a screenplay editing what people said to produce pace and tension. I’m glad people think it’s different and like it. What more can a writer ask?

What's next?

My next book is finished but I can’t say what it is but it’s not about space. I’m working on a few more ideas at the moment. I decided that I have done my solar system books (Moon, Sun, Earth books) and I will look farther afield. Once again I am looking for a new approach. 


What is exciting you at the moment?

Bookwise I am thoroughly enjoying “The Map of Knowledge,” by Violet Moller, “The Tangled Tree,” by David Quammen, and “The Making of Poetry,” by Adam Nicholson. I read all the new science books that come out but I can’t honestly say many of them excite me.

Comments

  1. Still writing THE MOST AMAZING books, the last every bit as good as the first, if not better! David Whitehouse is like a fine wine; the older he gets, the better he becomes!

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