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On the road, seeking authors: Pacifica native and his wife run Author’s Road to honor writers
September 15, 2014, 05:00 AM By Angela Swartz Daily Journal

Salli Slaughter
George Mason, left, interviews novelist and screen writer, Michael Blake, in his writing studio in Arizona. Blake won the Oscar for writing ‘Dances with Wolves.’

Salli Slaughter

While some might see retirement as a time to sit back and relax, Salli Slaughter and George Mason saw it as an opportunity to hit the road and pay homage to impactful authors through an interview series.

Mason, 67, and Slaughter, 66, started Author’s Road four years ago. Mason was raised in Pacifica and lived in Half Moon Bay for years thereafter while teaching various subjects at The Nueva School in Hillsborough before moving to Alaska to raise his and Slaughter’s two daughters and two wolves.

“Four years ago, Salli got new knees and we decided we needed to change our lives,” said Mason, whose home base is now Portland. “We decided we needed to do some new adventures.”

Their new adventures now include driving around the United States in their fifth wheel trailer and truck interviewing successful authors and asking them stories about their writing to honor them. So far, they’ve met and done video interviews with 47 writers or experts on writers. Interviews are done at the places where the writers write.

“These are amazing people,” Mason said. “It occurred to me two weeks ago — think how different the world would be if 17th century England had been like we’re today. Everybody would have known who the actors were but no one would remember who Shakespeare is. We know Brad Pitt, but not Jim Harrison.”

The couple has interviewed novelists like Harrison, who wrote “Legends of the Fall,” Michael Blake, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of “Dances with Wolves,” poets, journalists, science writers and one songwriter. Their interviews have been viewed nearly 150,000 times. As they’ve traveled, they’ve also given dozens of media interviews and offered free slideshow talks in schools, libraries, bookstores and for civic groups. It takes 5,200 hours from start to finish each interview. They’ve hit 17 states thus far.

“We only interview people who write because they breathe,” Slaughter said. “They’re the people who can’t do anything but write. Sometimes they’re people we read and adore and sometimes it’s serendipity.”

Both Slaughter and Mason enjoy reading, writing and storytelling and Mason co-authored a book on math and science in 1973 while at Nueva. Slaughter served on the board of directors of Willamette Writers and was Willamette Writers Conference chair. In 1997, Slaughter and Mason went with their daughters on a one-year, around-the-world adventure. As a result, they became some of the earliest bloggers.

“It’s not only just the travel and the freedom of getting around the country, what we love most is just the chance to honor a group of people that everyone seems to forget about,” Mason said. “They have done very well financially, but very few people know who they are. They’re the people who carry the stories that make our culture and we seem to forget. We love honoring them.”

How long do they see themselves doing this?

“When it stops getting fun and interesting, we’ll stop,” Mason said.

Mason and Slaughter have many favorite interviewees, including Diana Gabaldon, author of “The Outlander” series, whose video probably has the most views, they said. They’ve also interviewed experts on Ernest Hemingway, Jack London and John Steinbeck.

For now, Author’s Road is run off of Social Security checks.

“This is not a money-making thing, this is a gift,” Mason said. “We hope to house the archives at a university and we’re working on materials for teachers.”

For more information, or to view the interviews, go to Author’s Road is a nonprofit and accepts donations. Specifically, Slaughter and Mason are looking to replace a camera and computer with new funds.

(650) 344-5200 ext. 105



Tags: mason, they, slaughter, people, writers, interviews,

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On the road, seeking authors: Pacifica native and his wife run Author’s Road to honor writers
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